Class conscious - Andrew Martin is proud not to be watching I'm a Celebrity. . .
I have still not seen I'm a Celebrity . . . - and several other proud boasts
The Class Conscious-ometer has been well into the red for the past fortnight. First came the Hutton inquiry, by which Tony Blair was turned overnight from being a crassly populist wide boy/adman figure into a creature of the establishment, gallantly protected by a fellow barrister and ex-public school man. I was working on a subsidiary theory that Hutton was really about posh, thin men with longish hair against relatively un-posh, burly men with very little hair. But this foundered on my not having seen a picture of Gavyn Davies, the chairman of the governors; and then Stephen Glover chucked another spanner in the works by describing as "strange" somebody's assertion that Lord Hutton has an "aristocratic accent".
The whole thing was soon overshadowed in any case by I'm a Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here!, which Jim White of the Daily Telegraph, one of those columnists I use as a benchmark for my own lifestyle and interests, said he had actually tuned into, never having seen any of the previous series. As a result, he now knew what everybody in Britain was talking about all the time. His article reminded me of one Stephen Fry wrote in the Literary Review about ten years ago, in which he encouraged readers of that rarefied magazine to pick a day and spend the whole of it watching television. His implication was that they would all be better poets and bellettrists in the long run if they'd sampled Richard & Judy.
But I've still never seen I'm a Celebrity . . . and it occurs to me that if poshness is anything to do with not taking part in popular and populist activities, then I'm quite posh.
I've never watched EastEnders, or even lingered in a room for more than about a second when the theme music was playing. I've never been in a karaoke bar, and certainly not to drink alcopops, and I've never bought a No 1record. I have never said "You're having a laugh . . ." when I really mean "Are you being funny?"; and when Jill Dando was murdered, that was the first time I'd heard of her. I've never photographed my own bottom on a photocopier, the boss having been temporarily out of the office; never called a radio phone-in to say that someone was "Bang out of order", and never played the Lottery. (Partly because I don't know how, and it seems too late to ask now.)
I've also never sent a text message, although I did receive one once. Well, sort of. I had called a garden centre to ask about their opening hours, which I needed to know urgently, and they replied by text. "Our opening hours are as follows," I read excitedly, before accidentally deleting the rest of the message. To employ in print a phrase that I have never in fact spoken - and never will speak - I was well gutted.