My British Radar

Recently, I’ve been feeling in a slightly uncomfortable place, a situation in which I feel the continual longing to return home, yet at the same time, the desire to actually live in the UK diminishing. In fact I’m almost reaching a point where I feel embarrassed to be British.

Friday night’s Klaxons concert provided a perfect example as to why.

Half way through the evening, me and Fabricio found ourselves talking to a Norwegian student who was there with a large group of her friends. One of her English friends, who was trying to work out if this other guy was from the UK, came up to her and excitedly said:

…he is, he is, I told you! I have a British radar!

However I had already worked this out minutes earlier, and without having spoken to him.

The simple fact is, that to have a ‘British radar’ is simply to look for a group of loud, slightly over-weight idiots, full of self-importance and zealous pride, who collectively act like a bunch of morons1.

I realised I had this deductibility when I was in Las Vegas earlier this year. Upon spotting a group of guys celebrating a stag party half way down the street, I got the sudden and horrible feeling we were linked by a shared nationality. As they passed, their Liverpudlian accents confirmed my worst fears.

At this point I feel I should add that there is probably a certain age bracket for which the radar works most precisely. I should also mention other indicators include haircuts that can only be explained by a trip to Toni & Guy, and a dress sense that involves wearing clothes that look like they have been eaten by the dog.

But hang on. Loud, slightly over-weight, full of self-importance and a zealous pride? I’m sure the same could equally be said of myself.

When I spend most of my day at the office correcting my colleagues for the use of ‘zee’ over ‘zed’, omitting ‘u’ from colour, as well as practically volunteering myself as a spokesman for the British Tourist Board, I’m sure they would agree.

There is no denying that all I find myself disliking about the British, the problem is, I am British, and so I too display the same trademarks.

I guess put more simply, the fact is now that I’m further removed from my place of birth, the more of it I see that I don’t like. Yet at the same time, like a mother whose son has grown up to become a career criminal, an unequivocal love remains.

  1. The same of which could be said of The Klaxons, who were a massive disappointment.


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