Posted by: martinworster | August 12, 2007

58. ENGLISHNESS

OI OI! Come on Engerrland…!

It’s a strange phenomena but living abroad it’s normal that you become more English. It’s certainly happened to me and I suppose it’s part and parcel of the expat experience. By being a foreigner people are obviously more aware of your different nationality and all the cultural differences that implies. It is also relevant that the World Cup is fast approaching, the designated time for all things patriotic and jingositic. Outside the World Cup if you painted your face red and white and walked around with a St George cape you’d get arrested for being a National Front memeber. In fact, I have booked my ticket back to the UK to conincide with the whole tournament as the thought of watching it in a smoke free American pub at six in the morning fills me with dread. I know it’s always true, but this time England really do have a chance and I would like to be there if it happens.

I was out in Huntington Beach the other night on a Saturday sipping Jack and Diet Cokes at Gallaghers, our local ‘Irish’ bar that shows Amerian football, basket ball and baseball on 24 inch plasma screens. I turns out there is quite a vocal English contingent in Huntington Beach as I managed to meet them that night. One of them – James from Shepherds Bush – complained of how fake it is here because people latch onto you because you are English. Being English is deemed ‘cool’ – the music, attitude, the accent, history, standing beside them in the Gulf, yada yada. We are also the motherland really so I guess there is some reverance from that too. They speak our language. It’s that ‘special relationship’ Regan and Thatcher talked about which has since been used as a prop to justify helping each other out when we pointlessly invade oil rich Middle Eastern countries. All this means that we’re really quite popular here, despite the fact that Hollywood frequently casts us the weird, eccentric bad guy characters.

James carried on demoaning the fact that he thought it was fake that Americans liked him just because of his language. He even admitted he used it as a tool to get chicks, so this kind of undermined his whole argument. Later that night I saw him holding court to a group of American’s. He was acting all over the top English, cheeky chappy gestures and an overemphasis on the Cockney vowels. ‘Aigght Geezer, ahs it goin? You’re avin’ a Giraffe, in’t ya?’ The Yanks were lapping it up. Who was being fake here then?

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