Saturday, November 7, 2009

Tickling The English, In Ireland

As an Englishman who is living in Ireland, I really wanted to read the thoughts on the English by an Irishman living in England… So I did… And what a thoroughly entertaining, funny and insightful read it was.

I’m also a fan of Dara O’Briain, the Author, so that was just another reason.

Tickling the English is a wonderful book, which actually uses statistics to break down national stereotypes, rather than fear-mongering to confirm them.

There are a few things I would disagree with, for instance his claim that the Irish embrace their adolescents whereas the English condemn them… Has he watched RTE news around Leaving Cert ending time? “Stay away from town centres Drunken unruly Teenagers on the loose…” But the majority was agreed with and the way with words he has is exceptional.

He claimed that the English were the Panto-Villains of the Irish, and this reminds me of a tale I’m now going to relate.

In 2003, I was sitting having lunch with my Irish work colleagues, when the subject of the 1994 world cup came up, one of my colleagues then said,
‘How did England get on during that tournament? Oh that’s right, they weren’t there.’ To which I replied,
‘We can always talk about World Cups we were at that you weren’t at if you like.’
To which someone responded, ‘Typical English, he’s going to start going on about 1966 now.’

Now I hadn’t mentioned 1966 yet, but I had recently purchased a 1966 England world cup winning shirt from the company TOFFS, which I had been yet to be brave enough to wear in Cork. I decided to gauge the reaction by wearing this shirt in my local pub during an England game, which we won. Nobody mentioned it, as I cheered and I noticed I was not alone in the cheering, some Irish people were cheering as well. I’m not sure why, but I did think of this whilst reading the book, and I thought I’d pass it on. Maybe I’m just upset that the shirt didn’t elicit the Boo’s that you would associate with a Panto-Villain.

So the bottom line is, I would strongly recommend, 'Tickling The English', it would make a wonderful Christmas Gift as would, ‘Please Do Not Encourage This Nonsense by Purchasing This Book’.

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