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FunGuyfromYuggoth

Britannica - Oi! Yanks! No!

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FunGuyfromYuggoth

I came across this interesting site. Well, interesting since I'm not British.

 

http://kabukivice.com/oiyanks/index.html

 

This is a general guide to random bits of Britishness. Some will be true for some people, some not. [the site is being written by a middle-class twenty-something from southern England] If you want some idea of what's happening in Britain politically, culturally, etc, a good place to go is the BBC news site.

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cynick

Yep, this is the kind of thing you damned foreigners need to read in order to understand why this country no longer rules over a quarter of the world.

Lots of good real life cultural material to give your games an authentic flavour (if you are "a middle-class twenty-something from southern England").

 

Like the little bit about pantomimes:

There is also what we call the 'Dame' role, played by an older man in drag. And C and D-list celebrities.

Last month I saw Sir Ian McKellen play Widow Twankey in Aladdin at The Old Vic (Kevin Spacey is currently the artistic director there!)

 

I'll never be able to watch Lord of the Rings with a straight face again :lol:

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Engel
Yep, this is the kind of thing you damned foreigners need to read in order to understand why this country no longer rules over a quarter of the world.

 

I thought the entire expansion of the British Empire was because of the search for the Holy Grail, namely palatable food. Then you eventually got curry and other eatable foods, which tempered the hot British nature caused by the ingestion of various nasty foodstuffs, leading to the eventual downfall of the Empire.

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Thorulfr

I thought the entire expansion of the British Empire was because of the search for the Holy Grail, namely palatable food. Then you eventually got curry and other eatable foods, which tempered the hot British nature caused by the ingestion of various nasty foodstuffs, leading to the eventual downfall of the Empire.

In the two weeks I spent in that otherwise marvelous country, the first week was spent in greater and greater state of gastric distress. Finally I was shown a nice Indian place and I got a bellyfull of vindaloo, which cured the problem immediately.

...Remember, though, that I live in southern California, where salsa and hot sauce constitute one of the four main food groups.

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Mograg

Since we're on the topic of Merry Ol' England, it gets me to thinking of our dear old Grandpa Theobald. Anglophile to the core. My guess is that HPL rues the day that the United States split from the mother country .

 

Which leads my addled brain to the thought or question:

 

As decades and centuries pass, how many cultural ties to the mother country still exist? Especially as here in the USA, with the advent of the 20th century and on into the 21st, we are a nation of so many immigrants from so many diverse cultures? Can we still claim any cultural ties to Old England? What say you, esteemed fellow Yog-Sothoth'ers?

 

Brian C.

Trying to keep up the pretense of sanity in "New" England (Massachusetts)

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FunGuyfromYuggoth
I thought the entire expansion of the British Empire was because of the search for the Holy Grail, namely palatable food.

 

In my brief forays to the Green and Pleasant Land, I actually enjoyed the native cuisine, including a sidetrip to Scotland, where I experienced haggis. As you can discern from previous posts, I am not squeamish about what I eat. In any event, if you're anywhere new, you can always find good places by asking local people where they like to go.

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rylehNC

Quite useful that you can condense a history two milennia longer than America's in two paragraphs.

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SquibblyDibbly

While we are on the subject can I ask a serious question ( I'm not being sarcastic, I'd genuinely like to know ). Do they teach much British history in schools in the US ?

 

If US history only goes back as far as the first settlers in America that does not really seem a great amount of time to cover. Do US schools teach European and African history for earlier time periods ?

 

Maybe I'm just a little suspicious after President Bush's obvious lack of knowledge in this area.

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delrio
While we are on the subject can I ask a serious question ( I'm not being sarcastic, I'd genuinely like to know ). Do they teach much British history in schools in the US ?

 

If US history only goes back as far as the first settlers in America that does not really seem a great amount of time to cover. Do US schools teach European and African history for earlier time periods ?

 

Maybe I'm just a little suspicious after President Bush's obvious lack of knowledge in this area.

I was in gradeschool in the 70s, and by then "History" and "Geography" had already been reduced to a vague mishmash called "Social Studies". As a result, most people that I went to school with couldn't even find the UK on a map, much less tell you anything about their history. I remember at one point in 5th or 6th grade (so we're talking about 11-12 year olds here) one of my classmates bagging that the US could beat the British navy any day, "Cause those old wooden ships are for ****".

 

Heck, a study a few years back found that something like 40% of Americans can't find the United States on an unlabeled map of the world, 60% of them can't find their own state on an unlabeled map of the United States, and 80% of them can't find their state capital on an unlabeled map of their state. How much British history do you think they know? I'm unusually interested in these topics for an American (my dad was born in Manchester and I've always been a bit of an Anglophile) and I have to be constantly corrected on points of historical fact by my wife, who's the real historian in the family.

 

Del Rio

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Graeme_P
Heck, a study a few years back found that something like 40% of Americans can't find the United States on an unlabeled map of the world, 60% of them can't find their own state on an unlabeled map of the United States, and 80% of them can't find their state capital on an unlabeled map of their state. How much British history do you think they know?

 

As a Brit living in America I can second the above comments. I was once asked by a native why I was planning on going to work on July 4th with the immortal line "Don't they celebrate July 4th in England?".

"No", I replied "Although perhaps we should".

 

Incidentally, this was a different individual to the one who observed "London. That's the capital of Europe isn't it?". I would comment on the irony of the above statement... but then I would have to point out to you Yanks that "irony" and "metallic" are not the same thing :roll:

 

Graeme, stranger in a strange land.

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Bat7327

Hmm... I guess the schools I went to had a different curriculum than the ones referenced above. We studied world history and British history while I was in school, not just American history.

 

Bats

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Anaxphone
Hmm... I guess the schools I went to had a different curriculum than the ones referenced above.

 

Leave them be. While it is certainly true that many of our countrymen are a bit ignorant of other nations and their histories, we are not a society comprised solely of neanderthals. Arguing over the matter will not really make us seem any better to those who wish to see us as willfully culturally ignorant.

 

Anaxphone, if I missed some indicator of playfulness in Graeme's post, I apologize- it's early and I'm in a rush to go to work

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malcojones

I certainly wouldn't want to categorise all Americans as inward looking and this certainly desn't apply to any using these forums. There is some evidence to support the tendency though (numbers of passports issued, geographical knowledge cited above).

 

The trouble with using this as criticism is the difference in circumstances from which non-Americans comment. Britons, which is all I'm really qualified to talk about, do get passports to go on holiday to places further afield (inc. more and more often Florida) because we live in a relatively small, temperate and quite wet island. If Britain was as large and varied a territory as the US would we travel outside it?

 

And are we confident that a survey of our population would show most of us could find our island on an unmarked map, could identify counties and county towns?

 

A few years ago a survey of the quality of education across Europe's schools came out. Germany came low, much lower than they expected and they went into a deep national funk about their education system. Britain's schools also came low down but we chose to categorise it as a flawed 'European' survey and carried on.

 

Anyway, my point is the old one about not taking the speck out of someone else's eye until you've removed the plank from your own. It applies to all. Best, malcojones.

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DnP

I went to elementary (primary, whatever) school in 4 states IIRC, in many different school districts. One thing I noticed was the broad amount of local flavour in history curricula. In New York State, I learnt about the Iroquois League of Five Nations and there was a great deal of focus on the American Revolution. (Also, the history of New York as New Amsterdam and all that.) When we moved to Nebraska, I realised my fellow students knew none of this and had been taught a lot more about the "Wild West" 19th Century stuff than I had ever been exposed to.

 

In short, no, they don't teach much British history as such. In high school and at University, history got divided between pre- and post-1750, so there was a little bit there, but not a lot. I absorbed quite a bit of British history out of my own "anglophilia" (notice my adopted spelling habits).

 

The basic approach, I've realised, was to create a local narrative that flows logically. This leaves out the majority of history of the greater part of the earth. It was only after I visited Australia, for instance, that I noticed I had never been taught anything about that continent. When I looked it up in my college text, it wasn't even in the index!

 

[EDIT: BTW, that quote in the article...""English is a language that lurks in dark alleys, beats up other languages and rifles through their pockets for spare vocabulary." Here's the original:

 

"The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary."

--James D Nicoll]

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AkronTony

When I was in high school we covered European history prior to the Revolution but little afterward unless it involved a war.

 

I got the opportunity to meet GBSteve at Origins and I confessed that my idea of England comes mostly from Monty Python and Hammer Films. I had a girlfriend that was from the UK in college but I think the picture she painted me of her home was not typical UK experience. GBSteve gave me a slightly different perspective which was consistent to that of other folks for the UK I have worked with.

 

As Malcojones pointed out US is pretty large. I have been to Canada and Mexico though. It is a 16 hour drive from my house in Akron to Orlando, FL (Disney World) . According to MapQuest it is only a 11 hour drive from London to Berlin. It took me that long to drive across Texas.

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Misterhawk

 

As a Brit living in America I can second the above comments. I was once asked by a native why I was planning on going to work on July 4th with the immortal line "Don't they celebrate July 4th in England?".

"No", I replied "Although perhaps we should".

 

That's hilarious ...

 

I graduate High School in 1980 and we studied quite a bit of English History while I was in school. Now I have no idea what the Hell they study, but I am hard pressed to have an intelligent conversation about history of any kind with a person under 18.

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Mithras
As Malcojones pointed out US is pretty large. I have been to Canada and Mexico though. It is a 16 hour drive from my house in Akron to Orlando, FL (Disney World) . According to MapQuest it is only a 11 hour drive from London to Berlin. It took me that long to drive across Texas.

 

I think the key is that Britain and Europe are as 'thick' down in History as the American States are wide-out in Space. So time taken to travel across gets nullified by the time taken to appreciate the density of the situation. There's a whole lot of visual archaeology to be gettin' on; not just castles and pubs - like a very stacked lasagne or layered chewy & crunchy chocolate bar... you dig?

 

It should be said, I'm a big fan of the grim-but-exciting twists & turns of post-Colonial American history - and I'm sure the 1st Nation reservations have loads of good stuff showing the development of both nomadic and homeostatic human civilizations all across the North American continent -even prior to the last Ice Age; going south, the Olmecs and Toltecs are endlessly fascinating too.

 

And right up and till I explored the States firsthand, I had to cobble together the most patchwork of histories for a country only 200+ years old from snippets of movies and TV, images and ideas from comic books and music, thought patterns and language from books and photographs... All based on huge givens and assumptions.

 

Probably one of the most accessibly over-mediated and represented civilizations in all history to experience from the Outside, and still my understanding of the US was very scrappy indeed.

 

So I dread to think what the hell everyone thinks of Europe and the UK 'storieslines'... or actually anywhere else. Ah, the impossibility of Knowing...

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cynick
As Malcojones pointed out US is pretty large. I have been to Canada and Mexico though. It is a 16 hour drive from my house in Akron to Orlando, FL (Disney World) . According to MapQuest it is only a 11 hour drive from London to Berlin. It took me that long to drive across Texas.

 

I think the key is that Britain and Europe are as 'thick' down in History as the American States are wide-out in Space.

 

Or to sum it up:

The English think 100 miles is a long way and Americans think 100 years is a long time :wink:

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theshoveller

I thought the entire expansion of the British Empire was because of the search for the Holy Grail, namely palatable food.

Naah, the expansion of the British Empire was because of the search for the Holy Grail. ;)

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Tigger_MK4

I thought the entire expansion of the British Empire was because of the search for the Holy Grail, namely palatable food.

Naah, the expansion of the British Empire was because of the search for the Holy Grail. ;)

 

Nah. The expansion of the British empire was the search for intelligent life outside of Britain.

 

They never *did* find any....

 

 

:lol:

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FunGuyfromYuggoth

Goths and chavs go to war in the woods in attempt to keep the peace on the streets

 

Council defuses town centre tension with organised BB gun battles between teenagers

 

Patrick Barkham, August 31, 2005, The Guardian

 

Peterborough's Cathedral Square yesterday afternoon. The scene of regular standoffs between gangs of marauding chavs and goths. Apart from the patter of shoppers' feet on hot paving stones, it's quiet, too quiet.

 

Ten miles away, at a secret location in the Cambridgeshire countryside, it is a different story. Startled wood pigeons crash through the trees at the sound of plastic ball bearing guns as the city's chavs and goths run through the undergrowth taking pot shots at each other.

 

War games do not appear the most obvious way to bring together these teenage tribes, as distinctive and implacably opposed to each other as the mods and rockers of the 1960s. But Peterborough city council is hoping that a new scheme, in which they take unruly chavs and goths on "airsoft" war games, will bring a truce to the trouble in Cathedral Square.

 

Fourteen male and female chavs and goths yesterday swapped fake Burberry and Marilyn Manson T-shirts for camouflage to take part in the first of the airsoft games, which is similar to paintballing but uses ball bearing - BB - guns firing plastic balls.

 

The voluntary scheme has been organised by the city's street wardens with the blessing of the local police. The street wardens were introduced three years ago to tackle antisocial behaviour and petty street crime but have found the antagonism between chavs and goths difficult to quell.

 

The gangs have attracted complaints of underage drinking, violence, vandalism, graffiti and littering. Police have also received a spate of calls from members of the public terrified by teenagers firing the frighteningly realistic-looking BB guns at each other on the streets.

 

Kitted out in black body armour and chomping on a large cigar, Steve Mayes, the street warden supervisor, looks more than a match for any mouthy chav or stoned goth. But he's found both groups showing scant regard for him, each other or society, and hopes that skirmishes in the countryside will instil respect.

 

"We've had large groups of chavs and goths on Cathedral Square on a Saturday. They've not really being doing any harm but the sheer number of them intimidates people," he said. "It's like mods and rockers - not that these guys start fighting, it's just a bit of a slap here and there."

 

The few goths who still walk across the square by the city's Norman cathedral are not so sure. War games in the countryside? "That's going to be murder," said Kenny, 19, resplendent in his daywear of black boots, black jeans, black shirt and long black leather jacket (it's sunny and 25C). "The chavs will take knives."

 

Kenny admits he was once a "borderline" chav but got in with skaters, punks and then goths. Black is his daywear but for gigs he'll don black eyeliner and black nail varnish. Apart from clothes and music, the difference between the groups is attitude, according to Kenny.

 

He points out a chav, swaggering through the square on the toes of his immaculate white trainers. "Most goths are so laid-back they are on their arse," he said. "If you go up to a chav and look at him wrong, he'll kick your head in."

 

A piercing scream cuts through the quiet of the countryside as a chav receives a buttfull of plastic ball bearings. The bonding between the two groups is proceeding apace and organisers swear that the teams have not simply divided down chav/goth lines.

 

But Mr Mayes admits there is one small problem: most of the goths were so laid-back they couldn't get up in time for the war games. Six cried off yesterday morning. "We've got more chavs than we have goths because they couldn't get out of bed," he said. "They've probably been smoking too much pot."

 

"Chris just unloaded a clip on me," yells one chav, clutching his backside in mock pain as he enters the "dead zone", where those who are shot during the game must recuperate for five minutes. "I shot you about five times, man," bragged another chav.

 

"They call me a chav," said Craig Jones, 22. He doesn't mind. "It's a bit of laugh. I think they mean Orton boy, which is an area in Peterborough which has graffiti all over the place so people think it's a bit dingy."

 

He finds the joy of the war game a welcome relief from the tedium of sitting in Cathedral Square. "I hang around with mates having a giggle, having a laugh. There's not much to do. Because we hang about in big groups separate from one another people think there's trouble and it's intimidating. With a big group of lads, grannies think they're going to rob their handbags."

 

But he insists that far from gang warfare, the chav-goth tension in Peterborough is like anywhere in the country, it is simply "friendly banter".

 

Mr Mayes says the voluntary scheme, in which chavs and goths pay a reduced rate subsidised by a local company, is not rewarding bad behaviour. Teenagers brandishing BB guns in town has been a problem, but the scheme teaches youngsters that the realistic-looking weapons hurt and should only be used in safe "game" situations.

 

"These guys here are well-behaved kids. All they've done is stand in large groups. They say: 'I hang about on the square because I haven't got anything else to do, innit?'"

 

Mr Mayes believes the games will give the two groups something to do and get them talking to each other. "It gets rid of that pent-up energy that teenagers don't seem to get rid of these days when they are sitting around on their Playstations and Xboxes," he said.

 

The council hopes a new spirit of mutual respect will extend to all their employees. As well as the orange-clad street wardens, there is even a council parking attendant sportingly allowing young chavs and goths to take pot shots at him. "When they see us now it's not going to be 'oh those bloody tango wardens'," said Mr Mayes. "They now know who I am."

 

Whether skinny goths can be persuaded out of their beds for some bracing outdoor activity with their chav foes remains to be seen. But the council wardens believe the airsoft games, which they hope to hold every half-term, will spread via word of mouth, bringing the two tribes together in war - and bringing peace to Cathedral Square.

 

"It's like football," said Denise Mee, another street warden. "You pick which team you belong to. But ultimately the chavs and the goths are the same sort of people, so the idea is to get them together. When they first came they were in little groups but already there's more togetherness."

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Thorulfr

Council defuses town centre tension with organised BB gun battles between teenagers

 

IIRC, the otherwise peaceful society in the 70s novel Ecotopia used a ritualized "war game" as a way of relieving tension and increasing bonding in the society. Fun to see life immitating art... or maybe just "a good idea is a good idea."

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ShishKang

OK, I read that article... but what is a chav? That's the toughest thing for me, is wrapping my head around English slang terms.

 

Like others on here, my main exposure to England is through websites on history, Jack The Ripper, British horror films, and the old Victorian horror writers. IMO, the British know horror. Better than us. Just the fact that there's practically no American horror writers whose stuff I like speaks volumes.

 

So yeah, maybe an image of the "fantasy" Britain sketched out by Jack The Ripper, Peter Cushing, and Algernon Blackwood is a bit off. But I don't care. ;)

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ShishKang

Oh...now it all becomes so much clearer. The kind of folk we have entirely too much of 'round here...

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