So Australians don’t get worked up about all that?
Nope. Being descended from a transported convict is a source of pride these days. That’s what I was told.
Pride that your great great great grandfather was arrested for impersonating an Egyptian?
It’s better if he was an Irish political prisoner, but there are only so many of those to go round. Jeremiah O’Donovan was a famous one, he’s on a 19 Crimes label, I think.
Are you telling me Australians don’t even mind the hilarious convict uniforms worn by English nitwits at Ashes matches?
All part of the fun of the fair.
So Australians don’t hate the English after all?
Oh no they do, but that’s because of Gallipoli.
And that was?
Is this a joke? Go and look it up.
OK, so that was in World War 1, when weak-chinned English toffs sent gallant, down-to-earth loveable Anzac boys to certain death in a doomed invasion which the layabout British army was spared, because English toffs don’t give a damn about the lives of Australians and New Zealanders.
Good work, you’ve got it.
Is that what’s known as an entrenched narrative?
Because of the trenches, right?
Don’t be stupid. Never mind, just be on your guard if you’re in Australia on Anzac day. Or maybe indoors. You don’t want to get king-hit.
And what is that? Simply please, because my brain is getting full.
But we haven’t even started on the bodyline tour yet. OK, king-hitting is a recent Australian custom, when you go and hit a complete stranger in the face, without warning, as hard as you can. It’s hilarious. It can leave the victim with a broken jaw, in a coma, whatever. The urban dictionary has a definition: ‘the most hardcore, damage-maximising, chronicly (sic) solid punch that can be thrown. Send’s (sic) the aggressor off balance if it doesn’t hit the intended target’.
Why do they have semi-educated teenagers writing this dictionary?
Someone’s got to do it, and all the harmless drudges are busy on proper dictionaries.
Google it, if you can be bothered. Samuel Johnson. Perhaps we’ll hold the bodyline tour over for another day.
But anyway, it isn’t the Australians who really hate the English.
It’s the Welsh.
I was going to say the Irish.
And also what about the Scots?
No it’s the Irish all right.
And what have we ever done to them?
Funny man. Plenty, but perhaps we’ll hold that over for another time too.
What about that dressing-room speech Phil Bennett gave before a Wales-England rugby match.
“Look what these bastards have done to Wales. They’ve taken our coal, our water, our steel. They buy our homes and live in them for a fortnight every year. What have they given us? Absolutely nothing. We’ve been exploited, raped, controlled and punished by the English – and that’s who you are playing this afternoon. The English”
Fair enough. Nobody likes us all that much, to tell you the truth.
Perhaps the Americans.
The Americans find us picturesque and patronise us, but they also think we’re alien and untrustworthy because we can speak English properly. That’s why they hire our clapped-out actors to be evil baddies in their films.
OK, so I’ll put the Americans down as not sure.
However, I did check into a shitty little hotel in Sri Lanka once, and when I handed my passport over the owner said ‘Ah very good, British,’ and beamed and waggled his head. He said he didn’t trust the Italian and French hippies, but the British were gentlemen. I found the same in India. In fact, middle-class Indians in hill towns are more English than the English ever were. They wear tweed jackets and cravats.
You did the hippy trail?
I backpacked around South Asia. Sorry, why are you laughing?
You did the hippy trail. When?
Years ago now. I was young, and it wasn’t the hippy trail. Anyway, the big difference between the Brits and the French wasn’t trustworthiness, it was dress-sense.
Yes, funny isn’t it. Brit freaks were just scruffy and looked as if they needed a shave and a wash, but the French would make an effort to turn themselves out properly.
Hippy full fig: beads, hair, Rajasthani waistcoat, pyjama trousers, shoulder-bag with tassles, headband, or if not a headband a hat with a feather. If funds allowed, a monkey on the shoulder, though once I met one with a slightly uneasy-looking cat there.
Oh no, no sunglasses. Or sun cream, ever.
The French aren’t very popular either, of course.
I hadn’t noticed. Perhaps not with everyone.
So who do the English hate?
In the last few months it’s been mostly cyclists, I think. Which is something else we might come back to.