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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George Saved Me


I don’t remember the exact moment I first heard George Harrison’s voice, because I probably didn’t think anything of it. After all, I was too young to remember the first time I heard The Beatles blasting through the speakers in our living room. At that point in my life, I couldn’t possibly have known what an impact George would have on my life and my soul.

My dad always played The Beatles. It’s been a long standing tradition that he plays “Birthday” as loudly as he possibly can over the phone while shouting “HELLO! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” at my relatives on their respective birthdays. And I expect the song to wake me up every year on my own birthday. As a matter of fact, some of my earliest memories are set to a soundtrack of Beatles music. I always loved Ringo, probably because he sang “Octopus’ Garden” and it made me laugh a little to think about the lyrics.

But as I grew up, I realized that my heart (and ears) belonged to George. I remember listening to his solo albums a few times and thinking he had the most beautiful voice…he just seemed to love everyone with every word he sang. My sister had some lyrics to “Beware of Darkness” taped to her mirror and I used to read them and not understand just how prophetic the words were, but looking back they still meant something to me.

Anyway, I guess the point is, I love George Harrison with my entire soul. I feel like I know him, and I think he would be alright with me saying that. He had this air about him that makes me believe that he wanted me to understand him, and I think that if I’d ever met him I wouldn’t be disappointed. I don’t mean that like I know his deepest thoughts or feelings, but I think that the basic kindness I believe he possessed would be apparent to any passerby.

I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that I wish he were still alive. I didn’t have enough time to love him and his work while he was around, and though his death doesn’t necessarily hinder my appreciation, it makes something feel different. It feels a little sadder, really, now that I’m so inspired by a man who is no longer on this earth. I guess from what I know of him, his being alive isn’t necessary for me to still be influenced by him.

Someone once asked me who my biggest role model was, stipulating that I had to choose someone I didn’t know personally. “George Harrison.” My answer was immediate, though I wasn’t entirely sure why. But after reading part of “Dark Horse” and receiving the book “George Harrison: Life in the Material World” for Christmas this year (and subsequently reading 2/3 of it in a day), I think I understand. His calm saved me. I had a really difficult time these past few months and one of the only things I had to hold on to was music. I can’t tell you how many times I played the albums All Things Must Pass and Cloud Nine. At one point, the only way I could fall asleep was by listening to “Someplace Else” on repeat for hours. His calm, quiet, beauty saved me. And I realize I want to be like him. I want to be peaceful and loving like him. I want to search for myself the way he did…and I want to be alright with maybe never finding myself.

I love George Harrison for making me want to be a better person. And I love him for changing not only my world, but everyone else’s too.