Gavin McInnes giving us ‘Brits’ (I love it when Americans call us that) some good press here in Taki’s Magazine. I of course love and agree with all the numbered points, though am especially fond of number five as on different days of the week down my local I fulfill role of appearing both “punk rocker with a blue Mohawk and a studded jacket” *and* the “80-year-old man in a tweed cap” he is sat with. Such is my taste and style. Fun article: “A lot of things about Great Britain aren’t so great. Their bathrooms are freezing and if you want a shower, you have to turn on the hot water tank and wait twenty minutes. They have class stuck so far up their ass, they still define a man by his accent. They’ve allowed Islam to bully them so thoroughly, Muhammad is the second most popular name for English and Welsh baby boys. I could list problems with the redcoats all fortnight, “But seas between us broad have roared/Since auld lang syne,” and it’s worth spending some time this holiday season remembering what we love about those pasty-faced poms.
1. THEY STILL MAKE GREAT CHIPS
Not potato chips—those are called “crisps.” I’m talking about a fat, chunky piece of potato that hasn’t been frozen and fried so severely, it tastes like someone left a pencil in the microwave. Britain still has the same chip vans it had 50 years ago and to bite into a moist, blanched potato wedge drenched in vinegar and wrapped in newspaper is to remember a time when drunken snacks were the best part of the night.
2. THEY SWEAR
I was born in England, my parents are Scottish, and I grew up in Canada, so swearing like a drunken sailor is called “speaking English.” The word “cunt” means “friend” as in, “It’s your round, you cheap cunt,” and “fucking” means “very.” In America, talking to people like that makes their faces jump and flinch like you’re lighting off firecrackers at their feet. If you do it in the South, it breaks their heart.
3. THEY’VE KEPT 100% AT 100%
British people don’t say, “I’m going to give 110%.” When they hear that, they say, “That’s mad.” Where we have let percentage inflation drift into the thousands, they’ve remained grounded and have never gone above 100.
4. THEY UNDERSTAND THE ART OF CONVERSATION
The word “like” hasn’t completely taken over Britain yet. They also understand that a conversation is supposed to actually go somewhere. It’s not just a table of people telling stories about themselves. It’s a means to an end. I’ll never forget the time I was in a pub in London and talked to a guy for about half an hour about all the horrible things England has done while conquering the world. It was a fascinating look back at history, and we embarked on the journey after he found out I was Scottish. When we were done he said, “Ah-ha! Every event I just listed was actually perpetrated by Scots.” The guy wasn’t just talking. He was sculpting an entire conversation into a double-edged sword that eloquently chopped off my head.
5. PUB CULTURE
It’s not unusual to walk into a pub and see a punk rocker with a blue Mohawk and a studded jacket sitting with an 80-year-old man in a tweed cap. If you lean in, you’ll hear the teenager say, “It’s not that I don’t love her. I’m just in over me head” and the old guy will reply, “Don’t beat yourself up about it Reg, she’ll come around.” Everyone’s your mate in the pub and they are happy to talk about anything, even pub culture. Ask a Brit about small pubs losing their business to big chains such as Wetherspoon and he will pound the bar with his fists while screaming, “It’s a bloody shame and it will be the death of us! Mark my words!” In Scotland, they’ll do it while drinking at a Wetherspoon pub.
6. THEY LOVE FAGS
While America basks in its homophobia, British people regularly put fags in their mouth and suck them. Sometimes they’ll even eat them.
7. THEY ARE GREAT HOSTS
When you stay at a British person’s house they go all out. No matter how late you stayed out drinking the night before, they are first up in the morning cooking the traditional full breakfast with beans, toast, and fried tomatoes. They don’t just hand you the keys and say, “Mi casa es su casa” before wandering off. They are genuinely concerned about you having fun, and they see your boredom as their failure. This means you owe them when they’re in town, but that’s not a problem because they make great guests, too. They do the dishes, buy toilet paper, and always leave a gift.
8. THEY TAKE STYLE SERIOUSLY
Soccer fans are just sports fans in most of the world, but in Britain they are a people. Before we had the chavs of today dressed head to toe in Burberry, we had the “casuals,” who would go to games in Italy and buy the finest menswear available. From the top 1% to the bricklayers, the British have always been meticulous about their clothes. British grandfathers are the only grandfathers who include shopping for outfits on their touring itinerary. When a friend’s English grandfather was here in New York visiting Ground Zero he carved out some extra time to visit Brooks Brothers across the street. Brits understand that the way you look defines you, and they choose to present themselves as proud members of their tribe. Where we had jocks, nerds, and rockers, growing up they had mods, boot boys, suedeheads, scooter boys, skinheads, and rude boys (to list one small section of one scene). Each tiny subculture had a huge list of particulars ranging from how high your cuff should be to what length of your collar you should wear.
9. THEY KNOW MUSIC
Brits are stuck indoors most of the time because it’s raining out and that means they don’t just listen to records, they are imbued with them. Ask your average Brit about music and he’ll go on forever about bands from your hometown. If you were ever in a band, he’s probably heard it. Listening to John Peel on BBC Radio was like going to Every Band in the World School as he’d jump from The Bhundu Boys to Ofra Haza and then back over to Napalm Death.
Despite having only a fifth of America’s population, they produce about the same number of great bands and they do our music better than we do. When they got ahold of punk it was just avant-garde New York art rock. They’re the ones that made it a global phenomenon. Blues was just an old man on a porch until Led Zeppelin turned it into a hurricane. British music is so nuanced, there are subcultures in subcultures in subcultures, leaving us with anarcho punk dub, African beat poetry, grindcore choir metal, electro hooligan rap and, of course, classical pop.
10. THEY’RE HILARIOUS
Sure, it’s amusing to poke fun at your dad and portray him in a sitcom as a bumbling fool, but are we capable of maybe one other joke? In Britain they don’t just say, “dummies are stupid.” They lampoon smart, successful losers. Basil Fawlty owns his own hotel but he’s obsessed with class and insults his workers so they make an ass of him. Alan Partridge was successful but he isn’t anymore, so let’s make fun of him for not realizing that. As John Cleese once pointed out, “Comedy works best when it is mean-spirited,” and nobody is better at subtle cruelty than the Brits.” (http://takimag.com/article/10_great_things_about_the_brits_gavin_mcinnes/page_1#axzz2ouYEcuE9)