Sunday, August 22, 2004

I have bought a piano and am loving it. I had piano lessons as a child, from a rather stern lady called Sylvia - and I had a part-time job as a restaurant pianist many years ago, but A levels and gay sex made me lose interest in my late teens. However, now it's back. I'm hopelessly rusty, but don't care. My love of Debussy and Sate can now resume.

Have you ever read Britain's "best-selling quarterly" This England?. A friend who has travelled to this time period from the early 1930s buys it regularly. It's like pornography for ex-pats. It's full of pictures of green fields, villages, ponds, fetes, people on bicycles, royalty, flower arrangments etc. It does NOT contain any of the following: people smoking outside council houses, Arndale centres, girls wearing hair scrunchies pushing prams, working class people of any kind (unless they are jolly servants with ruddy faces, cheerfully polishing away in the background), motorways, McDonalds or hen parties. It is also shockingly anti-Europe and almost every page contains a not so hidden anti-Europe message. You can order a UK passport cover from it in order to conceal your shameful "EU travel documents" because we were "sold out by political plotters". My friend who buys it has absorbed it all and you can't say "Europe" to him without him falling to the ground, writhing and foaming. My only opinion about Europe is that it's very funny watching anyone express an opinion either for and against it - although the "against" people tend to be the most amusing. I'd thought that the following noises "pshaw", "harrumph" and "tsk" had fallen into disuse, but they are all part of the vocal vocabulary of the This England fan-base.

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