Sunday, 29 April 2012
I feel obliged to say that there is quite a lot I dislike about Britain: This ranges from the jingoistic flag-waving to the weather, from the horrible "Proud to be British" attitude to the (and this is unfortunately still the case) fatty stodginess of the food.
Still, there are things I'm fond of. So here goes, in no particular order, but without the dulcet tones of "God Save the Queen":
1. The Language
Whilst I'm a lover of all languages, English is my favourite. Why? Because it can be anything you want it to be? Its range of register is second to none. You can express the same sentiment in at least 10 different ways, high, low, vulgar, ironic, condescending, old-fashioned, street. The vocabulary is endless, it adopts to any new situation, it is malleable, relatively easy to learn, beautiful - and it is the language I feel most comfortable in.
Was there ever a better invention, food-wise? A sandwich can be whatever you want it to be. Any type of bread, any type of filling, as small or as big as you like it. Cold, toasted, vegetarian, opulent...Sandwiches are tasty, practical, healthy (well mostly). You can take them with you, share them, re-invent them. I honestly can't think of anything nicer. P.S.: They can be soggy, too.
3. Political Correctness
Don't laugh - I like it! It doesn't have to be authoritarian, or ridiculous. It's just a way of dealing with one another that is fair, even-handed and non-threatening. It helps to avoid conflicts of all sorts, makes life easier and prevents pub-bores to vent their spleen. And yes, you're still allowed to laugh about people: The ones that enforce it to a ridiculous degree! :)
4. (Change of Topic, when I come to my next point:) Oxford
Somebody said that if you enjoyed Oxford, everything afterwards is just a big let-down. If that's a slight exaggeration, Oxford is certainly the most profoundly life-changing experience you can have in modern times. If you're unconvinced you could just visit the town, stand on Magdalen Bridge and look at the willow in front of the college. It would still just be a tourist experience, but you'd gain a tiny insight of what I'm on about. (And no, Cambridge with its bus station and its higgledy-piggledy architecture doesn't really come into the equation!)
5. Jamie Oliver
Now, is this man a genius, or isn't he? He's single-handedly guided the British public towards olive oil, lemon juice and herbs, told them that vegetables are actually edible, and no, they don't need an hour in boiling water. Furthermore he took up the mettle with fierce Northern mothers who want to feed their offspring chip-butties, and iffy mince for breakfast. He's unfussy, loveable, and eager to change things for the better.
I realise that not everybody will agree with my choices of what I like, so go on - tell us YOUR faves!