Tom Coulton’s Blog


Hey Ho, Let’s Go
October 30, 2007, 9:14 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

I’ve booked tickets to fly to Barcelona for a weekend, the weekend of the 2nd of December to watch the mighty Real Club Deportivo Espanyol de Barcelona take on (and defeat) F.C. Barcelona at the Estadi Olimpíc Lluis Companys de Montjuïc. I’m really looking forward to it as it means, although I’m yet to tell them, I’ll be able to see my friends and bosses from last year, re-visit my favourite city, watch one of my beloved football teams and also – leave England (albeit temporarily).

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but I can’t stand England anymore. I’ve not been a big fan of the country of my birth for a long time but I’ve actually reached a level now where I can not physically stand to be here anymore. The reasons? Where do I begin?!

 As a child, you’re brought up to believe that your country is the best country. It’s drummed into you from an early age that your country is the most beautiful, most successful country on the face of the earth. And obviously, being a naïve child you have no reason to doubt these ego-boosting claims. England is simply the best country! America’s a biggie but not a patch on England (I’ll get round to America soon enough, don’t worry). What other country has the history of my country? What other country can boast such a multi-faceted society? Name a country that has a culture that can come close to Englands? That’s the thing though, the days of England being a great country are long gone, like the British Empire. Not that I’m a fan of imperialism – storming into countries, boming and burning their cities before installing a government which suits our interests (in the style of the British Empire and more recently see the U.S.A’s involvement in practically all of South America, Iraq, Iran… the list goes on) isn’t my bag in the slightest but back in the days of the Empire, England was actually an important country (whether for admirable reasons or not. Mainly not) and not just the little gimpy kid who hung around with the school bully.

I grew up thinking that England had the best football teams (national and club), we were the most intelligent group of people, we were happy, proud and beautiful. It never crossed my mind that other countries were the same, apart from the U.S.A. who, as a child, was the coolest thing ever created. I don’t know if you ever did, but at my primary school we once had an American cousin of some kid come over on holiday and the yank attended the school for a couple of days. He was absolutely and unfalteringly worshipped like a deity. His accent was without doubt the coolest accent ever (cooler than a Wigan twang), he sounded like Zak Morris from Saved By The Bell. Nothing could touch the innate coolness of an American.

Looking back, he was probably nowhere near as cool as we thought, undoubtedly I would assume he didn’t deserve his place on the pedestal on which we installed him (as you can guess, my opinions regarding Americans have changed somewhat over the years). Anyway, back to my love affair with the great land of England. Not that I was alive when these events occurred (or had a real understanding of them as a kid), but England had won two world wars and a World Cup. Count them, TWO World Wars and a World Cup (needless to say, for most English kids since 1914, Germany remained the favourite “enemy” in games of football or army!). Who can touch us?!

 My views changed over the years however. I can still pin point the precise moment in which I realised that England wasn’t necessarily as fantastic a country the schools, press and Royal Family would constantly have us believe…

I was sat in front of the TV about to have my tea, aged about 9 or10, watching the classic kids TV programme Record Breakers hosted by, if I remember correctly, Cheryl “Bucks Fizz” Baker and the late Roy Castle. Assorted record-breaking attempts had passed, all approved/denied by Norris McWhirter, such as the classic Spinning Plates record or (who can forget) the classic Balancing-as-Many-Milk-Crates-on-Your-Chin-As-Possible record. Then came the pièce de resistance, the glorious finale of the show – the World’s Biggest Knitted Jumper record, said jumper to be modelled (or partially held up) by Chris Greener http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Greener, Britan’s tallest man. Obviously seeing as I was English I presumed that Mr. Greener was not only Britain’s tallest man but the tallest man in the world. My shock when I found this not to be true was immeasurable, my whole belief system was shaken to the ground. Surely, he HAD to be the tallest man in the world, I mean he’s ENGLISH?!

This one seemingly innocent moment was a revelation for me. No longer could I take it for granted that England was the best country in the world, as far as I was concerned we were pretty crap if we couldn’t breed the world’s tallest man. But it got worse for England over the coming years, starting around the time of my epiphany – England failed to qualify for the 1994 USA World Cup. That was just the start of it.

And now, my love for this once great country is ebbing at an all time low. I’m still proud to be English, but only in the respect that I don’t want to be Scottish or Welsh. Pretty poor reason to be proud of your country but that’s the reality of my situation.

 The sooner I can leave this country permanently the better. I can think of no real reason (family and friends excluded) to stay and live in Britain. True, it’s a beautiful country but that’s not going to keep me warm at night when I can’t afford a house, literally while the weather gets worse and worse – show me ten good reasons to stay here and I’ll show you a liar.

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