rebness: (IT Crowd: Moss)
I watched Super last night. We all thought it was a straight-up comedy along the lines of Kick-Ass. It's not. We were kind of traumatised by its unrelenting darkness but laughed hard. Liv Tyler, though. <3

So life is plodding along, being consistent and stuff. I'm still looking for change, but in an 'hey, it's autumn soon' way. I swear that I have not seen a clear, sunny day since June. It's been overcast for WEEKS now. I'm going to scream. I need sunlight, I need some gentle summer sun before we're consigned to the depths of winter again. This country, you guys! This tiny stupid island constantly covered in cloud, spat on by rain. I'll end up taking a cheeky break in Bulgaria or something when we get back from Russia because I NEED SUN.

Anyway, here's a reminder of when the UK actually does have sunlight in March-June. It's some snaps of my local church graveyard, which I've been meaning to upload forever. Going on the daffodils, I presume it's March. Anyway, Belfast next! 





More beneath the cut! )
rebness: (VC: Jesse!)
There's been a lot of controversy in the British press lately over the alleged anti-British rhetoric from the Obama administration in the wake of the BP oil spill.

I'm torn on this one. I'm really disappointed and, well, a little angry that he made a point of emphasising 'British Petroleum' when the company has not used that moniker in over ten years and when 39% of the company is American-owned, compared to... 40% British. The majority of its employees are also American. I don't understand why the average American can grasp this and the powers that be can't. It seems like a sly attempt to offload the blame on a nation and its hapless people, rather than the greedy multinational company it truly is. No wonder David Cameron reacted sharply to these rants, though to be fair, Obama stopped referring to it in this manner after they 'discussed' things.

I also feel like slapping Helen Mirren for her stupid comments on an American talk show this week where she declared she was ashamed to be British and that she was glad we didn't beat America in the World Cup after our terrible oil spill.

Our? I assure you, Mirren, I don't make a penny from BP. Clown. 

At the same time, the hurt feelings of the British have to play second fiddle to the coastline being destroyed and the poor wildlife being decimated by this spill whilst we dither other diplomatic incidents, and rightly so. It feels like there is too much emphasis upon politics and stupid statements than, you know, working out a solution or protecting the livelihoods of the ordinary people affected by the oil spill.

So I just want to applaud New Orleans for its tongue-in-cheek advertising campaign of late: "This isn't the first time New Orleans has survived the British."

I think it's amazing that amidst all this tragedy and finger-pointing and anger, New Orleans proves its gutsy spirit once again:

"You can't just say we're open, come," the bureau's president, Steve Perry, told the organisation as he launched the campaign, according to blogofneworleans.com. "You have to acknowledge it. It's sorta like the poster with the family in front of the shark tank at the aquarium after Katrina, saying we're pleased to report that this is the only part of New Orleans that's still under water."

Thankfully, the small print on the adverts states that 'right now everyone is welcome, especially our friends from England'.

Thank you, New Orleans.

IIn a similar vein, Charlie Brooker explains our sense of national culpability and the general goodwill of the American people much better than our politicians or fricken' Helen Mirren can:

But now, as a company with the word "British" in its name pisses apocalyptic quantities of oil into the ocean, and CEO Tony Hayward pops up on the news to make tactless statements in a British accent, anglophilia is shrivelling. Things must be bad when gimpy Cameron has to reassure us that BP wiping its arse on the Gulf of Mexico won't disturb the "special relationship" between the US and the UK. Of course it will.

Never mind that BP is an international company. Never mind that 39% of its shares are held in the US, that half its directors are American. It's got the word British in the title, and that'll do. It genuinely feels like our fault. Like you, I've never supervised the offshore drilling policy of a major oil company, but I can't help feeling responsible. It's like watching a news report in which someone with your surname has been caught having sex with a hollowed-out yam. The disgrace is shared, however irrationally.

And to be honest, the Americans are thus far admirably restrained about the whole thing. If a company called Texan Gloop belched a carpet of black gunk over Norfolk, we'd be surrounding the US embassy and burning sarcastic effigies of Boss Hogg within minutes... Having vandalised Louisiana and laminated thousands of pelicans, the BP spill now threatens to disfigure the Miami coastline, corrupting its relentlessly cheery blue-and-yellow colour scheme with a sea of rainbow black. Congratulations, people of Britain. Even though, strictly speaking, it isn't your fault.


Yes, that's exactly it.

Thank you.

Nov. 11th, 2008 11:03 am
rebness: (Courage)

Light Loss

"Our loss was light," the paper said,
"Compared with damage to the Hun":
She was a widow, and she read
One name upon the list of dead
--Her son ---her only son.

J. Le Gay Brereton 
rebness: (Heeeellllllll)
So there is a list doing the rounds, for a redundant survey to find the quintessential symbols of Britain. Because, naturally, I disagree with several ommitted items on this list, here are ten essential aspects of British life. Also, because I couldn't think of anything else to write. Do do do.

1. The crisp butty
For the Limey-challenged out there, this is only the greatest example of gastronomic scuzziness. Take a slice of white bread-- I myself favour the delectable Rathbones toaster bread. Spread on a generous amount of Lurpak, if one is posh, or Lidl own brand margarine if one is a skank. Open a packet of Walker's cheese and onion crisps, or, if splashing out, a packet of McCoys. Layer crisps on bread delicately. Fold bread in half. Press down on bread. Eat.

2.Strolling into work half an hour late and nobody batting an eyelid.
It's thanks to this attitude that I am considered employable.

3. The liquid lunch
As much as I love alcohol (being your stereotypical Brit and all that), is there anyone else who can't take nipping down to the pub for a quick panini and a glass of wine or beer before returning to work? It does, however, still boggle me that this is considered all right. Especially as we deal with alcohol abuse referrals.

4. Suburbs composed of nothing but takeaways, pubs, taxi joints and betting shops.
I estimate this to be the case with 90% of Northern cities.

5. Big Ben's chimes
I don't understand any survey on British icons that leaves out Big Ben. If I'm trying to negotiate between the crassness of Radio City and Key103.FM en route from work, I will sometimes land briefly on the BBC six o'clock news broadcast, replete with the resounding chimes from Big Ben. I always stop to listen, because as much as I love travelling, as much as the UK is full of silly things like crisp butties and Fantasy Football, it's home, and nothing to me is more a symbol of that than those chimes. Gawd love 'em.

6. Nuclear green mushy peas.
When I was in high school, our French tutor gave us a long talk on why our cuisine was disgusting, and she singled out mushy peas for a particular savaging. Her countrymen, she told us, couldn't understand why we British mistreated peas so. Now, I love French cuisine, but our peas do not deserve such slander. Je m'en fous, the peas stay-- though I now use lashings of balsamic vinegar on them in deference to her. Or because balsamic vinegar makes it seem all right.

7. Chavs
Every single nation has its own version of chavs, but what's great about ours is that they're so crap. Forget intimidating LA gangs or the mean banlieus of Paris-- ours hang about on street corners asking you to nip into the off licence (liquor store) for some White Stripe cider. And if you don't? Why, they'll...they'll... hurl abuse at you. When you're down the road. And run when you return to sort them out.

8. Turkey curry on Boxing Day
Bridget Jones elaborated on this enough, I think.

9. Trains taking eight hours to travel 200 miles
Having experienced this several times, I can see why so many people throw themselves in front of trains.

10. A nice cup of tea
No list is complete without this. You should know that the formula is apparently so: Take teabag. Place in cup. Boil kettle. Pour water into cup. Take teabag and press against the side of the cup for two seconds. Stir, and leave teabag for precisely two minutes to brew. Take teabag and press against the cup for two more seconds. Remove teabag and pour milk into cup. I'm not kidding; there was extensive scientific research on making the perfect cup of tea. I tried it out at work, and three people concluded the tea was great. The other two said they asked for coffee.
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