Where new town meets old country
Apparently people, actual real-life people, worry about wearing the ‘‘wrong’’ kind of tweed or eating caviar in the ‘‘wrong’’ way. This is one of the things I learnt whilst watching doco series Inside Tatler (9.50pm, Saturdays, and available on TVNZ On Demand).
It takes a look at life inside this British magazine that has been bringing the world ‘‘despatches from the front line of privilege’’ since 1709.
This mostly seems to mean rushing around taking photographs of braying poshos at parties and coming up with suitably rich people to do fawning features about. Oh, and obviously tackling the big issues of the day – like what’s the right tweed.
At first glance, it’s just another ‘‘ooh, look at the mega rich’’ type programme, of which we have seen so many recently. But it’s also about class and British class is complicated.
Editor Kate Reardon, a ‘‘honking great Sloane’’, issues all staff with a copy of Debrett’s
Guide to Etiquette and Modern Manners to ensure they are aware of things like the best way to eat a pear (with a spoon apparently). And, they also appear to be developing some complex poshness matrix that includes categories like ‘‘new town’’ and ‘‘old country’’. Red gumboots are ‘‘new country’ and a labradoodle is ‘‘new town’’. Red corduroy trousers and a farting, black Labrador are ‘‘old country’’.
Commissioning editor and new recruit Matthew is ‘‘middleclass’’. But he’s nauseatingly enamoured of the upper-class and so eager to please his posh colleagues he even proposes a feature on how the middle-class have ruined everything. Hang on Matthew, isn’t that you? Next he’ll be offering to let them use him as a footstool.
Honestly, everyone in this seems nice enough. They’re just terribly, terribly privileged. And the things they tackle in their magazine all seem so terribly superficial. That’s fine, we all need a bit of superficial now and again. But if you really think there is a ‘‘wrong type of blue’’ to wear on a Tuesday afternoon then you probably need to sit down and have a long think about what matters in life.
Anyway, enough of rich people. I’m sick of them cluttering up our screens with their pear spoons and side saddles.
Another new British doco hits our screens this week – Heston’s Space Food (Tuesdays, 8.30pm, Food TV)
Yep, it had to happen, didn’t it? This must be the final frontier
(see what I did there?) in Heston’s crusade for extraordinary cooking. He’s dishing up for the International Space Station and there are all sorts of challenges, including the fact that anything he cooks is to be eaten out of a pouch a year later.
Blumenthal spends time getting to know British astronaut, Tim Peake, who is going to be eating this food. And he gets a crash course in the less glamorous reality of space travel – like the horrible smell and constantly feeling like you have a cold. Wouldn’t those two cancel each other out?
Either way, this is genuinely fascinating stuff.
Editor Kate Reardon issues all staff with a copy of Debrett’s Guide to Etiquette and Modern Manners to ensure they are aware of things like the best way to eat a pear.
Tatler editor Kate Reardon describes herself as a ‘‘honking great Sloane’’.