Fresh squeeze on showing-off money

SOARING living costs are forcing middle-class families to cut back on the things they think make them look cool, according to new data.

Figures from financial advice website anotherloanshouldfix show that rising utility bills have left 67% of middle income families unable to buy jeeps, conservatories and the massive SLR cameras they use to take photos of their expensively dressed children.

Area sales manager Tom Logan, who has slashed his household showing-off budget by £80 a week, said: “I’d been hoping to buy matching carbon fibre snowboards for the family, then deliberately leave the double garage doors open so that neighbours could see them.

“But even after dispensing with non-impressive items like toilet paper it’s impossible.”

He added: “We’ve tried to compensate for the lack of new consumer goods by starting a rumour that we’re getting an extension done.

“But soon people are going to be asking questions, especially that bastard plumber over the road with his gas barbecue and his la-di-dah hot tub.

“He’s technically a manual worker, why can’t he just get over himself?

“I’ve half a mind to tell him that when we have our weekly game of tennis.”

But plumber Stephen Malley said: “I’ve had to explain to my son that it was the hot tub or tuition fees. Luckily he understood that no amount of education can change what people think of you.

“Tom Logan thought he was all that when he got one of those big fridges with a water dispenser in it. But he’s not so smug now we’ve got a bubbling bath in the garden, like actors have.

“Although we did lie about going to Florida this year and just hid in the garage for a fortnight.

“Luckily it’s a double garage.”



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Brian Sewell's guide to the relegation battle

WITH the Premier League season about to climax over the nation’s grateful visage, one’s thoughts turn to those for whomst shame and sorrow will become constant companions.

A fact known only to cognoscenti is that the radio disc jockey Tony Blackburn is a remarkably accomplished experimental landscape artist and mezzo soprano. I recall a soiree in Francis Bacon’s Soho rooms back in 1968 in which Mr Blackburn composed a gestural abstraction of St Paul’s cathedral using the medium of his own urine whilst accompanying himself with an a capella version of You Can’t Hurry Love.

The sharply contasting shades of the peripatetic Wolverhamptonites puts one in mind of Whistler’s Nocturne In Black and Gold of 1875, inasmuch as the public have rejected both of their endeavours as being a crude assault on the senses. Whereas the latter was dismissed by John Ruskin as a pot of paint flung in the public’s face, the former has been Karl Henry’s size 12 boot flung into the kneecaps of the opposition. Their only saving grace is that the primal Mick McCarthy looks remarkably like an animated Easter Island statue.

Often called the Venice of The North by those who believe La Serenissima is half a billion tons of concrete hastily shat into a rusting septic tank, Birmingham holds little charm for the modern aesthete unless he is blind, deaf, has no sense of smell and the constitution required to survive on a diet of Balti. This team is commanded by an irascible Scot, if one may employ a tautology, and I have yet to find a use for Scotland, other than to buffer England from beefy Scandanavian marauders.

Roberto Martinez should be lauded for encouraging his team to keep it on the deck, play the passing game and not resort to negative counter-attacking tactics. But they’re an absolute shambles in defence, their best players will be looking for a transfer regardless of their Premiership survival and if Martinez is to remain in charge  he’s going to need to inject a bit of grit into the squad. In addition ‘Athletic’ makes one think of the Greeks. How splendid.

I had fallen asleep during a screening of Mozart’s little-known operetta The Saucy Panel Beaters Of La Mancha and rolling onto my
remote control caused Ian Holloway to suddenly appear on the screen. He
seemed a delightful creature, although one could hardly divine a single
word he was saying, and now my two poodles Bocaccio and Tate bark like
the dickens whenever they see him on the television. For this reason,
Blackpool are my favourites to avoid the drop.