Nina Stibbe (2014) Love, Nina Dispatches from Family Life.

The first letter dated September 1982 is addressed to Dear Vic (that’s Nina’s sister) and she gives her address as 53 Gloucester Crescent London NW1. If you’ve got an NW1 address the Mosaic algorithm which credit companies favour and sorts postcodes into easy to read bundles, which brackets what kind of person you are, by where you live, and determines how much credit you can be pushed, would use terms for NW1ers as Cultural Leaders (or Global Connectors). N1 postcode suggests affluence.

Nina is from the North. And, aged 20, she’s young. The Mosaic algorithm brackets such people as thickos who they can bung lots of credit cards which they’ll max out on (after all this was 1982). (Em 2014 and the Mosaic algorithm still seems to be doing it! Perhaps us up North are thickos.)

Nina asks in her first pen letter to her sister ‘PS Who’s George Melly? I’m in his room.’

‘Moving, In 1982-84,’ ‘Dear Vic, Being a nanny is great. Not a job really, just like living in someone else’s life. Today before breakfast Sam had to empty the dishwasher and Will had to feed the cat.’

Sam and Will are Mary Kay Wilmers’ sons. Mary Kay is deputy editor of London Review of Books and Gordon Bennett  she knows everybody. AB (Alan Bennett) lives across the road and is forever popping in. Once he came to investigate a possible burglar. There wasn’t one but I’m sure it’ll turn up in a scene somewhere. He also remarked dryly that one of his well known nob pals was shagging the cleaner and had crabs. Nina didn’t know what crabs where.

Nina seems likeable enough, but if there weren’t so many references to ‘cultural leaders’ it’s doubtful this book would have been published. Noseyness only goes so far, page 40, in fact. You might get further with this book.

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