This article originally appeared on VICE UK.
Once upon a time, rich people owned their shit. By that, I mean they took great pride in owning 80 percent of Scotland and dressing exclusively in tweed. But those days, my friends, are over. As per a news story that will surprise absolutely no one, the former headmaster of Eton-rival Harrow boarding school said this weekend that public schoolboys are speaking in "mockney" accents, in an effort to fit in when they go on to further education or are spat out into the real world where they have to socialize with people who don't have nannies.
This is, of course, nothing new: Rich people have been doing this for years, embarrassed by their privilege and wealth—but obviously not quite enough to actually share any of it. Below are some tales of some poor rich kids just trying to fit in. It's hard out here when daddy owns a yacht, OK?
1. I went to Oxford, where there was—and maybe still is?—a very well-attended night club called "Grime and Punishment," where extremely rich people put on fake city accents and listen to "urban" music.
2. I'm from Northern Ireland, so I didn't really know anything about London until I moved here after graduating from college in Manchester. Tons of my friends at school were from London, and I just took all their poverty stories at face value. My favorite is this girl who went to Lady Eleanor Holles School [fees: £6,732 [$8,847] per semester], had her parents basically set her up with a job at Goldman Sachs through their friends, and was bought a house in Clapham after graduating, who constantly referred to herself as "having had to hustle." She weirdly also refers to herself as a "first gen immigrant," even though her parents were born in the UK and went to good London schools. She also constantly complains about the house they bought her because she doesn't want to live in Clapham anymore.
3. I know two girls who both identify as working-class who are currently in a huge fight because one's dad is giving her a deposit for an apartment and the other isn't. The one who isn’t getting the deposit has no college debt because her parents paid her fees and a living allowance. They also paid for her to do a masters program, and she always tells people how her aunt didn't even know it was a real university and still thinks it's a polytechnic. One of their friends self-defines as working-class because her aunt didn't go to college.
4. I study music at Oxford and heard someone refer to the London Oratory as an "inner-city comprehensive." It's technically a state school, but is also one of the most established schools in the country, to the point that they have reunions at Oxford and Cambridge.
5. One of my friends went to Highgate School for Boys, and someone did a presentation about someone that had been killed "on his estate," but it was actually the Holly Lodge Estate in Highgate, which is like a huge series of private roads.
6. I met this guy in college who had gone to Eton boarding school but described himself as not being like the stereotype and more of an "Eton rude-boy." Fuck if I know what that is, but he had an ear piercing and was really into rap music and drugs, in the "these things are my personality" kind of way.
7. I went to a very middle-class school in the north of England—over 60 percent of my class had at least one parent with a college degree— and a girl from my school completely rebranded in college to impress her new privately-educated friends about her incredible ability to succeed, despite all of her "adversity." There were kids who genuinely did struggle there, but she was neither one of them nor particularly sympathetic to them. Rumor has it she wants to continue that thread in hopes of political success in the near future.
8. I had the misfortune of sharing a dorm hall with a group of boys from upper-class suburbs at Russell Group university. Without exception, they all wore track suits, smoked weed at all hours, listened to grime on full blast, and called each other "g" or "bruv." The police were called to our dorm on a number of occasions, but the richest guys always made sure that no one smoked in their rooms so they wouldn't get caught.
9. I went to college with a girl who'd gone to a private high school who constantly bragged about massive spending splurges on Gucci or going on vacations a lot, but the second anyone said anything about ourselves being broke she'd talk about how she was broke too, and would always go on about her "ends" being odd—e.g. people running about with knives, drug dealers, etc. I later found out she lived in the part of Manchester where all famous soccer players live.
10. I know a girl who was privately educated all her life and is now capitalizing off working-class culture in the music industry. She uses London slang so people fall for it, when in reality, she has a grand piano in her house and is from Kensington. She started listening to drill and grime by force to up her brand of being a working-class Londoner—she even memorized underground drill lyrics just to make sure her brand is strong.
11. Had a very rich friend who left Glasgow to go to a crazy boarding school in southern England. After £30k [$39k] fees a year she didn't get into Durham, and instead went to a university in the north of England where she now dresses "urban" and fakes a working-class Glaswegian accent she never had.
12. I met a girl in college who was next level. I'm talking a real horse girl: personalized riding gear, lived on her parent's credit card in college, and bought every Kylie Lip Kit despite not even knowing how to blend her foundation. She started school as a rich bitch, but once she realized most people were from slightly poorer backgrounds she changed. She arrived at uni never wanting people to smoke around her, but next thing I knew she was teaching herself to roll joints and having sex with her dealer for pills. She also started saying "rah" and doing gun fingers in pictures. One time she got high and listened to Big Sean "I Don't Fuck with You" at least 30 times in a row. I honestly think it might have been closer to 50—it was awful. I've never seen a transformation quite like it.
13. I went to Westminster School, and boys used to rap battle each other all the time and speak in accents pretending to be from rough neighborhoods. They had grime- and -hip-hop-themed parties that were very clearly excuses to appropriate—some people would show up in dreads, and once a boy came in blackface. Now, some of these same people run club nights in Oxford doing the exact same thing.
14. There's a girl who lives in my village who walks around in Nike tracksuits and Air Max, and speaks like she's hard and spends her time in squats and free parties, but her family are literally billionaires and she's been privately educated her whole life and lives in a mansion.
15. A guy from my very small and posh private school joined the boxing society when he started at Edinburgh University, and now he wears a lot of Lonsdale and pretends to be super hard.
16. A kid I knew when I was in college decided he was gonna try to become a rapper. He started to post videos of him spitting bars in front of his webcam on Facebook, saying things like, "Gotta make it in rap to move mumzy out the hood." You could see the grand piano and antiques on the mantelpiece in the background.
17. I know this girl who lives in a beautiful house in some private residence in Vauxhall overlooking the river, but spends her time chilling in the stinkiest blocks in Shepherd's Bush and lays hers edges. She's Russian.
18. There was a small Greek man at my college who used to rock streetwear, was constantly higher than heaven, and claimed that the Bloods and Crips are an active underground group in London. He was a "blood" and used to go H.A.M when The Game's "One Blood" dropped, fully waving his trusty red bandana in solidarity. Turns out he was from the suburbs and went to private school.
19. This prissy princess type of girl—tweed jackets, ballet flats, the whole nine yards—I met at Cambridge University did a full 180 rebrand after graduating and is now some kind of grime and UK rap baddie.
20. In my final year of college I lived with a girl for three years who constantly described herself as "poor." She would talk about her former school like it was a failing company. We moved in together after graduating, which is when I found out her dad was a senior partner at a corporate law firm—he sent her rent directly to my bank account—and that she'd gone to a very expensive boarding school.
21. One of my friends once pretended that his dad was a garbage man to sound "more common." He has not one, but two, ridiculously expensive vintage ovens.
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