Sloane Mobiles

I spent the weekend with friends near Hungerford, deep within The Home Counties sloane-ranger belt.

One thing of the few things that I admire in the upper middle classes is the idea of stealth wealth, which is taken to great lengths when it comes to car purchasing. Whilst everybody in the pub we were standing in were wearing matching Boden/ Jack Wills outfits and holding black labradors to signify their membership of the sloaney set, the cars are a far more subtle social signifier. To truly fit in and not appear too nouveau, it would seem you must only drive the following cars:

Dirty VW Passat estates

Gun metal grey Audi A4 estates

Very old silver Mercedes estates

Old model very dirty dark green Landrover Discovery

Real old proper Landrovers

Silver or black VW Golfs

Silver Subarus

I told my German girlfriend that in England, if you are ‘old’ rich you should not drive around in a flashy car, and if you are new rich you probably should. She thought this the most absurd idea ever, and went on to mutter darkly about ‘stupid crazy english people and their stupid crazy class obsessions’ Which I thought was a point well made.


Gaw said...

Excellent observation. I've noticed really fucked-up old Japanese pick-ups are being driven with a certain insouciance too.

BTW an absolutely huge Jack Wills has opened up in Islington. I can't think who will shop there but then I'm old and unfashionable. Will it be your Hackney farmers? Or is JW about to do a Hackett polo shirt and become the dress of choice for the discerning football hooligan car thief? I ask you because you are sure to know.

worm said...

Jack Wills is 'anti fashion' - it is only worn by posh people with no idea of 'fashion fashion' because it's just expensive enough, and its part of the uniform. You dont have to think whilst buying it, as long as you're wearing it, it's enough. But as you say, Islington is a bit of a weird place for one - Battersea on the other hand...

I for one would absolutely love JW to become Casual wear. There could be a new splinter group of the Chelsea Headhunters, who are actually headhunters who work in the City and live in Chelsea. They could terrorise the terraces with their upturned pink poloshirt collars

Brit said...

The modern disconnect between wealth and class is most clearly shown in the Bling phenomenon. Dripping with gold shows you're loaded, and shows you're a chav.

worm said...

but here's the thing - does it actually show that you're 'loaded' - or just that you've spent what little money you have on a ridiculous necklace from argos?

The other people who work in my office building here in the midlands wont be earning much more money than me (he hopes) yet they all drive new mercs, audis and BMW's - although they are not in the pay bracket that should actually be able to afford them. I dread to think what amount of their monthly salary goes just on their cars

Gaw said...

It's staggering how important cars are to some people's self-identity. It's also amazing how relatively little you can pay a month for a smart car (it's just that you pay forever if you're stretching).

I can't feel too superior as I'm sure I have the same sort of 'I'm alright me' conversations (in my head, anyway) about buggies, tea and, I suppose my real car-substitute, books.

'perid' word verification - would make a nice name. Perid Williams for instance. I leave it for you Worm.

worm said...

..being a book snob should only be costing you a few tenners a month though, compared to the £450 - £500 a month hire purchase on a new Jag!
I make sure I annoy my girlfriend by frequently reminding her how lucky she is that I'm only interested in second-hand books and nothing more expensive like golf, sailing or high-class prostitutes.

'Perid' - nice sound - but a word just asking for another cruel kid at school to add an 'o' to.

Gaw said...

Worm, as ever you are down with the kids to good effect. Period.

How about Supgard? As in Supgard, the after-dinner berserker.

worm said...

"After a few bottles of Buckfast tonic wine and some Nightnurse, I used to dribble - but now I don't - thanks to Supguard!'

Gaw said...

V funny.

Brit said...

but here's the thing - does it actually show that you're 'loaded' - or just that you've spent what little money you have on a ridiculous necklace from argos?

The latter if you live in Southmead, the former if you play for Chelsea or are a famous rapper.