Selective snob


“It is impossible in our condition of society not to be sometimes a snob” – William Makepeace Thackeray.

Apparently (according to my quick and dirty Google search a few moments ago) the word snob was first recorded in the late eighteenth century as a term for a shoemaker or apprentice and although no-one seems to understand how it came to mean “stuck up, snooty, high and mighty and pretentious” as it does today (Google’s synonym search is also handy), I do like the fact that the word has a connection to shoes.

I consider myself to be a bit of a snob in a number of areas.

Nightwear: Pyjamas and slippers should be worn in the house only. I might possibly concur that you could stretch the bedwear zone to the doorstep of your own home if you are waving goodbye to someone but that is it. Wearing bedtime clothes to the shop, on the school run, to the garage, is just wrong. You might as well fashion your duvet into some sort of padded frock (also wrong, don’t get any ideas). If I was king of a supermarket, I might even go so far as to implement a dress code. If you’re wearing brushed cotton tartan, anything that says ‘I don’t like mornings’ on it or trousers covered in pictures of tiny pink yawning dogs, you’re not coming in.

Cake: Victoria sponge is THE grand mistress of cakes but only when it contains buttercream icing as well as jam. Butter and sugar, so wrong but so very right. The Women’s Institute, who are advocates of the jam only, no buttercream school of Victoria sponge thinking, would be horrified at this comment, but I think I’ll live without their support. Just as an aside, I would have absolutely no idea whether they have a branch in Brighton, how you join or what they actually do apart from bake cake and sing Jerusalem. I think I’d have more luck scoring some cocaine than joining the local WI. Well, apart from the fact that I only know the term ‘score’ from Nasty Nick in Eastenders, I would have no idea if I was snorting coke or icing sugar and that I just had to Google ‘what colour is cocaine?’ to check that it was actually white for the purposes of this entry. Although I’m slightly more tempted to try it now that I’ve discovered that it’s an appetite suppressant. Could help me out on the diet front, particularly given my love of Victoria sponges.

Shoes: I am an absolute shoe snob, I could almost be talked into terminating a friendship with someone who would even consider, no matter how fleetingly, the idea of buying shoes that fasten with Velcro and don’t even get me started on Crocs. Shoe inspiration should not come from a plastic laundry basket. I have a friend who owns and has worn Crocs in public near me. I pretended that I didn’t know her. My mum has shoes that fasten with Velcro that she wears to work. It’s hard for me to make that confession but I can’t pretend that I don’t know her. Although I would rather be disclosing that she’s actually my dad and until 1988 was a civil servant called Derek, so great is my shoe snobbery.

You’re / Your: There is a sandwich shop on a main road on the way to my sister’s house and I’ve often driven past it and thought that it looked nice and clean, well presented and that if I needed to urgently buy a sandwich at a notorious traffic hotspot on the congested A27, this shop would be the one I’d choose. Well, that was until I drove past it the other day and it had a banner outside which said “You’re local sandwich shop”. I am not a local sandwich shop. I’m a person. You’re means you are. How hard is it to get that? I mean, of the six original letters in the two words, five of them are still there and the sixth has been replaced by an apostrophe. A bit like this: Local sandwich shop is completely sh’t at grammar. If Mr Sandwich shop man doesn’t know his your from his you’re, what is to say that he might not know his chicken from his mechanically separated meat? Not a risk I’m prepared to take.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have a secret snob-free side to me. There are a number of things that I am unashamedly not a snob about.

Magazines: The cheesier the better. I want to know about the woman who had babies with a man who turned out to be her long lost brother/father/uncle/son, the toddler who can sing like Frank Sinatra and the man with the giant cock who can’t find love; he might be hung by a donkey but, bless him, he also looks like one too. I suspect that’s why he’s still single.

Ironing: I can live with the creases. Life is too short to iron.

Newspapers: I am addicted to the Daily Mail app on my iPhone and the trashy “celebrity” section. Although most of the time I genuinely don’t know who the people are that I am reading about. Some woman who dated the bass player of a mediocre mainstream band six years ago has worn the same dress three years apart. Fuck me. Why didn’t someone text me an alert about that sooner? I have also read The Sun, although not since the phone hacking scandal hit the News of the World; I’m not an animal. Plus, I wouldn’t do it in public. It’s strictly ‘at-home-behind-closed-doors-and-possibly-even-then-whilst-wearing-some-sort-of-disguise-in-case-the-postman-spots-me-through-the-letterbox’ type of reading material.

Wine: £1.99 special, with a delicate bouquet of wet dog, wellington boots and winkles? Are you kidding me? It’s £1.99. I can always top it up with lemonade.

“Wine is wonderful stuff but so many people are put off by the snobbery of it” – John Cleese

Don’t worry John, I’ve got it all under control.


Vodka turns my thoughts to words

VodkaThis morning I woke up to find that someone had removed me from my bed and placed me into a waltzer car. There were bright lights, everything was spinning and I swear I could hear the muffled “super fast ride, super fast ride, scream if you want to spin faster” of a fairground worker far in the distance. In addition to this, there were drums pounding in my head and my mouth tasted like I’d been licking a patio. It was a hangover. The nasty side effect of consuming too much of the naughty Polish distilled beverage that I am rather partial to and had drunk quite copiously last night at a friend’s party.

I do enjoy having a tipple. I like the social element, I like the fact that it relaxes people and that an incident can be infinitely more comical if you have a glass of wine or two inside you. My sister and I went to an afternoon barbecue a few years ago and had quite a number of drinks. We were queuing up to get some food when the lady in front of us stumbled slightly due to the fact that the ground was uneven, a few seconds later, I too stumbled on the same patch of grass. The woman in front of us said ‘Ooh, holey ground’. Because of the wine, I didn’t hear ‘Ooh, holey ground’ I heard ‘Ooh, Holy Grail’. I said ‘Er, okay’ whilst pulling a bemused, slightly anxious expression and trying to work out how I could get out of being stuck in a conversation with a bible-basher who thought she’d found some religious chalice at a shindig in Surrey. I then turned to my sister, who was sniggering away next to me and said ‘Holy Grail?!’ in what I thought was a whisper, forgetting that wine is an incredibly effective amplifier. My sister had also thought that the lady had said ‘Holy Grail’ but was savvy enough to have worked out what she actually said and found me yelling ‘Holy Grail?’ at her hysterical which in turn started me laughing. The poor woman looked mortified but my sister and I couldn’t stop laughing for long enough to explain what had prompted our outburst.

I also love that crazy drunk logic. My favourite quote from last night’s party is:

“Your friend is very tall, isn’t she? I didn’t think you’d be friends with someone as tall as that.”

“Well, I met her at playschool when I was three and we were the same size. I didn’t know how tall she was going to grow.”

“Ahhh, that explains it.”

A conversation that would never have happened had we stuck to the soft drinks. Oh and for the record, my friend is about five foot eight, she’s not a freaky giant who has to duck her head when walking through doorways.

The hangovers are a challenge that come with drinking. It’s quite distressing that they get more underhanded the older I become. In days gone by, there was just one bog standard, common or garden hangover. Nowadays, there are two other categories that seem to have gatecrashed.

The first is the sneaky hangover. You wake up. You sit up. You think to yourself ‘Woo hoo, no hangover. Feeling good.’ You get up, start pottering around, thinking about breakfast and then out of nowhere after being awake for a good half an hour or so, your stomach starts gurgling unattractively and an elastic band has developed inside your head to squeeze your brain. It’s like the hangover is running late: ‘Oh bloody hell, I didn’t think she’d be up yet. I totally overslept. Shit. Where’s my sledgehammer? I’ll just set the elastic band up whilst I go and look for it. I’ll reschedule the stomach, do that this afternoon instead.’

The second new style hangover is the worst of all: Two. Day. Hangover. You never know when it’s going to strike and there is nothing that you can do to stop it. Gone are the days when you knew a greasy fry up, a can of coke and an early night would see you right as rain. You don’t know if the two day hangover is going to kick in until you wake up on day two and it jumps out at you from behind the wardrobe yelling ‘Surprise!’.

The other challenge for me that comes with drinking is the fact that alcohol dissolves my breaking mechanism. The system that is in place to prevent the words that are in my head from coming out of my mouth. The worst thing is that I know it’s happening but I can’t do anything about it, the angel on my shoulder is yelling ‘Nooooo, don’t say that. Keep quiet’ and the devil on the other shoulder is calmly carrying on ‘Can someone give that winged bitch some wine to shut her up?’. I once told someone that I worked with that I thought his partner was much nicer and much more fun than he was and asked if I could work with the partner instead. I told a friend’s brother-in-law that he was very odd and I didn’t like him and was going to go and talk to someone else.

I also think I’m some sort of super duper agony aunt, the Claire Rayner of the drinking world and insist on giving people advice. Last night I told someone that they should not have split up with their ex and they needed to get back together. Unsolicited, unwanted advice forced upon some poor soul regarding a situation that is none of my business. There is also quite an infamous situation where I appear to have convinced someone to call off their wedding. Now, don’t get me wrong, no-one would actually call off their wedding on the say so of a drunk bird with a ‘Dear Deidre’ complex but I’m not sure that I helped matters.

So, I have decided from now onwards that I am going to give up drinking at parties.

Well, maybe just cut down.

Hmmmm… I might make my final decision tomorrow.

Maybe people need to know that they are a bit odd? Perhaps I’m doing a public service?

Yeah, that’s right. I am.

Now, where’s my Smirnoff?