Wednesday, 13 July 2011

I'm not from New York City, I'm from Rotherham

I ask you: What is it about moving thousands of miles from the motherland that makes an otherwise sensible person turn her home into a one-bed British Embassy?

I should begin by acknowledging I've essentially answered my own question there, but mental images of me sleeping in a Union Jack romper aside, it's comical how nationalistic a transatlantic move can make one feel. I may not have applied to the Department of the Interior for ambassadorial status quite yet, but the fact remains that until I actually step across my threshold into the San Francisco fog, I could quite easily convince myself that I never left the British Isles.

It's the morning routine that's most telling. It's not just the worrying reliance on PG Tips and Marmite on toast, despite not really liking either of these brands prior to leaving the UK. It's the obsession with reading all of the major UK newspapers online of a morning. It's the need to hear the soothing sounds of BBC Radio, even if that means this very morning hearing Jeremy Vine asking (and I'm not joking here): "have YOU ever had your eyes pecked out by a bird? Call us!"

The crunching irony is that I am the least likely British citizen to fall prey to anything as embarrassing as national pride. In fact, in my past life living over the River Cam, I counted myself as quite the Yankophile. Only the finest HBO boxsets were allowed to grace our DVD tray. US news outlets and opinion sites were my bread and butter, and I was one of those pig-irritating Brits that when overheard snickering at the computer, would airily announce: "oh, it's just the Republicans up to their usual tricks again". Now, I find myself drawn to the cultural equivalent of apple crumble. I snuffle up all available episodes of The Office (British one, of course), and fill up my iPod with Adam & Joe podcasts. My love of the Boss is on temporary hiatus while I snuggle down listening to Stornaway and the Smiths.

Of course, the funny thing is that this week my two worlds have collided. Even without taking the Royal stagecoach into consideration, the scale of the News of the World's perniciousness is so great that San Franciscans have stopped worrying about the illegal goldfish market long enough to be genuinely shocked by the distinct whiff of sulphur emitting from News International. British news, it seems, is big news over here right now.

So, as I switch on my sixteenth Blackadder episode, my heart swells a little - knowing there's nothing like hearing the words "gutter press", "Metropolitan Police"  and "unfathomable corruption" to make a Brit feel that little bit closer to home.


  1. Oh dear Carly. I'm in Manchester and even I can't abide the Smiths! That said, being half Irish and half Geordie I just fly the flag of whatever region/nation just to spite whoever I'm talking with. I'm nice like that.

    Although trust the Americans to steal our tabloid thunder and chuck 9/11 into it. Enjoy that hysteria whilst we finally get over ours and enjoy The Sun on Sunday...

  2. I know, it's like "ooh, the FBI - it must be serious!". Once again, we are outplayed...

    PS. And what exactly is wrong with the Smiths?