Sally Timms wrote an essay
And a Brit is always homesick. Living in New York may well be a wonderful, exciting experience for a while, with its 24-hour shopping, clubbing and drinking. But I don’t want to be murdered on the streets by someone who needs a push bike - or caught in a crossfire. I don’t want to become immune to someone pleading for help in the subway. I don’t want the new super strain of TB. You know, living in this city is not all it’s cracked up to be. Every night, I dream of a place called home, where you can get a decent cup of teas anywhere you go, where the hills are green and rolling, where it’s never too hot or too cold; where the pubs shut at 10:30, you have a good strap with some of the drunks, go home and that’s it for a Saturday night! I miss fish and chips, Tetley’s Bitter and fat Northern comedians with their ribald seaside jokes. I want to be able to see my doctor and not have to pay a week’s wages, where socialism may have become a dirty word but at least you can still says it. Oh to be in England!
Come on, you must remember England. Just go 3.000 miles east and you’ll hit it. We used to rule the world, you know. Burt where are we know, eh? Doing badly in the third division on the global league, soon to be regulated. It’s always been an independent little island nation, repelling invaders from is shores, wether they be French or the Germans o rival European football supporters. „Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves. Britons never, never shall be slaves. „ I’m wearing my Union Jack knickers proudly as I write. Americans like to say that England’s boring, which of course is totally untrue. Yes, the pubs shut early and it’s always raining; everyone looks ill and no-one works out. But then Americans like to believe that the best of everything, that there’s no place like America, and of course they all believe in the American Dream. That’s how a bum on the subway with nothing to eat and nowhere to live can shout: „God bless America." While he begs for a quarter. Because here, if you fail, it’s just down to you, it’s your fault and nobody’s going to help you, no one wants to know you when you’re down and out.
There is no equivalent English Dream, except that perhaps one day the licensing laws will change. Success is not a virtue at home and definitely not something to strive for. In fact, doing well is perceived as being almost tasteless. Failure is applauded and success derided - we just love an underdog. Sadly, this doesn’t apply in every case, because I know by my own experience that the Mekons are notorious failures, yet we do well in America and very badly in England.
What is it about the English and their refusal to fit in? We drive on the wrong side of the road, we use funny money and hate metric We think nanny knows best—which goes some way to explaining Thatcher’s popularity - and we love spanking, particularly if it's nanny who s doing it. We are basically a nation of idiosyncratic perverts. All our judges wear panties and stockings under their judicial robes, and even the wigs and robes themselves are pretty strange. We are obsessed with the Queen, still maintain a royal family. We put ferrets to our trousers for sport, like crude jokes. If you want to see what being truly English does to a musician, for a bad example look to Morrissey for a long time, see the Kinks. We’re odd and we’re tolerant of ourselves.
Maybe that's what I miss about dear old Blighty, that we tolerate eccentricity. We’re more gentle on each other in some ways than Americans. Despite the American desire to be seen as forward looking, this is an intensely backward country. Something happened here after the Sixties time warped and instead of going (onward to the Seventies and Eighties, you went back to the Fifties with all its phony morality.
Just look at television, for example. There's no nudity, besides the occasional nipple on PBS, and no sex ever. You can't turn on British TV without seeing endless shagging of all denominations: straight, gay, whatever—it s all there, all bare; (especially on Channel Four after nine in the evening). I’ve even heard a woman simulating an orgasm on BBC radio. There s always plenty of swearing too but not much violence. I just don’t think the Moral Majority could take hold in England; it couldn’t exist. And since Henry the Eighth basically did away with real religion - devi1 worship and the Church of England sit happily together - so the born-again movement wouldn’t make much headway either.
Basically the English don t like to make a fuss. We turn the other cheek to impolite service or rude behaviour and it s too much effort to be confrontational. Ask someone English what they think and they ll never tell you the truth if they think it would offend. We re all repressed A couple were tried for lewd behaviour in a public place recently: They had had oral sex in front of a trainload of families coming back from a day at the seaside. Nobody said a word—until they lit up a post-coital cigarette then someone told them they were in a nosmoking compartment and complained to the conductor.
But underneath every refined Englishman or woman is a base little barbarian fighting to get out We produced the cream of low brow - Benny Hill the Carry On Team, Bernard Manning, Little and Large, even the Krankies (you probably won't know any of them) Then something went wrong and out came Emma Thora (??) (too middle-brow!) We love basic toilet humor - anything about farting with accompanying sound effects goes down well. After all, we have the Queen sitting in Buckingham Palace, the Crown Jewels and everything else that goes with it - we don't have to prove to the world that we are a cultured nation. And then there's football Not soccer never soccer! And it's a very sad day indeed when a country who don't even call the game by the right name knock us out of the World Cup. It's a footy or a footer to you - and it's our national sport. What else could encourage those cheery red-faced fans with there colourful scarves and crates of Tennant's Super to take to the sea on that perilous trip across the Channel Yes the English hooligans are coming! w. fought them on the beaches and we'll fight them on the terraces You see despite the EEC and the open borders we still haven't recovered from our history It's in our blood We've been fighting the French and the Germans for hundreds of years. So while there's no reason for a war at least a skirmish on the pitch will quell that primordial need temporarily.
Even our drag queens are different! They don't vogue in England they don't even look like women. They're big and fat and hairy they have names like Dockyard Doris and they sing about 'skinheads who beat on my arse till it stings to the tune of ‘These Are a Few Of My Favorite Things ' So what am I doing in America? Why am I living in what has to be the sickest society in the world? Put up or shut up! Well maybe this i5 a one-woman invasion to bring my own brand g f tastelessness to the USA We've been watching how you handled independence and we think you need us back. It's already started.
There's a healthy following for ‘Are You Being Served?' on PBS. Before you know it, all you Yanks will be begging for more ‘Eastenders’ or ‘On the Buses’ Bill Clinton won't ask to be on ‘Cheers ‘, he'll be serving behind the bar on ‘Coronation Street’. Who knows where it will end - you'll be setting up your own National Health Service next' (Ed- Dream on Sally)
So be vigilant America because this time we're slipping in quietly through the side door. Brits are everywhere Who know? In a few years time your national game may still be called football—real football' And then we'll be playing to win .