Monday, August 5, 2013

Laughing at Americans

Yanks are good for a laugh. And if you are a Brit, living in the US of A (exactly one year today), there's plenty to laugh about. Don't get me wrong. I love America and I am an American through my Father. But, because I am half Yank, I can slag off the foibles and idiosyncrasies of the Fatherland. It's my First Amendment right So there.

Reynolds: an American symbol of Victory and Manlihood   

Take food. Yanks are always complaining that "English food sucks." True: Chinese food in the USA is better than it is in the UK (and Beijing). True: Indian food in the UK is better than the USA (traveled Yanks know this). True: Cheese, sausages and bacon in the UK are the best in the world. America? All the bacon is rashers, tout les fromage is a variation on cheddar (or high viz orange), and nuffink but nuffink beats the old British banger.


One thing is obvious to an Englishman living in the USA. Americans are daft for all things Irish. This love of the Emerald Isle blots out all things English and Scottish. Aye, that's right, Scots oats are nay good enough for Yanks. They got to have...

Paddy Porridge

Who the fuck has heard of Irish porridge? Then again, who wants to be a miserable, miserly git straight out of a Robert Louis Stevenson novel and eat porridge in the USA? Not me. I ain't no mug. I'm too busy eating blueberry pancakes with Bear Grylls in the Pines Resort Hotel at Bass Lake. Advertisers may have fooled me into thinking I would get a glowing orange silhouette in my Liverpool childhood if I ate Ready Brek (before the long drag to Mosspits Lane Primary School) but no way are you pulling the wool over my enlightened palate.  


It is an absolute, irrefutable fact that English people invented tea. And "English breakfast tea" is as universal as "the English breakfast" (unless you are in Thailand, where "the American breakfast" is a menu option). But English breakfast tea is too much for Americans.

Fuck Dat 

Then I came across English Breakfast Tea on the shelf of my local Trader Joe's. Hip Hip Hooray! 


English tea wrapped in tartan: wrong


But English tea in a kilt might piss off the Jocks (and don't give me a lecture about tartan being an English invention).


I would NEVER buy Kerrygold butter in the UK. That is hurdy-gurdy shite. But I was perturbed to find it sold as a luxury item at Trader Joe's in Midtown Atlanta. 

Terror on Toast

I remember it sitting next to Richmond Irish sausages (a genuine Loyalist-Provo meat product) at my local corner shop on Notting Hill Gate.


Thick like Mick?

I came to the conclusion that anything with "Irish" (or a shamrock) on the label of a product sells like gangbusters in America.  As for the English, we are so unpopular here that even the crumpets are "British Style" (but fat free with cinnamon).


Cinnamon? I'll let that pass, Yank (but no maple syrup on me bacon).

The sons and daughters of the colonial revolution are plum crazy for "Pub Cheese" at Trader Joe's.  



Wait a minute, "pub cheese," what the fuck is pub cheese? You don't go to a pub for cheese, you go to the pub for a pint, you stupid cunt! That's right, Yank,  I used the word "cunt." I know that you hate it in America, and recoil at its use, but I am BRITISH and we say CUNT YOU CUNT. And we don't eat cheese in pubs neither-- unless it is in a ham and cheese, cheese and onion or plain cheese toastie. We go to pubs to drink BEER, chat shit and have FIGHTS. End of.  


Well, not really. "Pub" is constantly misapplied in the USA. I remember being taken to "The Pub" on the campus of Sarah Lawrence College in December 1990. There was no beers on sale, like a civilized Students' Union bar back home at a Uni in Blighty, but they did have a mean Colonel Sanders Zinger rip off (which had me on the khazi all night worse than a Zinger back home).  


This brings me to another incontrovertible fact, as sure as norf is norf, English people invented the pub. But in America, the majority of pubs are Irish themed.  Sure enough, there is an Irish pisshouse in my hood. The Limerick Junction, Atlanta's oldest mick pub, promises a "little bit of Ireland in the Virginia Highlands." On St. Patrick's Day, this place was packed out -- with a fake mick on the door, armed with a shillelagh but dressed in a Scottish kilt (Douglas tartan)

Martin's getting 'em in at The Limerick

I felt like donning a balaclava, flak jacket and returning with a sack of English potatoes to pelt revelers; but Operation Spud was cancelled because they don't sell English potatoes at Trader Joe's, Publix or Kroger (not tried Whole Foods yet).   

The Limerick also has the best selection of whiskey in the area (and glossy dollies after 10pm). The wife is partial to the odd dram. So, one night, she convinced me to go there. BUT if I go to ANY Irish pub ANYWHERE in the world, I immediately go into character as...   



James Fockin Nesbitt. The Man U supporting actor with the corncrake voice. Before we crossed the threshold of the Limerick I said three times, very quickly, in a Northern Irish brogue "James Nesbitt, James Nesbitt, James Nesbitt" and became the follically challenged TV hard man.  But, if I run into problems, I switch character to pull off the blarney.



Always a cracker with Frank Carson down at Limerick Junction!


American beer is piss but "English ales" are popular in the USA. Take Newcastle Brown.  Yanks love that Geordie mouthwash



But Yanks are unfamiliar with the old legend: 6 bottles of the stuff sends you to clink or the nuthouse. Fortunately, they only sell the small bottles here. 



But George's, a local boozer, is flogging pitchers of the Devil sauce. I have not witnessed any Brown Bottle moments, but am keeping 'em peeled Shaw Taylor style for the first breach of the peace


I do not care for mixing Guinness. Americans, on the other hand, don't seem to mind.


Guinness and Newcastle Brown Ale? Guinness and Coca Cola? Black Velvet is Guinness and Champagne NOT Guinness with Strongbow Cider!

Americans. Like I said, always good for a laugh!