Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Being British…

In general I like having people coming to stay over. I always try to tell my Greek friends how nice London is and that they should visit. They shouldn’t miss the fact that they can crash in my place and I can be their personal tour guide (I truly really like showing people around). I’m still in the process of learning to say ‘no’ to some people that obviously and crudely try to come over, but my friends are always welcome. I have one of my closest friends coming in beginning of March with her younger sister. For the sister is the first time going abroad and I’m trying to set something really nice for them.

I am definitely taking them to see a theatrical play. I know their English are very good and they wouldn’t have a problem following it. What I am definitely not taking them though to see is a standup comedian. I really do like British standup comedy, I was watching one yesterday. In most of the cases, it’s very witty but you need to know the people, the situations or the sayings discussed. I had to learn these things while spending many evenings at the pub with my colleagues.

I still remember the first times I was spending with them in the pub, talking about the various British regional jokes that apparently everyone knew (apart from me). For those outside the ‘Islands’ who might not know, British people LOVE to chat about the different regions of UK (and not only them). They have sayings about every different region or even country (but the regional jokes are much better). For example, because of their accent the call the people coming from Liverpool ‘scousers’, the people from Birmingham ‘Brummies’ or that people from East London talk in ‘cockney’.

Apart from making fun of the accents, try to lure a British into a conversation about which is the worst area of England. For example go to him and say something in the lines of ‘Isn’t Bolton a shithole?’, role your eyes and laugh. He’ll definitely agree with you but comment how ‘Brent is not far behind, I once went there’…

That’s not the end of it though. They have worse stories to share and jokes to tell about almost every area as well. There are jokes about people from ‘Essex’ (I mentioned it in the past), especially girls. I give you an example that I found online:
Q: What does an Essex girl say after sex?
A: "Do you really all play for the same football team?"
Q: What does an Essex girl do with her asshole after sex?
A: She takes him down the pub.
For people from Aberdeen (or from Wales) they say they are sheep-shaggers (classy) and for people from Hartlepool that they are monkey-hangers.
(The latter saying for Hartlepool is based on a tale that they hanged a monkey found in a shipwreck, wearing a French uniform, because they believed him to be a French spy since he couldn’t answer their questions.)

Anyway, I can go on and on for ages regarding these stories. The very funny bit is that everybody knows them (that is British). Using these stories is a common ground for small talk and a good ice breaker to start a conversation. You just ask a person where he’s from…


  1. oh awesome! i'm sure your friends will have FUN! we are going to be in London for Christmas 2010 - cant wait! will be my first time over :)

  2. wow. Really? Can I please be your guide? I know some nice places to take you around...

  3. I lived there for 4 years and I heard this one joke you can ask a girl from Essex: It's similar to the asshole one and also in terrible taste.

    Q: Does your twat itch after sex?
    A: No he just rolls over and falls asleep.

  4. The Australian bloke who used to cut my hair in Athens went to London with a bunch of Greek hairdressers on a weekend course organised by L'Oreal. He knew and loved London, but the Greeks complained about absolutely everything for the duration of the stay. They hated the weather, naturally. They moaned that peanuts were not supplied with whisky in the pub. They whined about the lack of bread in a Chinese restaurant, and generally behaved like mard-arsed teenagers. At length Antony agreed to take one girl out for the evening to a Greek restaurant, where she moaned that the knives and forks were too big. I suspect that if they had been a smaller group or alone, they wouldn't have felt this need to denigrate all non-Greek things. It was a kind of solidarity thing. Stupidly parochial, but there you go.

  5. LOL @ Juz!!!!!!!

    Hey Nik - awesome dude.

  6. @Vilges_Suola lol at the big knives and forks. I surely know how Greeks can be a major pain in the ass. They can complain about everything. That is the reason I never go to Greek popular gathering places. I’ve never been to a Greek restaurant in London.
    I meant my post in a nicer way possible. I wasn't complaining, really. I was just commenting on the culture differences. I find the whole region jokes very interesting. I'm sorry if I've offended you.

  7. I once met an Essex girl in Tiger Tiger there in London, I was astounded at the cultural shock, she was was so different to any other girl I have ever met. Kind of expected her to take me home and to roll me over, maybe I secretly was hoping for that....

  8. No, no, I wasn't in the least offended. I was thinking about having guests from Greece in London, and remembered the story of my hairdresser. When I lived in Cambridge I had guests a couple of times from Kavala. Voula and her son moaned about pretty much everything, chiefly the food. 'Εξι χιλιάδες δραχμές για τόσο άσχημο φαγητό!' said the kid after we ate at a Chinese restaurant and he'd converted the bill. I nearly throttled him several times during that visit. Αντίθετα, Voula's sister Artemis came a year later and was the perfect guest - interested in everything, open minded about everything.