The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'anglophilia'
Property developers in China have created an artificial English town. Located on the outskirts of Shanghai, "Thames Town" contains such quintessentially English essentials as Georgian- and Victorian-style terrace houses, a pub and fish and chip shop and a statue of Winston Churchill. The owner of the original fish and chip shop, in Lyme Regis, meanwhile, is quite annoyed with her business having been copied lock, stock and barrel without permission.
Of course, unless the high street is comprised entirely of chain stores, it's not a real English town but a vaguely Disneylandish (or perhaps Portmeirionesque) idealised one. In any case, it will soon be joined by other European-style developments, with an Italian and German town being planned. And apparently the entire town of Dorchester is being reconstructed in Chengdu, under the name "British Town".
Over the next week, the BBC has a special feature on dialects, accents and regional usages in the UK. As part of this series, a BBC reporter tries speaking in Received Pronounciation. the cut-glass proper English accent formerly known as "BBC English", but now only used by automated announcements on the Tube and effete, treacherous aristocrats in Hollywood movies:
For example, wedging a cork in my mouth and attempting to read lines from Julius Caesar was invaluable, helping me keep the tongue flat and speaking with restricted lip movement, but I did feel like a snake who had tried to open a wine bottle with his fangs, only to get stuck.
American tourists in particular seemed to love it, perhaps mistaking me for a Hugh Grant impersonator. A few were slightly scared by my over-enthusiastic use of the phrase "Dear fellow", but a woman named Judy seemed especially enamoured with the accent. "Can I take you home to the ranch?" she said in a rich Texan drawl.Also on the BBC in the Voices series: language change and (the myth of) Americanisation, the language of love, and the language of the love that (once) dare not speak its name, or "Polari".
The Australian indie-pop marketplace now has more competition, with a new mail-order outfit and record label in Fortitude Valley opening. Taking the time-honoured indie-pop strategy of having a literary name (see also: Library Records, Chapter Music, and numerous bands), Book Club Records has their own releases and overseas imports (including Tender Trap, Amelia "Talulah Gosh/Heavenly" Fletcher's latest project), with postage being free in Australia. They also have a page of MP3s free for the download, which includes Barcelona's "I Have The Password To Your Shell Account". (via Rocknerd)
It's interesting to look at their links page. Among the usual indie labels and stores, there is an Other section, which features 4ZZZ, LiveJournal, and, um, Manchester United. The last addition seems puzzling, looking at the site from the UK; no-one here would associate football with the indie-pop subculture, and Man.U, one of the biggest and highest in profile of clubs, doubly so. Mind you, it appears the be the usual indiekid-Anglophilia phenomenon, where any and all affectations of British everyday versimilitude are more indie than the local variety. This has been commented on in the past, in observations of American indie fans who are into everything one can slap a union flag on, from Blur to Oasis to Fatboy Slim to Mogwai; not to mention appropriations of British slang, sometimes with unintentionally comical results (I mean, "Shag Frenzy" sounds more like a tabloid headline about suburban swingers' parties than a name for an indie night). With that in mind, I wonder how long until indie kids in America and Australia start imitating the chav phenomenon to get that imported-from-Britain boost to their indie cred.
This week's street press has some interesting articles; InPress has interviews with members of Saint Etienne (who say their new album Finisterre is a concept album about London, and that they have a set of short films that goes with it), Mogwai (who once printed T-shirts reading "BLUR ARE SHITE", and then found out that Japanese and US fans tend to be people who are into all British indie/alternative music as a genre), and Ninetynine, talking about the odd varieties of bands they've been booked to play with on their various tours (i.e., in Europe they have played with hardcore/metal bands a lot, not because they're metal as fuck but because of the pop bands all being signed to labels and them being independent). And there's another Ninetynine interview in Beat as well, which makes a Krautrock comparison; hmmm...
(I've noticed the Mogwai thing, about non-British UK-indie fans clustering into "Anglophile" subcultures, as well. Take for example Steve Wide's show on 3RRR, which plays everything from Oasis/Radiohead-wannabe bands to pill-popping dance grooves to French/Icelandic bands liked by UK-pop fans; or a UK-indie list I lurked on once which was mostly wannabe-Mods exchanging trainspotter-like lists of classic swingin'-60s movies and talking about their scooters. Or cliques of US-based "Anglophile" kids exchanging in-jokes on band-related mailing lists.)
The Mod scene is big in Japan, with many young Japanese donning Union Jack-emblazoned army parkas and tightly tailored suits and cruising around on chromed Lambretta scooters, like extras from Quadrophenia. (via rotten.com)
Hoizumi counts at least three Mod revivals: The Neo-Mod movement inspired by ``Quadrophenia'' (and which eventually led to the Skins); an early 1980s resurgence built around the British group Style Council (the Japanese Mod scene remains a huge milkcow for Paul Weller); and a unique-to-Japan revival in the mid-1990s created by teenage photoceleb Hiromix, whose snapshots of herself and her friends in undies became an international artworld sensation.
But in some ways, whilst the scene is a knockoff of 1960s British youth culture (and also of subsequent "revivals" of Mod)
. Until recently, Japan's Mods have overwhelmingly come from the ranks of hairstylists, overworked, underpaid and image-conscious, who leave the suburbs and countryside with big city dreams of grooming stars and cutting it as ``charisma stylists.'' ... But the stylists have moved on with the Hiromix boom, and the Mods of 2002 are a cadre of college art students, graphic designers and apparel professionals. Many have had their parents buy their first bikes for them, and quite a few own several bikes. They seem more sure of themselves and aren't as interested in making a class statement as an aesthetic one.
Sounds a bit like Melbourne's Mod scene, which is mostly rich private-school kids using their classicist style of youth rebellion to differentiate themselves from the plebeian rabble north of the Yarra. I.e., like the Young Liberals only noisier and more stylish.