I’m one of them now

It took me 20 minutes from the moment I arrived in France – in the “beautiful” city of Lille – to come to this conclusion: I have now lived in England for too long, I have been ruined.

See French films had lulled me into believing that I missed France in a way. I watched La Haine with a sweet nostalgia – despite being far from my rural upbringing and boarding school education– and longed for the beautiful pastoral scenery that must be surrounding the house from 8 Femmes – hitting slightly closer to home for me I suppose, except for the suicide bit. French music did that too – Brassens has proved to be a convincing fellow – and literature as well – those wordy bastards always get me…

But being on their turf was enough to have me revise my position. Not only is everyone speaking French in France, they also look French and worst of all, they dress like French people! I’m not sure why I’m so offended by Frenchness and the sea of beige and grey that it involves, but I definitely am…

And guess what happened to me next. I found myself feeling that smugness that seems to overtake British people travelling abroad – ok not all Brits, some. Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about. You know, that condescending amusement at the local population’s “quirks” and “uniqueness”. You know what I’m talking about. And that weird shameless confidence. Seriously, I looked a homeless man in the eyes and I told him with not an ounce of hesitation “oh so sorry dear, I don’t speak French” – now before you get all Britishly outraged, I didn’t have money on me, so it’s not like I could have given anything anyway. Such a bold lie takes guts; yes, the kind of misplaced chutzpah only a Brit abroad would have.

To celebrate my newfound Britishness – not really, but close enough for me – I’m sharing with you a British obnoxious band and a song that I have liked since I was way too young for it to be appropriate – it was released on my 12th birthday. Enjoy with me today Babyshambles’ lovely Fuck Forever (2005). It’s good to be home with all my fellow tea drinkers.

 

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