Anglophilia: [ang-gluh-fil-ee-uh ] –noun a strong admiration or enthusiasm for England, its people, and things English.
I thought it appropriate to begin this editorial with a dictionary definition of the word anglophilia. After all, isn’t this word at the very heart of the whole bleeding business! By that I mean, the Burgundy Lion and its over the top obsession with all things English, including the beautiful game.
Now don’t get me wrong, dear reader. I say this without any condescension. The reason being that I am a recovering anglophile myself. I once felt a kind of bizarre nostalgia for that “green and pleasant land” based on idealized images of the country and its people implanted in my brain when I was a pup by my dear old Gran, and others.
Granny was, by her own admission, a throw back to a different era in Canadian history, when people still “spoke the Queen’s English” and anxiously awaited the next royal visitor to this land. My brother and I could scarcely resist this disease, so infectious was Gran’s enthusiasm for Naughty books, Princess Diana and cucumber sandwiches.
As I grew older, and more independent in my tastes, I began to appreciate the finer points of British culture and developed a passion for Brit-pop in particular. I’ll never forget being deflowered, in a manner of speaking, by the middle-class-university-educated rock of those four lovely lads from Blur, at my first concert (never mind the whole Blur vs. Oasis rivalry. I’ll take both, thank you very much!) This was the scene for me; so much more refined than those obnoxious Yanks and their imperialistic pop music industry!
But then something happened. I lived in Cardiff U.K. for a few years ( I know it Wales and not England, but for Argument’s sake, let’s not quibble about details!) and in much the same way as an adult is disabused of any childhood fantasies he once entertained, I became rather disillusioned with the whole place. Far too much “aggro”(a Britishism for aggression) and mean-spiritedness , for my gentle Canadian tastes. After three long, and sometimes hard years, I was happy to be back in this country that, for all its faults, is still pretty hard to beat.
Yet, in the interest of full-disclosure, I must admit that some part of me can’t help but admire that place on the other side of the pond and its endearing people. I love the Beeb and listen to Radio 6 every chance I get. I’ll never miss an episode of that legendary kitchen sink drama: Coronation Street ( more on this in future columns). Thus, let me make my intentions clear: if these editorials have a point , other then sheer self-gratification, it is to look at our love/hate relationship with dear old Blighty. Examining both its most brilliant pop cultural exports ( i.e. The Clash) and its tackiest excesses ( i.e. the Beckhams).