Saturday, 6 April 2013

Terribly Clever

I was food shopping today. 

This is one of my least favourite things in the world. Just below travelling on buses and just above having to talk to children. It's a thing I just fucking hate, in fact. It's tedious, expensive and involves other people, as well as being ultimately unsatisfying. I never know what I want. People are always in my cocking way. I have to wait in queues to then be treated like some kind of global warming loving scumbag because yes, I do want a plastic bag actually, sorry about that, I know it's not the way of the middle class ideal, but I need a bloody plastic bag. You know, to put my shopping in? So I can carry it?

Particularly in my food shopping hellish nightmare of choice today, that most middle class of middle class emporiums, Marks & Spencer. M&S cashiers have perfected that particular disappointed raised eyebrow look usually displayed by my mother when I do/say/wear something she doesn't approve of.  

"The 5p bag or the 10p bag?" raised eyebrows over half moon glasses. 

"5p please."

"I'm not angry, just disappointed," they say with their sad eyes. And then take a full five minutes to dig out the secret bag stash from behind the counter thing and slowly peel one off before ostentatiously unfolding it for me. While a queue full of people who have brought their fancy bags for life and therefore are definitely going to to heaven, tut and tap their feet behind me. 

I already know that my shopping won't fit in it and at some point in the next five minutes I will have to ask for another one. 

Marks & Spencer's a weird one isn't it? Do you remember the days when only rich old people bought their food from there and every single thing was excruciatingly expensive? It was like a status symbol, buying food from M&S. Now it's pretty much one step up from Sainsbury's and one step down from Waitrose. 

Ah Waitrose. With its gold plated shelves and hand reared cabbages. With it's Heston's Ready Meals at a tenner a go and its recent appointment of ROYALTY as general advertising whore. Well, sort of royalty. Well, she's met some royalty. And her sister got knocked up by an actual royal. So she's the next best thing, yah? And she does look marvellous in a dress so she's eminently qualified to tell the proles what to spend their tiny pay cheques on while hoovering up a humungous amount of cash for doing so. 

Poor M&S, forced to alter its proposition and stock, gasp, other brands and introduce an economy range. Its economy range is akin to Tesco Finest by the way. It isn't economy in the slightest. But at least they're trying.

Posh food saved M&S from total collapse in the 90s, when everyone suddenly woke up to the fact that their clothes are bloody awful. They offered an alternative to the general shitty supermarkets we were all used to. Made it feel like a treat to schlep around a brightly lit hellhole covered in grannies and babies to buy really expensive cake. 

But the thing that caught my eye today, in the new, all inclusive M&S that sells Coca Cola and things for under a pound, was one of their own brands. I think it's new. I don't know. I don't normally pay attention. But this brand caught my eye. Because it's called  Terribly Clever. 

Let's just absorb the utterly revoltingly tweeness and upper class twattishness of that for just a second. Terribly Clever

It brings to mind women who talk like they're BBC continuity announcers from the 40s and buy Cath Kidston tea towels and wear beige and sensible heels. Who bray when they laugh and think that Ant and Dec are winningly cheeky. Who went to Cheltenham Lady's College and have managed to persuade their husband of 30 years that they don't ever shit. 

The brand appears to be aimed at really busy and terribly important people who need someone to put some oats and sugar in fancy packaging for them so they don't have to have the utter faff of actually mixing ingredients themselves. They just need Terribly Clever Crumble Topping. Or some mixed spice in a dinky little bag that's called Terribly Clever Spice Rub Marinade Specially For Special Lovely People Who Are Just Too Busy And Rich To Do It Themselves. There's Terribly Clever Roast Potato Seasoning which consists of, erm, salt and pepper and some spices. Because having to reach into three separate jars of things you already have in your cupboard takes so much time away from one's pampering regime. 

And it's all packaged in carefully old fashioned tea shoppe style, made to look sort of like brown paper and using a old fashioned font. And if you squint your eyes and turn your brain off it sort of looks wholesome and, well, almost organic. And then before you know it you're at home having bought a fancy bag of Ready Made breadcrumbs for five times the price of an actual loaf of bread. 

Presumably it's aimed at the same people who buy bags of ready chopped onions and ready made gravy and ready made pancake batter that just needs water adding. I'm just waiting for the day they start selling Ready Masticated Dinner so I no longer have to go to the effort of chewing it myself. Or maybe cut out the middle man and sell jars of Ready Digested Meals that you can take home and simply pop down the toilet, without even breaking a sweat. 

It is, in short, mental and I thoroughly disapprove. But I didn't have any choice but to shop there. Morrisons is too far away. And besides it smells of feet and has way too many pies. 

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