Ir al contenido principal

Englishness

The strange thing about being English and growing up in England was that sometimes you felt you had to apologise for it. Like when I was 6 or 7 years old and my Art teacher said, "Oh, Adrian, he's oh so very English!"

You could not get by without a sense of humour, so you developed that. And it worked. So you could manage the arrogance of those 'cool' guys who came from abroad and felt so exotic and sophisticated. They would tell you England was on the slide and they were the future. You would end up believing it, not really minding losing the football. It was all about 'being a good sport'.

Then you would go abroad and say you were from England and they would say, "Oh, the hooligans! The fish and chips". And you would reply, "Oh, but only the English are hooligans. Only the English eat fish and chips. I am from London, a whole different kettle of lobsters". The image everyone else had of your country was not one that you yourself recognised. Until your Welsh friend showed up and gave a class on the importance of tea at 5 O'Clock. "Oh, the proof! The real English are the Welsh!"

I can't remember who it was who said you only know what it means to be English when you have travelled the world. I must say I still don't exactly know what it means. The Chinese travel the world and eat in Chinese restaurants. The English would rather not be seen with their fellow countrymen (and women), unless of course they are retiring to the Costa Blanca. But that, after all, is a whole different story.

Now the English (and the Scots and Welsh) are debating whether or not they are European. A difficult question considering many of them are no doubt unsure enough of what it means to be English, Scottish or Welsh. The clearer minded are often those with the privilege of being British, ie. those who can identify with the flag and not with the blood. Because as one learns with experience, having English blood is not cause enough to be considered British for life, retaining the vote, or handing on your nationality on to your grandchildren. They call it 'ius solis'. Only the other day I was told that if I had spent more than 15 years outside the UK, it was 'quite clear my interests lay elsewhere'.

Yet however much you 'go native', as the standard bearers of Englishness like to refer to those of us who venture 'overseas', you are never quite 'French' or 'Spanish' or 'Greek', because they have a much clearer idea of what it means to form a part of their respective nations. Even when for football fans one of the greatest 'Spanish' surnames is Robinson.

So yes, for the little it means, I guess I am still English. And now I live in another city and in another land, I have more freedom to express that in whatever way I feel like, or not at all, than I would in my own. So yes, now I have travelled, I suppose I now know what it means to be English. ie. not really knowing at all, but being increasingly sure that that, precisely, is what it really involves.

Entradas populares de este blog

Oda a la juventud

Los jóvenes son el futuro del país y la pésima situación que atraviesan es un mal presagio para todos.
Porque si el futuro se embarca en un avión de Easyjet, sólo nos quedará el pasado, y eso ya lo estamos viendo.
Y cuando digo ‘jóvenes’, me refiero a eso exactamente. A los jóvenes. Porque una de las primeras cosas que noté al llegar a España fue que en este país se daba a la palabra ‘joven’ un sentido demasiado amplio. Incluso en el año 2000, si tenías menos de 25 años, ninguna empresa española te ofrecía un empleo digno. La única opción era encadenar periodos de 'prácticas' mientras en el norte de Europa la gente de tu misma edad llegaba a puestos de gran responsabilidad en sus empresas. Aquí, en 2012, y con 40 años, eres un chaval.
Los jóvenes están tristemente ausentes. Los periódicos impresos, las tertulias de radio, y los debates del TDT Party rebosan caspa por los cuatro costados. Más allá de la cuestión económica, los debates de índole social que transmiten los medios de …

PR in times of cholera

How do PR professionals, companies, organisations or plain individuals cut through the noise in the era of social media? This will be one of the key questions in 2018, and even more so at a time when ideas and opinions are so easily misconstrued and a simple misthought phrase can lead to Trumpian noise and fury on Twitter or, indeed, elsewhere.

It would seem that this is not a time for pushing boundaries. A simple mis-step and you have a full blown global brand identity crisis. Yet somehow brands need to differentiate themselves and make themselves stand up above mediocrity and reflect something their audiences want to hear.

Step into the fray Virgin Trains, which this week performed some marvellous 'virtue signalling' by banning free copies of the Daily Mail for its First Class Passengers. This led to some to notice the irony of this occuring just at a time when this publication had been criticising the poor service quality of the British privatised rail service. In any event…

La Gripe Aviar y la Agricultura Intensiva

Cada día leemos más información en los periódicos sobre la pendiente amenaza de la gripe aviar, de todas formas, poco se habla de la causas de esta pandemia. Claramente, hay muchas razones, algunas que tienen que ver con la naturaleza y el hecho que cada cierto número de años, aparece una pandemia de gripe y estadísticamente la próxima nos va a tocar dentro de poco.

Dicho esto, no deja de ser curiosa la relación entre las condiciones infrahumanas en las que se crían los pollos y las gallinas en la sociedad moderna, que no hacen más que multiplicar las posibilidades de contagio. El siguiente artículo de una página web británica, incluye algunos datos escalofriantes, que nos deben hacer reflexionar sobre nuestra relación con la naturaleza. ¿Cómo podemos seguir defendiendo la agricultura moderna que convierte a las granjas en fábricas de animales si cada vez que sufrimos una amenaza de estas características, nos sentimos obligados a masacrar millones de las criaturas que nosotros hemos cr…