My salad dressing days

How to be authentic*
October 27, 2005, 11:57 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

1. Come from somewhere north of the Watford Gap. Preferably a city with a grim and grimy industrial heritage. [N.B. If coming from Scotland, Glasgow is infinitely more ‘authentic’ than Edinburgh.]

2. Profess not to know or care about what lies south of the Watford Gap.

3. Downplay your childhood. Ideally, you will have had seven or more siblings and a permanent case of headlice, you used to watch your Mum mangle clothes for entertainment and the nearest you ever got to a ‘holiday’ was two nights in 1974 in your auntie’s caravan in Filey.

4. Talk up your Father’s (Godforsaken) job. Ideally, he will have been a coalminer, chimney sweep or dustman. His ‘wages’ will have been delivered on a weekly basis by a curmudgeonly foreman in a brown envelope covered in muck and soot.

5. It helps if you come from a town or city which spawned a cool, urban band. (Where Oldham had the Inspiral Carpets and ‘Madchester’** The Happy Mondays.)

6. Ham up any inkling of a regional accent (and get lippy with any Southerners who you imagine are failing to understand you on account of their addiction to Queen’s English).

7. Be disparaging about anyfink wot might be regarded as ‘inter-leck-choo-al’. This, rather frighteningly, might include The Daily Mail.

8. Moan constantly about how much more left-wing you are than any existing political party (whilst telling the guy outside the station selling Socialist Worker to b*gger off).

9. Swear a lot.

10. You will most likely know your grandmother as ‘Nan’ or ‘Nanna’.


Failed to meet any of the above criteria? Then resign yourself to a life of inauthenticity and get back to shopping at Waitrose like the rest of us.

* where ‘authentic’ equals Working Class, a societal stratum to which most British people aspire

** Manchester according to someone with chronic rhinitis brought on by spending too much time picketing outside coalmines


21 Comments so far
Leave a comment

blimey, what brought that on?

Comment by surly girl

Where’s Filey?

Comment by Pashmina

Number 8 and 9 certainly apply to me (and don’t forget about snarling at big issue vendors) but no-one has ever called me authentic and nor are they likely to.

*Sits back, cracks open popcorn, waits for fight to start*

Comment by GreatSheElephant

I quite like that fact that, due to it’s southern location, being from Ilford means that I am therefore posh and soft as far as Northerners are concerned.

As opposed to squawking like a banshee and bottling people in Romford nightclubs.

Comment by Kellycat

there’s a rather nice Chardonnay on special-offer at Waitrose at the moment, if anyone’s interested.

Comment by Wyndham

is that right, mr t? funny, musta missed it when i was there getting my ready-to-cook hungarian ghoulash and soda bread…

that’s what i like to see: a little shameless inauthenticity

where’s the fun in pretending to like warm jars of bitter? blech

Comment by Urban Chick

sg: just stuff, well, not really, well sort (i’m only jealous not to be an authentic meeself)

pashmina: s’next to scarborough and i suffered a rather awful family holiday there in the 80s (apols to any filey-dwellers – no doubt it is a marvellous place and i was just terribly unfortunate)

gse: ooh, you think there might be a fight on my blog? this has never happened to me before! ooh

kc: indeed, you are – like moi – inauthentic…enjoy!

Comment by Urban Chick

there’s a fight on mine. s’everso exciting.

Comment by surly girl

I am quite definitely Middle Class (I am a mid level Civil Servant) though My Parents are from Skilled Working Class Backgrounds.

Comment by Aginoth

Always worry when someone thinks Chardonney is a name for a child and not a bottle of wine

Comment by Aginoth

It’s all so picturesque. I, of course, qualify for none. But somehow I now yearn for my father to have a black lung so I can join the party. I come from White Trash – does that help?

Sulking now in the American corner.

Comment by Whinger

Nice bitta class warfare – of course I’m waiting for a fight. After all it’s a hell of a lot more interesting than what’s going on at my blog. I just typed out a huge rant about Tesco and the sytem crashed and lost it, luckily for my readers.

Comment by GreatSheElephant

Dear Urban lady,
I’d like to share a matter of concern with you.
I know a super-authentic Brit who lives in Norway with his defacto. Their son is called Nathaniel, which he cannot pronounced ‘PROPER’ on account of his dialect. He calls the kid ‘Naif’. His partner and her family call him ‘NahTahniel’, on account of their not being able to say ‘th’, and their open vowels. I seem to be the only person in the poor boy’s life who can say Nathaniel properly.
Whatever is to come of him?

Comment by Justine

Call me old fashioned, but how on earth do you get a curmudgeonly foreman INTO a brown envelope, albeit covered in muck and soot?

Comment by motherhen

Well my dad was a coalminer and my mum a factory worker but I suppose I’ve “progressed” to the lower middle classes (“the sort of people who put bottles of red wine in the fridge” as some radio reporter sneeringly put it). Not only am I not authentic, I still have a comedy regional accent and couldn’t hold my own in Waitrose.

Still, someone has to be a figure of fun, don’t they? Next!

Comment by Betty

Wow! Is their authentic anger underpinning this post?

It’s all relative isn’t it. From where I stand in the Midlands it seems that Scousers and Geordies have been flavour of the month for years now, whereas poor Brummies and natives of the Black Country, are always being portrayed as fick.

I love the American accent whether it’s the Texan drawl or the New Yoikers moidering de language. But I have corresponded with Yanks who take the piss out of ‘regional’ accents not their own, in much the same way as we do here. And yet many of them think the Brummie accent is delightful.

It’s all of no consequence in the big scheme of things.

Comment by Swifty

aginoth: chardonnay as a name – i hear you

whinger: a white trash background is a good start

justine: thank goodness that poor dear child has you in his life

motherhen: one word: origami

betty: it’s fearful being a social misfit, innit? i empathise totally

finally, mr swift: “It’s all of no consequence in the big scheme of things.” – indeed (even if i was hoping for an outbreak of class warfare on my blog)

but hey, i’m just a bitter and twisted wannabe-northerner

p.s. i agree: it’s about time brummies had their day

Comment by Urban Chick

Over here in the States everybody thinks they’re middle class.
Even celebrities and political figures have to pretend to be middle class.
That was why Hillary Clinton had such a hard time in the nineties. She derrided being a cookie baking stay at home mommy.

Comment by Nigel Patel

This was funny. It’s interesting to think that there is a kind of “anti-pretentious pretentiousness”, you know? 🙂

Comment by Kate

I’m authentically inauthentic, and proud of it. 😉

Comment by Hannah

God preserve me from people who think they’re working class. What a load of total rubbish. Why is there anything to be proud of in that? It’s rubbish being poor, only people who haven’t been would think it was a good thing to claim to be. What’s wrong in being educated? Gah…

Comment by belladona

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