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A culture checklist for aspiring Brits

20th September 2015 Print
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Owning a library card, watching subtitled films and being skilled with a pair of chopsticks are among the traits which make you cultured, according to Brits.

Seven in ten Brits consider themselves ‘cultured’, revealed a study of 2,000 – but the majority admit to not knowing exactly what the term means.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘cultured’ as ‘improved by education and training; possessed of or characterized by culture, esp. with reference to the arts and intellectual pursuits; refined, cultivated.’

But the study, commissioned by Yakult to mark their 80th anniversary, found many consider someone ‘cultured’ if they go on city breaks over beach holidays, read a book before bed and drink ‘proper’ coffee over instant.

Additionally, three in four Brits think you can be cultured without ever having left the country.

A Yakult spokesperson said, “It seems that perceptions of ‘culture’ can vary, but the one thing that almost everyone has in common is a desire to experience more of it, and to become more ‘cultured’.

‘’Being cultured can simply be a case of showing interest in the world and experiencing new things. We can all benefit from this, as getting out and about is a great way of improving our lives.

‘’Yakult’s 80th anniversary this year seemed the perfect opportunity to reward our drinkers with the Yakult Culture Pass.

This six-month pass, free with every two promotional packs, grants 2-for-1 entry to over 350 scientific, educational and historic venues, giving people a real chance to experience more culture.”

Brits are at their most cultured at age 38 (according to the poll) and feel the most need to project a cultured persona at dinner parties, high-end restaurants and job interviews.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, going to the theatre was named the top sign of being cultured – along with listening to classical music, having an interest in politics and the ability to recognise art.

But less obvious factors included reading a book before bed, having a sound knowledge of cheese and choosing to watch the news rather than change channel.

When it comes to TV, documentaries are the high-brow choice according to one in four – while other refined picks should include Question Time and the Antiques Road Show.

A well-informed Brit should also take countryside walks, visit local heritage sites and be able to read music, the poll showed.

And as well as holding dinner parties, civilised adults should know about cuts of meat, get food from the ‘finer’ supermarket ranges and know which wine would go best with the meal.

Simply having a library card means you’re cultured said one in ten, while almost a fifth said a classy Brit would read the book first before watching a film adaptation.

Making up the list of 40 were traits such as correctly guessing the Countdown conundrum, putting on an accent to pronounce foreign words and drinking herbal tea.

Finally, snubbing superstore furniture is a cultured decision, said one in twenty – who would instead go for individual or vintage items.

In light of the cultural check-list, seven in ten confessed they wish they were more cultured – with 31 per cent even admitting they sometimes ‘fake it’ to impress others.

Brits named science centres, historic houses and castles among the sites they’d be open to visiting – but 54 per cent admitted the cost holds them back.

And that’s where Yakult’s new Culture Pass activity comes in. Currently free with every two promotional packs, the pass gives users 2-for-1 entry to a wide range of cultural venues across the UK and Ireland.

With partners including the Eden project, National Wax Museum in Ireland and CADW venues in Wales, the pass could represent potential savings of over £100 if used ten times.

A Yakult spokesperson said, “Trying out a new activity can be a fun way to shake up our everyday routine and learn something new. The Culture Pass days out will encourage learning and expand horizons, which is something Yakult has been passionate about for the past 80 years.”

According to Brits, you’re cultured if you… (listed in order of most popular)

1. Go to the theatre

2. Can recognise paintings/art

3. Visit local heritage sites

4. Listen to classical music

5. Go to the ballet

6. Know what wine goes with what

7. Don’t skip the news when it’s on TV

8. Watch documentaries

9. Can read music

10. Take an avid interest in politics

11. Read daily newspapers

12. Take countryside walks

13. Read a book before bed

14. Choose city breaks over beach holidays

15. Watch Question Time

16. Host dinner parties

17. Know about cheese

18. Enjoy crosswords or Sudoku

19. Go to vintage markets

20. Know about cuts of meat

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