a curious thing to be back in the UK. All the things you completely
forgot about slap you in the face the moment you arrive. The unbelieveable
state of the railways for example. The ancient London to Portsmouth
train vibrates so much between Petersfield and Portsmouth you cannot
read a newspaper. The overflowing toilets on the Kings Cross to
Leeds stink and no one turns a hair, the massive overcrowding is
astonishing and the fares astonish that are more than going by air.)
You forget about the petty squabbles of the Government. Luckily
Tony Blair no longer walks on water. The litter, the way motorists
seem to want to murder any pedrestrian they see, and how normal
it is to read of vicious killings and abductions of children every
single day. England is not 'classy' or quaint. In seems to be in
a constant state of anquish. Don't even mention the tennis. No wonder
the 'Royal' Beckhams decamped to Spain. More on them by Colin Todhunter
in the main page.
I am amused when
overhearing American tourists complaining about the state of the trains
and buses, the food and hotel showers, nevermind the prices and the
lack of service everywhere. You almost feel the British take a pride
in their lack of willingness to please or be polite; things taken very
much for granted in the States (excluding New York). Clearly the Yanks
feel they have disembarked off a plane in Liberia instead of 'historic
Britain'. Everyone smokes, blowing fumes over your food in restaurants
and you cannot believe there is a fashion industry here at all. Does
everyone shop in charity shops? Everyone talks very loudly on their
cellphones on trains and I learned more about chickens, food processing,
Sainsbury's pricing policy or perishables, missing pallets and what
some Doctor did to a woman's ovaries than I need to know thank you.
The newspapers are incredibly partisan and so therefore you cannot believe
anything you read. Everyone is very smug that their house prices have
risen so high you could buy small countries with the sale of just one
plain ordinary little depressing hovel. But there are no first time
buyers left, wages have been left far behind and the cost of living
is totally absurd. People are asking when will house prices crash and
although no one knows and no one wants to believe it can ever happen,
one trip on a railroad will tell you truth about the economy, everything
is either closing or for let. Huge office complexes stand empty outside
Guildford and Woking and other London dormitory towns. This is not a
healthy situation. Prices stay high but deflation is the name of the
game in Japan and now America. The UK economy follows the UK so it can
only be a matter of time.
By comparison with Canada everything is exactly double in price. Now
I am no mathematician but Canada has just 30 million people and the
UK nearly 60 million. Clearly there is an economy of scale to be had
here and by rights Canada should be more expensive. OK they have the
USA on their doorstep but there is no genuine reason that everything
should be double the cost. (Example: One latte in the Sherlock Holmes
hotel is £3.58 ($8.00 CND) for a little cup. Rent for a one bedroom
flat in rather nasty part of Portsmouth is £680 pounds a month
($1400 CND) with water, heat, tax and theft of all your possessions
by the neighbourhood thief all extra.
The longer you are away from the UK the harder it is to come back and
accept the appalling service, the complete complacency and general shabbiness.
Perhaps after a month I shall sink beneath a tide of litter and come
to just put up with everything, but the sad fact is the British people
live in rather deprived circumstances and yet think they have it good.
The Labour Government must be very good at spin to make them all believe
how well off they are. Perhaps they should make the next Matrix movie.
(Can't do worse than the current writers)
Ah well. At least as a Brit we know how to moan well (we have so much
to moan about.)
Update: July 16th
Well the UK in a heatwave is certainly causing ripples. Mostly
on the railway lines that buckle at 30c and on the roads
where the tar sorts of turns to gravy. Of course, some people think
they can get away with saving money in this high cost region of Europe.
Some people, who once swore theyd never buy a second hand car
again have gone out and bought one. A 1993 Golf. It lasted 20 miles
and caused a ten-mile tail back on the A3 in 32c temperature. Embarrassed?
Moi? I should co-co.
Kit wasnt very happy as the smoke billowed out of the engine and
even unhappier as we missed dinner and had to catch taxis to the station
and then wait for hours for a working train.
Its my own fault of course for being cheap. You cannot afford
to be cheap in the UK.
I am not entirely sure how people survive actually. With or without
So I promised something positive to say about England.
Nope, cant really say I have found anything yet. I guess youll
just have to wait.
Meanwhile there's new material from Colin Todhunter on site and he too
has been thinkiikng about England. Check out his comments on the Beckhamisation
of the UK
all the best
This summer Hackwriters: Tabytha in Cape Town, JT Brown in
Japan. The film to see is Whale Rider and more to come.
© Sam North July 16th 2003
: Saying Goodbye
Returning to Blighty
DYSTOPIA OUR FUTURE?
TIME IN THE CITY
Forget your troubles - April
Oscars have a message
FOR WAR February
Renting in Kits
Escape to the UK
takes a break
MANY MOVIES- IT'S AN AVALANCHE OF CULTURE
will you seeing at the movies?
REALLY IS A FUN CITY
'The city where everyone gets to live a millionaire lifestyle'
SECTION 9 in the N.Y. Sunday Times
A cornucopia - October
The Kids stay in the picture- August
PEOPLE IN GLASS HOUSES
Hacks visits the new Museum of Glass in Tacoma- August
Hot Sweats in a Cold
Read at the Anza Club- August
LIFE ON FAST FORWARD - Vancouver
on speed -September
SUPERNOVA NINA &
SweetSista'Shorts Carousel Theatre- Granville Island
- Off Fringe
ROUNDHOUSE FIFTH ANNIVERSARY.
Arts in the Community is for real -
WE ARE ALL GURUS NOW - September
Time to enrol
Vancouver Film Festival Trade Show report
Carine Thomas -web design