Swedish Girl In London

London Life: Bright Lights, Big City. Now what's on TV?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Rule Britannia!

Gordon Brown, the UK’s brooding Chancellor of the Exchequer and PM-in-waiting, is calling for Remembrance Day to be turned into British Day.

After all, the French has had their 14th of July parades of village mayors and fire brigades for donkeys now, not to speak of 4th of July, when Americans have picnics on red chequered tablecloths and protect the world from extra-terrestrials.

No wonder that the UK wants to get in on the National Day bonanza.

However, as a Swede, I know how awkward these things can get. We have a National Day in Sweden too, believe it or not, but nobody seems to be really sure what to do with it. Once, a bunch of young, misguidedly posh friends of mine tried to mark the occasion with a picnic on the Swedish flag, but this was quickly ended by the school janitor. Apparently munching herring and potato crisps on the emblem of the nation is a form of lese-majeste.

So – as I am very fond of the UK – I have decided to come to the country’s aid with an inspiring list of Five Things To Do On British Day:

1 Walk about, Britishly, without your coat. This is a very important part of British Day, and the reason why it has been placed in rainy November instead of July. You are British. You are not a whimpy frog or Yank.

2. Cast a befuddled glance into the garden of your enthusiastic, foreign neighbours, who have raised the Union Jack above the garage. Remark that this does not seem like a particularly British Thing To Do.

3. But benevolently accept that it takes all sorts to make an Empire go round.

4. Go for a chicken tikka masala and a Carlsberg down the Taj Mahal Restaurant.

5. Tolerate strange lists from clueless foreigners on Things To Do On British Day.


At 6:29 PM, Blogger Dirk the Feeble said...

My only question about this is, what is a "frog"?

At 8:11 PM, Blogger Steve said...

Even though it has been suggested by the emenently Scottish Mr. Brown I'm afraid that this would never take off in dear old Scotland (or Wales, or Northern Ireland for that matter). In fact in our wonderfully schizophrenic nation it's more likely to be suberted in the different parts into "Scottish Day", "Welsh Day" and a new "Lets Be Incredibly Sectarian Towards Eachother Day"

Oh well. Nice idea Mr. Brown.

At 11:00 PM, Blogger Zen Wizard said...

A frog is a derogatory term for a Frenchman--in fact, the dice game, "craps" was originally called "Johnny Crapeaux" because "crapeaux" (sp?) means frog in French and it was invented by Bernard Marigny in New Orleans, who was French Creole.

Nice bit of history, but I can't think of anything for Remembrance Day--maybe sail a ship filled with tea to the Boston Harbor, so we can dress up like Indians and dump it all out again?

No, the environmentalists would have a fit--I guess I'm tapped out on "cool" stuff.

Here's a couple lame ones:

1) Biplane dogfight reenactments against the Red Baron et al.

2) Shakespeare in the park with guys in drag playing the female parts. (I.e., "old school.")

3) Renaissance Fair with jousting, tankards of ale, arts and crafts, Henry VIII wife-beheading reenactment, chastity belt lock-picking demonstration (Oh, wait: that was Medieval...still, it would be cool...)

4) In a pinch, fireworks and monster truck and tractor pulls, with a Demolition Derby. And motorcycle stuntmen seeing how many cars they can jump over. (We kind of stole your thunder on that, but it's not like it's copyrighted or anything.)

5) The Scottish thing has possibilities--guys in kilts marching and playing the bagpipes. We even have that at Presbyterian church every once in a while, in America--can't go wrong with guys in kilts playing the bagpipes. Who doesn't like that??

At 5:30 AM, Blogger ChickyBabe said...

I was going to suggest the Indian meal but you beat me to it! But whatever the Brits decide, we Aussies won't follow because we believe we're Americans... Nuff out of me!

At 1:00 PM, Blogger hen said...

I was going to write a post about Britain Day but I became bitter, cynical and confused. Maybe we should leave Britishness to others.

You can't knock a new public holiday though so maybe we should have a new one that would be less awkward - a Wallace and Gromit day. A day of Aardman Animations and eating Fish and Chips.

At 3:33 PM, Blogger miss goLondon said...

you hit on it so well. Your list seems perfect to me, and i can't stop laughing. my entries that perhaps could be runners up are 1. ask someone in Britain if perhaps he or she could also celebrate British Day if it wouldn't be too much of a bother, 2. females brits could wear denim to tight so that they muffin out, 3. discuss the real estate market

At 9:58 PM, Blogger Curiosa said...

how about going on a date where he takes to eat fish and chips on the side of the highway?

At 11:34 PM, Blogger Zen Wizard said...

I am being presumptuous suggesting what Britain Day should be about, but the stumbling block appears to be that it is supposed to be about World War I.

There are insufficient cultural references to draw upon.

If it was about World War II, I would say a fun-filled, hilarious romp through a Nazi prison camp, run by an amiable but ineffectual Wehrmacht colonel, and the precocious antics of a British "prisoner" who is always deliberately failing in his "attempts to escape," because he is secretly transmitting intelligence from behind enemy lines.

(If you run with that one, tell Richard Dawson as soon as possible so he can have time to slim down and get in costume.)

At 9:18 AM, Blogger Kay Richardson said...

Swedish, swedish, swedish girl. Swedish girl. I enjoy y'blog.

At 12:17 PM, Blogger michael the tubthumper said...

Q. why did the sun never set on the british empire?

A. because god would never trust the english with the lights out


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