JOLLY GOOD SHOW!
In the summer of 1977, during an overnight in London whilst on tour of Europe, my sister and I escaped the prying eyes of the rents and spent a hazy night in some cavernous dance hall near Picadilly Circus. I think?
My predetermined idea of England was filled to the brim with a hodgepodge of contradictory images courtesy of; the outrageous antics of Monty Python and the exquisite benchmark reporting of the BBC, and the Kinks fantastic Schoolboys in Disgrace album and the heartbreaking Browning Version. England, to me, was indeed a juxtaposition wrapped in an enigma. On the streets of London the Punker Spikes were as prevelent as Bowlers and Turbans. I was right.
Like our cousins in Australia, Canadians were tremendously advantaged to have been influenced by the British and not just the American Entertainment juggernaut. Maybe that's why Mike Myers is currently the most successful/funniest guy in the film world. Actually many of Hollywood's better comedic performers and directors are Canucks, probably because we (presumptuous!) have a more balanced assortment of humour to digest. The potty type of humour (swear & curse about lavatorial & reproductive functions) that is exported by the USofA fails miserably when measured against the highbrow larfs of the Brits.
I must add that thanks to their geographic isolation the Aussies have done a much better job of forging a unique national identity. We Canucks are geographically joined at the hip with the Yanks and it's utterly impossible to ignore sleeping next to an elephant.
Today I fear that my children's world has been completely overwhelmed by the vapid American Entertainment Industry and that really is a shame. EnterPAINment Tonight..AARGH!!! During my formative years I regarded the work of British Comedians as self effacing highbrow humour (oh sure I haven't forgotten the Carry Ons) as opposed to the Yanks who, with few exceptions, Newhart, Carlin, Brooks, Allen, enjoyed more pedestrian, lowbrow yuks.
Perhaps for the Yanks, this is a rebellion against their Puritan undercurrent. I suppose that the Americans Cultural war is a shade more rustic and homespun in nature while the Class Warfare of the Brits is more available to ridicule. Clearly both resent the oppressive religious & cultural intolerance of both the great hypocratic institutions Puritanism and Victorian prudery.
Brit example..."For all of those fine young men who died to keep China British." a meaning of life Cleesian Classic.
Yank example..Foxworthy's "You might be a redneck if.." See the dif?
No, you're right, they both have the upscale and lowbrow. Woody Allen's intellectual, neurotic, urban, Jewish angst and Jeff Foxworthy's shucks y'all jibberish...I should have thought this through before I started this stream of consciousness blather. OK you're right. I know what I'm trying to say, I have been more impressed and influenced by the Brits in the HaHa department due to our Commonwealth connections.
Off on a tangent alert! OK wrap this up fast......
Before I return to my story I should mention that probably 60% of my music library is Brit and another 20% is Aussie. This Commonwealth phenomenon continues for obvious reasons I suppose. That being said I simply find music from the Motherland and Down Under easier to relate to, and vastly more intelligent and creative than the current HipHopGangsterHoCrap that rules the US. C'est moi.
Anyway back in where ever we were, Sis and I were overwhelmed by the outrageous liberties taken by the hundreds of patrons at the dance hall. Aside from the free flowing gigantic pitchers of ale the music was awesome. Dig this...a daring DJ set of oldies and newies blasted it's way inbetween one cool band that performed a wild, eccentric rock show and then the stage would revolve to reveal a different band that played an equally intriguing collection of covers and original material. Far Out!
It was almost interesting enough to avoid staring at the several couples throughout the establishment draped over and under their tables in various stages of flagrante delecto! I kid you not! The most amazing thing to me was that the others at those tables were content to gaze at the performers on stage! HUH! Back in the Victorian pubs of Whateverpeg such events were verboten. Incredible as it seems I too eventually began to ignore the lusty sideshow and thanks to the miracle of alcohol I really got into the music. Bier Macht Frei!
I finally went and danced by myself, which upon inspection wasn't considered bizarre, (cue Billy Idol) and within an hour I was tripping the light fantastic with several groovy birds for the rest of the evening. After closing the place down at some incomprehensible hour Sis and I hopped in a car with some Oriental Gentlemen posing as cabbies. Upon arriving at the Hotel I threw some change at them (much to their chagrin) and crawled into bed.
I say..Jolly Good Show!