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The Periodic Table of the Middle Class
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    Entries in Nell Spin (1)

    Thursday
    Apr282011

    The two occasions when we suddenly get enthusiastic about betting shops

    Flickr: fabbio
    I usually find that the Middle Classes tend to be rather scathing and fairly snobby about people who spend their time in betting shops. As they walk past the obligatory mobility scooter parked outside, I’m sure that few middle class types would be tempted to set foot inside their local branch of William Hill as visiting the bookmakers is not considered to be a worthy pastime. Jeremy Damn-Wright has often asked, ‘How can these people plead poverty when they can afford to waste money in the bookies?’ (He applies this same question to smoking, owning Staffordshire Bull Terriers, having more than 3 children  and many more activities). And I know of two people who amuse themselves by sitting in the window seat of their local wine bar, which happens to be opposite the bookmakers, and predicting which passers-by will go into the bookies and which will walk straight past.
     
    There seem to be two exceptions to this. The first is having a bet on any Premiership football match involving Manchester United, Arsenal or Chelsea. I think this probably helps middle class football fans feel more like their harder and more convincing working class counterparts, although I’m not sure.
     
    The second is of course the Grand National. What is it about this particular race that prompts people who previously thought Ladbrokes and William Hill were areas in North London, to start talking about having a flutter and the benefits of an each way bet? All of a sudden office workers everywhere are organising sweepstakes and trying to make it sound like they know what they’re talking about. It’s not the only major horse racing event there is, so why does this one create this kind of response? 
    A word of caution though - if you organise your sweepstake for charity, don’t get excited if you win. You know that the only middle class thing to do is to say, Oh, put the money back in the pot! It’s all for a good cause’. Just remember to smile when you say it and try not to show that you’re saying it through gritted teeth.