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Subterranean stereotypes - John C. Kirk — LiveJournal

Oct. 11th, 2010

07:22 pm - Subterranean stereotypes

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There's been a bit of controversy from Andrew Marr today:
"A lot of bloggers seem to be socially inadequate, pimpled, single, slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed, young men sitting in their mother's basements and ranting."
(Source: Guardian, Telegraph.)

The bit that I find most interesting is the reference to basements; I've heard similar comments online for several years, but usually from Americans. I know a few adults who live with their parents (Failure to Launch), but they don't live in basements. If you already have a perfectly good bedroom, why would you want to live in a basement instead? More importantly, it's quite rare for English houses to have basements. The only place I've lived that had a basement was a house that had been converted into studio flats (3 per floor), so there was no significant difference between the basement and the ground floor. Also, if the basement flat is independent of the rest of the building, you're a neighbour (or tenant) rather than a flatmate. So, leaving aside any issue of maturity, I'd say that living in your parents' basement simply isn't an option for most people in this country, because it doesn't physically exist!

It may be different in the USA, and I realise that a lot of Americans tend to assume that everyone else on the internet is also from the USA, or that the rest of the world is the same as the USA. However, I'm surprised to hear someone from the BBC saying the same thing. So, maybe my experience isn't representative. What do the rest of you think?

Poll #1630354 Basements

How many houses have you lived in that had basements?

Mean: 1.00 Median: 1 Std. Dev 0.00

For the purposes of this question, it only counts if the building is one complete unit from ground level upwards.

Edit: Hmm, apparently the poll won't show the number of people who chose "0" unless you click "View answers". That's unhelpful, but never mind.


[User Picture]
Date:October 12th, 2010 07:41 am (UTC)
I answered zero because two of my homes have had "cellars".

Andrew Marr is English, surely.

Even if "basement" is an acceptable variant of "cellar" we just don't usually turn them into habitable rooms here in the UK.
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[User Picture]
Date:October 12th, 2010 09:27 am (UTC)
Where I grew up, a lot of the houses in the row had habitable basement rooms. Basically, when the bottom half terrace was built, the front doors were all built at the same level, even though the terrace is on a hill. So the bottom 12 or so houses have basements, with varying amounts of above-ground height. Those with sufficient height to have normal-ish windows tend to use their basements as additional rooms, since they are very narrow, typically one room to a floor.
Most aren't used as bedrooms because of privacy (the windows are right onto the pavement), but they are frequently used as home offices, playrooms, dining rooms etc.
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[User Picture]
Date:October 12th, 2010 09:48 am (UTC)
I played through Zork: Grand Inquisitor in a basement.
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