Party Lines

Daisy Waugh eavesdrops on the chattering classes

As long as he’s happy.


…It just seems so unfair…

It does. After all the effort.

But he’s a happy kid. A happy man, I should say. And that’s – you know…As a mother, that’s absolutely… It’s just, after all the work – OK, he didn’t make it into Oxford; but these days Newcastle’s…


I turn it over and over – could we have done it differently?

No! It’s just a tough, tough new world. There simply aren’t any jobs!

I suppose…

It’s the same with Ollie. Ever since he came down from Bristol. With his £40,000 debt…

And who’s going to repay that, I wonder?

He’s up in his bedroom tapping away, applying for job after job…Nothing! Emerges every now and then –

To empty the fridge.

I must admit sometimes I wonder if I feel worse about it all than he does…Charlie suggested he do one of those conversion courses. For law…


Actually, he’s mumbling about writing a film script…


An allegory about…Western consumerism. Apparently. He hasn’t actually started it…

Too busy “applying for jobs”.


I got so fed up with Ollie slouching round all day, I pulled every string in the book. Persuaded his wonderful sexy godfather to set him up with an internship at Goldman Sachs, if you please…

But that’s fantastic!

You’d have thought…

Don’t tell me…

Big, big row. He told Richard he “wasn’t that interested in money”. Actually, he said “all” his friends despise the way our generation has been so…whatever.

The little…!

That’s what Richard said.

Barnaby told us public school had given him an “unbalanced view of the world”.

You just want to shake them till their teeth rattle sometimes…Anyway, now guess what? He’s decided to become a teacher…

Oh. Oh gosh.

Because he wants to “put something back”.

Oh goodness…

He said bankers were immoral. Only he put it a lot better than that. Thanks to his extremely expensive education…I said, does that include your father? Because if it does, you had better put that cheese sandwich you’re eating right back in the fridge, seeing as it was your dad’s immoral money that paid for it!


He wants to “put something back”, he can put the bloody cheese sandwich back!


So. He’s going to be a teacher. Which means scrounging off us till the day we drop. Of course.


I told him – he can kiss the pretty girlfriends goodbye. They won’t touch him. Not when he’s wearing elbow patches and stinking of Nescafé.

You are awful! What did he say?

Oh! He gave this ridiculous sort of beatific smile.

Well…if it’s what he wants…

Absolutely…With his instant coffee, and his miserable little house in Croydon, and his hideous wife. Who probably dresses from Next…Oh God…Sometimes you wonder why we even bothered.

By the way, I don’t suppose that internship’s still going?

Underrated: Abroad

The ravenous longing for the infinite possibilities of “otherwhere”

The king of cakes

"Yuletide revels were designed to see you through the dark days — and how dark they seem today"