Back to previous post: Geomagnetic storm incoming

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: Deaf video: the street finds its own uses (again)

Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)

December 16, 2006

Eddie Izzard’s Mongrel Nation
Posted by Teresa at 10:32 AM * 58 comments

If you don’t mind watching it in segments, there’s an interesting Eddie Izzard documentary, Mongrel Nation, available on YouTube. It’s about how much quintessentially English culture comes from somewhere else.

So far my favorite bit is where Izzard demonstrates that English is a Germanic language. First he gets taught the basics by an Anglo-Saxonist. (Actually, what we see is him having a fit of the giggles over the first two words of þuhte me þæt ic gesawe.*) Then he goes to Frisia to see how the Anglo-Saxon for “I want to buy a brown cow that makes a lot of milk” goes over with a Frisian dairy farmer.

Component segments: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15.

It’s not surprising that comedians make good nonfiction programs. If you’re into that, try Terry Jones’ four-part series, Crusades.

Comments on Eddie Izzard's Mongrel Nation:
#1 ::: Anatoly ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 01:02 PM:

Which part is that favourite bit in?

#2 ::: Tom Scudder ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 01:04 PM:

Michael Palin's various travelogues are good fun.

#3 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 01:08 PM:

Does Izzard mention he was born in Yemen? (Strange fact I happened upon a couple days ago.)

#4 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 01:32 PM:

I haven't seen the documentary yet - but surely almost everyone's culture comes from, or is influenced by, somewhere else? There are a very few peoples who were isolated for centuries before they were 'discovered', but most peoples migrate and/or absorb other cultures, and the result is a characteristic mix. Yes, English culture comes from somewhere else, but it's not now the same as the cultures of any of the numerous places where it came from.

Who composed the most quintessentially English music? I'd say a strong contender would be Handel - a German immigrant.

#5 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 02:55 PM:

I don't know. We're Americans, so we're used to having everything be from somewhere else. Maybe if you're English it's more of a revelation. Eddie Izzard's big on cosmopolitanism.

Yemen?

The bit with the English language is in the second and third segments.

#6 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 03:27 PM:

I wish he'd quoted from Defoe's True-Born Englishman. This was lovely, though, and a great distraction from the crimes against the English language with which I'm currently struggling.

#7 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 03:40 PM:

And also check out Terry Jones' single-episode documentary The History Of 1. A brief history of numbers.
:)

#8 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 03:43 PM:

For a while John Cleese was making corporate training films.

#9 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 04:00 PM:

I think, the quintessentially English composer would be Elgar, who was English. Eddie rocks, in several languages, actually.

#10 ::: Alan Bostick ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 04:35 PM:

Whereas the quintessentially British composer must naturally be ... (wait for it) ... Benjamin Britten.

#11 ::: Paul ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 04:40 PM:

I also recommend Michael Palin's travelogues. Great fun to watch (Himalaya has a wonderful scene where Palin meets the Dalai Lama...and the Dalai Lama recognizes him)

#13 ::: grackel ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 05:09 PM:

For the most English of English composers, I'd vote for Henry Purcell myself

#14 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 05:46 PM:

For a while in the eighties I worked for a company that regularly showed John Cleese's motivational corporate training films without so much as a flicker of irony.

They were pretty good, actually.

#15 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 06:21 PM:

It's become a commonplace that the National Dish of England is now... vindaloo.


#16 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 06:25 PM:

Actually, according to some restaurant group a few years ago, the most-ordered dish in the modern UK is chicken tikka masala. You may be remembering that.

#17 ::: dominic murphy ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 06:28 PM:

Actually, not onlychicken tikka masala is the most popular British dish, it was invented in England.

#18 ::: dominic murphy ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 06:30 PM:

Fuck, I mangled that, didn't I? I meant to say, not only is chicken tikka masala the most popular British dish, it was invented in England

#19 ::: Alter S. Reiss ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 06:35 PM:

Or Terry Jones' Medieval Lives, or his Barbarians, or Tony Robinson's Worst Jobs in History, but most particularly, Time Team. That it's hosted by Robinson is a side attraction, at least for me; that show is just astonishingly addictive.

#20 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 06:39 PM:

#14: I think one of the reasons why the last place I worked at showed "Meetings, Bloody Meetings" at an all hands meeting was because John Cleese was in it. If nothing else, his presence was a nice fig leaf. No one had to admit openly that we needed work on how to conduct useful meetings.

That's the only corporate video of his I've seen. I have to say that it was pretty good. Funny and useful at the same time.

#21 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 06:48 PM:

James #9: I would have gone for either Gustav Holst or Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.

#22 ::: hypochrismutreefuzz ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 07:01 PM:

The most British of all the English composers is one person you wouldn't think of as a composer. Anthony Burgiss.

#23 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 08:35 PM:

hypochrismutreefuzz #22: Shouldn't that be Burgess?

#24 ::: Moffe ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 10:50 PM:

My absolute favorite bit was the one about the english language, since I(as well as several of my friends) have gone "well, it's a definite mixture of English and Swedish(except for the spelling, which is as weird as it gets)" about your regular Dutch. But the Frisian was just uncanny in that regard. Also, "the Vikings also gave us... The word 'husband' & The word 'thing'" delighted me to no end, although I had to ponder a moment about 'thing' before I realised what the connection was(since 'thing' would usually be translated as 'sak' while 'ting' in that sense is not a common word, apart from its presence in composite words such as 'någonting'(something), 'allting'(everything)and 'ingenting'(nothing))
The bits about cultural(and the particular case of subcultural) lineage, however, I felt was more of a description of its general mechanism rather than something specificaly british. No less true because of that, of course, but I felt that it could have been better served by a show with specific focus on that part(and there might be something delightfully well done about that bit out there that I don't know of).
Nevertheless, I must agree with you on comedians and nonfiction programming, and it makes one wonder why there are any number of people who seem to do these programs as acts of devotion to The Gods of Dull when they should be ditched fast enough to achieve relativistic speeds and people who make it interesting(such as comedians) should be hired even faster.

#25 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 07:46 AM:

you might like this tool http://www.gotuit.com/scenemaker/index.html will allow you to refer to just parts of a particular youtube video.

#26 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 08:16 AM:

A rumination: I've just had a very enjoyable day, watching the Test (read "international") cricket and going to a performance of Handel's "Messiah" in the evening, thinking (uncritically) that both of them are traditional things to do, associated in Australia with Christmas. (There's always a Test Match starts in Australia on Boxing Day; "Messiah" is always performed near Christmas.)

But then I thought about it, and realised that it's not true. Test Cricket as a summer ritual goes back no further than 1877, and that's pushing it; the Boxing Day Test, presented as the hoariest of traditional sporting events, is twentieth century, and as a fixture, post WW2. "Messiah" never had any particular association with Christmas until somehow or other it acquired one very recently.

Nevertheless, it felt as though I was participating in something immemorial, and that added something to the experience. Why? I'm blowed if I know, but it did.

I have a feeling that I need stuff like this to make sense of, well, life, I suppose, and I don't think I'm on my own. That's irrational. OK, so it's irrational. Show me where it says I have to be rational about everything.

#27 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 09:34 AM:

Well, I've only watched the very first part so far, but it's definitely fun. (I could quibble about "the first people in England were the Celts," since it's fairly well established that there were people in the British Isles before the Celts -- the builders of Stonehenge among them. But the Celts are certainly the oldest group you could put a name on, so...) And I love the fact that he references the great "What have the Romans ever done for us?" list from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Eddie Izzard is very cool.

But, speaking of Izzard... has he stopped wearing women's clothing? Or is he just dressing down for the documentary?

#28 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 09:40 AM:

Modern English has moved a long way from its Germanic roots. Thanks to the British Empire we have words from many other languages, from as far afield as India, South-East Asia and China. The pronunciation and meaning of many words has changed too. But the Scots dialect seems to have kept more of its roots. I remember visiting the fish market in Aberdeen with a Frisian colleague (from the Netherlands); I couldn't understand a word of what they were saying, but he could.

We acquired ideas, as well as words, from the Empire. My house has a verandah, a typical feature of English houses of the Victorian period - but both the word and the architectural idea are from India.

#29 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 09:56 AM:

#5:Teresa, I think it's one of those memes that is widely known and under-appreciated. As a by-product of nationalism, the roots of the national identity get under-played or stripped down to their simplest elements. Time was, the British had the impression that we were essentially Romans with a few rogue elements. A little later, the contributions of the Anglo-Saxons and Normans were given more attention, but there had been no big additions since that Hastings thing. Of course, the true story is much richer and more dynamic than that, and is still going on. And as such, it needs to be told, especially today, when we're busy absorbing cultural elements from the remnants of the British Empire and recent additions to the EU.

I don't know if Britain is unusually rich in immigrant history in the Old World, due to accident of location or climate, perhaps. From here, the other nations of Western Europe look a little more homogenous, but that could be a trick of perspective.

But even in the States, there's a persistant myth about the roots of the country being pure Anglo-Saxonism (handily ignoring the Celtic-Roman-Jute-Norman-Viking-Dutch parts) that pokes its ugly head up whenever the purity tendancy wants to exclude the Mexicans, Cubans, Vietnamese, Koreans, Chinese, Muslims, Native Americans, East Europeans, African-Americans, etc.

#30 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 10:37 AM:

I saw Issard at a 'Work in Progress' show in LA a couple of months back, mostly riffing on evolution. No women's clothes: I think he's going a bit more mainstream, so to speak, in that area. But a nice blazer with jeans and athletic shoes is also a bit startling.

#31 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 11:07 AM:

NelC said (#29):
I don't know if Britain is unusually rich in immigrant history in the Old World, due to accident of location or climate, perhaps. From here, the other nations of Western Europe look a little more homogenous, but that could be a trick of perspective.

If you work at it, you can probably find similar "mongrel" backgrounds for most Western European countries. Spain would be an easy example: Celts, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Jews, Visigoths, Arabs & Berbers, French... plus more recent immigration from parts of the Spanish Empire once that got founded.

In some ways it's a bit easier to delineate things for Britain, since it's an island: when someone invades or arrives en masse, it's clear they're "immigrants" from elsewhere, rather than from a neighboring region that may or may not be a different "country."

#32 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 11:09 AM:

I didn't need another reason to [heart] Eddie Izzard, but I'm always glad to get one.

(And as far as I know Izzard's always been bi-sartorial; he describes himself as an advocate for "total clothing freedom." I doubt he's really going mainstream in that regard so much as refusing to be pigeonholed, which is certainly one of the things I admire about him.)

#33 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 11:34 AM:

John Stanning @28
But the Scots dialect seems to have kept more of its roots. I remember visiting the fish market in Aberdeen with a Frisian colleague (from the Netherlands); I couldn't understand a word of what they were saying, but he could.

That matches my experience. I live in Scotland (though I am American), and I'm studying Dutch at the moment. I find a lot of Dutch words that match Scots dialect terms.

kist - box, coffin
kerk/kirk - church
etc
My favourite example is that my Aberdonian father in law says, "ye ken?", while a Dutch speaker says "ken je?" Since the "j" in Dutch is pronounced the same as the English "y", it's a startling juxtaposition.

My husband, who grew up speaking both Dutch and English, is nearly blind to the similarities. He says he finds English much more similar to French.

#34 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 11:47 AM:

abi - Hmmm. I've always thought that Dutch sounds like a German trying to speak English while on hallucinogens - the vowels are almost there but the words just don't make it all the way across the channel.

I can understand why your husband sees the strong similarity between English and French - our French vocabulary really sets English apart from other Germanic languages.

One thing I've wondered about - of all the Germanic languages, do any others have as few vestiges of declension as English?

#35 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 12:03 PM:

Larry @34:

One thing I've wondered about - of all the Germanic languages, do any others have as few vestiges of declension as English?

Dutch is only mildly more inflected than English.

It has cases (subjective, objective, genitive) for its pronouns but not its nouns.

Nouns have gender, but the majority are "common" gender (using de for the definite article). About a quarter of them are neuter (using het), but all nouns act like they're common gender in the plural.

Adjectives change their form to agree with noun gender, which means they have two forms.

Verbs inflect across the singular, but are the same for all plural forms. On the other hand, it has fewer verb tenses in common use - the simple present takes the place of the English present and continuous present (as well as the future in many contexts).

In sum, I'd say that nouns and adjectives are slightly more complex, pronouns are about the same, and verbs are simpler.

Idiom, of course, is where the fun is, but that's another question.

#36 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 12:13 PM:

Eddy Izzard is (@##^$&@^#% funny.

Last stand up routine of his, i laughed so hard, my sides hurt the next day.

Gawds, if my history classes had been that funny, I might have stayed awake, instead of having to watch the Discovery Channel now to catch up.

#37 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 12:16 PM:

Two minutes into teh first clip and he's bartering a newspaper for a hotdog because he's talking about england before the romans came and brought the idea of currency with them.

good stuff.

#38 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 12:20 PM:

One thing I've wondered about - of all the Germanic languages, do any others have as few vestiges of declension as English?

A little poking around with Google suggests that modern Nordic languages (e.g., Danish) are perhaps similarly lacking in noun cases -- except for Icelandic, which appears to be similar to German in retaining them.

#39 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 01:11 PM:

grackel @13 -we did a Purcell bit for the offertory hymn this morning. "Rejoice in the Lord Alway" (yes, alway, no s on the end in the lyrics). It was from the same text as the second reading. So now I've got an earworm going, but it's a pleasant one.

#40 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 01:38 PM:

I also enjoyed the barter bit, and the cooking before and after the Romans, but Teresa is right - the buying a cow from a Frisian using Anglo-Saxoh is just uncanny. Still have to watch the rest of it.

#41 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 01:52 PM:

Clifton Royston said (#40):
the buying a cow from a Frisian using Anglo-Saxoh is just uncanny.

It is pretty cool. I've known for a while that Frisian is supposed to be closest Germanic language to English, but I've never had a chance to hear it. (I also like the fact that the farmer quotes a price in guilders instead of euros for the brun cu!)

One very minor complaint I have is that the whole segment on Old English does perpetuate the idea that what really matters about language is vocabulary -- that Old English is similar to Frisian primarily (or only) because there are lots of basic words in common. Which is true, and significant, but ignores everything else that makes up a language (phonology, grammar, syntax, etc., etc.).

#42 ::: Elusis ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 02:06 PM:

Is this wonderment available on DVD anywhere? I had a peek at Netflix but no dice.

#43 ::: risa ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 02:22 PM:

Dave Luckett: i believe we southern Germans - Bavarians and Swabians, more specifically - had parts of Messiah as an Advent tradition and parts of it as an Easter tradition for a good long time. if i remember my grandparents correctly it's been since Mozart died; Mozart was commissioned to redo Handel's arrangement, and that one was viewed as more 'catholic' than Handel's. of course, they could also be wrong since i have no sources besides my family's long-held memory of religious ritual to back me up. ;) being first-generation American has its disadvantages!

Messiah came over to British culture in the Regency era, around the same time as the Tannenbaum, which also didn't exist there at all until Queen Charlotte brought it to the royal family. Oratorio-style music happened to be in vogue, and Handel's Messiah was a good example. so while the two elements came up in separate manners, their introductions into British culture are at nearly the same time.

in contrast, on the other side of the pond the Hessians and German settlers brought the Tannenbaum to America during the revolution. therefore, America was ahead of the curve as far as the length of time the tree tradition has had to settle into the culture. however, Messiah came into vogue here later than in England, and i've no clear knowledge of when that started.

i also vote Purcell for the quintessential English composer - his Nunc Dimittis/Magnificat is beyond ken. ;)

thanks for the post, Teresa! Eddie was truly fun to watch, and the comment path has been intriguing.

#44 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 02:55 PM:

Peter Erwin #41: You're right that grammar, syntax, and phonology matter, but vocabulary is a lot easier to get across on television (as when the farmer asks Izzard if he wants the 'brune cu' 'voor de tjis en boter' (I hope I got the spelling right!), a phrase entirely comprehensible to a speaker of Modern English -- as it would have been to a 10th or 11th century English-speaker.

#45 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 04:16 PM:

Fragano @44
My source on all things Dutch tells me that cheese is tiis rather than tijs, though both ii and ij are pronounced "ee" in Friesian. The rest was good.

Interestingly, he learned Dutch in Limburg, which is as far from Friesland as you can get, but he says that at the brown cow and cheese level, the two dialects are pretty much the same. He understood almost all of the farmer's conversation, while I, who am studying the more standardised Hollands accent, was mostly lost.

#46 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 05:02 PM:

I could understand a fair amount of it, and I have no Dutch at all, nor Friesian neither. I had a lot more trouble figuring out Fragano's voor de tiis en boter, and I don't think I'd have recognized it if I'd read it out of context. But when the farmer said it, my ear turned it into what seemed to me a startlingly clear for the cheese and butter.

I cheated: I'm hard of hearing. I'm used to hearing vowels more reliably than anything else, and running pattern-matching on what I can make out of the consonants -- f/v, d/th, t/ch, s/z, etc.

#47 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 05:07 PM:

I loved the section on how India civilized the colonizers. When the first East India Company would-be traders disembarked, they couldn't get anyone with any authority to talk to them, because being typical sixteenth-century Englishmen, they slept in their clothes, bathed about once a year, and smelled like an outhouse. It's not accidental that a cluster of words like "shampoo" and "pajamas" come from the subcontinent--it's where we learned how to get cleaned up.

#48 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 06:05 PM:

tiis (or tsiis) is Frisian; the Dutch word for cheese is kaas, quite different.

#49 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 06:42 PM:

tiis (or tsiis) is Frisian; the Dutch word for cheese is kaas, quite different.

And seemingly closer to the German word, käse.
Though apparently they all derive from Latin caseus.

And then I saw a further note in my dictionary, which mentioned that the "cheese" in "big cheese" has nothing to do with tiis or kaas or käse, but is instead (perhaps) from Urdu (chiz, "thing") -- yet another import from the subcontinent.

#50 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 07:06 PM:

Abi #45 & Teresa #46:

The Dutch for 'cheese' is 'kaas'. The phrase I wrote was Frisian (a language which I make no claim whatsoever to speak), and 'boter en tjiis' was used in an article I read long years ago to show the relationship between Frisian and English. It was interesting to hear the farmer say 'for the cheese and butter' and realise that (a) he wasn't speaking English and (b) I understood it.

I had a similar experience, viva voce, back in the early 90s when I was doing field research in Surinam. At a bar in Paramaribo called 'Tori Oso' ('Story House' in Sranantongo), I heard one man say to another (Sranantongo transliteration very approximate) 'Wij de proletariaat da loek pun joe de élite' and understood it as a sentence in Jamaican Creole ('Wi di proletariat da look pon yu di elite').

#51 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 07:09 PM:

Patrick #47: It is an article of faith among West Indian and African immigrants in Britain that the British working class was extremely filthy when the large post-war migration started, and acquired the habit of daily bathing from the more civilised immigrants. There is some truth to this (typically, until the 1960s, the average white Londoner bathed no more than once or twice a week) but not as much as my father and his friends thought.

#52 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 07:38 PM:

Recently a TV documentary followed the Equator round the world. Going through Africa, at one point the narrator passes a group of kids who he thinks at first are greeting him but are really shouting (as the translator reveals) "White man, you smell".
Similarly, the Chinese (and most people east of Bangladesh) are usually too polite to tell you that white people smell of cheese.

#53 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 08:22 PM:

just finished the last one.

Good stuff.

I think I learned more history, and might actually retain some of it, than I did in some of my history classes. Of course, I wasn't hung over, watching this, which might have helped....

#54 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 11:19 PM:

Excerpted from chat:

tnielsenhayden: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NT0LKMSSAW0&NR
pnielsenhayden: * all die *
pnielsenhayden: it is the ultimate YouTube video. we can all shut down the internet now.

#55 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 05:09 AM:

Alan Bostick writes: Whereas the quintessentially British composer must naturally be ... (wait for it) ... Benjamin Britten.

Teresa responds: Not Thomas Tallis?
hypochrismustreefuzz says: The most British of all the English composers is one person you wouldn't think of as a composer. Anthony Burgiss.

So...are you all being deadpan or are you just not noticing the pun?

#56 ::: Paul Herzberg ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 08:22 AM:

Teresa wrote:
I don't know. We're Americans, so we're used to having everything be from somewhere else. Maybe if you're English it's more of a revelation.

I wouldn't say it was a revelation at all. Like all Englishmen I enjoy curry, though as an Englishman I'd claim that that kind curry kind comes more from Bradford/Birmingham/Wherever than India in particular.

I'm the grandson of a Polish man and in the community where I grew up many claimed some kind of Irish heritage.

I'd say most English people are aware of our history of invasions. And they are aware of some of what we took from the invaders and those we invaded.

Obviously there's the football hooligan sterotype who goes on about Ingerland while washing down his chicken tikka masala with guinness, beating-up Germans in the name of the Queen and so on. They aren't truly representative of England. I hope.

#57 ::: Alan de Bristol ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2006, 03:01 AM:

The sections about the effect of Black and Asian immigration on English life particularly hit home as I remember consumer life before the Asian Corner Shop and punk.

The little skit he does as a store owner of the old school is actually very well-observed, presumably because he is also of an age to have remembered what a dreary pinched existence life could be in the less affluent parts of British cities, in particular.

Next week I'm travelling back to blighty (hindi word),and I'll meet up with closest friend, Mahesh.He invited me back for lunch from school one day when we were seven, and I ate some chicken curry,chapati and aloo ghobi...which was a revelation. And my seven-year old self decided these people knew things we could learn from,and that otherness needed to be embraced.

Bless my parents for never putting any doubt into my head that would have made me refuse that invitation, because there were plenty of parents who did, and probably many who still do.

#58 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2006, 03:42 AM:

TNH @ 54: Excerpted from chat...

Thank you. Now that the spasms have stopped, I'll take a moment to reinsert my lungs into their approximately proper place in my chest cavity.

And yes, I was warned. We can shut the internet now - it's complete.

Welcome to Making Light's comment section. The moderators are Avram Grumer, Teresa & Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and Abi Sutherland. Abi is the moderator most frequently onsite. She's also the kindest. Teresa is the theoretician. Are you feeling lucky?

Comments containing more than seven URLs will be held for approval. If you want to comment on a thread that's been closed, please post to the most recent "Open Thread" discussion.

You can subscribe (via RSS) to this particular comment thread. (If this option is baffling, here's a quick introduction.)

Post a comment.
(Real e-mail addresses and URLs only, please.)

HTML Tags:
<strong>Strong</strong> = Strong
<em>Emphasized</em> = Emphasized
<a href="http://www.url.com">Linked text</a> = Linked text

Spelling reference:
Tolkien. Minuscule. Gandhi. Millennium. Delany. Embarrassment. Publishers Weekly. Occurrence. Asimov. Weird. Connoisseur. Accommodate. Hierarchy. Deity. Etiquette. Pharaoh. Teresa. Its. Macdonald. Nielsen Hayden. It's. Fluorosphere. Barack. More here.















(You must preview before posting.)

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.