Sunday, August 08, 2010

a cynic's guide to britain? hmmmm...dot3x

Ha Ha this book was chosen not for any particular reason except that when I was paying for my Thornton (yummy!) chocolates and the just published 'The Third Man' the hurriedly (so it seemed haha) done autobiography (that caused a stir in Britain) of Lord Peter Mandelson (we will look at this book at another blogpost ok? hehe), I was told that I could pick up any other book ad 50% discount! So I scurried back to the shelves..oh well display counters and picked up this rather 'brilliant' book haha.

I read the blurp, it said 'The British national myth. Is it true? Or is it a myth? Having skewered modern life in the bestselling Is it Just Me or Is Everything Shit?, Steve Lowe and Alan McArthur set out to explore the deep dark heart of British national identity. After all: who better to embark upon an odessy through all things British than two unpatriotic cynics without any formal grounding in history?

Over the course of a year they enjoy a daybreak morris dance on the Cerne Abbas Giant, pull an all-nighter at Stonehenge and witness Wales and Scotland rising again (a bit). They encounter terrifying Europhobe ladies in Surrey, endure the Last Night of the Proms and lose the will to live in Gibraltar. They also met a lot of druids. Hillarious and provocative, Blighty offers a brilliant, alternative (ooops) vision of Britain - debunking the madness behind the tradness.

Even the introduction page made me smile. Listen to this. The authors described a council-run British Citizenship Ceremony that sounded like very much the worst sort of party. Would there even be a bar? (there wasn't. haha). Then, inside the curvy wood-panelled Hackney Town Hall council chamber, sat 20 British-citizens-in-waiting. At that moment, there were Algerian, Australian, Iraqi, Israeli, Sierra Leonian, Turkish, Latvian, Cameroonian....hmm (no Malaysian?)..and within hours they would turn British and henceforward would remain British. They were touched with a vibe stick (that's a metaphor; nobody actually touches them with a stick.) The proto-Britishers (as the authors described them) had all passed the fiendish Citizenship Test and, having paid GBP625, had now each been issued a special citizenship folder with pictures on the front, representing Britain: Stonehenge; a castle; the Forth Raliway bridge (British!); a family jumping up and down in a field... This-this! - is Britain. an ancient land where jumping is entirely permissible...hahaha. You should read the book yourselves ok?

It won't be fun if I tell you anything more...oh ok mebbe juz a lil more...huh? Ok ok there's this chapter four that is devoted to cash for honours, the norman conquest, fish and a handbag haha. The ancient love affair with Guilds (which reminds me of my favourite british actor Anthony Hopkins in that movie "remains of the day"). The Ironmonger's Hall, tucked beneath the Museum of London, is home to Ironmonger's Company, a medieval guild concerned very much with iron, ironworks, woking with iron, and furthering the secrete, closely guarded interests of iron-people and their irony ways (hehe). The City of London might be famous for forcing new forms of dodgy credit - but amongst their own ranks they like nothing more than a a bit of archaic weirdness, bonding together in ancient closed shops with dizzying rituals...

Believe me, when you get hold of a copy..haha you won't put it down that fast. It covers the four seasons: spring , summer, autumn and winter and it starts with 'with four thousand Gods on our side, hankies at dawn, a Diana moment, the time of our lives, you can't dump me becaue i'm dumping you (haha) to all things begin and end in albion's ancient druid rocky shore....hahaha.

Anyone attempting a similar cynic's guide to malaysia? i dare you..hik3x... wink3x. Have a great week ahead may I please get back to marking my MBA student's assignments?.. huhu wink2x dot dot dot...

1 comment:

vesper said...

oh, dear... for he's a jolly good fellow (3x).... which nobody can denny. (wink)