The book for this month was the play Posh by Laura Wade, which was an unconsciously pertinent choice, given that we met 4 days after the general election. This play was published shortly after the last one and you cant help but feel this is a reactionary piece of writing.
It documents an ill fated dinner of the ‘Riot Club’ (although it has been suggested this is a reference to the Bullingdon Club of which David Cameron and dear old Boris were members) an all male exclusive private members club – open only to the young, rich and titled of Oxford. It was never going to be an apologist for the newly re-elected Conservative Party, and therefore was met by members of book club with RAMPANT DISGUST and TERROR. This is a tale more chilling than The Little Stranger of a few months ago.
It was agreed by all that this play was, unfortunately probably fairly true to life- it’s common knowledge now that those in positions of massive power in our society, were once 21 and chanting ‘lads lads lads’ while projectile vomiting foie gras up the flock wallpaper of some unwitting gastro pub. We witness initially the meeting of godfather (a Riot Club alumni) and godson, in a type of house of commons cum private members club, where life advice and future constituencies are doled out before we all board the absolute chunderbus that is the body of the story.
One comparison that rang especially true was to Bret Eaton Ellis’s American Psycho – the interchangeable nature of the characters came across especially when reading a play, and we found the cast of Posh to be England’s answer to the shiny suited execs comparing business cards in Pastels and the Dorsia. Both tribes use their positions of power to abuse the financial and physically vulnerable for fun, throwing wads of cash at whatever devastation lies in their wake, except in Posh the damage is so extreme that cash just doesn’t cut it, with disastrous consequences.
The question Posh asks is what these lads can get away with for lols in their youth – only to be rewarded with positions of power? The characters throughout are constantly bemoaning the attacks on their privilege and entitlement, their houses portioned off to the National Trust or falling into disrepair, and they are casually hostile to a ‘nouveau rich’ member of the club.
We are led to believe that the lines between rich and poor are constantly blurring ones, with friendly royals popping up in Sainsbury’s and George Osborne chowing down on a Greggs. Unfortunately what Posh seems to suggest is that like black mould, or the ten year old jar of marmite in the back of your fridge, the ‘elite’ of our society will always evolve with the times, to cover up and protect itself – or perhaps it heralds (with an increasingly free press) that the privileged few be more accountable for the way they use privilege early in life, as the truth will eventually out.
Blog by Rosanna Mitchell for Shoreditch Sisters WI