Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Am I bothered?

When I was travelling down to Essex earlier this week, two chavettes got on the train at Basildon. This was about mid-morning, but it soon became evident from their loud conversation that they had been at an all night party. Most of it is not repeatable on a family blog, but I was interested to learn that some Essex boys insist on wearing their trainers in bed.

After a while, one of them said (in an appropriate Estuary accent), 'Some people say I talk posh. Do I talk posh? Do you think I'm posh?' I suppose she was posh in the sense that when Kate Nash affects an Estuary accent for her songs (as distinct from the classless accent she has in interviews), the result might still be considered 'posh'. Thus, Nash renders 'bitter' as 'bittah' just as these young women rendered 'daughter' (when discussing what to tell their mothers) as 'daughtah'.

Social class is now regarded as being of secondary importance in any discussion of contemporary Britain, but there is a sense in which it remains a very real phenomenon. Inverted snoberry in the sense of a fear of being seen as 'posh' is perhaps the stronger form. But then I suppose that 'Posh' Spice was so described because she gained some qualifications at age 16.

2 comments:

Justin Greaves said...

You seem quite a fan of Kate Nash (I think I recall an earlier blog on the subject?). I agree she sounds different in interviews - although she often stresses the importance of improved educational opportunities for those who are not 'academic'. She promotes the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology (of which she used to be a member). I have always been puzzled as to where the term 'Posh Spice' came from but I recall it was coined by the tabloid press...

Wyn Grant said...

I like Kate Nash's [main] CD, although I am more interested in Duffy right now. I was aware that KN went to the Brit School. I thought 'Posh' Spice was part of the original contrived marketing programme, but I could be wrong. One of my colleagues had a life size cut out of one of the Spice Women in his office, but fortunately it was not Posh.