Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Seven (random things i miss about home)

These are obviously random things. The things i missed the most are clearly my family, wycombe wanderers, and probably you, if you're taking the time to read this.

1) Town centres.
In 1987 Bill Bryson set off in search of the perfect American small town, 'Amalgam, USA' if you like. He aimed to pick out his favourite parts of the towns he found on his road trip around 46 of the lower states. In the book The Lost Continent, Bryson laments that essentially, every town looks the same, that instead of Amalgam USA he found Anywhere USA, a strips of malls, stores and fast food joints. And he was right. I haven't walked through a busy, pedestrianised town centre since i got here. There aren't any.

2) Intelligent, impartial TV news
Only those who have never lived without the BBC would ever advocate its dissolution. It's no surprise that most of the world go to the the World Service or the BBC website for their news. Even the major news networks in the USA (CNN, NBC, Fox) can be incredibly one eyed at times.

3) Cold and dark nights
I know. I'll probably change my mind within hours of landing at Heathrow Friday morning, but i can't help that. It's been 60-70F for the last couple of weeks here, although we did have a cold snap in early November. Yesterday i was walking around in a polo with the sun warm on my back...it just doesn't feel right for December! I want to coat up to leave the house and then fling myself on the nearest radiator as soon as i get in.

4) Radio 1.
For variety and creativity, Radio 1 can not be beaten. It's just that simple. The local music station (BOB 93.3) has about 8 records and most of the shows are syndicated... which isn't bad in itself, but is a bit cheap. Also, most of the time it drives me to listen to talk radio, which is informative, but probably not very good for my effected liberal soul!

5) Driving a manual car
I ^heart^ clutch control.

6) Earnest, English, evangelical prayer.
Matt Herring, now a Relay in Exeter, prays as well and as heartily as anyone i've ever met. It's worth downloading Mike Reeves talks just to him pray (it's worth it for more than that as well!) Prayers here are different and there's nothing less worthy about that, i guess i just miss what i grew up with.

7) Slade and miscellaneous other Christmas songs
Christmas songs here are very classy, and thats cool, but i miss Noddy Holder yelling 'merry Christmas everybody' at the top of his voice while i hunt for cards in Hallmark.


Paul said...

1) On my very brief time in USA I never noticed that. But on reflection, I see what you mean. Do you also miss roads that are not at 90 degree angles, flat, well paved and straight?

2) Hmmm... the thing that's so annoying about the BBC is that it pretends not to be biased. It systematically is on a number of issues, yet claims not to be. Fox, CNN etc. may be ridiculous but at least everyone knows it. Well, maybe not everyone, but most. Doesn't that reflect the people of America, who tend to be very much red or blue. In UK we have every shade in between and most people are apathetic enough to want something middle ground to watch on the telly. ITV and Channel 4 news are at least as impartial as BBC imho.

3) Can we please swap? I get affected by S.A.D. and become a despairing legalist at this time of year (as opposed to some other kind of legalist usually).

4) Surely you mean Radio 4?

5) As someone who's had a mere two driving lessons in a manual car, I'm inclined to disagree at this moment. But no doubt I'll agree with you soon.

6) I love hearing the prayers and questions in Mike Reeves talks, and recognising all the voices. It would be a bit like recognising whoever's reading on the DG talks.

7) I am shocked. Deeply shocked. Slade never made it big in the US of A? And they dare to give us Michael Jackson's Earth Song every Christmas?

FloydTheBarber said...

1) Yes, very much. and roads with names rather than numbers.

2) I've always thought that the best indication of the BBC's neutrality was the fact that both sides accuse them of bias the other way. I think i agree with you about the way it reflects people in either country though. and i think for overall output they are more or less unbeatable.

4) Test match Special is the best thing anywhere on radio.

7)Yeh, it's pretty awful, no Slade, no Wings, no Cliff, just 150 different versions of Joy to the world!

Si Hollett said...

I spent last Christmas in California visiting my Aunt. I missed lots of things:
British Christmas songs/carols/TV. Gone are awful films, Doctor Who, decent tune for 'O' Little Town', Slade, etc (though, I wouldn't miss Cliff)
Mince Pies - thankfully we brought over some mincemeat. Those Christmas Cookies are good, but aren't the same.

There are some 'town centre' things in the US - Simi Valley near LA has one - it's a cross between a mall and a town centre, though is a reasonable substitute.

Though I suffer from SAD, those dark nights don't really bother me: it gets me worst just before the clocks change - the sun gets up too late. Having the clocks change even later in the US would annoy me, and losing long summer evenings is annoying too.

The thing I missed most was going to an awful high-Anglican service in a really old church late Christmas Eve - it's far better than going to a vapid evan-jelly-cal church in what looks like a theatre, complete with bookshop and coffee shop. I'd rather go to a gospel centred old-church with candles and stuff, but you can't everything. At least you get to sing more than a verse of each carol.