Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Culture, Korea, and HG Wells

With St.George's day upon us, and thoughts of our shared culture uppermost in our minds, it's important to reflect on what Britishness really is.

It isn't bowler hats, morris dancers and fried breakfasts. We aren't a backward-looking people. There's no time for nostalgia and hidebound monoculturalism when we're busy getting phalanxes of Polish builders to knock up more and more Starbucks outlets or learning Mandarin so we can sell Johnny Foreigner some more riot-suppression kit.

Paradoxically, the most 'English' places you can find are the Costa Del Sol (which has been transformed into a rather more arid Blackpool by waves of migrant cabbies) and, most surprisingly, a small corner of Korea.

The people who go to these places aren't tourists in the conventional sense. They're Time Travellers who fear the bright future where we all live in one enormous Tesco and, instead, seek a safe haven in the mid-Sixties.

The mid-Sixties are pretty hard to access with our current technology so instead they've built the lost Albion of their childhood dreams somewhere hot.

The thing is, these arch-conservatives can migrate away from our island home all they want but they'll never be satisfied. Once they get past the novelty of washing some oilier-than average fish & chips down with an overpriced bottle of San Miguel while they're reading a suspiciously thin copy of the Daily Express the crushing realisation that there's no weather and so they have nothing to talk about will destroy their souls more thoroughly than a thousand Asylum Seekers hostels would have done.

They might as well save themselves a few bob and just buy a boxed set of Heartbeat DVDs. Except they can't.


Anonymous said...

I hate more than half of Brits abroad and I'd like to punch the twat with the flag on his head in the face.

Wooster74 said...

I hate twats who post trash-talk as "anonymous" and I'd like to punch this guy, who's girlfriend is giving me head, in the face.

Anonymous said...

The brits are solely responsible for the majority of turmoil in the world - israel, the middle east, india , etc. Can't we get these ppl a dental plan?

Fetherston said...

I generally prefer to blame the French for the problems of the 20th/21st century (ToVersailles->WWII-> middle east/ vietnam...).

How about we compromise on Canada?

Anonymous said...

Oh, I get it, "twat" means "fellow" in your culture.

Anonymous said...


Although to be fair, if the US hadn't given the arms to Bin laden and Sadam Hussain then maybe alot of the problems would not be here today.

Mikey said...

Well, Mr. Anonymous - if that really is your name - I'm not sure you can blame Britain solely for the enormous mess in the Middle East, or indeed in Israel (which is after all only just up the road.

Historically, yes, we did have an involvement in setting up both Iraq & Israel but that was quite a while ago and there has to be a statute of limitations on history - at some point the inhabitants of these countries need to blame themselves for the mess they've got themselves in (I'm looking at you here, Zimbabwe) and stop blaming us.

It's like teenagers whimpering on about how their Mum & Dad not loving them enough is justification for self-harm, eyeliner, and awful music.

As for India, overall I think the chaps there are making a decent enough fist of things. It's not their fault that all the cleverest and most ambitious Indians chipped of to Britain leaving behind a nation of middle-managers and dental hygienists.

Anonymous said...

If there is one thing beer isn't in Spain, it's over-priced.

William said...

I like watching English tourists get harassed by drunk New Yorkers. It's part of the "New York Experience" man!

Math Campbell said...

Not wanting to appear overly critical here, but your comments about St. George's Day, and then "Britishness" in the same sentence bring up one of the more annoying English habits:
Assuming "British == English, and English == British".
St. George's Day has no more to do with Britishness than St. Andrews, St. David's or St. Patrick's Day has; precisely bugger all.

I know it's not your fault, and I'm not trying to piss you off mate; I like the english, they've given the world Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Queen, Earl Grey tea and many other things.

It's just the "colonial" attitude that's inherent in Britain, the idea that England rules the UK like it's the last little bit of the empire, and Scotland, Wales and Nothern Ireland are colonies to be ignored, patronised and, if they dare dissent, squashed.

That said, put me down as a disgruntled Scots Nationalist, since I'm a little annoyed the three England-based parties in Scotland are refusing to let us have any say on the future of Scotland in the UK.

I presume you're probably about as annoyed that some interfering Jock gits are running "your" country (well, you did vote for them). For the record, Scotland isnae scrounging, since the whisky and oil more than make up for the money we get from London (and a bit more actually, but what's a few Billion between close neighbours?), and we hate Broon, Darling and the rest probably even more than you 'cause we get the blame. We don't want them back either. Send them to Europe if you'd like; where bad politicians go to die :)

Anonymous said...

so many things are mistyped and misspelled in this blog....kinda hard to read....also what the heck is a flannel?? flannel in the brochure, flanner in the book? maybe things go wrong because you try to put clothes on articles of paper?

Mikey said...

Well that's a reasonable point Math Campbell - It gets hard to keep track of these things: Most of the time I am talking about the English rather than any of the people around the edges because they make up the bulk of the 'Costa Del Boy' constituency.

However when we're talking about patriotism our (mainly Scots) government do so like to say 'Britishness' and it's too easy to get mixed up when all you're really trying to be is inclusive.

As for you, Anonymous #1003, I may well have mis-typed the odd thing, I'm only human, but unless you're willing to point out specifics then I'm afraid your comment is of no value at all. Especially as you mis-typed 'flannel'

Anonymous said...

The middle east is the the birthplace of agriculture and thus urban/fixed/modern civilization. The problems and divisions in place are the result of cultural evolution older than Britain; yes, hindsight is 20/20 and not all of the methods applied by the US and UK are perfect, but i don't believe you can blame turmoil on this Empire; try ALL empires. The quest for dominion is to blame. Canadian by the way, and you're welcome to blame us falsely for whatever you like, we'll just politely ignore you.

Jeff said...

I agree with the author of this piece. Moving to an inexpensive tropical paradise inevitably leads to misery and despair.

not_anonymous said...

Dang Anonymous, you sure post a lot.
Get a job, get away from your computer, move out of your parent's basement.