Friday, November 19, 2010

Having a moan in Birmingham, England

Perhaps my previous post of a musical welcome at Heathrow was just too cheerful for an English setting. According to Kate Fox, relatively good-natured Eeyorish complaining is a universal of English culture (culture in the anthropological sense of how we do business as usual). The complaints--about the weather, things that go wrong with the buses, underground, trains, cars, and taxis, copier, computer, boss, government, etc., etc.--are not directed at anyone who might have responsibility in the matter, or do anything about it, but at fellow sufferers/passengers/employees. They are goodnatured rather than bitter in tone, demanding as it were, what? GRADUAL CHANGE; and when do we want it? IN DUE TIME! But not really demanding anything of anyone. Just having a good moan.

So to balance the welcome back at Heathrow, almost American in its embarrassing warmth and enthusiasm, here is the Birmingham Complaints Choir. (I must finally be getting Americanized, though. I could not make it through the whole thing. But you get the idea quickly enough.)

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