Thursday, February 02, 2006

Kurume's Brit night

A few weeks ago, I found myself sat with Ben and Lucy, drinking tea and chatting about our respective home towns in England. We had a good long chat, and we all agreed that it was almost like being back home. What about having some kind of British theme night?, Lucy suggested. All the guys and girls from the UK sitting around, drinking builder's tea, eating cakes, talking about the weather, watching British comedy on TV, quietly complaining about things. Within a day or so a plan was in motion, and last night saw the event realised.

The requirements were simple - be British and bring along something relevant. To wit, there were jaffa cakes, baked beans, bacon and egg sandwiches, a Kevin Keegan birthday card, a union jack box and flag, some eccles cakes, some homemade flapjack, some trifle and baked beans on toast, amongst other things. But it was in the DVD department that the guests really excelled themselves - Rising Damp, Little Britain and Camberwick Green, all classics that would be almost certainly lost on our Antipodean and North American friends.

As well as the consumption of home-style food and the watching of British TV shows, there was an almost constant declaration of "I'll put the kettle on", as well as in depth talks about the weather, the class system, property, food and how good kids TV was in the 1980s. There were crass jokes, quickfire interjections of satire and sarcasm and the reading of a letter from Granddad that was such a perfect English cliche of eccentricity and irrelevance that it seemed it was a clever forgery.

Despite all the festivities, the care-free drinking, opinions and perfectly-cut cricket lunch sandwiches there was a shadow underlying the evening. Apparently our Australian, Canadian and American friends were less than enthusiastic about the party, and there was a great deal of harrumphing and mumbled asides about "those bloody poms". Things turned a shade ridiculous when someone even questioned whether the Irish guy should be there, as Ireland isn't part of Great Britain.

All I can say is this - far from being a political statement, last night was just a chance to remember some of the things we miss about home, to sit back, drink strong tea and complain about the weather whilst watching off-centre TV shows from decades past. There's nothing stopping the staging of an Australian night or Canadian night, and I guarrantee there would be no sulking and foot stamping from the Brits. Honest...


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