Day 111: The Five Nation Pub Crawl

21.04.09: Wow! I mean, really, wow! Today really started last night when I was met by my top chums from the old school, Lindsey and Michelle, in Euston Station. We only had twenty minutes before my train left for Liverpool, but they bought me a carrot cake and a coffee and laid out the welcome mat for me. I was home. Back in the UK, back in the UK. My train pulled into Liverpool's Lime Street Station at 10.20pm and the welcoming committee was amazing. About thirty of my mates, plus my mum, dad and brother Alex, all cheering and waving flags (thank you Steve!) for my arrival. It was just awesome. I was shaking - like a teenager waiting for a phone call from someone they fancy the pants off. LIVERPOOL !!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOO! We headed inevitably pubwards and before we knew it we were back…

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Days 949-962: 10 Things I Hate About U(K) – Part 1

07.08.11-20.08.11: Occasionally I get messages from malcontents who find themselves offended by negative comments I’ve made about their country on this blog. It goes without saying that you can’t please all the people all of the time, but I wouldn’t want you thinking that I’m blinded by some misplaced sense of patriotism into believing that the UK is the be-all-and-end-all. It’s not. My League of Nations list is (as I admit in the pre-amble) tremendously subjective, and the fact that England comes out on top has more to do with my family and friends than it does any sense of rabid nationalism. With that in mind, and with last week’s riots leaving a bad taste in our mouths, I thought I’d take this opportunity to give the UK a damn good dressing down. Before I start, let me just say that the UK has many, many things…

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Days 963-973: 10 Things I Hate About U(K) – Part 2

21.08.11-31.08.11: Here's the rest of my jolly list of ten things that make me pull my hair and scream about silly old Blighty... 6. The Daily Mail For the non-Brits reading this, I’ll let Uncyclopedia explain what The Daily Mail means to us lot in the UK: Often referred to as "Fascism with Oven Gloves on" The Daily Wail, also known variously as The Daily Hate, The Daily Heil, The Daily Bile, The Daily Hate Mail and The Daily Fail is a hugely popular British comic for those who believe themselves (usually mistakenly) to be members of the middle classes. While I have nothing but quiet distain for comic-book newspapers like The Sun and The Star, at least everybody knows they’re comics. The Mail is different, it tries to fob itself off as a serious newspaper while obsessing over celebrities, immigration and Princess Diana like some…

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Day M319: The Last Refuge of a Scoundrel

Sat 11.08.12: They say that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. I don’t necessarily believe that. I think home is the last refuge of a scoundrel. Today this ginger scoundrel is coming home. Coming home to my family and friends, to my girlfriend Mandy, my city of Liverpool and to the nation that I know and love. You’d think spending three and a half years travelling would make me more cynical about my home. I meet ex-pats who spit vitriol on my sceptred isle, they’ll go off on one about the lack of discipline, the joke that is public transport, the fact that the country is far too left-wing/right-wing, moan about immigrants, moan about taxes, moan about windfarms/mobile phone masts/X-Factor/dogshit/speed cameras you name it. Hey, but some people like to moan, that’s their prerogative. But I don’t see it that way. Where they just…

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Day M351: The Final Tear-Stained Juddering Climax

12.09.12: So the last two weeks have not been particularly merry ones. But, on the bright side, I’ve been able to spend time with my dad (and… er… let him beat me at Trivial Pursuit) and I’ve been able see my friends and have a good mooch around my city. I was invited by my mate Steve to the annual Hollyoaks barbecue, Brian and I came third in the infamously difficult Fact Cinema Film Quiz (sample question: “Who Directed Caddyshack 2?”) and, let’s face it, the Paralympics were BRILLIANT. Last Sunday morning, nice and early, I made my way down to the Big Smoke, London, or ‘Kings Landing’ as I’ve decided to call it from now on (a place awash with incest, vice and vile plots). I arrived in time to catch the end of the marathon and met up with Matt Eland and his mate…

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