"Andale! Andale! Arriba! It's a rat race out there as any parent of the sharp elbowed middle classes will tell you over a bottle of shoplifted, Waitrose Chardonnay. And consequently, traditionally, that sharp elbow has always ensured their children, or "child protégés" as their parents refer to them, are exclusively hot housed in the public school & university education system to be the mother of all Speedy Gonzaleses.
However, it would seem that being a pompous, spoilt brat is just no longer enough to land that prestigious post as arts journalist or Harvey Nicks' head buyer nowadays. In a dog eat dog world, in which the availability of the crème de la crème of career prospects within middle class professions have diminished in a volatile, economic climate, the insufferable snob & proud parent now has to be more inventive in their educational regimen of little Tarquin. And this is where the latest trend from the US enters stage: Artsitting.
Artsitting is a new era in babysitting in which, for a premium, Tarquin & Hortense will be baby sat by a professional artist from companies such as Mozart's Muse: An artsitting agency which guarantee to stimulate your child's creative potential to its maximum effect & nurture the vibrato which may just clinch that job at Harvey Nicks after all.
Eager to learn more of this phenomenon imported from the US, I visited Ponceby Avenue, a quiet, suburban street in Surrey, to interview some of the clients of Mozart's Muse & their artsitters. At number 12, I met Lucy & Gus Villiers, parents of five year old Rupert-Pierre & seven year old Sebastian who were in a session with their artsitter, 35 year old Thaddeus Darling, who was an RSC trained actor. I enquired if I could interview Thaddeus but was advised by Gus that Thaddeus had, in fact, currently locked himself in the toilet & was refusing to come out after citing creative differences with five year old Rupert-Pierre after Thaddeus accused the five year old of upstaging him with Peppa Pig noises during a performance of Hamlet.
Disappointed, I left no.12 to the sound of Thaddeus in the toilet screaming on his phone to his agent, "Either that BITCH, Rupert, goes or I do!" Somewhat bewildered, I decided to head for number 21 to the home of nouveau-riche City commodity broker, Del Butcher, & his wife, Dina. I hoped their experience of artsitting would be more positive but arrived to find Dina in tears.
"We wanted Dante as our artsitta because we 'oped 'is experience in interior design & 'fearta manegemint would expose our sevin & nine year olds ter a bitta cultcha," sobbed Dina, "but instead 'e's turned 'em into right little snobs. They don't even call me mum anymore & refur ter me naw as that 'vulgar woman' & 'muck wiv brass.'" she wailed.
"We recently spent a bleedin' fawt-tune on decoratin' & fernishin' the kids' bedrooms fer 'em & the little shits complained their rooms were full of gaudy, nouveau-riche tat which Dante, the artsitta, told 'em was probably nicked off a Liverpool council estate," raged Del.
I left the distraught Butchers & made my way to number 29, home of Maximilian du Pon IV & his wife, Alicia, who had booked conceptual artist, Felicity, to artsit their 10 year son, Maximilian du Pon V.
"How's it going?" I nervously asked Alicia.
"Bloody woman's bin sat there for neaaarly an hour reading the Morning Staaar & drinking Eaaarl Grey whilst completely ignoring our sohn." hissed Alicia.
"Have you mentioned it to her?" I asked her.
"Yeaaars, she said she was teaching Maximilian du Pon V the concept of 'all property is theft because it's stolen labour by doing feck all' & called us 'bourgeois pig dogs of war & greed who deserved to be robbed & forced to shop at Asda,'" replied Alicia.
I was now beginning to have serious reservations about Mozart's Muse & artsitting in general as I walked back down to number 7 for my final interview with clients of the agency: social worker, Ann Noseworthy-Parker & her husband, Augustus, an anthropologist. As I knocked on the door, to my amazement, it was opened by none other than celebrity & Geordie chav, Cheryl Cole who informed me she was, in fact, the Noseworthy-Parker's artsitter to their daughters Persephone, 9, & Octavia, 11.
"I have to say, Cheryl, you would've been the last person I'd have expected to find here as an artsitter," I exclaimed in disbelief.
"Wae'aye man! Cos Ahm such a big celeBRRIT-eeh like?" Cheryl asked.
"Erm well er of course, "I tactfully replied as we settled down for the interview. "Cheryl, could you tell my readers why you wanted to become an artsitter & what your sessions as one with the children of your clients involve, please?" I continued.
"Wae'aye man, A've got nar idea wot Ahm deeyuhn (doing) here but me agent said Ah shud becum an artsittor fo' ponces like this so peep-eel (people) winnet think Ahm a talentless charva off a TV reality show. At the mo, like, Ahm teachin' these two, wee posh shits the art of mime & ha tuh speak propor Geordie, like," Cheryl replied.
I thanked Cheryl for her somewhat candid answer & turned to nine year old, Persephone Noseworthy-Parker who was miming to X-Factor using an empty bottle of Newcastle Brown ale as a microphone, "Persephone, sweetie, could you be very clever & say something for me which Cheryl has taught you in Geordie, please?" I asked her.
"Wae'aye, yee southern faggit, I thought pryin' intee othor peep-eels business was me mother's job," trilled Persephone.
I cancelled my son's session with Julian, the impresario, from Mozart's Muse.