Like a lot of ex-pats I see England as my vacation land now, but lots of the locals here ask me if I miss home. Not oodles, but here be a few things I do find it hard to replace after over a decade in the Europe of the East.
With the youtube age my music input has changed so much since my early screamager years. Jools Holland and Jo Wiley were my musical sources for years in the UK. I knew I could rely on them to bring me a least one top tune or band every week or two, and a dodgy tone deaf one or two as well. Of course I watched Top of the Pops, but at College/ Uni more Top of the Pops 2 as this was my phase of getting into music older than my jeans. Good ole Jools and Joe I miss in Germany. And to be honest the lack of music diversity on the radio kinda sucks here. But this variety for all I know may also have disappeared on the airwaves in the UK.
Yes in Germany, I have gone through my phases of Uncut music mag, and now the Mahogany/Balcony/ Black Cab sessions. But “Later with Jools Holland” was one of those weekend things I looked forward to, or catching up on an episode or two through the mystical medium of VHS. Number one!
Starsailor was one of my very first Jools gems. A great Wigan band that really only did two good albums in my honest opinion. And took their name from a great Tim Buckley album.
For awhile I thought I missed the beer. But tastes change, and I am now a full convert to Hefeweisen, Schwartzbier and Czech/Polish pils or lager. Working in pubs in the North West and having frequented often with the O’erish I do miss a good Guinness or even stout. Murphys I can drink in Germany, but Guinness is my snobby thing. In that once ya have drunk the good shit ya cannie stomach poor imitations. Guess it is a bit like once ya have drunk good coffee ya have a hard time getting ya taste buds round weasel water Nescafe or Muckefuck.
A game of pool in a pub, sometimes for a few quid.As a boy I was a snooker guy, living in the East Midlands and growing up in the time when Stephen Hendry was just hitting a dominance similar to that Vettel had in F1 for awhile, it was kinda cool. Also a badge of honour was to be a honrary member of the working mens club in my local town, where they had the good tables. This all changed when I moved to the North West, where the smaller and lighter cue, and different tactics played out. It was a bit like going from chess to draughts (checkers). Going to a pub to meet friends, or just a pick up game was my life for neigh on half a dozen years.
A good butchers. There are some here, if you look. But often I lived in the UK where I could have a butchers (pun intended) at the different meat other than pork, what the local cleaver wielder was offering.
Second hand English book shops. Before Waterstones became the beast that it is, these were a dime and a dozen. I could spend hours in them, browsing and discovering new authors. I was almost like the Cheshire cat from the Japser Fforde books. A cheeky quite content cat grin from ear to ear.
On the flip of these five and to keep some of you curious cats happy, I will write about the 5 things I imagine I might miss if I were ever to go back to blighty.