Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Anglophile or Anglophobe?

My hubby and I are self-proclaimed Anglophiles {people who love English culture and England in general} and yet we've never been to England. It is a very sad and shameful thing. We are very sure we would love it there - from the cold and rainy north to the palm trees in the south, from the metropolitan London to the country farmlands. In fact, I think I'm going to order this shirt to prove my love of all things under the Union Jack.
When I was growing up we often had visitors from England. My father was employed at Eastman Kodak Company (also known as "Big Yellow"). Between 1940 and 1942, 156 British children were brought to the Rochester area by Kodak to safeguard them from the war in their home country. These “Kodakids,” as they were called, were placed with the families of local Kodak employees or in foster homes for the duration of the war. My father's family hosted two sisters - Joan and Ruby. They left their family and their lives behind and lived with my father's family for 6 years. Can you imagine? Interrupting your childhood and leaving your country, your family, your friends, everything behind and adopting a whole new life? I can't imagine what was harder. Coming to the U.S. or returning to England as a relative stranger to your family and your country.

Anyway, they were lovely people and my love affair with British accents, authors, and culture began there. They gave me their strange money to keep in a jewelry box at home and tried to teach me about exchange rates, they talked about nights out at the pub, they had rosy cheeks and bright eyes, they referred to beers as pints. They introduced me to Jane Austin, Lewis Carroll, Charles Dickens, and the Royal Family. I fell in love with Wimbeldon - and the tradition of white on the courts, the Duke and Dutchess of Kent in the stands, the starched reserved properness of it all.
And when I was older, they introduced me to Benny Hill.
And I found the seedy underside of British life.
And I was well and truly hooked.

The balance to all that proper behavior was this incredibly funny foul man. Can you hear the music playing now?

I've continued to spend my Friday evenings watching the local PBS station's BritCom nights with wonderful and quirky shows from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Some favorites - check them out.

The Young Ones
[The anarchic flatshare from hell]

Are You Being Served?
[Set in the antiquated Grace Brothers department store, the show followed the antics of its staff]

[3 guys, 3 girls, not your average "Friends" episodes]

Black Adder
[Follow the tawdry and yet inexorable progress of the Blackadder dynasty]

As Time Goes By
[a gentle, well-scripted sitcom about the rekindling of long-lost love]

The Vicar of Dibley
[Not your run of the mill grey-haired cleric]

Fawlty Towers
[Farce run amok]

My Hero
[Thermo-man adjusts to life on earth]

God Bless the BBC.


Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Benny Hill--hysterical. That was when I first started staying up late for a t.v. show. In sixth grade I would spend the weekend at my bff's house. Friday night was Benny Hill and Saturday night was SNL.

Thanks for bringing it back!

A's Mom said...

I remember Dad watching Benny Hill every weekend. Although it was really trashing sometimes, it was quite funny. Maybe I'll have to check some of your favs out.

KiKi said...

Thermo-man... mwwhaaaaaaa. I love funny money, DH has some from almost every country he's ever been. He gave Zeze some of her own when he came home.

Ian Lidster said...

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. All wonderful except for Are You Being Served, which I never took to. And Coupling, a 'dirty' friends without ever being offensive, or maybe I just have a wicked mind.
Anyway, I was always a confirmed anglophile, and had visited a number of times on vacations. In 1980-81 I lived in England for a year. I loved virtually every bit of it, other than the lousy plumbing and high train fares. I was back last fall for a brief visit and it was like going home. Do it, you'll love it.
Oh, and you should have listed Dr. Who with your TV shows.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

With the exception of As Time Goes By and the whole genital thing, I think you and I may be the same person. I love the UK, except for the whole Northern Ireland thing.

Tootsie Farklepants said...

OHMAHGAWD!!! The Young Ones!! I had totally forgotten about that! I used to do a wicked Rick impression. And I loved the way Vivian said "lentils"

mostraz said...

Please go to England! Get your passport ready and book it -would you please? It's such a great place to visit. Please go. Use Rick Steves travel guides (we used his books and videos for Italy and France & he has a series on PBS) and go.
Go, go, go already! It's such an easy country to visit. Please go, don't wait any longer.

Minnesota Matron said...

Oh my God -- talk about better TV. I haven't watched Benny Hill in a long time but I think my oldest is at the exact right age to start developing a taste!

Anonymous said...

I wish I had a cool name like Tootsie Farklepants. Must be English.

I like the English. I have an Irish co-worker who can't stand them. Monday a new guy is starting and he's from England, so we're all totally waiting for the smackdown. If I get video I'll post it for you.

morningwheat said...

Would love to contact you for more info on the KodaKid experience. I work for one of the organizations that was home for British children.