Thursday, 10 February 2011

Smugness on every channel

I am beginning to dislike Kirsty Allsop. I used to love Location-Location, but I am disillusioned. All she does is marry ‘smug-30-somethings’ with picture-box cottages in Cornwall, wearing her natty Hobbs outfit, looking smug. She never even bothers to ask her smug clients where the hell they got the cash from.
Please ask them Kirsty; if only so I can apply for whatever dreadfully overpaid job they’re doing.
Life, I have realised, is nothing like Location-Location. Nevertheless, I am sure most of us have spent at least 200 hours of our lives watching couples (mainly smug) agonise over whether to stretch their budget to £650,000 for the thatched cottage or stick at £599,000 for the converted barn in the middle of nowhere. And you know something else? I bet there’s never actually anyone on the end of the phone when they talk to the ‘estate agents’ from the gastro-pub beer garden.
But in ‘Smug aspirational TV stakes’, Kirsty and Phil don’t hold a candle to Grand Designs. You too can have your dream-lifestyle; build your fantasy perspex home with its eco-composting, sustainable insulation and antique bath tiles. That is of course if you have a quarter of a million in the bank, a year off work, and are, as well as being a financial advisor, a highly capable electrician.
Rich people used to spare us the details of their wealth by building high fences around their giant homes and blacking out their car windows. Now we must watch it all on every channel. And we’ve got time on our hands, we the great unwashed, as we wait patiently for our fortnightly dole appointment.  Of course we’re not all cashing our dole cheques and drinking white-lightning, but we might as well be lying in a ditch for all the respect we’d get at a middle-class, ‘smug’ inhabited dinner party.
For years, we have made the error of contrasting ourselves unfavourably with television stars, imagining we know them when all we really know is a carefully edited presentation. But these are supposed ordinary people. Albeit ordinary people with far from ordinary bank accounts.
Perhaps these TV shows should just come right out and say it, ‘This is what you could have won;’ if only you’d been born in Downton Abbey, married a banker, or been properly schooled.
I might have to change the channel and watch TV shows where the characters are renting their homes, worrying about money, and the only homage to green living is low energy light bulbs.
Coronation Street. That seems like a good bet.  I can watch from my pleasant rented flat as a working-class single mother who struggles with her weight is made redundant. Perhaps for a change, I will not feel like a cider drinking down-and-out.
What? Is that Leanne Battersby wearing MY jumper? Oh the shame. I knew shopping in Primark was a bad idea. Maybe I’ll switch back and continue envying Kirsty’s new coat. Superiority is overrated anyway.


  1. My love you sound a little p***ed off! I reckon if I saved and saved (like we all are now, middle-class or not) and then managed to get on Location Location and did manage to find a house that I could afford and got to be on TV, I might be pretty smug too. I might also be unwilling to air to the TV-viewing public how bloody hard it was to get there. Can you imagine a programme more boring than the honest truth of "well we saved for ages, and struggled to pay off our student debt, and then we saved for ages more, and now we have shed-loads to pay off on credit cards as well, but at least we have our "dream" house which may well be repossessed in about six months anyway"....

    Better that they are 30-something's who rented like the rest of us for at least a decade, than over-privileged 20-something's who were just handed the keys by mum and dad :)

    Kirsty does have nice clothes though!

  2. Whilst i can't comment on Kirsty's wardrobe nor Location Location having not seen much of either i must defend Grand Designs if only for the reason that Kevin McCloud is a legend! I think it's endearing that some people end up so far over budget and penniless for their dream homes to come to fruit, especially when you see something so innovative that gets you saying at least five times per show "I'm having that/one of those in my house when i've got one". (Personally, I say when i grow up which is a worry as I already am!).
    If you want a property show which you could relate to and be annoyed by i suggest Wanted Down Under. Your average 2.4 children family on a free holiday to Australia or New Zealand; looking around properties with BBQ area, swimming pool and spacious rooms not forgetting the fantastic exchange rate which gets them double value for their money! So there they are, 'ooohhing' and 'arrring' over the views and open plan kitchen getting to try a day in a job which they could probably walk straight into until they flip their UK/Australian flag card over and over until it lands on...the UK!?!? Are they mental?
    I'm somewhat resigned to the fact that yes, my 'grand design' may never happen but as an average earner I would jump at the chance to get visas, employment and a decent home set up abroad and these people are saying oohhh noo my daughter will miss her boyfriend of a year! I feel rage building inside me already just thinking of these bastards saying to the producers "Thanks for the free holiday suckers, we'll just head home back to our semi-detached in Barnsley. Taraa!"

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  4. the smugness of couples on LLL is mainly due to the obscene amount of money most made on their first home. usually bought in the nineties and sold in the noughties with a 400% mark up. property went bonkers around the turn of the millennium and programs like this surely effected this unprecedented rise. property was THE way to get rich, and look at how it has all turned out now. a generation forced into a lifetime of paying off BTL mortgages.

    ps, good post!