Where new town meets old coun­try

The Press - The Box - - VIEWING GUIDE - Pat­tie Pe­gler

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’’.

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