Archive for the ‘‘Britnamerica’’ Category


March 29, 2012 Leave a comment

A few years ago, on my first ever trip to the USA to visit my bro in Brooklyn, I made a point of seeking out some ‘real deal’ gospel music as I’m a big fan of its raw energy and not least, the Message underpinning that energy.  Also, for reasons I don’t fully understand but possibly to do with various personal struggles, I feel a certain empathy with what’s generally referred to as “black history”.  Being from a middle class rural English background that might seem a bit odd to some but meh, as my kids say.

2008 ish. It’s a sunny March Sunday morning in the ubiquitously brown-painted Brooklyn streets, freezing cold and I’m jet-lagged, looking for a place to experience church USA-style.  I ask an old lady outside the Brown (obviously) Memorial Baptist Church what time their service is and it’s in half an hour.  Did I want to come on in Sir?  Sir. Wow! That’s new.

We go inside an architectural classic with upper balcony and the bespectacled Lily tells me I’m welcome and asks where I’m from. All the while the place is starting to fill up with these beautifully, fearsomely, immaculately turned-out women in crimped, feathered hats and smiling guys in suits and glinting cufflinks.

Fifteen minutes later there are a few hundred or so souls in the place and it’s surely only a matter of seconds before Whoopi Goldberg comes in to sit behind me.  Here, suddenly, is one drawn-looking Anglo-Saxon among a sea of colour, being welcomed by all those around as though I’m just another guy, which … I am. But this is the USA anyway and nobody here has that British reserve, reserved specially for “the outsider” do they?

There is a tradition in most churches, to acknowledge visitors, so it is a little strange to be asked to “Stand up if y’all a visitor here today, we all wanna welcome you to God’s house”.  I oblige in a pathetic attempt to not be noticed too much. I mean, isn’t it a little bit obvious as I am the only white face in here?  And then a realisation.  God, seriously!  This country really is still segregated isn’t it?  In London there would be at least a few other white or other ethnic faces.  I hope this is a one-off Sunday but suspect not.

Then, oh Glory! The music strikes up.  I swear, I’ve never seen a keyboard player before who was actually as wide as the keyboard and whose giant, fat hands are as nimble as those of a seamstress.  In the past I’ve devoured ‘The Color Purple’, Alex Haley’s ‘Roots’, Mississippi Burning and anything to do with injustice.  Now, I’m tired, far from home, hearing my favourite music and being reminded of a special time being sung to in full Dolby surround sound by an exuberant crowd in Rwanda.  Where, oh where did you get a chord sequence like that from people?  One more button gets pressed and I will end up looking very daft indeed attempting something I’ve never done in my life – dancing.  (I’ve always maintained that I’m more than capable of making an idiot of myself;  I just don’t feel compelled to do it to music.)

The preaching begins; slowly and deliberately structured, by a sober and wise man. But you just know that tone is going to rise to a crescendo of Hallelujahs and sure enough, ten minutes in as he is yelling, “I want someone to say Amen-uh and walk down the red carpet with me-yuh. Who’s gonna walk down the red carpet with me-yuh?”  Lily turns round to me to smile proudly saying, “That’s my pastor… he wants someone to walk down the red carpet with him”.

“I know!” I nod enthusiastically.

Fast forward to 2012 and a boy called Trayvon is, on the face of it, murdered for being black. It happens too often everywhere.  Chances are if you are reading this, you’re not likely to be a gun-wielding, racist vigilante, but in case you are… whatever your skin tone, you were never designed to handle a gun so you probably won’t be able to handle the consequences of using one.  It has to stop.  If you want to protect your community, start singing.  Dance if you want. I’ll even join you if it means saving a life!


A Nice Cuppa

May 26, 2010 1 comment

I’m looking forward to this world cup like a child waiting for Father Christmas and wondering if any of you Yankeedoodles think you’re going to spank England’s bottom at ‘the beautiful game’ (footy please, not that horrible soccer word) on June 12th.  It’s very hard to call as I suspect the US ‘win-at-all-costs’ mentality might well catch us off guard and we’re quite fond of the odd capitulation in the spirit of fair play etc.  Empire, for example; not wholly English but you get the gist.

My mind drifts back four years to the last attempt at glory when some very unsporting Portugese gentlemen took it upon themselves to spoil the England party.  I wouldn’t have minded quite so much if I hadn’t wandered into the back yard afterwards with a beer for solace only to hear the strains of my favourite Queen song being massacred at the nearby pub karaoke.  The great thing about football is there’s always, next game/season/competition if it all goes wrong.  The great thing about karaoke is  … well … someone may care to enlighten me …

I was out in said back yard yesterday practising my keepy-uppies just in case a last minute call came through from the FA saying that the England manager desperately needed a middle-aged man as a standby striker.  I managed to do eleven with my insane border collie snapping at the ball so I think I qualify.  Video evidence can be provided.

Well good luck to South Africa, I hope the tournament goes well and good luck to all world cup fans.  But not too much, that simply wouldn’t be cricket.  Talking of which we’ve  just won one world cup so let’s bag a second!


Spirit of Mrs Richards

September 15, 2008 1 comment

Anyone thinking of a hotel break may want to BEWARE OTHER GUESTS!  Here is a selection of some customer reviews found on None of them mine I hasten to add but who needs to attempt comedy writing when you have the moaning British public, God bless ’em.

Chipped and hairy toilet seat in room – vvbad.

corridors were far too hot.

could have been told were things were in the hotel . had to look and get lost, moore comunication needed

Hotel was having lift built which put TV room out of use & reception upside down.

It is not exactly a complaint but the hot water was extemely hot,it was scalding.Great for adults but for the elderly or children it could be dangerous.It nearly burnt me and I was in Catering all my life so I am used to handling hot plates etc!!!.\

Very dissapointed with the room which was pokey, airless, hot and at the
back of the hotel, event though it was top price. The baathroom had a
floor that was collapsing, and the seagulls woke us at 4:30am since we
couldn’t sleep without the window wide open. The dinner was poor and
relatively expensive.

the lift wasn’t working but staff did not inform me of this and i had to find out myself. i could have been stuck in the lift.

Full length mirror opposite Toilet in shower room, slightly disconcerting!

The town seems to be full of disaffected youth who like to mock tourists, especially as the sun goes down.

ants as stated

Your Home May Be At Risk!

July 11, 2008 Leave a comment

Ladies and Gentlemen

We are proud, nay, itching to present

Your Home May Be At Risk – a new 5 minute comedy podcast

Any and all feedback greatly appreciated – Thank you

Alternative meanings

June 11, 2008 1 comment
  • Pliers -Australian cricket team
  • Criticize -the eyes of a critter
  • Nourish – Delia Smith’s guide to wine
  • Haute cuisine – horsefeed
  • Eliminate – offer of a drink on a hot day in Asia
  • Succumb – what you do when you slice off the top of your thumb
  • Nigh – the present in Northern Ireland
  • Undeterred – diarrhoea (sorry – couldn’t resist)

Victorians were on Mars

June 7, 2008 Leave a comment

Mars Lander’s robotic arm has uncovered yet more evidence that the Victorians successfully established a camp on the red planet. NASA had earlier hinted that magnified images from the Mars Orbiter appeared to show the letters ‘ADE IN BIRMINGHA’ which when enhanced by computer spelled ‘Fade in Birminghat’.

Now fragments of a diary by the Rev’d Jeremiah Ormorod have been painstakingly pieced together by controllers and reveal he arrived “in a contraption of such monstrous industriousness [and] illustrious pomposity the [like of which has ne’er] been seen”. He goes on to describe a “hearty breakfast of roasted partridge, quince tart and hams the like [of which the] good Mrs Cloggins serves with[out] compunction”.

Research has shown that London’s Fortnum & Mason did supply an unusually large number of hampers for an ‘undisclosed mission’ to a Mrs Cloggins at The Rectory, Wrangleby, Lincs, England in 1882.

Scientists are currently studying archive material and watching ‘Journey To The Centre Of The Earth’ in order to ascertain how the Rev’d Ormorod might have died although the most likely cause is thought to have been melodrama.

image for Victorians were on Mars

Anything red belonged to Britain

(pic. courtesy of The )

Good times

June 2, 2008 2 comments
Listening to a programme about astronomy I was fascinated by all the talk of dark energy and quarks etc. Especially interesting was that scientists can tell how far back towards the ‘big bang’ they are looking by measuring the intensity of red light. The further back in time they peer, the redder the light. Does this prove that mere nostalgia for yesteryear is rose tinted or just that they are using rose tinted telescopes? … Or perhaps that prostitution really is the oldest profession in the world?