Saturday, July 16, 2005

makeover

as you can see, the blog has had a sparkly new makeover, mainly in order to distinguish it from this one, and also because I felt guilty that I used to be a proper internet geek, who understood hexadecimal colour codes and whatnot, and I had forgotten it all.

Later today, I am off to a world music festival (improbably in Elephant & Castle) with a friend. Given my intense dislike of world music and latent antipathy to festivals, it should be a fun day.

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I don't know why, but summer always gets me reading. Actually, I do know why: it's so that I can hide inside with a book, rather than sunbathing. The rest of my family put out chairs on the patio in March, and don't come back in until October, but I was (and am) a pale, sun-fearing type. My excuse is that I will look 30 when I am 50. Unfortunately, I am currently 21 and look like a vampire.

I toyed with the idea of buying Harry Potter as I ambled, drunk, past the 24-hour Tesco's last night. Luckily it was only 11.40pm and the prospect of a 20 minute wait with people sad enough to go to Tesco's in the middle of the night was a deal breaker. Instead I went home and read some Hazlitt (what's the point of feeling smug if you can't share it with anybody?)

But I have been mostly reading books from Amazon's summer paperback sale & Border's 3 for 2 offer. These include Watching the English by anthropolgist Kate Fox. She attempts to find a grammar of English behaviour, the hidden rules of Englishness. It's fascinating, and terrifying, to realise that your use of words gives your precise class away, as does your attitude towards Mondeos and Mercedes.

There's a great bit on the "Seven Deadly Sins" of word use, words which will immediately make clear your class prejudices. Example: do you wince when you see the word 'serviette' used instead of 'napkin'? You're middle-middle or upper-middle. Do you say 'lounge' or 'sitting room'? The first is working class, the second middle (although uppers might even venture into 'drawing room'). Like I say, it's not a pleasant experience to be deconstructed along such simple lines, but it makes you realise how class-obsessed the English still are.

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