What class are you in?
Today’s picture is of the church just up the road from where I live. I took this photo yesterday, it was a little misty, it’s still quite cold. The church is said to date back over 700 years and is a landmark that can be seen for miles. For me it signifies where I grew up, my roots.
My family was working class, but I don’t think of myself as belonging to any class. Many people try to escape their working class backgrounds and move out of the Black Country. They try to acquire culture and speak with a posh accent. They still tend to be looked down upon by the upper classes.
Where did all this class structure start? I think it began over 50,000 years ago when people were living in caves. Some people were stronger and managed to be more successful hunters, some were smarter and inventive. They were still very primitive. If a man wanted sex, he just dragged the woman he fancied into a cave. If she resisted, she got a clout with his club. Such primitive attitudes are still evident today. Is primitive behaviour only on rough council estates? I hear there is a lot of it in suburbia behind closed doors. I also understand that the aristocracy aren’t averse to a bit of primitive behaviour with the lower classes. In fact, it seems a 100 years ago, indulging their primitive behaviour was part of a housemaid’s duties.
People became more sophisticated though, learning about art and music. It all started with daubing on the walls of caves and then in the 19th century, we had the likes of Turner and Constable painting masterpieces. I suppose music began with someone beating on a tree trunk with a stick. Some modern bands sound like they are still doing that. Music developed and evolved until we came to the 19th century and we had masterpieces from the likes of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven.
There does seem to have been a bit of a cultural decline since then. I did a survey thing this week to see what class I am in now and I’m not working class, I’m in some new class that appreciates art and music. I visit art galleries, well I’ve been to a couple recently. I listen to classical music, not all the time; I’ve been listening to early 20th century music this week. I’ve been to listening to The Ink Spots on Spotify. That must put me in a class of my own or at least a ward of my own…
We do tend to think of people who are less cultured than we are, as being in a lower class. Those muscle bound guys with body painting would probably make excellent hunters, if they didn’t go queasy at the sight of blood. They are quite primitive, you wouldn’t catch them listening to Mozart or the Ink Spots for that matter. They are likely to regard themselves as ‘working class’. They have macho dogs they take out with them and they drive a ‘hot hatch’. Their wives and girlfriends, watch Eastenders, have eyelashes that would take your eye out and hair that blonde, it would put Boris Johnson to shame.
Then you have the I bought my council house and so I’m middle class, upper lower class group. They vote Tory and think foreign aid, immigration, welfare and the ‘nanny state’ are all bad things. They can’t quite afford to drink lattes in Starbucks every day, but try to be seen in Costa Coffee occasionally.
The proper Tories are the Oxbridge crowd especially the former members of the Bullingdon club. They try to appear ordinary and not posh, they drink beer and have some primitive habits like their cave dwelling ancestors. They even watch soccer, but they do still dress up and get together to sneer at the ‘lower classes’. They have special sneering events when they all dress up in evening dress and drink champagne.
There is a group in society that seems to come from all the traditional classes, they have middle class accents or regional accents and are a diverse group. This group is creative, intelligent and sophisticated. They are more likely to own a computer than a smart phone; they read books, they listen to classical music and they think education is for life. They used to vote Liberal Democrat, but don’t know who the hell to vote for now. I could be in this group, if I was going to be in any group…
I might go out and take a few photos this afternoon. The weather forecast says warmer and sunny. What are you doing on this Sunday afternoon? Please use the comments box to share your thoughts…
- The British class system is becoming more polarised between a prosperous elite and a poor ‘precariat’ (blogs.lse.ac.uk)
- Class war: new social groupings provoke outrage on social media (theweek.co.uk)
- Britain now has 7 social classes and working class is a dwindling breed (seeker401.wordpress.com)
- British class system ‘fragmented’, says study (scotsman.com)
- Britain now has 7 social classes – and working class is a dwindling breed (independent.co.uk)