Great Britain

We’re All Going On A…

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The double-decker bus is inextricably linked with that song in my head, probably because at the age of seven I queued up to see Cliff Richard in ‘Summer Holiday’, and when director Peter Yates turned his monochrome footage to colour with the approach of the bus, we felt as if Britain had just driven out […]

World’s Rarest Tribes Vanish Forever

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Explorers stumbled upon them in the jungle, strange creatures with painted faces and wild body coverings, speaking in languages no-one could understand – but now it seems they’re gone. Yes, the tribes of London have finally left the urban jungle. Goths, Rude Boys, Skins, Punks, Mods, Rockers, Psychobillies, Hippies, E-Gen, all vanished. Me, I was […]

The Tragedy Of British Seaside Towns

Brighton's ruined West Pier

Tourists come to the UK for all sorts of reasons, one being its ‘Englishness’, something I only start to appreciate after returning from overseas. The cities are enjoyed for their vibrancy, the countryside for its beauty, but the coastal seaside resorts are largely sidestepped. Our seaside towns had a different history to their European counterparts. […]

Middle-Class Conversations

  Okay, before we embark on this, I’m going to attempt to explain the British class system again. At some point in every British gathering or dinner party the subject of class raises its head. It’s a complex, thorny issue, and a curious one. Roughly speaking, the nation is divided into three bands, working, middle […]

The British And The Great Indoors

  Most of us are, I suppose, creatures of habit, and tend to sink back into quiet lives during times of recession and cold, but I’ve always felt that the British, in common with other temperate-to-cool Northern countries, treat home as their key habitat rather than the outside community as Mediterraneans do. A friend told […]

The Great Champagne Conspiracy

  New Year’s Eve is the time to open that special bottle. Great Britain imports more champagne than anyone else in the world, but for the second year running sales are well down and continuing to fall. The French dug up over 40 villages to plant more champagne grapes when sales were booming, and are […]

Dames: A Very Peculiar British Custom

Of all the things that take some explaining about British culture, one of the most complex and difficult is the traditional acceptance of drag. For as long as I can remember, men have dressed as women on national television, and have hosted family and kiddie TV shows. What’s always been unique about this strand of […]

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It must be Christmas, the press are forecasting ‘misery journeys’ and warning of gales and rainstorms, shops are offering ‘panic sales’ after poor forecasts, and everyone I know either has a virulent cold or has already left the country on an extended (two week) break that won’t return them to London until January 6th. I’m […]

Passing The 3,000 Article Mark

Since 2008, when I started running this pub punch-up of a site (as well as posting on Twitter, Goodreads and two separate Facebook pages, I’ll have you know) I’ve just realised that I’ve managed to clock up more than 3,000 separate pieces, usually posting at least one a day unless I’m travelling somewhere without technology, […]

Are The ‘Psycho’ London Years Back?

Remember the eighties? If you do, you’ll either recall a halcyon era awash with ‘Loadsa Money’, glass winebars and bad hair or a morally bankrupt time of tastelessness, selfishness and appalling greed. And for London, those times are clearly back again. Although this time around, there are a couple of new twists. It’s no longer […]