This summer, London will host the Olympic Games, and many foreign visitors will visit Great Britain. Although the games are still a few weeks away, I am pleased to report that my green and pleasant homeland’s reputation for hospitality is already proving well-deserved. This week for instance a gentleman named David Beckham, who is married to one of our famous “Spice Girls,” released his “Best of British” guide for visitors. Alas I cannot tell you what it contains, for Mr. Beckham requested that I acquire an “app” for my “phone,” whereas I still rely on carrier pigeons for long distance communications. But not to worry! This week, for those planning a visit, or who are simply curious about our Sceptred Isle, I have prepared my own list. Tally ho!
PAUL MCCARTNEY’S HAIR
Paul McCartney is loved around the globe for his up-tempo ditties such as “The Frog Song” and “Biker Like An Icon.” His most recent long player, Kisses On The Bottom, is not at all about what you might think, but is rather wholesome listening, suitable for sing-alongs at the piano in the family parlor.
Last week, this Knight of the Realm celebrated his 70th birthday, and what is most remarkable is that his hair, which resembles a fine, semi-translucent purple-brown straw balanced atop a wrinkled egg, is almost intact. Is there hair like Sir Paul’s anywhere else in the world? I should think not. Truly, it is the Best of British.
Sir Paul lives in a castle located in central Liverpool and receives visitors on Tuesday mornings, 9:30-11:30. Feel free to “pop in” and pay homage to his hair, but please do not touch- for it is very fragile.
Please do not touch.
PRINCE EDWARD SPOTTING
The British Royal Family is an institution revered far and wide for its adherence to tradition. Not for our regal brood the silly pandering of the Dutch Royal Family, whose members ride bicycles and “surf” the “web” on “iPads.” In Britain, our Royals still balance gem-encrusted hats atop their pates and sport long robes that have been flayed from the backs of small furry creatures. These symbolic garments are intended to demonstrate the family’s noble lineage as the most ancient royal dynasty on Earth, being as they are descended from an alien named Xenu, who arrived on earth 75 million years ago in a spacecraft shaped like a DC-8 airplane.
Visitors are encouraged to participate in the lively national pastime of Prince Edward-spotting. Because he is small, bald and ineffectual, Edward is often dispatched to the Queen’s lesser territories to perform his ritual duties in obscurity. During the recent Diamond Jubilee celebrations, he was dispatched to a volcano in the Pacific to transmit Her Majesty’s greetings to some goats. This summer it is rumored that the Queen will dispatch the royal runt to preside over the opening of some chemical toilets in a field outside Leeds. Keep your eyes peeled!
OUR MAJESTIC DONKEYS
It is well-known that Britain is a nation of animal lovers; but consider this remarkable statistic - last year “The Donkey Sanctuary,” a retirement home for equine quadrupeds in Devonshire, received over £24 million in charitable donations. By contrast, the Blind Veteran’s Trust received a mere £16 million. .
Obviously this is because aged donkeys are far more charming than blind veterans; and indeed our donkeys are the finest in the world. The legend however that British donkeys rest on satin cushions while blind veterans peel grapes which they subsequently pop into their mouths is just that: a legend. Should you pass a blind veteran in the street however, he will be grateful for a carrot.
AN AIR OF CONDESCENSION
In the old days, Britain was run by a narrow elite who attended the same schools and universities, and who then advanced through society via the manipulation of tribal contacts, thus maintaining their hereditary grip on government, business and the mass media. They were also nobly condescending to the lower orders.
How times change! Today, Britain is run by a narrow elite, who attended the same schools and universities, and who then advanced through society via the manipulation of tribal contacts, thus maintaining their hereditary grip on government, business and the mass media. Nowadays, however, members of the elite mimic the accents of commoners and feign enthusiasm for such base pursuits as football and “rock” music. There is even a special TV channel dedicated to what the elite thinks commoners like to watch – BBC 1. Do “tune in!”
Spotted dick is a form of pudding and let nobody tell you otherwise.
And there you have it! Of course, it is impossible to distil the essence of a nation so tickety-boo as ours in so brief an article. Not to worry though, for as you disembark from your airplane at the luxurious Heathrow Airport, and then speed through London on our hyper-efficient underground “tube” railway, only to emerge in the center of the metropolis where you will marvel at the reasonable prices for so many high quality goods and services, you’ll be creating your own “Best of British” list in no time!
Pip, pip toodle-oo!