I Should’ve Been British

I don’t remember the first time I ever heard a British accent, but I imitated it from then on. Some of you may remember that I had an imaginary friend — Annie — for quite a long time (some may say an inordinate amount of time, but I think it’s pretty normal for a girl living in the middle of nowhere to have an imaginary friend until the age of 12). Anyway, Annie and I spoke to each other in a British accent even though I was president of the United States…there was a complex storyline to my imaginary friend(s) and our daily mischief.

I might’ve first heard it from the BBC, either on the radio or television, because my parents kept Public Radio and Television on often as a source of news. Maybe it was first from a woman at our church who had an very strong accent despite having been in America for years and years. Maybe it was from Rumpole or Fawlty Towers. Either way, I heard the magical noise of Brits and there was no turning back. Since then, I become incredibly attached to British media — almost all my favorite books and television shows are from the UK, and I plan to study abroad in England or Ireland or Scotland (hey, it’s hard to pick, ok?) over the summer. And since my soul is patterned like a Union Flag (only called a Union Jack when it’s flown at sea, kids), I figure I’ll tell you about the lovely British things I have enjoyed throughout the years (the list is long, but you should at least watch the videos, as they’re fantastic):

1. Harry Potter: Obviously. The books are better than the movies (again, obviously), but not by much. J.K. Rowling is an inspiration to me as a writer, and generally as a kind human being who loves what she does. Plus, magic!

2. The Hobbit: I’m pretty sure I made my dad read it to me at least 5 times as a kid. I love it I love it I love it. And I even love the movie, even though it adds dumb things and everything is CGI and it’s not as great as the original LOTR movies were. I still love it because HOBBITS.

3. Fawlty Towers: Don’t mention the war! I discovered John Cleese through this show, as it was constantly on marathon during pledge drives on my local PBS station. There should be more people named Basil and Sybil, braying laughing and bumbling about with concussions. And even though Manuel’s character is probably insensitive/offensive to Hispanic people everywhere, he’s so lovely and stupid that I can’t help but laugh when he yells “MANAHERRR.” Come back to me, lovely British imbeciles. “I’m tho thorry I’ve made a mithtake!”

4. The Confessions of Georgia Nicolson: This book series shaped my adolescence in so many ways it’s kind of disgusting. I don’t act like normal Americans because I’ve gotten too used to saying “twit” and doing the “viking hornpipe dance” which I only break out on special occasions. Louise Rennison is my comedy soul animal and I love her, partially because she has a huge nose and I used to think I did (I think my head grew into my nose a few years ago…), but partially because she has no filter and doesn’t mind acting like a loon. I accidentally say things like “why in the name of Gandalf’s burning bra” and other nonsense, and people think I’m crazy but really…well, yeah, I’m crazy. But also awesome?

5. The IT Crowd: There is so much to say and so little space to say it in. Basically, this is one of the most brilliantly written, hilarious shows on all of television. Remember Officer Rhodes from Bridesmaids? Chris O’Dowd? Yeah, I had a crush on him before you did. He. Is. Mine. I watched him be all greasy and weird in a basement as an IT guy for years before he got all…yummy and whatnot. So I feel it is my right to claim ownership of him and tell you to back off. Besides, Richard Ayoade is the most hilariously dry comedian ever, and he’s got a side part in his fro. What’s not to love?

6. All the British (and Irish) standup: Dara O’Briain, Russell Howard, Sarah Millican, Chris Addison, Ed Byrne, David Mitchell, Michael McIntyre. Russell Brand. Look them up. I love them all so very much. So very very much. Also, there’s almost no one funnier on Twitter than Dara O’Briain, that saucy Irishman.

7. All the British panel shows: Mock The Week (favorite ever). Big Fat Quiz of the Year. Never Mind the Buzzcocks. 8 Out of 10 Cats. QI. Just look them up! Your life will be enriched, even if maybe you will never be productive again.

8. MI-5: If you don’t love Zaf we can’t be friends. Also, it’s just brilliant and makes me want to become a spy. But not really at all because…guns. It’s just nice that it seems a little more realistic than most American shows about cops and the CIA and whatnot. Also, Lucas North (gorgeous spy, gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous) is played by the actor who plays Thorin in The Hobbit. It was a bit disconcerting at first, but I loved it very quickly.

9. Rumpole of the Bailey: There’s nothing better than a sassy barrister who quotes Wordsworth, smokes cheroots, drinks cheap wine, and calls his wife “She Who Must Not Be Named” (behind her back, of course).

10. Music: Rizzle Kicks, Kate Bush, Lily Allen, Kate Nash, example, Lady Sovereign, Jessie J. Plus The Beatles (GEORGE), The Rolling Stones, The Moody Blues… just assume that if they’re British and good that I love them. See below for a combination of several of my favorite things (Lily Allen, Russell Brand, Big Fat Quiz, and a touch of Noel Fielding). See below below for another combo (Noel Fielding pretending to be Kate Bush).

Hooray!

There are probably more (SKINS!), but dang that’s a lot. Anyway, enjoy all the lovely things I love. And if you happen to have any suggestions, please comment below! Cheers!

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29 thoughts on “I Should’ve Been British

  1. Did you ever watch Black Books? It’s fucking brilliant.

    I don’t think I’ve ever come across an American who’s so into British stuff (and aware of it too), so I’m rather impressed. It’s funny because in the states, people either mistake me as Australian (eww) or British, which is nice. I guess the NZ accent is much more British than the Aussie one though. And it’s great that you say twit. I so this silly thing were I say twat, but not as twat, instead as like “t-what”, cos I think it sounds better.

    • Like twot? I definitely say that much too frequently.
      Also, thank you! I take that as a compliment :)
      And yeah, NZ accents to Americans sound a lot like Australian ones…I can tell the difference cuz I have a couple friends from both places, and I personally like NZ accents better.
      Thanks for reading and commenting!!!

  2. Caps, I should’ve been British, too!

    But seriously, you are such an old soul to enjoy these old shows. Which leads me to conclude, your parents taught you well and opened your eyes to a bit of culture. I LOVE LOVE Fawlty Towers. So, so funny! I’ve been a big public TV fan forever. Which station do you get, btw? I started my career at KCTS/Seattle. My best friend there (still is) loved Rumpole and would often refer to me, as She Who Must Not be named. In fact, when Harry Potter came out, and Lord Voldemort could not be named, I wondered if the author got the idea from Rumpole. I’m a big fan of Masterpiece and have watched just about every show they offer–Upstairs Downstairs, Duchess of Duke Street…Downton Abbey, and the current one, Paradise. Little Dorrit remains one of my favorites. Of course, I fell in love with Colin Firth the first time I watched Pride and Prejudice (that is the best version of the story by far!). I also like comedies like Thick of It, and Miranda. Oh, and how can I forget, Call the Midwife? OMG, the Brits know how to do TV.

    • Colin Firth!!!!! Love him. Also did you ever watch allo allo? I love that one.
      My parents are fantastic – they raised me so well :) so glad to have them. I bet your kids turned out the same!!

  3. Hi I can’t believe what I’ve just read, you are almost as British as me. A couple of points, Have I Got News For You is far better than Mock The Week, also the previous comment is right, Black Books is excellent comedy as is Father Ted possibly the best.
    Led Zep, Nick Drake and Amy Winehouse http://youtu.be/h1TQRJWLZ3s for music and choose Scotland if you want dramatic scenery. You seem to have covered everything else. Excellent, class dismissed.

    • Aww yay! Thanks :) I definitely think Scotland might be top in the running. It’s so gorgeous :) I’ll have to look up Have I Got News for You! I’ve heard of it but not watched it yet.
      I’m so excited for the new suggestions!! Cheers :)

  4. Really cool blog, I always enjoy reading your stuff. Just one minor criticism though:
    “All the British standup: Dara O’Briain, Russell Howard, Sarah Millican, Chris Addison, Ed Byrne, David Mitchell, Michael McIntyre. Russell Brand.”…….Dara O’Briain and Ed Byrne aren’t British.

      • I’ve missed you too; I’ve really enjoyed the autumn piece you wrote a while ago. Of course, in northern England they don’t call it ‘autumn’ but the ‘back-end’. And yes, it has a complete different meaning when you’re talking about a horse.
        Anyways… If you’re coming over during the summer, you should definitely give me a call. I’m climbing and bouldering in the Peak and Lake district during the summer; we could get a pint or steak and ale pie together :)
        Take care, Cappy and have a lovely weekend!

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