Saturday 27 November 2010

I'll Say This Only Once

All the talk among the political chatterati is about the "Squeezed Middle" classes, a meaningless concept as nobody agrees who they are. There just about still exists a (quite different) class of the "Impoverished Genteel", people with very little money trying to keep up appearances and differentiating themselves carefully from people in (horror!) trade even though the tradespeople might be much better off.

This class has a long and frankly ignominious history, one era of which was portrayed in Mrs Gaskell's Cranford (1851). The stage version we saw this week at the Swansea Grand is from 1950 and the date shows because the plot is crassly manipulated to make a humourless democratic point whereas Mrs G (and the recent BBC series) stuck to a more subtle though sentimental line. But in 1950 the public, not just the politicians, still took politics seriously so it was probably expected.

This is slight stuff, made a little more interesting by having Shirley Anne Field in the cast and also Kirsten Cooke who played Michelle of the French Resistance in sophisticated 1980s sitcom 'Allo 'Allo ("Leesten very carefully..." etc). At least 'Allo 'Allo was a bit edgy because it sent up something of deadly importance rather than a reality (19c. provincial life) which was as humdrum as the fiction. I remember reading somewhere that the French warmed to 'Allo 'Allo but it never caught on in Germany.

Wetherspoons' Thursday curry night has a new offering - Piri Piri Chicken - which does the trick on a cold evening (£4.99 including all the trimmings and a pint!).