No, not Will Self, who had the temerity to condemn George Orwell’s writing this week in a cynical PR stunt. I’ve never read anything of his. Umbrella has been on my “to read” list for some time bit has now been bumped off in light of this nonsense. Saying George Orwell wasn’t a good writer is akin to saying battenburg doesn’t work as a concept for a cake or that Horatio Nelson was a bit of a bellend.
But no, I’ll give you a clue about who I mean with this Impression: “I’m working class. I’m working CLASS!!!! I’m working class. I’m WORKING class. I’m working class, dude. I grew up in Wolverhampton and was home schooled with my many brothers and sisters and even though I’m 38 and successful, I will refer back to this ALWAYS and incessantly bang on about it as it’s my USP and my middle class, middle England readers (the concept, not the Midlands) will find it enchantingly exotic and quaint. Shall I tell you about my upbringing again? And again? And again? I don’t think you caught it at the back. Every thing I publish will bang on about this until kingdom come.” Did you get it? I am, of course, referring to Ms Caitlin Moran.
Now, she is undoubtedly a warm, funny and very intelligent writer. She does what all good columnists should do; that is, bring a thought that has been skating around the periphery of your mind without you realising it into the forefront of your consciousness. I admired How to be a Woman’s fresh and clear take on feminism and yet… and yet… She published an interview with Jamie Oliver, accompanied by gurning photos, in The Times magazine on 16th August which was obscured by a blaze of mutual sycophancy and general arse-kissery and rendered two people I’d previously admired much less admirable. Moran felt it necessary to mention not just once, not twice, but thrice that Oliver is worth 240 million pounds throughout the article. At this, I felt my admiration involuntarily recede like the plastic top of an overcooked oven ready meal, curling away never to return. I didn’t know what I was supposed to glean from this repetition. Does this mean Oliver is a better person than all of us because he’s worth more in monetary terms? For someone who extols their staunch socialist values, she seemed curiously enamoured by his enormous wealth. And with that, perplexed and disillusioned, I must find a new female writer to admire.