The Rise of the Egalitarian Elitist

doghouse

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It’s tough out there for a snob. Showing that we were better than other people used to be so easy: know a lot about things such as wine, classical music and boats; wear expensive (but slightly tattered) clothes; avoid television; find a way to drop the name of the fancy school you attended into conversation. An idiot could do it and, God knows, plenty of idiots did.

Today we live in the age of conspicuous egalitarianism, a trickier code to master. Now it’s important to feign indifference to fine wine while picking the right bottle. No longer can one brag one never watches TV other than a little public broadcasting — one has to be able to talk about junk TV at work, or you look pretentious. The biggest risk in getting dressed is being a smidge too formal and coming off as a try-hard. Every corner of the culture now offers a similar mine for stepping on. Snobbery, like life, finds a way. But it has to work a lot harder now.

A recent academic paper is here to help. “Genres, Objects, and the Contemporary Expression of Higher-Status Tastes”, by four sociologists at the University of Toronto and Duke, describes a trick successful modern high-status people have mastered: democracy in genre preferences, paired with elitist choices within those genres.

A good American example the authors raise is barbecue, once a humble (or, as the authors have it, “unconsecrated”) food. Now everyone talks about it, but it is important for high-status individuals, having displayed egalitarianism by liking the stuff, to then demonstrate refinement by making nice distinctions within the genre and rising the authentic above the crassly commercial. Perhaps you could mention that you prefer dry-smoked Texas barbecue to the vinegar-sauce Carolina style but, in any case, not the fake stuff that’s not even cooked in a proper smoker.

Mixing regular-folk genres and snobby particulars allows high-status types to connect to others and set themselves apart at the same time, so taste can “be used as both a bridge to other groups and to construct a fence around one’s own group”.
I think this is a sharp analysis (though it misses a key point or two, for example, it is important for contemporary class aspirants to display one or two truly low status, “dirty” in-genre selections, whether for Britney or McDonald’s fries, to emphatically demonstrate that they are salt of the earth).
You don’t casually mention your vintage Rolex and let it pass. It’s right there on your wrist
The authors don’t tackle fashion, and I can see why. Clothes are even trickier because they are so persistently visual and present. You don’t casually mention your vintage Rolex and let it pass. It’s right there on your wrist during the whole conversation, staring everyone in the face.
Clothes shout “look at me” in a way that choices in food, music or movies can pretend not to, so class-signalling mirror tricks take more skill.

Workwear is an area where a lot of American men try to pull it off. Jeans are jeans, but a discerning eye can appreciate grades of Japanese selvedge denim or even the choice to wear classic Levi’s 501s.
I love my Red Wing Moc boots, which are both totally standard work equipment and a nod to American design. If I were slightly richer I would have a pair of John Lofgren’s beautiful $1,000 logger boots, which after a little wear and tear would look a lot like, well, logger boots.
Other efforts at trying to signal discernment while preserving, or gesturing at preserving, egalitarian casualness and comfort range from Entireworld sweats to Aimé Leon Dore hoodies (Supreme is over now, I’m told) to (for women) a handbag from The Row. A pair of penny loafers (once weekends-only, now a paradigmatic smart casual office shoe) can be a signal to menswear snobs if they are from Alden; the stitching is unmistakable.

Of course, there are people with a special interest in clothes, just as there are foodies and oenophiles and music obsessives. These lucky souls can go for it with fabulous outfits and look great. But they are a special clan, who tend to work in the creative industries. Most of us working stiffs, in particular men, face a harder dilemma, trying to look distinctive and attractive without making an awkward scene.
The rules of taste are unstable, and the current rules of performative indifference seem to me particularly so. Who are we kidding? We are vain, status-obsessed creatures. The time may come when we are more comfortable with that fact.
 

doghouse

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^ Interesting - where is that from?
Today's FT. The author is Robert Armstrong, and to be honest he really has passing knowledge of menswear at best, but every now and then he comes up with a gem.

There was also a Nick Foulkes piece, but it was just a guide to seasonal suits trends and not terribly thought provoking.
 

Ambrosius08

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In my home country, people have been obsessed about not sticking out in any way whatsoever for generations, and about being so totally egalitarian in all aspects of life that it really is hilarious. Seriously, people here “compete” in who has the most ascetic, bland summer residence imaginable - often without electricity or running water. There are sayings like “If you’re happy, hide it” and “Only ugly people decorate themselves with clothes and jewels”. People who are open about their success are many times held in contempt and are treated like criminals who haven’t been caught yet.

I have encountered attitudes like these in other countries as well, especially among younger people. I think that such a culture is becoming more common these days because it originates from a collective self-loathing, insecurity, and a deep-seated fear of failure that people have had since the cultural revolution. The western school system does it’s job to encourage this, and many people lack meaningful aspirations in life outside of material consumption or hedonism.

We project everything we feel internally onto the exterior world to put it into order, designating what various things mean. In the past, moving up in social hierarchies was viewed not only as positive, but essential in life. People respected those above them more, because they projected their own aspirations on people with titles and authority. They wanted to be like them, as they represented their ideal self - a god of sorts. Anything that belonged in the life of the upper classes was copied, studied, and mimicked before the cultural revolution. It was a desirable trait to be able to discuss fine wines, the motets of Vivaldi, or cigars in polite company.

It’s sad that nowadays you often have to hide your passion for what were once considered the greatest achievements of humans. I have experienced myself that displaying one’s knowledge or enjoyment in art, classical music, culture, menswear, or fine dining is often met with either snickering or disdain. The hate for “snobs” is real.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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In my home country, people have been obsessed about not sticking out in any way whatsoever for generations, and about being so totally egalitarian in all aspects of life that it really is hilarious. Seriously, people here “compete” in who has the most ascetic, bland summer residence imaginable - often without electricity or running water. There are sayings like “If you’re happy, hide it” and “Only ugly people decorate themselves with clothes and jewels”. People who are open about their success are many times held in contempt and are treated like criminals who haven’t been caught yet.

I have encountered attitudes like these in other countries as well, especially among younger people. I think that such a culture is becoming more common these days because it originates from a collective self-loathing, insecurity, and a deep-seated fear of failure that people have had since the cultural revolution. The western school system does it’s job to encourage this, and many people lack meaningful aspirations in life outside of material consumption or hedonism.

We project everything we feel internally onto the exterior world to put it into order, designating what various things mean. In the past, moving up in social hierarchies was viewed not only as positive, but essential in life. People respected those above them more, because they projected their own aspirations on people with titles and authority. They wanted to be like them, as they represented their ideal self - a god of sorts. Anything that belonged in the life of the upper classes was copied, studied, and mimicked before the cultural revolution. It was a desirable trait to be able to discuss fine wines, the motets of Vivaldi, or cigars in polite company.

It’s sad that nowadays you often have to hide your passion for what were once considered the greatest achievements of humans. I have experienced myself that displaying one’s knowledge or enjoyment in art, classical music, culture, menswear, or fine dining is often met with either snickering or disdain. The hate for “snobs” is real.
Great post, thanks!

We live in strange times, where the individual and eccentrics are not welcome. Someone like Alan Clark the former Conservative MP wouldn't get a chance to represent a constituency in a world where politicians all look blandly and genetically the same. Everything seems dumbed down and needs to be presented as such.

Fine wine, get your proletariat lager out.

Decent brogues, get your white sneakers/trainers on.

Even the accents are all blending into one banality.

The distinctions are indeed all there, but hidden now in an Angela Merkel Mao suit. But you need to show you're with the plebs. Then drive home in your Maserati.

The boys at my eldest's school all dress the same and there isn't a uniform, all shades of black with white trainers and some of them even have bubble coats on in the summer. I find it odd. There is name for the look and they call it ''Straight'' to be mocked. Like everywhere the LGBTQ stuff is constant and they have regular Purple Fridays where they celebrate gay culture and students coming out. In my youngest's class, I'm told 6 of the kids are queer. My eldest boasts about being with the LGBT Queer Alliance, although they're straight and not that it matters, but all this wonderful liberation of everyone, doesn't look as radical as say Boy George did in the 80s. It's drab and grey, mostly, with someone having died their highlights pink.

But what do we expect in a world where the hyper-privileged compete to reveal their ultimate victim status to the world?
 

doghouse

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In my home country, people have been obsessed about not sticking out in any way whatsoever for generations, and about being so totally egalitarian in all aspects of life that it really is hilarious. Seriously, people here “compete” in who has the most ascetic, bland summer residence imaginable - often without electricity or running water. There are sayings like “If you’re happy, hide it” and “Only ugly people decorate themselves with clothes and jewels”. People who are open about their success are many times held in contempt and are treated like criminals who haven’t been caught yet.

I have encountered attitudes like these in other countries as well, especially among younger people. I think that such a culture is becoming more common these days because it originates from a collective self-loathing, insecurity, and a deep-seated fear of failure that people have had since the cultural revolution. The western school system does it’s job to encourage this, and many people lack meaningful aspirations in life outside of material consumption or hedonism.

We project everything we feel internally onto the exterior world to put it into order, designating what various things mean. In the past, moving up in social hierarchies was viewed not only as positive, but essential in life. People respected those above them more, because they projected their own aspirations on people with titles and authority. They wanted to be like them, as they represented their ideal self - a god of sorts. Anything that belonged in the life of the upper classes was copied, studied, and mimicked before the cultural revolution. It was a desirable trait to be able to discuss fine wines, the motets of Vivaldi, or cigars in polite company.

It’s sad that nowadays you often have to hide your passion for what were once considered the greatest achievements of humans. I have experienced myself that displaying one’s knowledge or enjoyment in art, classical music, culture, menswear, or fine dining is often met with either snickering or disdain. The hate for “snobs” is real.
Top post. Very accurate. There was a great piece in the Times yesterday that while not exactly the same thing, I think is a related phenomenon of modern life. James Marriott is usually a tit, but this is very insightful.

If we want to live we have to suffer and weep​


Only the modern mind could long for a life without anxiety, envy, sadness and boredom​

James Marriott

Thursday July 29 2021, 12.01am BST, The Times
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David Pearce, a leading figure in the transhumanist movement that obsesses Silicon Valley’s elites, is an “abolitionist”. Nothing so niche and small-timey as slavery; Pearce is an abolitionist with respect to the totality of human suffering. He believes technological advances mean that “states of sublime well-being are destined to become the genetically pre-programmed norm of mental health”. The world’s last unpleasant experience, he reckons, “will be a precisely dateable event”.

The scale of Pearce’s ambition qualifies him as an eccentric but the nature of his preoccupation identifies him as a man very much of his time. A unique aspect of the character of modern people — something that separates us from almost all other people who have ever lived — is that we view suffering as unusual. Not a part of the human condition but an affront to it.


Witness the behaviour of the 21st century’s affluent classes: their neurotic and elaborate evasion of even small degrees of suffering through therapy, mindfulness, yoga, meditation, esoteric workout routines, wild swimming and (more commonly in America) medication. The desired state is one of “wellness”, a perfect peace of mind and body that is supposed to be not only sublime but normal. Suffering represents a kind of failure.

While serious mental illness clearly requires professional intervention, the concomitant of wellness is the medicalisation of experiences that would once have been understood as non-negotiable aspects of being human, such as grief. The fourth edition of the standard American handbook of mental illness, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, excluded grief from the diagnosis of severe depression. The present edition, the fifth, includes it.
There is something eerie about a society considering that human minds might need to be cleansed of grief. It is an attitude that regards human beings not as intrinsically flawed and suffering but as perfectible machines — evidence of the cultural retreat from Christianity, with its martyrs, crucifixion and concept of human life as “the valley of the shadow of death”. Today we believe our bodies and our minds can be optimised for maximum efficiency, achievement, happiness and ideological purity. In properly calibrated environments, fed with the right inputs, we should function with the bland, bright corporate precision of a new MacBook.

This view is underpinned by the idea that suffering is extrinsic to the human condition: a consequence of outside forces such as capitalism or technology or, more vaguely, “modern life”. It is currently impossible to make it much more than 50 pages into any popular history of the human race — Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens, James Suzman’s Work, Rutger Bregman’s Humankind — without encountering the notion that our hunter-gatherer ancestors lived in an enviable state of low-carb, quasi-communist, gazelle-persecuting bliss until they were corrupted out of this Edenic state by the agricultural revolution and the advent of civilisation which made them unequal, diseased, miserable, malnourished and overworked.

Though it is true that modern life causes some misery — and that hunter-gatherers lived in less hierarchical societies, were less vulnerable to epidemic diseases and fought no wars — it does not follow that their experience represents an apogee of happiness. Hunter-gatherers also suffered high rates of child mortality and were vulnerable to wild animals, broken bones, minor diseases and natural disasters to a degree difficult to imagine for warm, sheltered, medicated modern humans.
It is 20th-century medicine’s postponement of bereavement until late in life and its abolition of much of the chronic pain that was a feature of almost every human existence that allows us to even begin to imagine that there might be anything unusual about suffering.
Even with those advances, pain and grief remain fundamental to the human condition. Suffering will always rise from within us, no matter how many mental handrails and cushions the present cult of safetyism provides. Nobody put it more compellingly than Schopenhauer, who understood that “suffering is essential to life” and that it “does not flow in upon us from outside but everyone carries around within himself its perennial source”.



Schopenhauer’s characterisation of our existence as striving and struggle relieved by only intermittent periods of contentment is substantially supported by evolutionary psychologists, who point out that humans evolved not to be happy but to survive and reproduce. Anxiety, envy, sadness and anger are terrible to experience but we have these feelings because they helped our ancestors to avoid early death and to mate. They are an ineradicable part of our evolved inheritance.
We must not pathologise the human condition. It is terrible to suffer but suffering is valuable because it broadens our understanding of what life is and what the business of being a human might involve. Nothing is more human than to suffer for love and to grieve for death. Nothing, in fact, is more human than to be stressed, or envious or anxious or discontented or bored. These feelings are not problems: they propel us through the world, making us do things, encounter people, seek out new bits of life. This is the reason all great art and literature is about suffering and why the blandest people are always those for whom nothing in life has ever really gone wrong. We certainly do not need more of them.
 

formby002

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Top post. Very accurate. There was a great piece in the Times yesterday that while not exactly the same thing, I think is a related phenomenon of modern life. James Marriott is usually a tit, but this is very insightful.

“Life is tragic simply because the earth turns, and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time. Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, which is the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death – ought to decide, indeed, to earn one’s death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life.”

James Baldwin

 

Kingstonian

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Sounds like a great, outdoorsy country and you can always get the ferry to the Baltic states for a weekend on the booze.

I have only been to Denmark and Malmo. I would like to visit Norway after Lillyhamer TV series, though it looks a bit flat for downhill skiing and the Norwegian characters in the series seemed very woke.
 

Sauce

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Sounds like a great, outdoorsy country and you can always get the ferry to the Baltic states for a weekend on the booze.

I have only been to Denmark and Malmo. I would like to visit Norway after Lillyhamer TV series, though it looks a bit flat for downhill skiing and the Norwegian characters in the series seemed very woke.
All Nordic countries would seem woke to Brits Kingy. Thats why their all better countries to live in. I've been in Norway for 14 years and I'd rather live among socially conscious people than that dump on the other side of the North Sea. And I say that as someone who used to think England was the best country in the world. Right upto living here for about a month.
 

belinmad

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All Nordic countries would seem woke to Brits Kingy. Thats why their all better countries to live in. I've been in Norway for 14 years and I'd rather live among socially conscious people than that dump on the other side of the North Sea. And I say that as someone who used to think England was the best country in the world. Right upto living here for about a month.

I just spent a month in Sweden and I couldn’t agree more!!!
 

Kingstonian

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All Nordic countries would seem woke to Brits Kingy. Thats why their all better countries to live in. I've been in Norway for 14 years and I'd rather live among socially conscious people than that dump on the other side of the North Sea. And I say that as someone who used to think England was the best country in the world. Right upto living here for about a month.
Expensive though. I would not care for woke at all. Britain in the 1950s would suit me better. Or Victor Orban’s Hungary and the current Poland of course.
 

belinmad

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I never found UK to be a good benchmark for quality living. I ended up here about 6 years ago for work, and quality of life and market environment has been downhill since, in absolute terms as well as relatively to other European countries. I don’t think I’d move back to US (lived in NYC for 10 years) either.
Maybe one of the wealthier European countries.
 

Kingstonian

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I never found UK to be a good benchmark for quality living. I ended up here about 6 years ago for work, and quality of life and market environment has been downhill since, in absolute terms as well as relatively to other European countries. I don’t think I’d move back to US (lived in NYC for 10 years) either.
Maybe one of the wealthier European countries.
If you are still working Austria is lovely and Southern Germany - Munich etc is nice. If work was not an issue then the Iberian peninsula in the days of Franco and Salazar - apart from the Basque terrorism issue - would suit.
 

Sauce

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Expensive though. I would not care for woke at all. Britain in the 1950s would suit me better. Or Victor Orban’s Hungary and the current Poland of course.
Expensive to visit but not if you live in them. Standard of living is much higher than Blighty. Everytime I go back to Britain I can't believe how much more depressing my home town is compared to the time before. The amount of homeless people is shocking. There was row of tents on a car park at the top of the high street last time I was there. Madness.
 

QuandoDio

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Hmmm, the Nordic states has its appeal. I have lived in Denmark and Iceland and visited Finland, Norway, Sweden numerous times and even went to the Faroe Islands one time but tbh it aint my jam.

Quality of life is certainly off the chart, but the combination of the really crappy weather (nearly everyone in Finland/ Norway/Iceland is depressed and Vit.D deficient),really high taxes, really expensive commodities and 'egalitarian elitism' doesn't appeal to me. Mediocrity is championed, individuality crushed and the whole kumbaya community thing is not my cup of tea.

Good for families/ kids though. In Reyjkavik, for instance, people don't lock their cars, kids can be unaccompanied on the street , streets are very clean and there is very low crime but summer is two weeks in a year with 24-hour sunlight and autumn/winter lasts ten months.

The simple fact is there is no Nirvana.
 

belinmad

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If you are still working Austria is lovely and Southern Germany - Munich etc is nice. If work was not an issue then the Iberian peninsula in the days of Franco and Salazar - apart from the Basque terrorism issue - would suit.
I’m woke you see - couldn’t deal with Franco unfortunately. Also let’s talk about the tangible, not about the impossible
 

belinmad

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Hmmm, the Nordic states has its appeal. I have lived in Denmark and Iceland and visited Finland, Norway, Sweden numerous times and even went to the Faroe Islands one time but tbh it aint my jam.

Quality of life is certainly off the chart, but the combination of the really crappy weather (nearly everyone in Finland/ Norway/Iceland is depressed and Vit.D deficient),really high taxes, really expensive commodities and 'egalitarian elitism' doesn't appeal to me. Mediocrity is championed, individuality crushed and the whole kumbaya community thing is not my cup of tea.

Good for families/ kids though. In Reyjkavik, for instance, people don't lock their cars, kids can be unaccompanied on the street , streets are very clean and there is very low crime but summer is two weeks in a year with 24-hour sunlight and autumn/winter lasts ten months.

The simple fact is there is no Nirvana.
Where would you live then?
 

Pimpernel Smith

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All Nordic countries would seem woke to Brits Kingy. Thats why their all better countries to live in. I've been in Norway for 14 years and I'd rather live among socially conscious people than that dump on the other side of the North Sea. And I say that as someone who used to think England was the best country in the world. Right upto living here for about a month.
There is an adage: you never go back to the UK once you've lived abroad unless you've right royally screwed-up with your finances. I don't know whether that's fully true or not, I see a mixture, some after several years want to get home, others, know they can't go back for several reasons, I'm in the latter.

I've lived abroad for well over 20 years and under normal circumstances I travel a lot and have business dealing globally and several colleagues in the Nordic countries. By definition, I am a global citizen. Although, I am sure several of the forum would say I am a bigoted Englishman. But one thing I never underestimate are cultural differences, as they are essential.

England is one of the most fantastic countries to live in, if you're in the right industries and professions. And/or you can live in a decent area. The climate remains atrocious mind you.

If you're not rightly placed, there's better opportunities elsewhere in mainland Europe. As an example, a General Manager of a machine shop or valve manufacturer in Italy, has real status as an industrialist. In the UK, such a person is just another shmuck.

There's a big underclasses in France and Italy, but nowhere comes as close as the UK. It's so in your face and they're brutalized, you don't get that in Nordic countries. The attraction is obvious. I find staring at poverty and piss stained shell suits deeply unpleasant on many levels.

A colleague of mine who escaped the Soviet Union early 1990s and was in London with his parents said he was shocked at the condition and the culture of the working class.

As my missus says when seeing some of the brutal architecture from the 1970s, schools and high rises, you think we had it bad?

When I first started travelling to Germany it was like where's the poverty?

I love England, and Wales and Scotland, and my kids love it when we visit, but I know the sad truth it's too tough for mollycoddled middle class kids like them.
 

QuandoDio

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Where would you live then?

Ideally, a mixture of places a few times a year but that has its hassle and with family/ commitments/ work etc. A mix and match but tbh spending all year in one country doesn't appeal to me. When I find the right combination, I will let you know.

I have a buddy who spends six months in Cape Town and the rest in London/ Costwolds. He bemoans spending an autumn/winter in the west ever again and it works for him.
 

Panama

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There is an adage: you never go back to the UK once you've lived abroad unless you've right royally screwed-up with your finances. I don't know whether that's fully true or not, I see a mixture, some after several years want to get home, others, know they can't go back for several reasons, I'm in the latter.

I've lived abroad for well over 20 years and under normal circumstances I travel a lot and have business dealing globally and several colleagues in the Nordic countries. By definition, I am a global citizen. Although, I am sure several of the forum would say I am a bigoted Englishman. But one thing I never underestimate are cultural differences, as they are essential.

England is one of the most fantastic countries to live in, if you're in the right industries and professions. And/or you can live in a decent area. The climate remains atrocious mind you.

If you're not rightly placed, there's better opportunities elsewhere in mainland Europe. As an example, a General Manager of a machine shop or valve manufacturer in Italy, has real status as an industrialist. In the UK, such a person is just another shmuck.

There's a big underclasses in France and Italy, but nowhere comes as close as the UK. It's so in your face and they're brutalized, you don't get that in Nordic countries. The attraction is obvious. I find staring at poverty and piss stained shell suits deeply unpleasant on many levels.

A colleague of mine who escaped the Soviet Union early 1990s and was in London with his parents said he was shocked at the condition and the culture of the working class.

As my missus says when seeing some of the brutal architecture from the 1970s, schools and high rises, you think we had it bad?

When I first started travelling to Germany it was like where's the poverty?

I love England, and Wales and Scotland, and my kids love it when we visit, but I know the sad truth it's too tough for mollycoddled middle class kids like them.
I lived in The Netherlands for 4 years. I was quite happy to move back to the UK.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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I lived in The Netherlands for 4 years. I was quite happy to move back to the UK.
If I may ask, what were the things that made you glad to move back?

There's a lot of things that pee me off here, the driving culture for one, but overall, I prefer it on a number of indicators: climate and my wife's tax free position being the biggest ones. Along with the cycle lines to keep you fit, the 6/7 months you can use them without that north sea wind biting into you.
 

Sauce

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There is an adage: you never go back to the UK once you've lived abroad unless you've right royally screwed-up with your finances. I don't know whether that's fully true or not, I see a mixture, some after several years want to get home, others, know they can't go back for several reasons, I'm in the latter.

I've lived abroad for well over 20 years and under normal circumstances I travel a lot and have business dealing globally and several colleagues in the Nordic countries. By definition, I am a global citizen. Although, I am sure several of the forum would say I am a bigoted Englishman. But one thing I never underestimate are cultural differences, as they are essential.

England is one of the most fantastic countries to live in, if you're in the right industries and professions. And/or you can live in a decent area. The climate remains atrocious mind you.

If you're not rightly placed, there's better opportunities elsewhere in mainland Europe. As an example, a General Manager of a machine shop or valve manufacturer in Italy, has real status as an industrialist. In the UK, such a person is just another shmuck.

There's a big underclasses in France and Italy, but nowhere comes as close as the UK. It's so in your face and they're brutalized, you don't get that in Nordic countries. The attraction is obvious. I find staring at poverty and piss stained shell suits deeply unpleasant on many levels.

A colleague of mine who escaped the Soviet Union early 1990s and was in London with his parents said he was shocked at the condition and the culture of the working class.

As my missus says when seeing some of the brutal architecture from the 1970s, schools and high rises, you think we had it bad?

When I first started travelling to Germany it was like where's the poverty?

I love England, and Wales and Scotland, and my kids love it when we visit, but I know the sad truth it's too tough for mollycoddled middle class kids like them.
Leicester is a tough gig. My missus thinks its super rough and I can't deny it now I've left. It used to be a solid working class city upto the late mid 80s. Lots of well paid jobs. I don't think you notice the decline when you live in it tbh. I guess its the same all over the midlands and north. I travel to Manchester a bit (pre-covid) and notice it there as well. Leicester seems worse though. Sad to see.
 

belinmad

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Ideally, a mixture of places a few times a year but that has its hassle and with family/ commitments/ work etc. A mix and match but tbh spending all year in one country doesn't appeal to me. When I find the right combination, I will let you know.

I have a buddy who spends six months in Cape Town and the rest in London/ Costwolds. He bemoans spending an autumn/winter in the west ever again and it works for him.
More and more I’m thinking about this model, and I think after COVID we’ve proven it’s doable. My biggest reason to stay in London right now is my daughter’s school - otherwise I think I’d be working remotely from a variety of locations throughout the year, or at least a good part of it, and coming to London to see my teams face to face maybe a week a month.
Maybe in a few years when she’s done with school I get to do it.
 

formby002

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I just spent a month in Sweden and I couldn’t agree more!!!
England is lovely if you have money and live in the countryside. Its idyllic. Living in an inner-city shithole not so much. But that's probably true anywhere.

I like cities, but only to visit.
 

QuandoDio

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Of course. I wouldn’t have it any other way, and neither would George.

Boy George (Clooney) lives in Oxfordshire these days more than Como since he got hitched and became a father of twins. I suppose Lake Como is not ideal for the little ones or maybe closeness to his wife's family.
 

doghouse

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More and more I’m thinking about this model, and I think after COVID we’ve proven it’s doable. My biggest reason to stay in London right now is my daughter’s school - otherwise I think I’d be working remotely from a variety of locations throughout the year, or at least a good part of it, and coming to London to see my teams face to face maybe a week a month.
Maybe in a few years when she’s done with school I get to do it.
That's honestly my biggest impediment at the moment as well. Once my son gets a little older it's much more doable.
 

QuandoDio

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Oh, and to me, quality of food matters a lot wherever I live or even chose to go on holiday.

I remember when food in the UK tbh was mostly horrendous. It is much better now, but you have to seek it out and frankly, it helps having money as the standard supermarket fare is mediocre, not bad but not great either. Lots of variety though
 

formby002

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Hmmm, the Nordic states has its appeal. I have lived in Denmark and Iceland and visited Finland, Norway, Sweden numerous times and even went to the Faroe Islands one time but tbh it aint my jam.

Quality of life is certainly off the chart, but the combination of the really crappy weather (nearly everyone in Finland/ Norway/Iceland is depressed and Vit.D deficient),really high taxes, really expensive commodities and 'egalitarian elitism' doesn't appeal to me. Mediocrity is championed, individuality crushed and the whole kumbaya community thing is not my cup of tea.

Good for families/ kids though. In Reyjkavik, for instance, people don't lock their cars, kids can be unaccompanied on the street , streets are very clean and there is very low crime but summer is two weeks in a year with 24-hour sunlight and autumn/winter lasts ten months.

The simple fact is there is no Nirvana.
You raise an interesting point.

The more liberal society is, the messier it is. I'm put in mind of Orson Welles' character in The Third Man and his quip about Switzerland.



Sweden has some serious recent skeletons to address. It's forced sterilisations of women being one....


 

doghouse

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Wonderful cooks the Italians. Taught the French to cook...

I was having an earnest discussion about this yesterday. The French had to go make it all complicated because they are French.
 
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