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The middle class, the internet, the death of the working class star watch

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    A recent survey said that 70% of people regard themselves as middle class. A very small percentage called themselves upper class and the rest called themselves working class.

    I realise that I may be offending at least 70% of people here but am I the only one who is profoundly concerned?

    There used to be a thing called a 'working class hero'. In music this would be people like Rod Stewart and Paul Weller. They grafted at their art for years. They dressed (and still do dress) sharply (some of the time). You can count Liam Gallagher and Jarvis Cocker in that company to some extent.

    But there were other people of working class origins who you might not readily associate as being so - David Bowie and Brian Ferry.

    You may ask why I am bringing up these singers. Well, such people were clearly very aspirational. They mostly came from respectable, hard working and relatively unpretentious homes and they looked at the stars and thought 'I can be anything'- I can be an extra terrestrial , I can be an upper class gent , I can be supersonic - and whatever I become I will still be me, grounded in some ways.

    But I'm not convinced that such a true star can ever come anywhere near as easily again. First of all, there are too many distractions these days, primarily from the internet, for the budding star to spend his bored Sunday afternoons dreaming up new lyrics. Second of all, there isn't a cohesive society to speak of. How can someone become the next John Lennon when they only think of Lennon as the 'give peace a chance' man that he became, not the jokey, surreal, working class Liverpudian that he began as? Where would he have found such a sympathetic and diverse audience of all classes these days to say a pun like 'Will the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And the rest of you, if you'll just rattle your jewellery'? How could it work in a aspirationally classless , starless, society where the people in the cheap seats might be better dressed than the ones in the dear seats?

    In the 1960s, ones of the things that helped clever working class people, the grammar school , was all but destroyed by the Labour Party (the Conservatives, including Margaret Thatcher, did nothing to help since either).

    So now, instead of the cleverest of the working classes standing out, they are in the job market with a sea of middle class people. And their aspirations end up being the same. Everyone is turning middle class.
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    (Original post by Picnic1)
    A recent survey said that 70% of people regard themselves as middle class. A very small percentage called themselves upper class and the rest called themselves working class.

    I realise that I may be offending at least 70% of people here but am I the only one who is profoundly concerned?

    There used to be a thing called a 'working class hero'. In music this would be people like Rod Stewart and Paul Weller. They grafted at their art for years. They dressed (and still do dress) sharply (some of the time). You can count Liam Gallagher and Jarvis Cocker in that company to some extent.

    But there were other people of working class origins who you might not readily associate as being so - David Bowie and Brian Ferry.

    You may ask why I am bringing up these singers. Well, such people were clearly very aspirational. They mostly came from respectable, hard working and relatively unpretentious homes and they looked at the stars and thought 'I can be anything'- I can be an extra terrestrial , I can be an upper class gent , I can be supersonic - and whatever I become I will still be me, grounded in some ways.

    But I'm not convinced that such a true star can ever come anywhere near as easily again. First of all, there are too many distractions these days, primarily from the internet, for the budding star to spend his bored Sunday afternoons dreaming up new lyrics. Second of all, there isn't a cohesive society to speak of. How can someone become the next John Lennon when they only think of Lennon as the 'give peace a chance' man that he became, not the jokey, surreal, working class Liverpudian that he began as? Where would he have found such a sympathetic and diverse audience of all classes these days to say a pun like 'Will the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And the rest of you, if you'll just rattle your jewellery'? How could it work in a aspirationally classless , starless, society where the people in the cheap seats might be better dressed than the ones in the dear seats?

    In the 1960s, ones of the things that helped clever working class people, the grammar school , was all but destroyed by the Labour Party (the Conservatives, including Margaret Thatcher, did nothing to help since either).

    So now, instead of the cleverest of the working classes standing out, they are in the job market with a sea of middle class people. And their aspirations end up being the same. Everyone is turning middle class.
    Can you explain to me why class divisions eroding is a bad thing? Surely having less working class and more middle class individuals is a good thing as it says much about the prosperity of a country?
    Furthermore, does not not make sense that the individual is based on their talents, not where they came from? Who cares if Rod Stewart was from a working class background? I don't give two tits, I want to like him for being an artist, not because he represents some romanticized version of working class aspirations.
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    (Original post by Ocassus)
    Can you explain to me why class divisions eroding is a bad thing? Surely having less working class and more middle class individuals is a good thing as it says much about the prosperity of a country?
    Furthermore, does not not make sense that the individual is based on their talents, not where they came from? Who cares if Rod Stewart was from a working class background? I don't give two tits, I want to like him for being an artist, not because he represents some romanticized version of working class aspirations.
    Yeah less rigid class structures and decent social mobility are good in any society.
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    The Smiths appeared out of the Thatcher years; a time when there was no jobs. I think that great stars do look up and dream, because they have to. That's how Bowie started. Very humble beginnings according to his biography. Some of the greatest stars's lives before they became famous were dull and boring and marked, in some cases, by a humdrum existence. It was Bruce Lee who said that some of his greatest inspirational moments came to him when he was the least happiest and when times were the most trying.

    Pop music is dead. The people who wrote Melody Maker called Morrissey, the ex-leader singer of The Smiths, the "last of the true pop stars". I think that they were right. I haven't heard or seen anyone the likes of Morrissey or Bowie since. Of course, music tastes are subjective but bands like The Smiths had a message and a meaning; they meant something to ordinary folk whose lives were somewhat uninteresting. They paved the way for bands like Oasis, and Coldplay. Their music was influential, the very-Thatch of Britain at that bleak time when pop music was marked by excess and decadence, and they put Manchester on the map. Morrissey himself became an enigma who the press could not crack.

    Such individuals are probably accidents, they've gone and probably will never return again.
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    Good now we are all equals.
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    I'm a massive fan of social mobility, but I honestly don't think it's as good for rock music. Nobody is angry and disillusioned in the same way any more. People like Lennon and Bowie (gods among men; I fell a little bit in love with you for referencing them) didn't get on with the education system at all, despite being massively intelligent and talented, so went off and did better, more creative things. Now that the education system can engage those who are intelligent and talented, these people are going to university and getting jobs and the like where they would before have been making exciting music.

    I'm torn on it to be honest - I'm glad that there's less class division than before, but it's a comparatively culturally poor era that we live in.
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    Links to the study please.
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    It's largely a development in perception, post-thatcher wage stagnation has been pervasive while working hours ever increasing (highest in Europe). Although i'm guessing luxuries have increased.
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    I think the culture of celebrity means that a lot of the time that artists don't have the chance to work their way up and appreciate their fame. Nowadays you don't even have to have released an album or done a lot of gigs and you are thrown into the limelight, then you release a second album moaning about how the celebrity lifestyle is not all its cracked up to be then you're thrown on the scrapheap.
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    (Original post by kerily)
    I'm a massive fan of social mobility, but I honestly don't think it's as good for rock music. Nobody is angry and disillusioned in the same way any more. People like Lennon and Bowie (gods among men; I fell a little bit in love with you for referencing them) didn't get on with the education system at all, despite being massively intelligent and talented, so went off and did better, more creative things. Now that the education system can engage those who are intelligent and talented, these people are going to university and getting jobs and the like where they would before have been making exciting music.

    I'm torn on it to be honest - I'm glad that there's less class division than before, but it's a comparatively culturally poor era that we live in.
    Yes I agree with all that. Except for class division - the middle class is such a shapeless mass now that it is impossible to define it. In the past, a typical middle class male might have been regarded as someone who worked in an office, 1 job for their entire life , wore a tie, spent within their means- a relatively dependable person. Whether the reality was quite true is another thing but that model was the middle class 'default' and if you had it you were undeniably respected for it.
    The working class equivalent was very similar. These days, both the working and middle class includes the exact opposite - people who move constantly from job to job seeking constant financial gain (rather than enjoying the stability of 1 job or forging long standing relations with the workforce there). It also includes people living well beyond their means on credit cards.

    Nowadays snobberies have become far more subtle and nonsensical. Snobberies or inverse snobberies) against the very working class and the very upper class mainly.

    In fact, the broadening of the middle class has made the very top end- the upper class - seem beyond the pale. Almost as if it compensate for their precarious position in this supposed 'meritocracy', some of the upper class find themselves being more working class than the middle class are. The upper class are not renowned for necessarily feeling the need to blow their money on the latest car or TV.

    I am sorry to say (but I think it to be the case) that it is a mistake for so many people to go to university. It has become like a social rites of passage.
    What chances are there that the graduate will respect people who may not have felt the need to go to university for their particular life path and yet who may have self taught themselves in a variety of ways?

    In some ways, the old fashioned pop star is in a similar position. They took the hard path. They may not have gone to theatre or music school. With their talent and ambition but also , inevitably, some unwitting naivety about the goodwill and nature of the world, they brought along a whole society or whole parts of it.
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    I'm proud to call myself working class. I have been pretty successful so far and employers are always impessed that I have had to work hard for things other people get from mummy and daddy.

    Tbh more people would probably get ahead if they called themselves working class. To have done a degree coming from a poor background says a lot about your determination and other skills employers look for...
 
 
 
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