Monday, March 13, 2006

The English

I have been criticising Nigeria and Nigerians (in as productive way as possible I hope) for quite some time. I know that this runs the risk of superciliousness, which I'd want to avoid. As a corrective, perhaps its time to take a look at 'my people' - the English. I'd welcome any comments from perplexed Janders living in the disunited kingdom.

The English are a peculiar mongrel bunch (of no fixed abode), with one thing (and perhaps only one thing) in common: a lusty love of alcohol. Everything that is done in the UK involves some kind of drink ritual. If one wants to get ahead at work, one has to go to the bar after work, where all the real business gets done. If one wants to find a mate, one has to neck copious amounts along the way. If one meets the vicar, a tipple will be involved. If one goes for a walk in the country, a pub has to be sought at the end for liquid refreshment. If one eats desert, it better have an alcoholic component (think sherry in trifle, brandy on Christmas pud). In short, there is a love affair with the bottle that my people the English have which utterly perplexes me. Where did it come from? What do we do? Perhaps we got it from the Angles, perhaps from the Saxons.. Whatever its ancestry, one thing that the English are mad about is inebriation.


bs,  5:59 pm  

its less the drinking and more the drunkeness that gets to me....maybe its because life here is so boring and on many levels meaningless for most (without the the context of family and hustling, like you would have somewhere like Nigeria) so they have to put themselves through the unpleasantness of being blind drunk for the release...I puke therefore I am...maybe somedays I puke and pass out so I can forget that I am...then theres the fact that everyone else is doing it...

BABA SALA,  6:48 pm  


Monef 7:13 pm  

I have it on good authority from one of my previous employers that I almost wasn't hired to do a job for which I was fully qualified because they were not sure whether I would be up for heading to the pub for a few beers! Now I like a drink as much as the next person, but the fact that English people have decided that imbibement is the yardstick by which all people will be measured is bizarre to say the least.

I also find it equally disheartening that English youth care only about getting drunk?! Nobody even savours the flavour of their alcoholic beverages, nobody knows how to dance without getting hammered. It sounds like I'm against people having fun but nothing could be further from the truth. It's just that after watching the people around me break legs, lose wallets, get mugged and wake up in random beds countless times, I can't help but wonder whether they don't realise that the entire world doesn't have to viewed through a pint glass!

Funke,  7:44 pm  

Drink was a big part of my growing up with an English Mum and Nigerian Dad in Lagos. I remember all the English wives of Nigerian men suffering in Lagos would drown their sorrows in Star beer, they couldn't understand that Naija society condones polygamy, needless to say, they eventually either became depressed drunks or scarpered back home to various damp, soul destroying English Northern towns... to continue drinking.

Akin 8:41 pm  

I am hardly given to drink, in fact, that is because I once worked in a brewery in my teens.

By the time I discovered complete fermentation of the brew is determined by how many yeast cells need to be dead in a square millimetre; I was off lager, beer and ale for life.

I do have a palate for wine though, so my pub visits do have me drinking the plonk that could be anybody's piss.

My surrogate family lives in a village near Lancaster and none of that dear folk is given to drink or inebriation.

However, a good pub lunch/dinner - steak and kidney pie or even a sunday roast represents some of the best social interaction amongst the English.

I am proud to say I am an Englishman of Nigerian parentage and no, I do not have a bulldog and I always make it back home sober.

another funke, lols,  11:24 pm  

see gisting for us, drinking for you, whatever rocks your boat

Jeremy 12:04 am  

I look on my people's alcoholic disease with utter bewilderment. The last time I was hideously drunk was aged 18. It was such an unpleasant experience I said never again.

I can't explain why the English drink - which goes to show that being an insider can often not produce insight. The English have lost their identity in many ways (compared to the Scots, the Welsh, the Cornish etc etc) and a spirit of anomie pervades many places... You can sense some form of resurgent nationalism emerging in the rhetoric of "albion". But as I said, the English are mongrel, made up of many forgotten tribes (the Mercians, Celtic influence, Picts, Scots etc etc), so English nationalism is always placed on shaky ground.

But I am proud of another England and another Englishness: the anti-authoriarian, rebellious tradition of dissent. Think the Levellers and anarchists, William Blake etc. Royalty-hating right-to-roamers, transvestites going for picnics on golf courses in their high heels. Eccentric collectors of odd objects and so on..

Alaye Scoro 9:58 am  

In my not so humble and slightly facetious opinion, the somewhat obvious reason the English drink to such extremities is to loosen the "stiff upper lip" that is part of their national character. During my school days the only time I had fun when out with the English was when they drank themselves stupid. Some claim that this has lessened in the 21st century (see emotional outpouring when "they" killed Diana") but I beg to differ. Contrast the social behaviour of the English with Nigerians (and their permanently assertive upper lips) who in the main don't need alcohol to have a rollicking good time. For many English, Alcohol has and always will be a means to the end of shedding their inherent stiffness and ensuring that at the end of the night they don’t end alone.

Anonymous,  1:06 pm  

I'm growing to love the generalisations that are inherently part of this blog.

A large proportion of the 'English' do indeed need alcohol to 'have a good time' but there is an increasingly large group that are closer to Jeremy's viewpoint that they're complete d**ks for behaving in that way! I am English and am proud to sit in the second category along with the rest of my family.

About This Blog

  © Blogger templates Psi by 2008

Back to TOP