England

Most of my favorite things are from England. I’ve already made pages on Jessica Mitford and Morrissey. Rather than make eighty thousand separate pages about everything else I like from England, I’ll just condense it all here.

Monty Python

I grew up watching this. I think these guys helped me develop my appreciation for the absurd. In college I had to do a presentation on British culture with a group of friends and we tried to re-enact the Dead Parrot sketch, but couldn’t even speak we were laughing so hard. I am very sad that the wonderful Graham Chapman is no longer around. What a party pooper!

Fawlty Towers

Hilarious show John Cleese did after Monty Python. Andrew Sachs portayed Manuel, the ridiculous Spanish waiter, Connie Booth was his assistant, and Prunella Scales was his vaguely bitchy wife. We had German exchange students come to my high school in ninth grade, so my friend and I thought it was hysterical to run around telling our other friends “not to mention the war.”

The Office

Moving along to more contemporary British TV. I’ve never watched the American version, so I can’t truly do a fair comparison, but from what I understand the British version is far edgier. Sometimes the humor bordered more on the uncomfortable than flat out funny, but that’s what makes it good, it’s not relying on cheap laughs.

Florence + The Machine

Florence Welch is a beautiful woman (love her red hair) with a beautiful voice. Her lyrics are fairly depressing with haunting instrumentals, but she has an amazing energy. I can’t listen to anything without energy, it makes me wants to fall into a coma. Thankfully no comas for me while listening to Flo. Her album ‘Lungs’ is fantastic, but ‘Ceremonials’ is even better. She has some great tracks on ‘Lungs: The B-Sides’ as well. Amazing sense of style too. I love how she’s inspired by vintage glamour, especially in the video for ‘Shake It Out.’

Siouxsie and the Banshees

Siouxsie Sioux- another beautiful and unconventional woman. I’m a big fan of Budgie’s drumming too. I’m mostly a fan of their early stuff (I have ‘The Scream’, ‘Juju’, ‘Peepshow’ as well as a ‘Best of’ album and ‘Twice Upon a Time’), but I love ‘Kiss Them For Me‘ about the life and death of Jayne Mansfield. I tried to get into Siouxsie in high school when I went through my goth/punk phase, but just didn’t get it. I suppose appreciation for good music takes time. In the mid-90’s Siouxsie did a duet with Morrissey called ‘Interlude‘, which is beautifully depressing, but never got released in the US due to their mutual record companies not being able to reach an agreement.

Raleigh Bicycles

My bike is a Raleigh, so I’m biased, but in its heyday Raleigh made the best bikes around. They had a huge factory in Nottingham, and every part of the bike- pedals, cranks, headset, handlebars, hubs, etc. were Raleigh to ensure the highest quality. Their bikes were built to last one hundred years if cared for properly. The quality of Raleigh bikes began to decline in the 60’s and 70’s, and in the 80’s the rights to the name were purchased by Huffy who made bikes under the Raleigh USA name.  The bikes also began to be produced overseas, thus lowering the standard of quality. This website is the source of most of my Raleigh information: http://sheldonbrown.com/raleigh.html– a great resource for bike information in general.

I ride a 1981 Raleigh mixte which was manufactured in Malaysia. It’s held up very well though, the only reason it doesn’t have most of the original parts (had to replace the handebars and brakes- also got a more comfortable saddle and removed the kickstand) is because it got hit by a car. Otherwise it’s in fantastic shape for its age. Here’s my creature when I first got it (before the replacement parts as well as the addition of fenders):

The English Language

A very fine language indeed. The beauty of the Romance languages is balanced by Germanic influence. Some silly spellings, complicated grammar rules, lots of exceptions, bizarre idioms, but all those only add to its charm.

Some of My Favorite Books Are Set There

Jane Eyre- Charlotte Bronte

Notes On A Scandal- Zoe Heller

Atonement- Ian McEwan

Anything and mostly everything by Agatha Christie

A Taste of Honey- Shelagh Delaney

Love In A Cold Climate and The Pursuit of Love– Nancy Mitford

The Picture of Dorian Gray– Oscar Wilde

Wuthering Heights- Emily Bronte

Even Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy started out in England.

Stephen Fry

I really need to check out some more of his work. I mostly know him from his portrayal of Oscar Wilde, which was amazing. He was also the TV presenter in V for Vendetta. But he’s done so much more! Shame on me for not being more up on that.

Alexander McQueen

I’m disappointed I was too much of a lazy butt to get my ass to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see his exhibit. I can appreciate his art from the comforts of my home though thanks to Google. I was at my menswear PR internship when I found out that he died. Such a waste.

Isabella Blow

I don’t know too much about her work as a magazine editor, but I find her strangely fascinating and tragic. She was an early supporter/mentor to McQueen, wore awesome Philip Treacy hats, and unfortunately suffered from severe depression and cancer, eventually taking her own life (at a get together with friends and family, of all places).

I Guess This Is Enough

I should end this before it gets too silly (Tesco! A combination of techno and disco! – Stephen Fry joke). I’m bummed that I haven’t yet gotten the opportunity to head on over there (I wanted to study in Manchester, but FIT’s run by a bunch of Debbie Downers and said I already had too many credits, so there’d be nothing for me to study), but it’s more affordable than I thought, so once I renew my passport and save up some dough, I’m hoping to be on my way!

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