Comment 93644

By RobF (registered) | Posted October 24, 2013 at 11:17:12

Jonathan Raban writing about late-1960s London in "Soft City" (1974):

... We may imagine that they grew up in rather grand houses with gravel drives, comfortably distant from the steamy life of their nearest working class neighbours. As adults, they turned guiltily on the boldly bourgeois ethos of their parents. Not for them the vulgar exhibition of wealth, or unthinking defensive conservativism which their income and capital might have led them unthinkingly towards, a generation or two ago. Their professions are vaguely, entrepreneurially "cultural": academics, journalists of a literary turn, television directors and producers, actors, copywriters, publishers, agents, with a few lawyers, accountants, and business executives. For them the purchase of a house has become an act of conscience;and they have left the old strongholds of their class behind (believing their education and judiciously left politics have declassed them anyway), and searched out "unspoiled" areas in the city, where they can live conspicuously cheek-by-jowl with the polyglot poor. They have rejected the suburbs, and found parts near the centre of the city which had been rendered invisible to the bourgeois eye by a century of railway engineering, immigration, and progressive dilapidation. In the blackened, small-windowed brick terraces (built for better-off artisans and the shabbier members of the lower middle class in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century), they have seen an honest unpretension which fits very well their conception of themselves.

Comment edited by RobF on 2013-10-24 11:24:49

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