Posts Tagged 'UK'



The Modern Student

A teacher at my old school once remarked to me in a conversation about higher education, “University is a reward for the intellectual, where one can do as one pleases and do very little work for a period of three years”. However true or false this may be, it seems that many contemporary students have misinterpreted this concept. It is certainly not a rest or lapse period for decency and basic courtesy.

Student life is something that most of us have looked forward to from our early teens: we break away from our parents and begin to become our own person. We become domesticated, we become mature; we become adults. Alas, it isn’t quite as straight forward as that. The average student dresses in baggy, comfortable clothes, goes out drinking at least five times a week, and probably comes close to (or actually partakes) in dealing in substances of disrepute. We are only young once, however, so perhaps such behaviour is acceptable.

Yet, just because we are students, it doesn’t mean to say that we actually have to behave like them. Nevertheless, this is not a call for us to attend lectures in morning suits and address our peers with high reverence and grandiose language. A modern, savvy student is someone who respects and considers those around him. Many adults get cross with students and their lifestyle – perhaps they are jealous – they argue that they are slovenly and uncouth. Maybe they are right: there are times when one really doesn’t want to be formal or worry too much about what others think.

However, I argue that University is a journey, a bridge. It marks a transition between childhood and adulthood. There used to be no word for the inter-regnum, until someone created the concept of a ‘student’. A majority of students subconsciously believe that we become adults the moment we graduate, and this grants us with an excuse to behave as we wish for the three or four years in between. This is not the case. We become adults during the period of our enrolment. Some will grasp the (really quite straight forward) concepts of adulthood sooner than others.

As I say regularly, good manners are a skill for life, which will stand anyone in much better stead than any degree or qualification. Clarence Thomas said, “Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot”. Think what you could do with both.

NB: Educated people go to ‘University’. The rest go to ‘Uni’.

William Hanson
Tutor, The English Manner

Clapped Out: Concert Manners

6a00d83451c83e69e200e54f2a78db8833-800wiGood manners are not a thing of the past and apply to all aspects of modern life, including concerts. We’ve all been at one where the person behind you starts explaining loudly what’s going on to their friend, or continually rustles their programme. Here are some important tips to remember to ensure you behave correctly and respect other concertgoers.

In the Auditorium

If other audience members arrive to take their seat, which is beyond yours, the polite thing for gentlemen to do is stand up to let them have a clearer passage. Women should turn their legs in the direction the person is travelling. People sitting at the end of aisles should get out and stand in the aisle until passage is clear.

Coughs, sneezes and sniffles should be ‘caught’: make sure your wardrobe on the evening includes a handkerchief. If the ailment persists, leave the auditorium until it subsides.

Share your programme (American’s call it ‘Playbill’) with others if they ask. There’s no need to be possessive.

During operas, it is usual to applause after the overture, an impressive aria, the end of a scene or act, but never whilst someone is singing. At concerts, it is expected for you to clap between different compositions but never between movements. ‘Whooping’ is never correct. We’re at Mozart not McFly.

At the End of the Evening

Do not leave during the encore or whilst the orchestra is bowing. Wait until the house lights have been taken up before you move.

At the end of the concert or during the interval, save your elaborate critique until you’re behind you own closed doors. Don’t try to impress others by shouting loudly about technical aspects of the music or performance.  Others may have enjoyed the night even if you didn’t; there’s also a chance one of the ‘star’s’ family or friends could be around you.


William Hanson
Tutor, The English Manner

The Top 5 Email Etiquette Faux Pas

E-mailMost of us will use email every day and this has led to a lapse in common sense and manners. Here are the top 5 faux pas when using email.

Hello! If you’ve never met the person you are emailing, starting the email with ‘Hello, Jack’ or ‘Hi Jill!’ is never acceptable and irritates more people than others may think

Spelling Emails are designed to be a quick way for us to communicate but that doesn’t mean that we are given an excuse to look ill-educated by sloppy spelling, especially when emailing clients or people who are not our friends or family (but you should practise using good spelling on them, too!)

Name-check When we see an email such as ‘alex.jones@…’ most of us will probably assume that Alex is a man. An increasing number of people are getting gender-confused on email. Always best to double-check. Telephone the company and ask before sending the email, or ask your colleagues who may have dealt with he/she before. Never start an email (or letter) with ‘Dear Jack Smith’. Find out the title in advance

Attachments ‘Please find attached’. If you say something is attached, make sure it is! Double-check everything before hitting the send button.

Ignoring emails If you get an email from a legitimate person, it’s common courtesy (although not common enough) to acknowledge it. Even if you’re the busiest person in the world, send back a response reassuring the sender you’ve got the email but will deal with it at a later date. This will save them worrying that their email is broken

William Hanson
Tutor, The English Manner

CLA Game Fair

shootingThe Country Landowners Association (CLA) Game Fair is this year held on 24 – 26th July at Belvoir Castle and is well attended by well over 100,000 visitors every year.

Most of the attendees are not landowners themselves, but are interested in the countryside, country life and country sports such as shooting and fishing.

First held in 1958 to encourage the return of shooting as a sport after the end of the Second World War, the fair moves to a different site every year – with over 500 acres of grassland needed to host the event together with at least 1000 feet of good riverbank fishing, finding a suitable venue is no mean feat and past locations have included Harewood House, Chatsworth, Blenheim and Stratfield Saye.

Together with displays of country sports and competitions, a multitude of trade stands have encouraged many more visitors over the past few years, selling everything from 4×4 vehicles to guns from Purdey and clothing by Barbour, Burberry and Joules and the great British wellie from Hunters and Dubarry.

Dress is relaxed, but if visitors are invited into the CLA Members’ Enclosure ensure casual but tidy, with jacket and tie for men.  Flat caps are actively encouraged here!

The English Manner are more than happy to advise attendees of this or any other event. See our website (www.theenglishmanner.com) for contact details or comment on this blog post.

Alexandra Messervy
Founder, The English Manner

Henley Royal Regatta

Henley is the third major event of the summer season after Royal Ascot and Wimbledon.  First staged in 1839, The Henley Royal Regatta takes place over the first weekend in July (from Wednesday to Sunday) in the town of Henley-on-Thames.

Whilst people often know quite a bit about racing and tennis, less is known about rowing and guests often visit Henley with little knowledge, and come away with not much more!  A rarity in boating events, the regatta pre-dates any international or national controlling body and as such has its own rules and organisation, although both the Amateur Rowing Association and the International Federation of Rowing Associations recognise the event. Stewards who are mostly former rowers themselves control the races.

The river view at Henley

The river view at Henley

The regatta can be viewed from several locations along both banks of the river Thames, although viewing areas for the general public are largely on the Berkshire side of the river. The Buckinghamshire side is limited to private clubs and residences as well as the odd bit of corporate entertainment and entry is not too expensive.  Young people have a fantastic time, and there are many opportunities for picnics with a really fun day out. The course is one mile and 550 yards long and there are 16 events over the programme.  It is relatively easy to attend via the Regatta Enclosure, but membership of the Stewards Enclosure is limited to 6000 and there is a very long waiting list of people wishing to join, who must be proposed by existing members, rather like entry to the Royal Enclosure at Royal Ascot.  There is a one-off membership fee and an annual subscription.  Members of the Royal Family do not often attend, although HRH Prince Michael of Kent can sometimes be spotted!

The event takes place during the first part of summer so the weather can be mixed. Henley is the right place to wear blazers, or cocktail dresses (and possibly a hat) for the ladies, although keen rowing fanatics may wish to get on board one of the Umpires launches and so something a little sturdier may be needed.  Ladies must wear a dress which covers their knees and are not allowed trousers or culottes.  Men must wear lounge suits or blazers with flannels and a tie or cravat, and if sporting a boater, these must be genuinely acquired  from a school rowing team or a rowing club.  Designer blazers are frowned upon, plain navy is best!  The most distinctive dress at Henley will be a cerise pink cap and tie:  this is the dress of the Leander Club, an almost exclusive body comprising those who have rendered special service to rowing.

A popular event in the corporate entertainment calendar, Henley is very male, very English and very charming.

The English Manner (www.theenglishmanner.com) are always happy to advise event-goers on dress or protocol. Please feel free to contact us for advice.

William Hanson & Alexandra Messervy
The English Manner

British Grand Prix 2009

The British Grand Prix has been held at Silverstone in Northamptonshire since the mid-1980s.

There is no strict-dress code for the stands and so you can get away with jeans. However, if you are lucky enough to have tickets for a private box then it is advisable that an effort should be made to look smarter, although it is wise to consult with your host as to what is expected.

Silverstone is always popular and so traffic around the area is a nightmare. Leave plenty of time to arrive as not to miss any of the race.

Further advice on this event – or any other event in the Season – can be obtained on request from The English Manner (www.theenglishmanner.com).

William Hanson
Tutor, The English Manner

Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot, held annually in mid-June (this year: 16th-20th), is the epitome of the British Season. As well as being a major social occasion, it is firstly a world-class sporting event, dating back to the late eighteenth century.

Tickets for the Royal Enclosure need to be applied for well in advance and letters should be sent to Her Majesty’s Representative at Ascot (currently the Duke of Devonshire).

There are four days in Royal Ascot. The first, Tuesday, is the busiest; Wednesday is popular with betting-types; Thursday is Ladies’ Day, and Friday is quieter but popular with the young.

There is so much to say about Royal Ascot (it can only be termed ‘Royal Ascot’ during the four days in mid-June) however; I shall concentrate this entry on the dress codes for the event.

ascot-raceThe dress code is still strictly enforced and it has been known for race-goers to be turned away for all sorts of reasons: men without hats, ladies in inappropriate dresses. Last year Royal Ascot was in the news as ladies were turning with too much fake-tan applied and in some extreme cases, they deemed it appropriate to go without knickers. This is never acceptable. Anywhere.

For women, it is advisable that cocktail dresses are avoided. Having too much flesh open to the elements at a predominantly outdoor event will only cause goose pimples.  Dress colours that work well are pastels, bright colours, neutrals such as cream and fawn, although fashion changes and each year will see a different colour or shade in vogue. As for materials, linen creases easily and for an event where you may be sitting to picnic (smart race-goers do this in Number One car park), this is not a good idea. Lightweight wool and silk are preferable. Dresses and jackets that can be removed easily if you get too hot are canny choices. Skirts that ride up when you sit down are not, however.

The Queen often wears one main colour all the way up (including the hat) which accentuates height and can make shorter people look taller.

Umbrellas may be a nuisance but are worth it if it begins to rain. They can be left in the cloakroom if needs be: parasols are naff.

Hats should be on straight and should be sensible: too much veiling and you won’t be able to drink or eat. If the brim is too low then you may not be able to see, so it is important to make sure you are wearing a sensible and comfortable hat, which should on no costs be removed, as your hair will look messy. When purchasing or choosing your outfit, do remember that you could be in it for up to seven hours. Shoes (if new) should be worn-in before the event as to avoid blisters.

For men, morning dress is required in the Royal Enclosure and on Ladies’ Day, this should be light grey. Top hats should be worn at a jaunty angle – never should they be worn totally straight and looking like chimney pots.

Morning dress consists of a tailcoat of sorts (although not be to confused with the pointed tailcoat worn in White Tie): this tailcoat is rounded; a buff waistcoat, which can be single or double-breasted; a pair of formal striped trousers worn with braces; a stiff white detachable collar (although a soft turned-down sewn on collar is acceptable now); a double-cuffed shirt; a necktie (please not a cravat), and finally a pair of black Oxford shoes. A top-pocket handkerchief is optional.

If you are still in any doubt as to the event’s protocol or what to wear, please do feel free to reply to this blog with any questions you may have. Alternatively, please visit our main website for more information: www.theenglishmanner.com

William Hanson
Tutor, The English Manner



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