Before about three week ago, I had never heard of the wearing of "red trousers" as a marker of "posh". You may have done -- or may now think you had -- but I certainly hadn't. Most of the posh people I've ever encountered looked positively normal (aside from the top hat, of course). Then someone mentioned on the radio that red trousers were posh because they are worn by the serious yachting crowd around Cowes, where it denotes a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron (whatever that is). Really? I had no idea. You simply can't see that sort of detail from the cheap seats on this side of the Solent.
Then last week on Tuesday the estimable comic turn John Finnemore did a song "Red Trousers" -- about being posh -- on his Radio 4 Souvenir Programme. I'm pretty sure hardly anyone would have had a clue what he was on about. Red trousers? Eh??
But these things have a habit of catching on. No-one likes to feel out of the loop, comedy-cliché-wise.
By Friday the even more estimable satirical crew at Radio 4's The Now Show had a throwaway line about "red corduroy trousers" as, yes, an indication of poshness. Red corduroy trousers? On a yacht? Are you sure??
Mark my words, by Christmas everyone will be saying it, without ever having (a) seen a proper posh person, or (b) a proper posh person in a pair of red trousers. But it won't matter, because everyone knows posh people wear red trousers, and it will raise a knowing insider's laugh every time it is said. And, as someone claimed recently (can't remember who), most people don't actually have a sense of humour, but do love to have a laugh. So, throw someone a joke-shaped feed, and they'll find it funny.
Ed Milliband has a speech impediment! Angela Merkel is a bit overweight and a bossy German! Plus, she's a woman!! Liverpudlians will steal your car's wheels! Posh people -- they wear red trousers, don't they!!
Thank you and good night. You've been an audience, and I've been the Idiotic Hat. I'm here all week.
In my day, the Beano was in black & white