Fallacy of the Lower Middle Class
And on the 8th day, God created the lower middle class and he spoke saying take from these Terraced slums my working class people that they may settle in the new promised land we shall call council estates and give unto them extended credit facilities with no deposit and whole manner of consumer goods. Let them purchase venetian blinds, electric door bells which play ten much loved tunes and go forth to Spain for their holiday of a lifetime bringing back a 3ft. donkey and some genuine reproduction maracas.
Let them install fitted carpets, central heating and Japanese hi-fi systems in their abode. Surround them with images of style and culture that they may dwell in their illusion.
And unto them furnish sons and daughters that they may grow strong in their pretensions and flee from these places called council estates saying:-
“Get behind me thee social stigma”
and let these sons and daughters visit tasteful restaurants for evening meals and let them buy basket work and matching pine from arty shops that charge outrageous prices and let these sons and daughters read their Daily Mail and go out in foursomes to the lounge and talk about loft insulation, patio doors and stone fireplaces and never, never call these people working class for these are to be termed the lower middle class for verily the term working class is to be cast from this land for ever and ever.
This poem was on the back page of Clare Wadd’s Harrogate ‘zine Kvatch, No. 3, 1985.
Henry Normal is a comedy genius who was inspired by Ranting poets and went on tour with Pulp. Along with Steve Coogan he runs Baby Cow who have some notable TV productions.
In 2015 he told the Nottingham Post: “…the breakthrough moment for me was reading Small Dreams Of A Scorpion by Spike Milligan. That came out in 1972 when I was 16. I’d also read the Goon Show scripts, all the scripts from Morecambe and Wise and things like that. There used to be a lot of script books about at the time and they were quite cheap.
“When I read Small Dreams Of A Scorpion, something so moving, it made me cry, I realised you could be so funny while also being serious, moving and insightful. That became my template.
“If you look at any of my poems over the years I’m probably nearer to that book than anything else.”
“I watched Roger McGough perform at Nottingham Playhouse, which was brilliant. He performed A Summer With Monica and that was a revelation.
“Then I saw John Cooper Clarke perform as well and I just thought ‘that’s exactly what I want to do’.
“They were both holding an audience spellbound by just reading off a bit of paper and showing they had this inner life which they were communicating.
“I actually became a poet on the enterprise allowance scheme that Margaret Thatcher brought in when I was in Nottingham. You could have £40 a week if you signed up and you were taken off benefits, so my dad loaned me £500 and from that point on I was officially a poet.
“I still did a lot of poetry for quite a while. I probably stopped about 20 years ago. I started up again about a year ago.
“When you’re young you think you’re the first person to discover sex and rebellion but when you get older you realise every generation… well, we wouldn’t be here would we?
“I’m lucky because when I was young I went to the Central Library in the city centre and joined a writer’s group. I had one of my first performances at the Black Boy pub in the centre of Nottingham as part of the writer’s group, reading just one poem. Having read that one poem and people laughed it gave me the confidence to do the next one. I think any platform is a good one.”