Big Tent

I got a bunch of replies to my “late 90s British culture” question, here and on Twitter. Edited and compiled below.

MUSIC: Big beat. UK Garage. Ibiza. Fatboy Slim. Craig David. “Re-Rewind”. Robbie. Travis. Stereophonics. Kid A. Gomez. “Groovejet”. All Saints. Catatonia. Peak Boyband. So Solid Crew. Basement Jaxx. Belle And Sebastian. Chemikal Underground. S Club 7 and kids pop. Steps. Daphne & Celeste.

TV AND FILM: Spaced. Ali G. League Of Gentlemen. Big Brother. Lock Stock and British gangster films. Goodness Gracious Me. Queer As Folk. Billy Elliott. Zoe Ball. SMTV/CDUK. Who Wants To Be A Millionnaire? Changing Rooms. Topless darts. Robot Wars. Jonathan Creek. Cold Feet. Dom Joly. Banzai. Soccer AM. Docusoaps. Nigella Bites. The Office (dunno if The Office quite belongs to this phase or the next tho)

OTHER STUFF: Beckham. WAGs. Ringtones. SMS. Harry Potter. Good Friday Agreement. Zadie Smith. No Logo. Bacardi Breezers. The Millennium Dome. Mandelson. Y2K. Slow internet. Dotcom bubble. Friends Reunited. EasyJet. Kosovo. Foot And Mouth. Name and shame. Playstation. Nick Hornby. Gail Porter. Moby on adverts.

IMPORTS: Nu-Metal. Ally McBeal. Cher. Buffy. AOL. Sunny D. The Matrix. Audiogalaxy, Napster, Kazaa. Destinys Child. Britney. Eminem. Flaming Lips. Elliot Smith. Borders, H&M. Pokemon. Digimon. French Touch. Placebo.

That’s a good start, it gives some themes to work with trying to get a handle on the period - a complacent time in many ways, prosperous, hedonistic, grimly blokey, not as nationalistic or cartoonish as the mid-90s: a nation at ease with itself, and casually interested in itself - finding virtue and intrigue in the ordinary. The downside is that it’s a pretty beige time, the upside maybe being that space was made for other kinds of “ordinary” to stake a claim as British in a way Britpop hadn’t allowed - Craig David, So Solid, Goodness Gracious Me, Queer As Folk. There’s a ton of stuff that doesn’t fit into that broad picture, but it’s a decent hypothetical frame. Thanks to everyone who responded!

After this you get the high 00s - 02-08ish - which feel different from this, but unpacking how is a job for another day.


Talk me about your English crush and the charms of Cambridge accent, you whovian cumberbitch.

Bakit? Ano ba dapat?!

Jan. 22, 2013

‘Yung tropa mong allergic sa tamang pagpronounce mo ng english word.



I remember talking to a friend…

CJ: Hala kayo! Galit na si Tamz. Nag-e-english na.

AKO: Allergic ka sa english, ‘no?!

So terrorists decide to remind the UK of the 10th anniversary of the 7/7 attack by targeting people more identifiably British in four countries (most notably Tunisia, where witnesses reported that the attacker was searching out “British-looking holidaymakers” and bypassing others) and only two American newspapers have given it much coverage. Like, hey, we forgive you for forgetting about 7/7 because it was only four years after your “day that only needs its date for explanation”, but can you remember it now? If it was American citizens every paper in the world would dedicate its front page to you and everyone knows it.

Is the SNP an Anglophobic party or just a party for Anglophobes? - Spectator Blogs

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Politics Scotland

Writing in the Herald this week Iain Macwhirter noted that “Any trace of ethnic nationalism, and anti-English sentiment, was expunged from the [Scottish National] party in the 1970s”.  Responding to this JK Rowling… Continue reading

Peter A Bell’s insight:

He’s a sleekit craitur, thon Alex Massie. First he lulls us with superficially sweet words acknowledging the civic and sober nature of the modern SNP before proceeding to make great play of the point that it may not have been so always and everywhere. That vile cybernattery is rife today is treated as established fact with no supporting evidence whatever, while the existence of anti-Scottish hate-speech is given just enough acknowledgement to justify a tenuous clam to journalistic balance.

Massie cunningly conflates criticism of the Westminster machine and the British state with anti-English sentiment so that all such criticism can be dismissed as mindless xenophobia. In accusing Scottish nationalists of a similar conflation he demonstrates his utter failure - or, perhaps, his unfortunate inability - to comprehend that the British state, and the Westminster system which is at its core, are generally regarded in Scottish nationalist circles as entities quite apart from the people of England.

In fact, Massie gets it entirely arse for elbow. Far from criticisms of the British state being thinly-veiled Anglophobia, it is more commonly the case that abuse directed at “the English” is a mistaken and misdirected attack on the British state.

It is probably not so surprising that he makes such an error. As an ardent British nationalist, it is unlikely that Mr Massie has ever seriously questioned the “natural order” which bestows  primacy on a divinely-ordained British state. During the referendum campaign, the anti-independence mob were signally unable to articulate a positive defence of the union for the simple reason that they could see - had never seen - any reason to inquire into its nature. Even at its best, the anti-independence campaign never got much beyond the moronically simplistic assertion of “Better Together”.

Things have not changed much in the unionist camp. Alex Massie continues to proceed on the basis of a belief that all criticism of the British state is suspect if not actually abhorrent, whilst any attack on the SNP is readily justifiable no matter how reprehensible the terms and manner of that attack might be in any other context.

Massie fails to recognise that the anti-Englishness he and his ilk like to obsess about is, to the extent that it exists at all, an ill-thought expression of a frustration and an engineered sense of inferiority that have largely been supplanted by a new self-confidence and sense of empowerment. The SNP is not a place where Anglophobes will find a comfortable home. It is the place where anti-English sentiment is least welcome. Rather than harbouring the last vestiges of anti-Englishness, the SNP has been the principal agent in the eradication of such sentiment. Not by outlawing it, but by offering the people of Scotland a different way of seeing themselves and their country.

Make no mistake! Massie’s article is malicious in its intent. Beneath the candy-coating of reasonableness lies the insidious purpose to leave a lingering impression of the SNP as a party struggling to contain some unpleasantness within. The reality is that the SNP stands remarkably untainted in an increasingly toxic sea of unionist unpleasantness.

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