Moderately jet-lagged, and in liver-recovery mode, I’m back in the USA after spending the past week soaking up the culture of my home country.
All-in-all, a great trip. Mixed in a combination of a good friend’s wedding, and a trip to see my newborn niece, along with the usual social visits to people we haven’t seen in eons (usually held in local pubs – ref liver-recovery mode).
I’ve lived in the US for over five and a half years. It seems that every time I go back to the UK, I notice I’ve become more distanced from the minutia of UK life. Therefore it is good to go back and catch up on the latest snippets of UK culture.
Observations from this trip:
1. David Beckham’s haircut – adored(?) and very much imitated. This would be in reference to his pre-cornrows haircut. However, I’m guessing the cornrows will make an appearance on many a man’s head in the near future.
2. USA is still lagging way behind the UK in terms of mobile technology. I picked up a Virgin Mobile phone for the purposes of keeping in touch with work. The phone itself cost about $100, with color screen, games, enough ring tunes to annoy the whole office, and a customizable back plate, currently adorning the Union Jack 🙂 … and this is all pay-as-you-go. No contract, no monthly, and call costs not much different to the standard networks over here. That said, I’m not a great fan of the calling-party-pays model of the UK networks. Calling a cellphone from a landline can cost over 50-60 cents a minute during the daytime! It seems that the current schemes in the US for sharing the burden of the cost seem a little more reasonable.
3. The London congestion charge really has made a difference. Walking around London during a workday the roads seemed quieter than what I had previously experienced. Great stuff – hopefully this will have a positive impact on the air quality within the city.
4. It is still gripped by the throws of Reality TV. Not only is the demand fulfilled by the current series of Big Brother (shown 24 hours a day on the sister channel of one of the main broadcast networks), the satellite networks now also sports a 24-hour-a-day network, “Reality TV”. Will people ever get sick of reality?
5. The sad one: It seems that the UK is increasingly becoming gripped by Gun culture. I have family who live in the heart of London, with a cousin in his late teens. He’s well aware of the increasing gang culture around the city, and the increase in gun-related incidents. I really hope the UK Government find a means to curb this activity…
More thoughts to come…