My British Radar

Well, it seems like only yesterday saw the passing of August and effectively the end of summer and now October is banging on our doors, and about to barge it’s way in. What the hell happened to September? Sure, as you get older, the passage of time quickens, but I’m always surprised by how quickly a year passes.

Whilst this passage is slightly disconcerting, one benefit is that it means the weekends come around quicker - and that probably says a lot about how ‘exciting’ life is here at the moment. So in an attempt to fill the void, I find myself writing another self-indulgent blog post.

Recently, I’ve been feeling in a slightly uncomfortable place, with a situation that can be summed up as follows:

  • Whilst I don’t hate living here in the Bay Area, I do feel the continual longing to return home, and as such a refusal to settle down.
  • At the same time, my desire to actually live in the UK seems to be diminishing. In fact I’m almost reaching a point where I feel embarrassed to be British.

Friday night’s Klaxons concert provided a perfect example as to why.

Half way through the evening, me and Fabricio found ourselves talking to a Norwegian student who was there with a large group of her friends. One of her English friends, who was trying to work out if this other guy was from the UK, came up to her and excitedly said:

“…he is, he is, I told you! I have a British radar!”

However I had already worked this out minutes earlier, and without having spoken to him.

The simple fact is, that to have a ‘British radar’ is simply to look for a group of loud, slightly over-weight idiots, full of self-importance and zealous pride, who collectively act like a bunch of morons1.

I realised I had this deductibility when I was in Las Vegas earlier this year. Upon spotting a group of guys celebrating a stag party half way down the street, I got the sudden and horrible feeling we were linked by a shared nationality. As they passed, their Liverpudlian accents confirmed my worst fears.

(At this point I feel I should add that there is probably a certain age bracket for which the radar works most precisely. I should also mention other indicators include haircuts that can only be explained by a trip to Toni & Guy, and a dress sense that involves wearing clothes that look like they have been eaten by the dog.)

But hang on. Loud, slightly over-weight, full of self-importance and a zealous pride? I’m sure the same could equally be said of myself.

When I spend most of my day at the office correcting my colleagues for the use of ‘zee’ over ‘zed’, omitting ‘u’ from colour, as well as practically volunteering myself as a spokesman for the British Tourist Board, I’m sure they would agree.

There is no denying that all I find myself disliking about the British, the problem is, I am British, and so I too display the same trademarks.

I guess put more simply, the fact is now that I’m further removed from my place of birth, the more of it I see that I don’t like. Yet at the same time, like a mother whose son has grown up to become a career criminal, an unequivocal love remains.

1 The same of which could be said of The Klaxons, who were a massive disappointment.


5 responses so far. Go on, add yours!

 Gravatar#1 On October 1, 2007 5:03 AM, Mark said...

It's not much better for those of us that still live here mate!

I lost all hope when the BBC lost the ability to have correctly structured, composed, punctuated and generally grammatically correct stories. The gap between the BBC website and the Sun newspaper is getting ever smaller.

 Gravatar#2 On October 1, 2007 9:21 PM, Jonathan Aquino said...


 Gravatar#3 On October 4, 2007 6:19 AM, IanG said...

I needed to go into Birmingham a few days ago and thought I was in a different country, all of what you said "loud, slightly over-weight idiots, full of self-importance and zealous pride, who collectively act like a bunch of morons" is true. The majority of the noise however seemed to come from "migrant workers" though!

I would not put yourself in this category, a few pointers to your colleagues is a good thing not bad.

With regards to a longing to return home, if you think about it every day then go for it. Given the experience you have gained over the past 12+ months you will easily get a good job here in the uk. You will get to see your friends and family here again (good thing?).

 Gravatar#4 On October 10, 2007 9:54 PM, krystyn said...

It's funny to read this, as I feel the same way about my home. About fifteen years ago I moved from the east coast of Florida, where I was born and lived my entire life.

I don't miss it so much, but when I visit home it grabs my heart and fills my lungs like no other place. There's something about the pull of the ocean tide and the salt in the air that makes me balanced like no other place in the world.

That being said, I would never want to live there again. Due to an influx of money in the area over the last decade, it has its own special brand of loud, slightly over-weight idiots, full of self-importance and zealous pride.

 Gravatar#5 On October 23, 2007 8:54 AM, Gareth Brown said...

I used to have the same feelings, but i just put it down to coming from Walsall, i have been trying to get out of this place for 26 years or at least the last 10. I have decided however to settle down and try and help make it a better place.

The UK is so diverse that I believe you can move to a place that fits you, whether you are British or not.

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