A mate thinks that because of my various cultural interests and my job, it means I am middle class. My dad was a printer and my mum worked in a laundrette, I went to an average state school, got ok but not great qualifications, didn’t go for a degree, went into work and worked my way up to a decent job. I still see myself as working class, just as my parents were.
When I was 16 the careers adviser at school told me to get a job as an office boy in an insurance company. But while I knew I didn’t really want to do that I didn’t really know what I wanted to do - because us working class kids weren’t given the options. It was only by me making an effort to explore the world a bit, look at what was out there from my own initiative and, with a little bit of luck, that I discovered other things that I wanted to do with my life. The country has changed alongside me, of course, and so it is not unusual that I have interests and likes that would have baffled my working class parents. But to say that I am middle class because of my lifestyle is denying who I really am.
This is an interesting article on the subject. The writer says that being an academic as she is, people insist that she is no longer working class. They deny her background, history and experiences. When people say you’re no longer working class they’re effectively saying that there is no place for working class people in this profession, in this art gallery, in this restaurant, in this supermarket… (unless, of course, you’re a celebrity through music, or art, or some other creative endeavour).