Monday, 11 June 2012

Expulsion from Number 8 Eden Close
Oh dear, I thought, as I climbed the stairs to Grayson Perry's tapestry exhibition.
With typical middle-class angst, I realised too late that I was committing a social faux pas ... I had a Cath Kidston bag slung over my shoulder. (The real-life Mrs Perry - the lady with bobbed hair above - has one of those fancypants handbags that demands a chair of its own.)
But it was alright. I sighed with relief when I realised that most of the other women in the gallery were carrying M&S plastic carrier bags. I was with my own tribe.
How reassuring to know that the CK bag in Perry's Annunciation was the very same print as my ironing board cover at home. And there was my favourite Penguin Books mug ... well, mine is Great Expectations but the one in the tapestry is Knowing Laughter by Ewan Nonyew.
(I have been pondering on the amount of Cath Kidston in my life. Nearly every woman I know owns a CK bag and an ironing board cover. Even the ones like me who don't do any ironing. All I can say is, thank God, we didn't all go in for tattoos. Or spray tans.)

I'm so far from being a Grayson Perry fan that I didn't even go to the British Museum exhibition. But then so many other tribe members told me that I'd missed out, and there's nothing that distresses a fully signed-up member of the Penguin Mugs class more than missing out ...

He certainly got people talking to each other at the exhibition. (Great views over London once you get your breath back after climbing those stairs. Free to get in. But good grief, £15 for a packet of postcards ... hasn't he heard of the squeezed-middles?)

He even made me think I should take a more sympathetic view of my elderly aunt's collection of Lladró figurines. She talks wistfully about where it will go after she dies. I tell her it should go to someone who will appreciate it. And hope she gets the message that this someone is not me.
(On the other hand, when I go, feel free to chuck the Cath Kidston in a black bin bag.)

On the way back to the tube, it tickled to me to walk down Micawber Street, past some very Micawberish houses. Especially as I had a copy of David Copperfield in my commodious CK bag.
Then I stopped for a mug of tea in a famous greasy-spoon caff.
And noticed these dining rooms where you could buy a three-course meal for fourpence ha'penny in 1898 and 100 waitresses served 12,000 meals a day.

12 comments:

penandpencilgirls said...

Hee hee! Thanks for making me laugh so much I spilt my morning cuppa in (yes you guessed it!) Penguin Mug. I have The Body in the Library. A few Cath Kidson bags too, but no tattoos and no spray tan. With my mother's generation it was the Hummel figurines. What really worries me is that some day I might start thinking they were sweet :(

Lucille said...

I have a CK jug, OK bag, Traveller from Tokyo, Country Life and A Room of One's Own. Fully paid up member?

mary said...

You two are definitely in. Are you watching the TV series?
The tribal thing made me laugh yesterday ... Open Garden Squares Weekend which was like some kind of seasonal mass migration for the herd as we roamed across London, clutching our guidebooks. Grazing on other people's espaliered fruit trees and local honey (sold out by the time I got there). But I did nibble on some beetroot cake in the tearoom ... I do hope it was organic!

Darlene said...

On the one hand I wish to live close by so I could go along to some of these exhibits with you but on the other hand I think that together we could run the risk of being kicked out of a few!

The only other person I have seen around here with a CK bag is a colleague who ordered one after spying my first one. Who can resist a bouquet of flowers built into their accessories?! I really must get an ironing board cover on my next trip across the pond.

Toffeeapple said...

I don't own a single thing of CK and the only Penguin objects I own are books - am I losing out do you think?

mary said...

Darlene, we're going to have to get you over here for a long sabbatical. I'm sure you could arrange a library swap ...

mary said...

You must be really posh if you don't have a Penguin mug, Toffeeapple.

Lucille said...

I'm catching up with the series Mary. I have warmed to the man and may even go to the exhibition now.

galant said...

I wonder if it's middle class NOT to want anything CK? I once had one of the ironing board covers before I realized who CK was and that these covers were just about everywhere. I now have one in striped blue ticking - much more to my taste.
Margaret P

galant said...

PS I don't have a Penguin Mug either. I use china cups and saucers. A friend who visits says that we must the last people in England to use tea cups and saucers on a regular basis. I tell him that is the way to drink tea and coffee. Mugs are only for when we're working in the garden. When we're sitting in the garden, out come the cups and saucers again.

As for Lladro. I was once given a couple of pieces (way back inthe 1970s). They are wrapped up and packed away in my Resources Cupboard (everyone should have one of those) and no doubt, like a lot of stuff our generation considers naff (a very middle class word, I suspect?) they will be pounced upon with glee by generations to come as the Must Have objects.
Margaret P

mary said...

I must admit I've gone right off it, Margaret, but I'm too mean to throw out a perfectly good ironing board cover - and it's not going to wear out any time soon given my loathing of ironing.

mary said...

Well, you might have a point - but I don't want it cluttering up my cupboards, thanks. I might not live long enough to see it come back.