7 Aug 2009

The English Perspective

"I'm English and, as such, I crave disappointment" once said the mighty Bill Bailey. He may well be right.

Everything about being English is, well, a bit rubbish. We moan about everything. We're decidedly mediocre at the sports we invented. We have no real national identity. We are apathetic towards politics. Our weather is crap. We are the second most loathed country in the world (we used to be first - nice one America). Our national dance is Morris Dancing. Our food (traditionally) is used as biological weapons in other countries. We are xenophobic of people we don't personally know.

If there was a country that deserved the most abject and pitying glances from the global community then it would be us.

And we bloody love it.

We love the fact that we're lower-middle of the table on everything. We revel in the fact that we're awful at most, if not all things; that we are a country made up of odds and sods. That we get laughed at behind our backs by France and Germany. That we are ruled by Scots. That when Europe asks us to do something really useful, something that will aid millions of people around the globe we jam our metaphorical fingers into our ears and go 'ner ner ner - can't hear you - ner ner ner'.

The reason is that deep within our cores, smothered under decades of imperialistic guilt, lies an untainted and irresistible belief that we are a little bit better than other people.

Take Australians. Yes they're better at sport, outgoing, better looking, laid back, more fun and less repressed. But whenever we meet them we subconsciously think 'criminal colonist'.

I'd like to call this 'The English Perspective'. The mad thing is that 'The English Perspective' isn't genetic; it's viral.

Any immigrant (family or individual) will eventually develop this way of looking at the world. Will start to moan. Will become bloody minded. Will act superior when dealing with others. My Grandma is Portuguese and has lived here for over 50 years. She is all of those things. The other day she was muttering to herself about those 'blooming immigrants' whilst completely forgetting that she is an immigrant.

Which leads to our greatest redeeming feature. We take in everything (food, language, people, music, literature, etc.) from everywhere (Asia to America and everywhere in between) and we make them our own. We break down the original in the process and some would say that by doing this we destroy it a little bit. But we've been doing this for centuries and it doesn't look like we're stopping anytime soon.

Anyway, we can't help it; we're English.


  1. Interesting post on the English perspective. It's good to get a better idea as I continue to extend my knowledge. I like the fact that you mentioned that all the difference culture and experiences from all over are made to be yor own. Great post!

  2. LMAO - fucking love this post Sir Duke! You had me laughing all the way through. I especially love the part about our grandmother. We are all immigrants in some form or another and yet people constantly find a way to bitch about them. I personally like the English perspective - lie down and play dead, this too will pass. :P