Have you ever had a joke or a line in your head that you just have to use somehow, no matter how contrived you need to be in order to crowbar it into conversation?
Oh, ok, just me then.
Having met, chatted to, and got to know many more Americans online in the last couple of years than I’ve met in the whole of the previous forty five, I’ve begun to get more of an idea of what makes us so similar in some ways, and yet so different in others.
One thing our US cousins are certainly big on is patriotism, and never more so than on 4th of July,when they wish each other Happy Independence Day.
Just by the posts on Facebook from my American friends you’d know what day it was even if you’d just woken up from a coma.
Which is nice, don’t get me wrong, but we don’t get to have a massive party to celebrate our independence from anyone in the UK (although Scotland may be able to celebrate their own soon enough, you never know) because who would we celebrate our independence from?
Besides, the 4th of July in America now appears to be more of a chance to celebrate general American-ness, as opposed to actually gloating at the memory of slinging out the English in 1776.
So I think we should have an equivalent holiday, when we revel in British cultural achievements.
Not sure about a name, but It’ll come to me later.
Music is a great tool for crossing national boundaries, even if some of the terminology varies from time to time.
For instance, the term Beatnik – derived from American writer Jack Kerouac‘s “Beat Generation” – describes a member of the subculture better known in the UK as Hippy, and although the Alternative rock scene arguably began in the US, with pioneers like The Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Jefferson Airplane…
..and continues today with other bands such as Killers, Kings of Leon, and unpredictable masters of tripped out psyche-rock, The Flaming Lips,
..the UK can lay claim to spawning the Indie movement, bringing the world groups like the hugely influential Smiths…
…art school geezers, Blur,
…and even bipolar Goth barbershop-dodgers, The Cure
Of course, this all started with a quill and a piece of paper, and we all know that the “Pen is mightier than the sword” in achieving accord between disparate peoples, a term coined by accomplished 19th century English poet, playwright, and novelist, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, in his 1839 play about Cardinal Richeleu.
So maybe something that celebrates our rich literary history should be included in the festivities.
And it’s not like our friends over the pond really disapprove of us anymore is it?
Well, maybe they’re not always so keen on the English and our limey liberal ways, but don’t they just love the Irish?
At last count, over 11% of Americans – that’s 34.5 million people – claimed Irish heritage to some degree or another, and presidents from Roosevelt and Kennedy, right up to Reagan and Clinton have made a point making their celtic roots widely known.
If some Hollywood movies are to be believed, the entire NYPD is staffed by shillelagh-toting, Guinness-swilling Sons of the Emerald Isle, only ever one copy of the Irish Rover away from doing a Jig.
If there is one musical genre that’s always proven popular across the Atlantic, its the second English Invasion, that of Dance and House, (now rechristened EDM – or Electronic Dance Music – presumably because promoters gave up finding names for new sub-genres) with DJs like Fat Boy Slim and Paul Okenfold playing vast stadium venues to massive crowds.
I’m not entirely clear what any of this proves, and I’m still struggling to come up with an appropriate name for the holiday on which we could celebrate all this British cultural richness.
So for now I’ll just call it Hippy Indie Pen Dance Day.
Hmm, needs some work, but I think I might have something there…
(Right, got that out of my system, we’ll say no more about it)