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Culture clash

PUBLISHED: 17:34 30 September 2013 | UPDATED: 17:34 30 September 2013

'The vast majority of residents of the Cotswolds, and I’m claiming around 98%, do not run merchant banks, don’t work in the TV business, don’t have an Aga or a Labrador, they don’t have Range Rovers or live in barn conversions

'The vast majority of residents of the Cotswolds, and I’m claiming around 98%, do not run merchant banks, don’t work in the TV business, don’t have an Aga or a Labrador, they don’t have Range Rovers or live in barn conversions

Archant

If you rattle Adam Edwards’ cage, you may well get a bucketload back, as Roberty Llewellyn is about tofind out! The gloves are off in the battle of the Cotswold cliché

Two months ago Robert Llewellyn, an actor whose main claim to fame is that he appeared in the Nineties sitcom Red Dwarf, took umbrage at a column I wrote. My Editor kindly gave him the right of reply. Robert was cross that hacks like myself had described wealthy residents of the Cotswolds `with barbed insights and brand accurate put downs’.

He claimed the portrait we paint is always `snide, knowing and accurate, if you only inhabit the tiny, totally irrelevant little world these self-loathing scribes clearly do.’ adding `the vast majority of residents of the Cotswolds, and I’m claiming around 98%, do not run merchant banks, don’t work in the TV business, don’t have an Aga or a Labrador, they don’t have Range Rovers or live in barn conversions.’

Robert believes that his life is not a cliché.

Robert, 56, lives, with his tennis- loving wife, in one of the most fashionable villages in the Cotswolds, which according to Zoopla has an average property price of £715,000. He says `I’ve lived in the Cotswolds for 21 years. It’s a quiet corner of England’s rolling West Country, which has long been the playground of Britain’s rich, powerful and influential.’ The house has an Aga and fancy chickens in the gardens. The couple also has a flat in London.

Robert has owned a series of Land Rovers, likes fast cars and is an admitted `petrol head’. He also loves computers and has top of the range Apple Macs. His daughter, a vegetarian, learned to ride her own pony and attended the local pony club.

Robert admires the Queen, has met Prince Charles and used to have tea regularly in Fortnum and Mason’s. He is extensively travelled and recently spent time in Las Vegas `swimming in luxury pools and going out to fabulous meals’. At home he listens to Radio 4, walks the dogs, one of which is a fashionable lurcher, in the adjacent rolling countryside and recently was asked to compere the dog show at his local fete. This year he attended the Cornbury Festival (nick-named `Poshstock’) and sat in the VIP area rubbing shoulders with Jeremy Clarkson and Rebecca Brooks.

Shortly after he moved to the country he gave an interview to the Independent newspaper about life in the Cotswolds and said `you can see lots of horsey people in Wellingtons; you think it’s a cliché but they’re completely for real.’

All of the above might lead one to thinking think that Robert is exactly the sort of person from central casting that self-loathing London scribes love to hate.

But hang on. Robert has also `worked in the traditional media business for a long time now’ and his wife is an author and filmmaker with a journalism and media communications degree. He reads the Guardian and shared a house with Anjie Hunter, the director of government relations for Tony Blair’s 1997 government who is now married to Adam Boulton political editor of Sky News. Furthermore Robert and his wife recently had dinner with that most powerful of media couples Matthew Freud and his wife Liz, daughter of Rupert Murdoch. `The food was lovely, the staff discreet and attentive and the scattering of guests represented some of the most influential figures in the British media,’ he says.

Robert also runs a blog and here are a few of his trenchant views.

On toffs: they scoff at our bumbling struggle toward some form of tragic equality. Anyone who isn’t like them, and there’s very few of them, is by definition scum.

On newspapers: I am so grateful I haven’t met, and even worse ‘got on with’ Rebekah Brooks at some nob-heavy Cotswold dinner party. If you support bullying and powerful corporations like Murdoch’s News International by buying their wretched old rags and reading them, you are a nothing short of a moron.

On attending an exclusive art show: I won’t comment on the art, it was the people attending, the punters that told the real story. They are the 1%. Everyone attending was tall, slim, rich and confident looking. Most of the pieces were enormous, you’d need a massive house to accommodate them, but of course these people do have massive houses.

On Bankers: I bloody hate bankers. I blame them for everything that’s ever gone wrong with the world in my lifetime.

Methinks Robert protests too much. It seems to me that Robert secretly wishes to enjoy both a red-trouser, merchant bankers’ life and to inhabit a `tiny, totally irrelevant’ media world. But I don’t want to be mean-spirited. Let’s hear it for Robert – in fact let’s celebrate him. He is, after all, a cliché - a good old-fashioned, hypocritical member of the Cotswold bourgeoisie (and let’s hope those ghastly self-loathing London hacks don’t continue to disrupt his perfect rural idyll).

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Adam Edwards is a regular contributor to Cotswold Life.

Follow him on Twitter: @cotswoldhack

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