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Day 5 - Qualified Perceptions
firstfrost
firstfrost
Day 5
Today's main plan was Billy Elliot (and an interesting restaurant in which I had "pig trotter stuffed with sweetbreads" in an attempt to be more adventurous than usual). There was some Wandering Around during the early part of the day (in which I decided to not go on the London Eye, because who wants a ferris wheel in which you stand up for half an hour? It's an odd sort of laziness that involves walking around for an hour and a half before deciding that standing still for half an hour is too much work.) And, I managed to determine that the yarn store I wanted to visit is not open on Mondays before heading all the way there.

I was talking to harrock on the way back, that my understanding of British culture has undergone several changes over the course of my lifetime. First, they were "just like us" (they speak English, right?) Then, fiction taught me that they had (and we did not) an Upper Class consisting of Earls and Dukes and single men in possession of good fortunes who must be in want of wives, and colonels with country homes in which murders took place, and so on. Then I learned they didn't have all those quite so much any more, and maybe they were just like us again. More recently (at least, as compared to things written before I was born), the wave of fiction reminding me that Britain is not Just Like Us is the genre of the Plight of the Working Class with optional Margaret Thatcher hate. It's not that the US doesn't have plight-of-the-working-man fiction, it's just a different feel to it.

I have no conclusion here, it's just something I was noticing. :)
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Comments
sorceror From: sorceror Date: February 17th, 2009 01:25 am (UTC) (Link)

Ah, but Baroness (Thatcher, not the villainess from GI Joe) has long since lost her grasp on power... so the Plight of the Working Class Under New Labour may not be the same...
hr_macgirl From: hr_macgirl Date: February 17th, 2009 11:32 am (UTC) (Link)
one more (important) note: you're in London, which is not the same as England, which (of course) is not the same as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

London is much more cosmopolitan than the rest of England (and the UK). I would estimate that much of the lingering Margaret Thatcher hate in London is (crudely) related to the poll tax and not to mine closing/union busting.

London itself is practically two cities. All you have to do is look at the most recent mayoral election for verification of that. Ken Livingstone, ultra lefty, was defeated by Boris Johnston, who is closer to the right. Essentially, Boris won because he mobilised those from the leafy green areas of London to vote in greater numbers than the great unwashed who supported (Red) Ken.

Gaaa. I'm homesick just typing this, and I wasn't even born in London, but in "the provinces".
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: February 18th, 2009 08:53 am (UTC) (Link)
The trigger for my musing was Billy Elliot, which is set during the coal miner's strike (and has the "Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher / We all celebrate today / Cos it's one day closer to your death" song). I haven't really talked politics with any locals, other than the driver from Heathrow - but he was Iraqi, and had many things to say about Bush and Obama, but not Thatcher. :)
hr_macgirl From: hr_macgirl Date: February 18th, 2009 11:24 am (UTC) (Link)
you should see the film Billy Elliot. I found myself in tears over the miners' strike.
readsalot From: readsalot Date: February 18th, 2009 01:11 am (UTC) (Link)
We enjoyed the London Eye as a not-too-challenging thing to do on our first early evening, after our overnight flight resulted in a necessary nap when we finally got into the hotel room. It was also useful to get an idea of the geography of London. And many very pretty views!
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