Am I patriotic?
I never think I am, until someone insults, generalises about or parodies my fellow countrymen/women, or slates our films, art, music or cuisine, then surprise, surprise I seem to get rather cross, so I suppose I must be.
What is it to be British?
I think the poet, Benjamin Zephaniah sums it up rather nicely:
Take some Picts, Celts and Silures
And let them settle,
Then overrun them with Roman conquerors.
Remove the Romans after approximately 400 years
Add lots of Norman French to some
Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Vikings, then stir vigorously.
Mix some hot Chileans, cool Jamaicans, Dominicans,
Trinidadians and Bajans with some Ethiopians, Chinese,
Vietnamese and Sudanese.
Then take a blend of Somalians, Sri Lankans, Nigerians
Combine with some Guyanese
And turn up the heat.
Sprinkle some fresh Indians, Malaysians, Bosnians,
Iraqis and Bangladeshis together with some
Afghans, Spanish, Turkish, Kurdish, Japanese
Then add to the melting pot.
Leave the ingredients to simmer.
As they mix and blend allow their languages to flourish
Binding them together with English.
Allow time to be cool.
Add some unity, understanding, and respect for the future,
Serve with justice
Note: All the ingredients are equally important. Treating one ingredient better than another will leave a bitter unpleasant taste.
Warning: An unequal spread of justice will damage the people and cause pain. Give justice and equality to all.
- Benjamin Zephaniah
Whilst we have had some troubles of late, our hotchpotch of colours and cultures, especially in London, is one of the things that makes British special.
Hang on a minute, I hear you say, that’s all very lovely and PC but what about all the quirky, idiosyncratic stuff that comes with being born under such soggy skies?
Here are some quotes from famous Brits:
“Only in Britain could it be thought a defect to be ‘too clever by half’.”
- John Major
Yes, the grey one is right about this. The majority of us are brought up not to blow our own trumpet, or big ourselves up too much, which is always a bit of an awkward moment when Americans guest on our chat shows, and their expectation of ‘whoo’s’ at the announcement of their new movie/book/offspring are met with an embarrassed silence…
For the record, we’re not being rude, Special Friends or trying to make Tom Cruise uncomfortable (thank God he doesn’t jump on couches over here we would die in a fit of cringiness, I tell you, DIE…), we just aren’t allowed to do that.
Anyway we know that it’s a load of hypocritical wank to pretend not to rate yourself, especially if you do, but it’s an awfully hard habit to break….
“Britain: the land of embarrassment and breakfast”
- Julian Barnes
Whilst our elders and the more ‘proper’ members of society are prone to self consciousness and not wanting to draw attention to themselves, I think this is getting bred out of us with the help of multi culturalism, globalisation and the advent of down right exhibitionists, but our breakfasts do make up for it.
You can’t knock our breakfasts!
No-one can knock our breakfasts!!
I get very cross when people knock our food (yes, I’m talking about you Chirac, you bell end), you’re just not eating at the right places, OK?
“The British nation is unique in this respect: they are the only people who like to be told how bad things are, who like to be told the worst.”
- Winston Churchill
We Brits do tend to expect the worse, but when the worse doesn’t happen, it’s, well, quite good isn’t it?
And if that happens, we may even take a bit of a risk and actually hope for the best! Well, only every now and then anyway….
“It’s celebrated in British culture to be eccentric.”
- Paloma Faith
Now we are in the 21st Century this is undoubtedly true, such luminaries as Paloma, Grayson Perry, Eddie Izzard, Lord Bath, Russell Brand and Louis Spence are loved and accepted by most of British society.
Try telling that to Quentin Crisp though, who got more kickings than Bruce Lee back in the 20′s and the punks didn’t exactly get a welcoming committee reception back in the 70′s either, although Vivienne Westwood did OK out of it in the end.
Speaking of the Resident Alien….
“The British do not expect happiness…they do not want to be happy; they want to be right.”
- Quentin Crisp
See? All those beatings do something to a man brought up in the ‘if anyone’s different squash ‘em’ years
We can however, be a bunch of moany know-it-alls though, it has to be said, hence the origins of the Aussie term ‘Whinging Pom’
Finally, to end on a high note, here are a few of my favourite British & Irish people/places/things:
A pub lunch after a long walk on a cold winter’s day
Hot buttered crumpets by a log fire
Dingle Peninsula, Ireland
Brunch at the Wollesley
St Michaels Mount, Cornwall
Rambling and hiking
Hot water bottles
French sole ballet flats
Liberty scarves and fabric
Borough Road Market
Innovative, ground breaking, trend setting British fashion
Edinburgh Comedy Festival
Good fish and chips (there are too many crap fish supper purveyors, check out online reviews tourists!)
A traditional, home made Sunday roast with the family
Vintage shops and market stalls
Paddling in the freezing cold sea (guaranteed all year round cold water)
Afternoon tea at Betties of Harrogate
A hike up Brecon Beacons on a misty day
British TV and film
Notting Hill Carnival
Prince Harry (most entertaining Royal, EVER)
A pint of Guinness in Dublin (has to be done)
A Brick Lane curry
A long weekend in the Lake District
Battersea Dogs Home (most true Brits are big, soppy animal lovers)
Selfridges Food Hall
Haggis and neeps
A full English breakfast and a pot of tea with extra toast and marmalade
God, I’m much more patriotic than I thought I was! Who’d have thunk it?
Time for the National Anthem, I think, everyone stand!
Trackbacks & Pingbacks
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