what is it about the english?

yesterday i went to see mr. scruff @ snowbombing = snowboard festival in villars in the swiss mountains.
the place was filled with attractive, very stylish and extremly lively english urbanites.
i did not speak to one person all evening.
well, except a very drunk irish man, who smoked cigars [!] and showered me with his spittle …

but what is it about the english?
when i travel, i am at least trying to make contact with some of the locals.
when they travel, they seem to prefer to stick to their own.
the english often travel in groups, or so it seems, which allows them to stick to their own. snowbombing reminded me of ibiza – although i admit i have never been. the winterversion of ibiza: english people having a rowdy time, dancing to english dj’s, showing off their english version of hipness, an english invasion on foreign soil. somehow very conquistador.

so why is it that the english seem to prefer to stay amongst themselves, when they leave their country. elliot eastwick of the “world famous pub quiz” [actually very funny!!!] said it quite clearly: “if someone is not english, or does not watch lots of english tellie, they should just … errr … leave …”. which was meant as a joke, but somehow hit it spot on.

but how do they do it, i mean practically? when the english are amongst themselves, they are loud and animated. when i smiled at people trying to make contact, they gave me a cold stare and a bombed out, blank expression.
how is that possible? is there “non-english” written on my face somewhere? do they have some sort of a radar, that helps them to spot the non-english and treat them with snide?

the irish man, who complained about the same phenomenon, had an explanation for all this. he claimed that the reason why the english are paranoid, is because of all the bad things they did to the world. to some extent i agree with this. behind the tough facade i sensed alot of fear, there was huge insecurity. but was that really because of history? the youth of a culturally and politically powerful nation -in decline – getting caught between shame and feelings of superiority? or is it just classic psychology? arrogance as often is the case covering up hidden insecurities?

About Jan Zuppinger

Jan Zuppinger has been writing this blog since 2002. He likes to grow vegetables. He likes to eat them too. He has opinions on everything, but sadly no one cares. Jan Zuppinger is not joking, just joking, he is joking, just joking, he's not joking. *click.