posted on Apr, 4 2010 @ 11:01 PM
British culture. Well i'm feeling quite lyrical so this could become a bit of an essay:
Being away from the UK for any length of time gives you a perspective that you just can't get from being there. It's like the smell of your house.
You can't smell it until you come back after a long trip. I've been in Canada for a while now, and despite it being a country of white people who
speak English, the two countries have noticeable cultural differences.
British culture is rooted in politeness. I realise at saying this that certain people in the UK will immediately cry "not any more there isn't,
bloody chavs" etc. but that is by and large a false assumption. Sure there is a visible minority of rude, offensive youngsters (and oldsters) but
they are only so noticeable because they stick out so much. We are a well-mannered, patient people. We say please and thank you constantly, and often
when other countries would deem needlessly. But we say it, because that's how we've been bought up. If that's not our culture i don't know what
is. Another thing; Queuing. Out here in Canada i've noticed a lot of people press the traffic light button, then if nothing happens, sigh a bit and
press it again. I see this on a daily basis. I press it, stand there and wait. I'm inclined to believe that most people from Britain would do this.
We sit or stand there patiently and wait. You don't really understand this until you leave the country.
Another thing i've noticed about our culture is the self-effacing nature. There's a beer advert on tv over here at the moment, in which a booming
voice declares all that is great about Canada and how it's the best back yard in the world and how all canadians are born adventurers. Now whilst
i'm not reputing that they may be, i can't help but think that this advert would never be broadcast at home. We are more at home with gently ripping
the piss out of ourselves. I don't think this should be under-estimated. All our successful comedy characters are losers; Brent, Partridge, Basil
Fawlty even Meldrew. We might well secretly think that we're the best, but we'd never be as overt in stating this as other countries. I think this
is to our credit.
Obviously the most visible element of our culture is the drinking culture. I'm not bothered about that. We've always been a nation of binge
drinking. This is no new thing. Look at the size of our beer cans. The people out here were amazed at how much beer i drank. They don't seem to go
for the "One more? Oh go on then" philosophy that we have at home. Like it or not, it is an integral part of our culture. I'd go so far as to say
that it IS our culture.
In danger of rambling now (another great British past-time!) so i'll be curt. Football - away days, drinking, spontaneous singing en-masse in public
situations is something that i love. A rich history of literature and arts. A vibrant comedy history. David Attenborough, Test Matches, milky
builders tea, plates of meat for breakfast. Carveries on a sunday. Music; the greatest nation in the world for most types of music. America invented
rock & roll, we perfected it. Americans invented hip-hop, we turned it into grime. Whether it's to your taste or not you can't deny that it involves
a lot of talent. Drum & bass is British. Heavy Metal is British. Rave culture. Giving people stupid nicknames. Our countryside; not as dramatic as
others but containing some intrinsic beauty that you just can't eloquate effectively. Country pubs. November 5th. The celebration of failure;
Rorke's Drift, charge of the light brigade.
We do have a culture. A defined and definite culture, but maybe you don't fully appreciate the extent of it until you leave it for a while.