…that magic moment…

June 26, 2011

Every Sunday at 7 pm, after I’ve finished the washing up and ironed a few shirts for the week to come and swept up all the cobwebs and dead flies, and generally made the flat habitable for myself and my (so far, imaginary) friends who might join me, I switch on the TV,  pour myself a dry Martini (stirred with a stirry thing, Mr Bond), and settle down to one of the few remaining outposts of civilisation in the cultural desert that we call TV.

Now would a nice Northern boy who grew up in a house that didn’t have an indoor privy until 1962 be interested in a lot of old people bringing junk in the attic to a country house rented for the day by the cultural  commissars of the BBC, to be sneered over by some Southern bastard in a weirdly patterned suit,  I hear you ask?

Well, it’s like this:  the magic moment that illuminates the whole sorry business, from Fiona’s careful memorising of jokey links to the suit of armour in the Morris  Minor somewhere on the North York Moors, is when the ‘expert’ reveals the value. You can tell what class the punter is from, if you knew nothing else about them, from their expressions.

Working/shameless class: gasp and whoops of delight and high fives all round, even if the value is only 100 quid. That is lots of fries and maybe some freezer packs of unrecognizable but very factory-produced meat to be slung on the rusty barbie.

Middle class: stony silence as they digest the fact that it is half the value they expected. then a nod, and ‘thank you very much’.

Upper class:  guffaws of laughter, and then ‘well, of course, it’s not for sale. Been in the family for 300 years’.

I love it. A slice of Olde England, when people knew their place. Apart from chippy Northern creatives, of course. There is a rumour the Beeb plans to shut it down. Better to dump Doctor Who, if you ask me. But that is a treat for another day.


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