Last weekend, on my way to Paris, I had the pleasure of reading Marcel Lucont’s book “What we French think of you British”. In his book Marcel, flâneur and bonviveur, takes on the British customs, monarchy, people, food, weather, Royal Family, class system, transport chaos and the NHS and speaks his condemning verdict. Marcel has a suave and understated way of highlighting how much better things are in France, bien sûr! As a continental European living in the UK, I could easily relate to Marcel’s anecdotes, but I daresay that no matter where you’re from, you won’t be able to help yourself from having a chuckle when reading this book.
A hilarious, witty must-read, not to be taken too seriously, of course!
See below for a few appetisers (my personal highlights) for you to read.
The French have a symbiotic relationship with alcohol, given it the respect and understanding it deserves and seeing it as a natural accompaniment to intelligent conversation or existentialist debate. The British it seems, are all raised believing there to be a limited supply, which may expire at any moment during their lifetime and so make it a vital part of their diet, often above anything else.
Royal Wedding, April 2011
The world media ensured we could not avoid the sight of Prince William bonding Kate Middleton to his degenerate family, and the ghoulish parade of hats, jewellery and overbites, was of course used as an enormous PR exercise by Britain’s inexplicably numerous royalists to boost the flagging reputation of these anachronistic dinosaurs, painting them as relevant and progressive. No doubt the government are hoping that this will keep up enough positive momentum among the British to gloss over the inevitable crushing disappointment of Britain’s management of the Olympics.
British men: There is little style among British men who will dress like teenagers for as long as they can until moving on to nothing but varying shades of brown in later life.
False titties: I have discovered that so many British women are buying new tits. Where I am from, false titties are something you buy in a joke shop.
Languages: To minimise the chances of having to learn another language, the British have set up various havens around the world, such as the Costa Blanca, Gibraltar and Australia.
Fish and Chips: It takes an especially culinary carefree nation to decide that the best thing to do with a subtle food like fish is to throw it into a deep-fat fryer and then add some liquid nuclear peas to give the impressions of a balanced meal. Britain, there is only so much help we French can give you.
Chocolate: In France we regard it as a delicacy, a treat to enjoy, made from rich cocoa butter, but in Britain you pollute your chocolate with vegetable fat, presumably so that bad mothers feeding it to their increasingly spherical children can justify it as part of their ‘five-a-day’.
Beer: What the British certainly do specialise in is beer with any sparkle removed, which is then warmed to room temperature.
Beer garden: Usually a misnomer. Unless one counts as a ‘garden’ some concrete, a few benches and an umbrella, situated next to a car park.
Spring: Typified by cool, changeable temperatures, drizzle and occasional sunshine
Summer: Typified by cool, changeable temperatures, drizzle and occasional sunshine.
Fall: Typified by cool, changeable temperatures, drizzle and occasional sunshine.
Winter: Typified by cool, changeable temperatures, drizzle and occasional sunshine. (And marginally colder than summer).
While waiting at a bus stop in Britain, one is advised to carry several items of warm clothing and at least two meals, as the bus times written on the timetables have been invented randomly.
An English night out:
For a truly authentic English experience, why not head to any town centre for a tea or coffee in an American chain coffee house, followed by a top meal in any of the Thai, Indian or Chinese restaurants and a trip to the nearest multiplex cinema or bowling alley? If you are still hungry after this, your main option is a Turkish kebab.
Joie de vivre:
The spirit of living life to its most full. It is often difficult to see how this phrase has gained any such usage in Britain. For the French, whose life style is regularly described as the best in Europe – a 35 hour working week, 34 days holiday for those unlucky enough to be in an office job and most money spent on healthcare. In Britain, even your bars must create ‘happy hours’ to enforce joy.