The curious and beautiful signs of Being British


Being British is certainly not a matter of blood – there are second generation Brits who feel more like citizens of their original homeland as a result of their home life than they do British, and there are people who have only lived here a few years and have completely soaked up the culture.

Being British is certainly not a matter of appearance – Britain is by its very definition now a mix of the great and the good who make up these lands, from the ethnic Nigerians to the Pakistanis to the Peruvians and everyone else in between.

Being British is not even by accent – you think it’s all fun and games until you stand on the left in front of a Punjab Sikh and he tuts and rolls his eyeballs at you in a perfectly British manner.

There are certain things that all British people hold dear and agree on though. They’re not in any rule book and there’s no exam you can take to know if you’re fully cooked or not. One day, you’ll just find that you’re more Victor Meldrew than Victor Ikpeba, you find that you look at people who say “Lie-ces-ter Square” with corner eye, and you absolutely, under no circumstances go south of the river unless you absolutely have to.

1. The weather: it’s blazing hot. It’s freezing cold. There are leaves on the line. Public transport has stood still. It was sunny yesterday so today, we’re in the pouring rain in shorts and flip-flops. It’s just greeeeeey. It’s the British weather in all of its schizophrenic glory. Being British means we can whinge and moan but don’t you DARE complain about the weather if you’re not British!

Very British Problems 2

British Man in Cloudy Weather
Look! Far in the distance – a bit of blue sky

And a bit of sun??

2. We apologise and say “Sorry” for just about everything – yes, we will apologise to you even if you bump into us. We will apologise for standing up and trying to get past you on the bus. “Sorry” is a perfectly civilised way to start a sentence, to wit: “Sorry, would anyone else like a cup of tea?”. Please note, however, that this is not to be confused with “Sorry??” which shows that the speaker wither did not hear you or is teetering on the edge of apoplectic rage. I guess you can only find out if you find yourself at the end of a very vigorous tut.

3. If you’re a Londoner, you probably know London via tube lines. Balham? Noorvun line, mate!


4. We do not talk to other people. Ever. Even at the risk of death – look. Perhaps if you’re from “Oop Norf” and grew up on the cobbles of Coronation Street, then you all lean over your backyard fences and gossip in your pinafores and aprons, but otherwise the British remain stoic, stick their faces in their newspapers and just get. On. With. It.

5. Speaking of Coronation Street, not everyone who lives up North speaks like an extra from the popular soap, and not everyone who lives in the Big Smoke talks in rhyming slang.

6. Queueing is a national sport. We like nothing better than a good queue. If there was a queue for queueing, we’d queue for that too. And we will happy call the wrath of Beelzebub on you should you feel the urge to jump a queue. This rage is visible by our quiet tut and heavenward eye-roll. When a British person rolls their eyes at you behind your back along with the rest of the crowd, just know that this is the equivalent of them wishing you had fallen into the volcanic lava at Mordor


7. A true British person understand that swearing is not the huge travesty that it is in other nations. Words like “Damn!” “Bloody” “Twat” and “Bollocks” are all in a day’s work, and if you’re poetic with it and have the ability to end a string of swear words with “cockwomble,” then so much the better. Swearing cuts across gender, income bracket and class. And sometimes, it’s even affectionate. A git is the same as an unspeakable idiot, but a “jammy git” is a lucky fellow you’re slightly envious of. See “Jamie and his bird got the last two tickets to the Rihanna concert, the jammy git!”

8. The complete and utter stoicism that is Being British. Here are some gems:

Very British Problems 1


10. WALK ON THE LEFT; STAND ON THE RIGHT! Britain is full of people who would happily staple this message to the raw, beating chests of tourists because AAAAARGH! I mean, the picture below is enough to drive anyone barmy, with veins popping out of the sides of your head as you develop a peptic ulcer from trying to not scream at her.

Standing Centre Escalators


All said, we love Britain and will quite cheerfully brain anyone who says otherwise!

british culture


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