The UK: funny old place

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** Click here for Episode 109 **

British readers, observe your homeland as reflected through the prism of foreign eyes, in this case belonging to Amber from Kansas:

I’m sure everything you know about Kansas comes from T.V., in that it is very brown here, very flat, and sometimes young women are swept away by twisters. Unfortunately, all of this is true.

In turn, everything I know about Britain comes from BBC America, in that you guys like to have wacky races with vehicles, young people hook up in the most lewd and sexy ways, you have giant naked men carved into the side of random hills, and sometimes: Daleks. They happen.

So answer me this you guys: is Britain as marvelous and exciting as T.V. is telling me, or BBCA feeding me a line of, as the Brits say, “rubbish?”

Amber, it’s all true, although I must admit it’s less exciting when you get to see all those things every day. But here’s an idea: Brits, comment below with facts about Blighty that sound like they are bullshit, but are actually true. Come on, it’ll be fun. I’ll start: Amber, guess what – one of the nation’s most famous sailors now lives on top of a massive stick in the middle of a busy London square, surrounded by lions and pigeons. Crazy but true!

Now it’s your turn, false fibbers!

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31 Responses to “The UK: funny old place”

  1. Dan Dare Says:

    We live in a country where many people don’t know the name of their own nation. People think that England is Britan or that Great Britain is the UK.
    eg we have a national athletics team that calls itself GB but has athletes from Northern Ireland, which is not part of Great Britain but is part of the United Kingdom. We have an England football team that plays in red white and blue but there is no blue in the English flag; blue represents Scotland. They also play the British anthem rather that the English one.
    We also don’t seem to know which way up our Union Flag should be flown as it can often be seen flying upside down.
    This fecklessness is part of our national pride… if we cared about these things we wouldn’t be British.

  2. Stephen Says:

    If you are pregnant and really need to go for a wee but cannot find a toilet you are allowed to wee in to a policemans helmet 😀 Fun times !

  3. Sophie from Whitburn Says:

    Over a third of people on the Answer Me This! podcast website make up facts about Britain.

    But it is true that pigeon is popular in frozen foods – not just in London!

  4. Clarrie From London Says:

    In Gloucestershire, people frequently roll giant cheeses down hills, and then shatter several bones whilst chasing after them.

    (Oh, and The Kinks. ‘Nuff said.)

  5. Jack from Glasgow Says:

    In the Cotswolds people chase a cheese of a cliff. Idiotic but true!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooper%27s_Hill_Cheese-Rolling_and_Wake

  6. Lucy Fennell Says:

    In a little place called Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, two thirds of the inhabitants are amputees…strange but true.

  7. Matt from Bristol Says:

    We all get free health care.

  8. Charlie the Wanghouse Says:

    It’s legal to shoot a Welshman with crosbow (you have the crossbow, not him) between the roman gates of Chester at dusk

  9. Charlie the Wanghouse Says:

    Helen Zoltzman, Oliver Mann and Martin the Soundman are not paid to do this

  10. Esther Says:

    A popular savoury sandwich spread in Britain is a brown salty tar-like (but yummy) substance which was originally a by-product of making beer. I think.

    Also, in the same square that our naval hero is surrounded by lions and pigeons, there is an empty plinth. This has rolling art exhibitions whilst it waits for its true purpose – to hold an equestrian statue of our queen, to be erected upon the occasion of her death. Even in the afterlife royals are weird.

  11. Christopher Morrow Says:

    In Northern Ireland, The government Does Not censor all internet chatter to cover up Nothing .

  12. electrokev Says:

    Britons use the universal term ‘minimum wage’ to justify sweat-shop labour eg. “I’m on minimum wage, just like those skinny foreign kids. £2.50 for jogging bottoms? Get in.”

    Despite it’s many roads and massive highway maintenance costs, it is impossible to drive through London.

    In the northern territories, beware of misleading scams such as ‘bread cake’
    This is not cake, only bread.

    Most British people are wankers.

    Teapots are out, apathy is in.

    If you have unprotected sex in the UK, you can win a house.

    Awareness of national debt is on the rise, but it’s importance among females still trails slightly behind having those shoes in both colours.

  13. Chris Robinson Says:

    In Britain, we never ever ever complain about fuck all no matter how unsatisfied or ripped off we are, we wont complain to the store manager or the assistant but as soon as we get home under a head of stewing steam and banging every door in the house we log in to the company website, make a formal and polite complaint about whatever, then apologise for sending the said complaint.
    We then log of plotting the demise of some foreigner to give them the wrong directions to anywhere else but their desired destination.

    rant over!!!

  14. James Says:

    Even though the Brits are the most self loathing people on earth if you are not from here you can not under any circumstances say a bad thing about the place. Example: Brit one “This place is shit innit.” Brit two “Yes bruv I can’t stand it, the weather is shit, the economy is down the toilet and I can’t get a job due to all the forigners!!” Kiwi one: “Yeah the UK really is shit!!” Brits one and two together: “Well you weird talking fucker, why don’t you just fuck off home!”
    Usually followed by a rasist rant and many other such hate crime type stuff.
    But bless ’em they did come up with concentration camps, mass murder and the concept of a democrecy… even if they no longer live in one.

  15. Leo from Sheffield (formerly West Sussex) Says:

    In order to legally own a television in the UK, a license must be held which costs around £140, and you have to renew it every year. Just to twist the knife a little more, the majority of BBC programs are either reruns, or shit.

  16. Gina from Surrey Says:

    Ok, this one is ACTUALLY TRUE! In Britain, it is technically illegal for a lady to eat chocolate on public transport. A fun and tasty way to break the law… ; )

    It’s also a legal requirement that all males over the age of fourteen have to do 2 hours of longbow practise a week under the supervision of the local clergy. Except possibly where I live, where I think the vicar may die of the excitement.

    I read it in a book, ergo it’s true 😀

  17. Right Number Says:

    Only 13% of Londoners know their own phone number (Ofcom survey).

    More than half of all Londoners write their number as 0207 xxx xxxx or as 0208 xxx xxxx even though those codes are the old codes for Consett and Bodmin that changed in 1995.

    Since 2000, all London numbers use the (020) area code and the local number part has eight digits, but most people don’t seem to be aware of that.

    Likewise in Cardiff where people write 02920 instead of 029.

  18. Right Number Says:

    Only 13% of Londoners know their own phone number (Ofcom survey).

    More than half of all Londoners write their number as 0207 xxx xxxx or as 0208 xxx xxxx even though those codes are the old codes for Consett and Bodmin that changed in 1995.

    Since 2000, all London numbers use the (020) area code and the local number part has eight digits, but most people don’t seem to be aware of that.

    Likewise in Cardiff where people write 02920 instead of 020.

  19. Daniel from Hertfordshire Says:

    In Britain, everyone by the age of 6 has walked backwards through a city centre.

  20. Rhys/Squeeky from Bridgend Says:

    Well, you probably won’t get stabbed. But you will get mean looks. I need to stop generalising everything :/

  21. Rhys/Squeeky from Bridgend Says:

    In south wales, we randomly break into song, have communal baths in our back garden in those tin can things and we all work in a mine! Oh no wait, I’ve been watching How Green Was My Valley and Very Annie-Mary too much. We do however have ‘the valleys’ where you WILL get stabbed if your not wearing a shell suit

  22. helenzaltzman Says:

    Oy! Some of you are making stuff up! How are abroadniks ever to learn about Britain if you confuse them with lies? Any of you found to be posting fiction rather than facts that sound false (BUT NEVERTHELESS ARE FACTS) will receive a severe reprimand from the headmaster.

  23. Gina from Surrey Says:

    99% of the fast foods you can buy in London are actually made of pigeon.

    Also, in times of political crisis, the figureheads of Radio Four run the country. If there isn’t a majority in the next election, Sandi Toksvig’s going to be king. It’ll be awesome!

  24. GEORGE FROM REDCAR Says:

    the fact that we all have ‘bad’ teeth is bull. we may have discoloured teeth, or teeth that dont resemble sticks of extra gum, but they are not ‘bad’. we can still chew, talk, laugh, and scream with our teeth, so they are not at all bad. atleast our teeth have character, atleast when we die and get eaten by rats we can be recognised by our teeth. unlike the happy clappy ‘ooisntlifejustsogreat’ american teeth which all look exactly the pigging same. stop making us feel bad
    (this was not menat to be taken as a rant, even though that is how it was wrote, im tired of wank arses like tom cruise making our smiles look bad)

    i love america anyway, where else could you buy spray on cheese?

    with regaurds from the jolly cynic
    xx

  25. MrNoseybonk Says:

    Depending on social/economic/geographical position, our evening meal might be called Lunch, Dinner, Tea or Supper.
    Irrespective of name, all are enhanced by the presence of Birdseye Potato Waffles.

  26. Antony From Wales Says:

    It is legal for children under the age of two to drink in a pub

  27. Laurence from York Says:

    90% of everything in yorkshire is made of coal.

  28. MrNoseybonk Says:

    Our most popular television soap opera features the miserable day to day drudgery of a dingy backstreet in the poverty stricken industrial north. The second most popular features the depressing antics of a miserable coterie of cockneys in the poverty stricken East End of London. I wont even begin to describe the third most popular.

  29. Lucy From Wales Says:

    In Wales, There are more sheep than people, but even thought it looks like they are taking over, we still feed and cater them to their every whim.

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