By Mark Easton
Mark Easton's Britain and so on. seems to be on the united kingdom via its courting to 26 matters - one for every letter of the alphabet. From Alcohol, Beat Bobbies, Cheese and canine via Immigration, Justice, Knives and homicide to the Queen, Umbrellas, greens and the Zzzz of a richly deserved relaxation, the book's meticulously researched yet available essays map the back-story of latest Britain. With each one lettered bankruptcy, the reader is invited to examine the uk in a brand new approach: status again to determine our small islands in a world or historic context, after which diving all the way down to scrutinise very important info which may be missed. Taken jointly, the essays display a Britain that can not be visible in the course of the prism of day-by-day information or present affairs. A park, a marriage, a beggar and a carrot all tackle new importance after you have learn Britain and so forth. because the united kingdom welcomes hundreds of thousands of holiday makers to its shorelines for the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, it is a ebook that provides perception into the psyche of england; a nation's obsessions, prejudices, values and idiosyncrasies. what kind of position is it, what are the natives like, and the way did we get to the place we're?
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By the 1970s, bland, processed, homogenised factory-made gunk was routinely skewered on cocktail sticks and accompanied by a chunk of tinned pineapple, a pitiful display of what amounted to British gastronomic refinement. Our plates reflected an unshakeable faith in mass production and technological advance, the qualities that had spawned an empire two centuries before. The country was pinning its hopes on arresting economic and industrial decline through the appliance of science. Food was predicted to become space-age rocket fuel.
But it was also an indication of something apparently incredible: that Britain’s drink problems should not be blamed on drink. In those days every Fleet Street title had its pub: the Telegraph occupied the King and Keys; the now defunct News of the World drank at ‘The Tip’ (The Tipperary); the Daily Express was resident at ‘The Poppins’ (The Popinjay); the Mirror pub was known as ‘The Stab In the Back’ (The White Hart). Drinking was ritual and tribal. Tales of drunken fights and indiscretions were sewn into the colourful tapestry of Grub Street legend, inebriated misadventures to be reverentially recounted and embellished.
Once, residents would have proudly swept the pavement beyond their front gate. Now, people sweep their front path onto the pavement for someone else to clean up. The amount of litter dropped on our roads has increased five-fold since the 1960s, a simple measure of how respect for our public spaces has been lost. The British are said to be uncomfortable with continental piazza culture: the ritual occupation of public space by all generations. It is all right for Italian, French or Spanish families to promenade around the town square on a sunny evening, but it would never work in Dock Green.