Sunday, May 15, 2005

Shall I compare thee to a boring Sunday afternoon?

Looks like I'm posting on the hour, every hour. Just like Sky News.

For your reading pleasure, I thought I'd post this amusing little tidbit from AA Gill's restaurant review this week in the Sunday Times. Anyone who reads this regularly will know he spends most of the review talking about something completely irrelevant, using as many long and complicated words as he can to confuse anyone who's not as fritefully clever as he is, before adding a scathing paragraph at the end about whatever unfortunate establishment he's reviewing this week. The full article is here but the bit that made me laugh because it's so bloody true is this bit, right here:

We all look back on seaside holidays with a heightened, exaggerated, messianic reverie. The them and us of this island is not between indigenous and immigrant, black and white, Muslim and football, but between those of us who, as children, went to the seaside and ate mangoes and grilled parrotfish, swam in the warm surf, collected seashells and watched glorious sunsets, and those who went to the seaside, hugged their knees and yomped with damp sand in their socks across muddy strands, carrying plastic bags full of sodden towels and grit-battered jam sandwiches.

Nothing so forms the English sensibility as the seaside of childhood: the damp stoicism, the “make do and wait for a gap in the clouds”, the listening to Radio 2 behind a windbreak on the prom. It has made us what we are. Very little disappoints the English, because they’ve been relentlessly inoculated against great expectations. Instead of installing a sense of optimistic adventure and boundless possibility, the sight of the sea reminds them that the pier is closed and that there is sand in their hard-boiled egg.

This season I will be mostly spending time on such a beach, shivering and picking sand out of my lunch. I will be spending one week with my parents, who seem to think that sun=warm (and no, they never have been skiing) and one week with Alysia's family, who I don't believe have ever been on a summer holiday anywhere north of southern Spain. To them, a holiday involves suncream and airports. To me, it's many, many, many, many, many hours feeling sick in the back of a car that smells like wet dog, followed by a week somewhere very pretty but terribly chilly, eating twice my own bodyweight in chips and availing myself of the local cider in order to warn off the pneumonia I will have got from sunbathing on the beach.

Ah, England.

Oh, and... still nuthin'.

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