28th April 2010 What does The Working Lives of Londoners collection of photographs tell us about the working lives of Londoners?

The Work­ing Lives of Lon­don­ers is a series of pho­tographs by Har­riet Arm­strong on dis­play at City Hall (22 March to 7 May 2010) which shows Lon­don­ers ‘going about their daily rou­tine in the cap­i­tal’ (The Guardian). A selec­tion of images was pub­lished in The Guardian in March, but more can be seen on Harriet…

Five Daughters and the Unknown Punters

Five Daugh­ters (BBC 1, 25th, 26th, 27th April) told the sto­ries of Tania Nicol, Gemma Adams, Anneli Alder­ton, Paula Clen­nell and Annette Nicholas, who were mur­dered in Ipswich in 2006. It was based on tes­ti­mony of those involved. The five women were sex work­ers (or ‘Vice Girls’ to read­ers of some news­pa­pers) work­ing on the…

26th April 2010 Congratulations on getting married, now you have to leave your job

Research­ing women and work can be really puz­zling. There is a series of things I gen­uinely don’t under­stand: how it feels to earn your liv­ing in a work­place where you are the only woman or in a small minor­ity; what it’s like fre­quently find­ing your­self the only per­son of your sex in work­place con­texts; the…

25th April 2010 Alan Sillitoe and other Nottingham Lads

I know a few Not­ting­ham lads, mostly liv­ing in Lon­don these days. My friends had grand­dads who worked in one of the big Not­ting­ham light indus­tries: for Play­ers, Boots or Raleigh, unless they were unlucky and had to go down the mines. I’ve had a lot of fights with my Not­ting­ham friends about the cultural…

10th April 2010 Three Small Encounters

1. Sym­pa­thy I went into a cafe the other day and asked for a table for 1. The waiter looked at me. “you’re on your own!?” he said, reach­ing out and, well, hug­ging me. So much for the cold inti­ma­cies of emo­tional cap­i­tal­ism (Illouz, 2007), this was warm sym­pa­thy. I would have been hap­pier to…

7th April 2010 Ordinary Misbehaviour

I write for a not-for-profit music web­site. The site is run by one extra­or­di­nary man, ‘John’, and it’s quite a man­age­ment task. The staff writ­ers get together once, maybe twice a year. The recent meet up in a cot­tage in the rainy Peak Dis­trict was fiery. Office par­ties often are. There would be no reason…

5th April 2010 Bed, Breakfast and Moral Regulation

The hotel inspec­tor Dawn met judges stan­dards in B&Bs, mak­ing a virtue of clean­li­ness and ‘good’ ser­vice. B&B own­ers, in turn, judge and reg­u­late their cus­tomers. Chris Grayling, cur­rently shadow home sec­re­tary, thinks chris­t­ian B&B own­ers should be allowed to turn away guests they con­sider to be sin­ners. Mar­kets don’t just reflect (notion­ally pri­vate) moralities;…

1st April 2010 The Hotel Inspector

I was stay­ing in a B&B last night and found myself hav­ing break­fast this morn­ing with a Hotel Inspec­tor. He didn’t quite have the style of Alex Polizzi, pic­tured above (of the cur­rent Chan­nel Five Hotel Inspec­tor series) but it was still the most inter­est­ing early morn­ing con­ver­sa­tion I’ve had this week. I’m not sure…