Let’s Pretend…To Be Poor

upcycling twFollowing in the footsteps of that other oh-gosh-I-may-be-a-millionaire–but-I’m-just-like-you, Jamie Oliver, Kirstie Allsop did herself proud on last night’s television show, ‘Fill Your House For Free’ (sic).

Don’t get me wrong, I adore upcycling; been doing it as long as I can remember. In fact, the only thing I haven’t upcycled yet is The Teenager, but give it time.

So, last night, the first couple was your archetypal, ‘So, we bought this huge house, oh woe is us, sigh, but we have no sense of style and we’re too tight to get proper help, can Channel 4 come to the rescue?’

The woman pouted, stamped her foot and tossed her hair, declaring that anything second-hand was naff. The husband merely nodded. The second couple, about much the same. Bought the house, couldn’t afford furniture. Oops!

Bring on the experts in ‘free’ stuff. They showed us minions just how easy it was to find free goodies, as long as you’re prepared to work for it, i.e have oodles of leisure time (and I don’t mean signing on for the dole once a week). Yup, you’ve guessed it. Pretty much everything ‘featured’ in last night’s programme was way beyond your local charity shop schlep, just after you’d bagged the last of the windfall apples from next door.

When did you last pop into Oxfam to buy an aeroplane wing? Simply super for turning into a (rather horrible) desk? Or make a stepladder into a ghastly bookcase? And of course you have a whole workshop with state-of-the-art tools at your disposal  to turn said crap into rather less crap things?

In the end, this was just another example of that tedious wave of ‘austerity chic’ TV drivel, exhorting well-off peeps to weep/gnash teeth/rant at the camera. Although I did have to admire the second couple for bravely not crying when they saw their wall lamp fashioned from a spray-painted, rusted barbecue. And don’t get me started on the first couple’s twee/1950’s ambitions for a sewing room (her) and a man-cave (him). Why can’t she have a she-cave without having to sew?

If these guys really want to experience what it’s like to have no real furniture, look no further than the 1 in 5 of us who live below the poverty line. Furniture is the last thing on the list. So, yes, it may be fun to live like the poor people. Liberate a chair from the skip down the road. Congratulate yourself and pop open the Farrow & Ball chalk paint. Make a notice board out of all your champagne corks. Pinterest has a lot to answer for.

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12 thoughts on “Let’s Pretend…To Be Poor

  1. My main concern with this type of TV show – yawn, I didn’t watch this one as there are now too many – is the hypocrisy. Is it really good manners to make such ‘austerity’ shows and then sign up for brand new merchandise in one’s name, made not necessarily in UK, indeed, probably not, sold on the High Street (what’s left of it)?

    I especially dislike all the tat, purporting to have the homemade appeal, that appears around Christmas time. My least favourite word because those of us on a tight budget and with MS do not have the energy to make jars of inexpensive mincement, tins of hand-kneaded shortbread and oh-so-pretty lavender bags aplenty. Token gifts are also not easy to fulfil – where do you draw the line? £5 buys so little and anything more multiplied by number-in-family approaches much more than the £10 ‘bonus’ from DWP.

    I don’t mean to depress anyone but the world needs to be more real where ‘homemade’ is concerned and give us simple ideas that really do cost little to make – and give. Without experts popping by to guide us. In fact, a new mode for all Christmas gifts to be like this would do the nation proud! (Sorry consumerism, but charity begins at home).

    • stumbling in flats says:

      I couldn’t agree more!!! It makes me sooooo mad. Especially Jamie Oliver and his overpriced tat. And as for his restaurants, well, the one and only time I went to one I was so disgusted at the service and food I vowed never to go again ( i was invited by a friend, not my choice!).
      These programmes are so beyond reality it’s ridiculous. I could go on and on and on. They just make me so angry. Austerity has nothing to do with these outpourings of ‘oh, look at us, we’re all in it together’. Meh.

  2. Jules19 says:

    I didn’t watch the program but I think it a bit rich that an heiress who owns two properties and is married to a property developer is lecturing on austerity measures. Lucky her not having to worry about DLA being taken away!

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Exactly! It’s gobsmackingly inappropriate in my view. A bit like Jamie Oliver and his money saving meals. Who’s he trying to kid??

  3. there is never anything on tv, and programs like this make me glad we don’t have a tv. saves money as well. well we have a tv, but its used as a big computer monitor and it was a xmas gift :p

    and a person is an idiot if they buy a house, and dont budget in repair/decorating costs and furniture if they don’t have any. you need to think of these things when buying a house. you buy within your budget

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Well said! I don’t know what made me watch the stupid programme as the woman drives me up the wall. I won’t be watching it again…

  4. Julie says:

    I saw the last series and could only think that I could not afford to pay someone to haul junk miles across the country, or the traveling/hotel expenses to go and search for it in the first place. Silly out of touch woman. It is fun for her with an endless budget and all the help she needs but totally unrealistic for most of us.
    Same goes for Jamie Oliver. His ‘budget meals’ and overpriced book only show how out of touch he is too!

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Yup! Why are these two people even allowed to have ‘austerity’ shows?? It’s a total smack in the face to people (like me) who struggle. It’d be a bit like Richard Branson hosting a programme about the joys of camping 🙂

  5. Angela says:

    While we’re on a Jamie bashing, I’d just like to say, has anyone ever managed a ’30 minute’ meal in said time? MS or no MS, at least 2 hours in my experience (unless you have a whole crew doing the prep!) As for the BBQ light, really very horrible, what were they thinking? x

    • stumbling in flats says:

      You’re absolutely right – that was a total con. Loads of newspapers took up the challenge as I remember and not one of them could do the meal in 30 minutes. Then Jamie said, well, it’s 30 minutes after everything is prepped. Oh, yeah, right you are Jamie!
      And as for that BBQ light!!!! Hideous. A case of the Emperor’s new clothes I think.

  6. Alison says:

    As a housing support worker I work with people who *really* have nothing. One has furnished his house for free by skip diving etc. all credit to him and it looks great! I find it incredibly annoying that all the people on this show actually all own their own homes and are whining about having no furniture!
    I’m a big fan of upcycling don’t get me wrong but this show is missing the real need out there.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Spot on Alison!
      I really object to these programmes – Marie Antoinette springs to mind!
      I adore upcycling, but I also need to do it as I can’t afford the full retail price for most furniture. Programmes like these are patronising beyond belief.

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