Posh boys should feel guilty about a lot of things but listening to dubstep isn’t one of them
It’s time to welcome the Skepta-loving rich list in from the cold
Two weird corners of Berkshire have stubbornly embedded themselves into the modern British psyche. Their pervasive influence dominates our society, culture and thought. Barren acre after barren acre of thinkpiece has been devoted to analysis of how they’ve fundamentally changed how we interact with one another. Nobody really knows what actually goes on there – or who the real people behind the caricatures are.
One, of course, is Slough paper merchants Wernham Hogg. The other is Eton College: its tailcoated alumni loathed and mythicised in equal measure by a suspicious public, the place itself derided by shrill hand-wringers as an anachronistic posho finishing school with a curriculum made up of classical Greek, applied Machiavelli, and making tramps fight for sport.
The tired, unimaginative, jolly hockey-sticks image of Eton – its cloisters conveniently full of teenage hedge fund botherers aspiring to mount coups for oil in sub-Saharan Africa – ought to be confined once and for all to David Schneider’s Twitter feed and the sterile world of late period Mock the Week. Why? Because the news the £12k-a-term school used to have a dubstep society should prove to the wetters that Etonians, like all of us, are nothing more than young people in 21st century Britain. Double-barrelled public schoolboys headbanging and two-stepping sounds like a joke – but really, they’re modern-day prisoners of conscience.
A post on Eton’s website about one of the society’s meetings is written in pained and starchy 1930s newsreel prose, half-heartedly reconciling its prestigious setting with the unashamedly laddish desire to “tear up filthy sets” and pull girls. It’s hard not to feel sorry for people whose post-lash debrief involved compiling minutes and who had to codify their taste in music with a constitution.
This rarefied world of prime ministerial education and as-seen-in-Tatler 21sts seems, to most people, incompatible with liking anything cool or ordinary. How can anyone take your taste seriously when your parents pay your subs to a centuries-old elite?
Not unusually for someone who was a student in the eighties, David Cameron’s favourite band is The Smiths. Time and time again he’s been humiliated by the dour Mancunians, and told – as ceremonial toff-in-chief – he isn’t allowed to like them anymore.
Imagine spending your formative years weeping silently into your pillow as Morrissey’s wails pierce your lonely, lonely soul, only to grow up to find he viscerally hates you, and you’re the person who deserves to be ridiculed for liking The Smiths, as opposed to the acne-ridden legions of Kanye petition bores in Queen is Dead t-shirts.
The same can be said of George Osborne, who, buoyed by his transition from the chubby, puppy-volleying hate figure of old to safe, slim bloke your mum likes, recently outed himself as a diehard fan of Fuck Tha Police and A Bitch Iz A Bitch hitmakers NWA – seeing them live in Brixton in the early nineties.
Imagine the student chancellor, big-shirted and floppy-haired, fresh from his Gideon-George transition, sweat pooling on his rubbery top lip as he enthusiastically nods to Express Yourself. “Blame it on Ice Cube cause he said it gets funky when you got a subject and a predicate…just like in the Latin!” he thinks, before dejectedly realising he’s everything that everyone else in the room thinks is wrong in the room. It’s no wonder we lambast these people for being out of touch – we just don’t want them to be.
Earlier this week, Chris King – whose job is to lobby for the top-flight of public school headteachers – publicly lost it, and demanded everyone cut out their “toffism”. He’s right. It’s time to welcome the culturally marooned, Skepta-loving rich list in from the cold – if their schools and parents won’t let them enjoy being young like normal people, who will?