Calvert’s Guide to The British :British stereotypes in order of social rank: Book review

April 25, 2013

tim-bulmer-main-eccentricCalvert’s Guide to The British

British stereotypes in order of social rank

This is a great weighty tome of snobbery, a wedge of acid tongued closely observed stereotyping straining with humour against the political correctness of our time, it leaves no stone unthrown in its pursuit of a deeply revealing snapshot of the British as they are today.


It’s a Debretts for the modern age (but far more useful and fun) mashed up with the Top Trumps card game, not listing blood line and heritage, but marking out folk through rigid British tribal lines,  showing their foibles and attitudes, their pretentions and values, pointing out where they choose to live, how they wish to be seen, their weaknesses and their strengths and what they think they are,  also woven in are some funny, dismissive and very irreverent observations about each type mentioned.




It’s fun and if you’re looking for validation of your xenophobic or snobbish views then you’re both missing the point and a sense of humour.

The book has delightful colour illustrations associated with each stereotype listed, along with an introductory paragraph and a clear list of their characteristics. It feels like a natural history spotter book and I had a happy few hours with it sitting in a café on Brighton seafront watching them all roll by.

It’s finally balanced bit of irony veering widely in and out of Daily Mail territory, taking pot shots and drive by slaggings off , it’s merciless and cruel and utterly spot on.  Anyone reading this book will see part of them mirrored in it, and that’s half the fun of it, and rather than feeling uncomfortable, defensive , egoistical or cross, you may choose to laugh out loud and take comfort form the fact that everyone else reading this book will feel the same way as you.


It starts with ‘long term unemployed dad’ and ends on ‘minor royals’  taking no prisoners on the way and exploring every nook and cranny of the multitude of clichés that this wonderful island race of ours, in all its infinite glory, inhabit.

CG2It states it’s volume one, but perhaps this is part of the joke as this covers just about every strata of British Society you can think of, and with a few waspish observations on the LGBT world too.  It’s mock serious tone, done with deft aplomb by the author Tim Bulmer undermines it’s own cruelly accurate observations and it constantly points out that although we may be unique as a nation we are desperately unoriginal as individuals. I imagine Bulmer would make a very entertaining dinner guest he’s certainly an accomplished cartoonist, check out his website here. 

A great gift for that pompous uncle, social climbing friend or anyone who takes delights in ranking themselves against neighbours and strangers…… so that’s you then.

Out now £20


For more information or to buy the book  see here: