have you ever had the feeling, you needed to be somewhere else? That you are in the wrong place, not entirely belonging where you are? I’m quite used to the feeling. Since I was living on my own, I moved around. Never living more than a couple of years at one place, switching apartments every once in a while. I was in living in a small town in the very northern part of Germany, Hamburg, Berlin, Leeuwarden, Groningen and Düsseldorf within the last six years. Never being satisfied with the city, the people, the culture. Don’t get me wrong, I had wonderful times everywhere. But something always was missing. Even while I was in Berlin. The place to be, as I thought. When I was lucky enough to go on a business trip to Washington, Baltimore and New York last November, I got a feeling what my missing piece could possibly be. For quite a while I was reading books in their original language. During my studies I got more and more used to TV series and movies in English, as the Dutch don’t dub. Being in the United States, surrounded by English speaking people, I blossomed (very histrionic, I know). It’s not that I was sad before or had a bad time. But listening to this wonderful language put my mysterious puzzle together. The perception hit me immediately: I am anglophile! Traveling to Ireland in March this year tightened this realisation, as I immediately planned to move in a tiny cottage in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nothing else than English speaking people. During the last year, I treasured this feeling, cultivated it and brought matters to the head while I was in London again a few weeks ago. I am lost in my desperate wish to head right over the channel and find me a very British place to live.
„In some cases, Anglophilia represents an individual’s appreciation of English history and traditional English culture (e.g. William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Samuel Johnson, Gilbert and Sullivan). Anglophilia might also be characterized by fondness for the British monarchy and the English system of government and bureaucracy (e.g. the Westminster system of parliament, the Royal Mail), as well as nostalgia for the former British Empire and the English class system. Anglophiles may enjoy English actors, films, TV shows, radio programmes, musicians, books, magazines, fashion designers, cars, or subcultures.
Anglophiles may use Englishspellings instead of American spellings, such as ‚colour‘ instead of ‚color‘, ‚centre‘ rather than ‚center‘, or ‚traveller‘ rather than ‚traveler‘.
Anglophile may also refer to the sexual attraction towards the English people and their accents.“
Check, check aaaaand check (it’s all about the accent, baby. Oh and don’t forget the cheekbones). Well, in my case it’s mainly the culture and the language. I am very fond of British history too. As my interests stop as soon as Henry VIII enters the scene, I think we can put that point aside. When I refer to culture, I mainly think of the theatre culture, obviously. I was lucky to witness productions in several countries and never saw comparable eye for detail and love for the art. Again, it’s not like every other country makes bad theatre. It’s more like Englad is top of the class and varies from „well done“ to „nice try“ and „well… nope“. I am truly missing innovative stage designer like Bunny Christie, Rob Howell or Tim Hatley. Where are all the actors that claim the stage as if they were born and raised with nothing but lines, quotes and a broad range of easily presented emotions? Where, o, where are the great theatres anyway? The creative directors who present a bouquet of different plays, never getting stuck in recurring classics and hyped modern productions but creating their very own theatre dreamland! Oh, right… IN ENGLAND!
Referring to culture means appreciating all the great museums you can visit for free, too. Huge treasures of art are made available to all social classes, transporting education, great experiences and unforgettable artifacts of history. In Germany you need to pay for everything. Even the national galley asks admission tickets (10€ the old one and again 8€ for the New National Gallery). It is frustrating. Not for me, I can afford the tickets, but when you are a family of four, you think twice before spending 40€ just to look at some pictures (roughly speaking).
The language. How could someone not love this uncomplicated, straight to the point way of talking? Well, as far as excuses go I may consider to let „I am French“ count. But there is no other reason I could possibly think of, to prefer any other language. For an example, I’d like to quote the famous London Underground: Mind the gap. Three words. Short and simple. In German you would need to say something like „Achtung, da ist eine Lücke zwischen Bahn und Bahnsteigkante“. The train would be three stops further and people would have fallen into the gap. Despite the fact that we simply just don’t mention it. Watch your steps while traveling with the Underground. Despite it’s short and simple attitude, I love the sound. English speaking people (and by that I mean British English) I have a certain tone. Right, and then you have the f*** accent. How on earth could you not LOVE the accent?
Last but not least we need to talk about British landscape. I know, I know. The grass seems always greener on the other side. But in Great Britain it IS greener. I told my family and friends so, when I came back from Ireland. They thought me to be crazy (well, more crazy than usual). When my brother joined me on my trip to London, one of his first words about England were: „You are right. The grass IS greener.“ I knew I was right, but anyway. British landscape is fascinating and diverse. You have amazing places like the cliffs of Dover or Dartmoor. Not to forget about English gardening. I absolutely could get lost in an English garden. Oh and of course I need to mention the architecture. Yes, you’ll think of Jane Austen style manors and romantic castles as I do in the first place. And yes, I want to move in every time I see such a place. Have you ever watched Inspector Barnaby? The houses the murders usually take place in are incredible. Or have you seen the old Sherlock Holmes series with Jeremy Brett (the one and only Holmes, sorry Benedict)? How amazing is the architecture. But as a real anglophile, I have an addiction for the typical townhouses with their single glazing and the exorbitant rental prices located in the outer boroughs and at the city boundaries.
How about you? Any anglophiles who read my blog? Or do you prefer the States, Australia or any other country in the world? I would love to hear some thought.
Cheers, Auri der Theatergeist