So this is another post that has come out of the huge head dump of the last few days.
It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a fair while again – this topic in particular several years, and every so often it springs back to mind…
Before I go any further I should probably say that I’m no expert on culture, British or otherwise, and this is just what I see and what I’ve experienced in my time on the planet so far.
I’ve had issues with British Culture – or the lack thereof- for years now. In fact, this stems back to the second time I went to Germany – aged 14. At that time, I didn’t know what the issue was, but I went away for ten days, and lived with a German family, and came back feeling a little disgruntles with life thereafter. There were things lacking that I just didn’t see here.
A similar thing happened when I went to Europe in 2001, taking in Slovenia, Austria and Italy. Different attitudes and ideas, but even in the short time I was there, were quite tangible things which could be seen threaded throughout the lifestyle.
Then in 2008 I began to become increasingly exposed to French culture and ideals, mostly due to having a French lodger and friend, and having to deal with an increasingly continental lifestyle. This is something I had no issue with at all, as a more European lifestyle suits me in a lot of ways – something I found out through the 4 years that I spent tied in with both French and Swedish cultures (one of my best friend’s girlfriends was Swedish)
These experiences have meant that I’ve steadily grown to become disillusioned with the lack of British culture. I’m not talking about our art, film, music, I’m talking about attitudes and activities.
The closest that Britain has to this, is a piss up in the pub- not at all special, and not something that is shared. Sunday lunches are something which are a little more akin, but that’s not something that’s particularly well known either – the Brits enjoy queuing and drinking, pretty much. Not exactly something that I am proud of. We can’t even say that family and friends are particularly big points of value either. The concept of a dinner party is almost lost, and when it is done, it’s often done to show off individual wealth, or to portray a sense of one=up-manship, or even, a sense of having culture. It’s false, and I don’t like it much. To the point of I have to think about who is holding an event and why.
Recently, I’ve started to learn a bit more about other cultures – specifically Canadian and Danish, having come into contact with said cultures a lot more of late. Canadian culture so far isn’t anything particularly special, but there is much more a sense of community than is found generally in Britain.
Danish culture however, the more I see and hear, the more it makes sense, and conversely the more disparaged I find myself becoming with British Culture.
European culture generally has a much more social focus than british – gatherings of family and friends are often the norm, sometimes, special etymology exists purely for this in some countries. I find this pretty awesome, as it is something that I’ve tried to emulate without knowing about, which seems a bit paradoxical I admit, but does make some sense, somewhere! There’s a much more inclusive culture in Europe as a whole as well, where tolerance is the norm, where us Brits seem to be more than happy to marginalise and ostracise people for the most outlandish of reasons. Now, those who know a bit about me may well put this down to my being somewhat jaded by life experience of my own, and years of aystenatic abuse for not confining to a social norm. Part of me can’t help but play what if, nowadays, and wonder if I had been born in a different country, whether or not it would have happened the way it did, but I’m also aware that’s a big ponder on human nature.
Ultimately, I think the loss of british cultural values fell with the end of the Empire, which may surprise you to hear me speaking so archaically, as that’s really not me, but, things were much more defined then, and since that time, people seem to have lost basic values, let alone ones that define
any form of cummunity.
I guess as I’m looking at things with a bit more of a gathered perspective, I’m starting to find things which are important to me, and when culturally the place I live is against those things, it creates conflict. A bit thing for me, are friends. Family, a little less so, biologically, but I consider many of my friends as family, so can be interchanged. I dunno. maybe I’m just weird for wanting things… or maybe I should just hurry up, win the lottery and move abroad… xD