The good old U S of A

I met someone a couple of days back who lives in Los Angeles. Very nice person to chat with. I’m glad we bumped into each other.

I grew up on American TV shows, American films, American music. The Blues, I mean what more can be said? That genre of music flows through my veins.

I like the attitude of women from The States. The openness in their manner. Very little in the way of affectation.

Then we come to personality. It’s so stuck up here in the UK. People seem to be afraid to even smile in case it might crack their faces. There’s just so much control here. Too much uniformity of thought and conformity of behaviour. I love talking with people from The States, as they are so genuine in how they express themselves. I love their spontaneity. I have often wondered how my life would have worked out had I been born in the United States. As a child I was what is referred to here as a ‘chatterbox’ and it’s an insult, a slur.

Everything is so ‘polite’ here. Stiff upper lip and all that nonsense. I was chatting with an American couple who now live here and they were telling me how music concerts and gigs differ there to here. People whoop, holler and cheer there whereas here it’s a light ripple of applause with those same types looking around them just in case they have gone too far in showing their approval for the music. I think it was Brian Johnson, lead singer from AC/DC, who lives in The States now and he was talking about how people just let their hair down and are themselves in America, even doing mundane things whereas people in the UK don’t know how to do that. I wonder if the weather plays a part?

I don’t think my life would have been easy if I had lived in the United States. I would likely still have been bullied growing up because I was clearly different. I was a bookworm, an introvert and I kept very much to myself. I still do. I would likely have clammed up around the girls at High School and would have ended up working in a bookstore or library however I feel I would have largely been allowed to be myself, personality-wise. It feels freer ‘over there.’ I cannot recall the last time I’ve had a good old chinwag with another Brit. Everyone is so surly here now. It’s silicon valley really. The Live to Work, Work to Live mindset is everywhere sadly.

Alcohol misuse is prevalent here too and that’s understandable as for many it’s the only way they can loosen up socially and really ‘be themselves’ in a social setting. I have a good friend from the United States and when I talk with her, it’s just about the only time I can have a really great in-depth and good humoured conversation with an intelligent human being. There’s a very real sense of a line to be toed with so many people in the UK however not so when I meet someone from The States. Quite a lot of people from there have different views in terms of the spiritual side of life and I love that. There used to be so many different spiritual options here when I was growing up however that’s now largely disappeared in favour of The Big 3 religions and their spin-offs, or not believing in anything at all.

Politically, we get told about our special relationship with those who live ‘across the pond’ which is largely borne out of geopolitical concerns however for me, it’s far more than that. American culture infuses my soul. No other country on Earth has had such a wide-ranging and deep impact as The United States. It’s not just because I grew up on CHiPS, The Dukes of Hazzard, Sesame Street, The Muppets, The A-Team etc Even if I had been brought up on Canadian TV or solely British TV I would still have been drawn to the U.S. The music alone is out of this world. But the most important reason for why I would have ended up discovering the country and its people is really very simple.

I find Americans warm, friendly and their honesty refreshing.

Where Have All The ‘Weirdos’ Gone?

There used to be a time when I could walk into town and I knew where I could meet people who differed from the mainstream views.

It might have been a New Age shop which sold crystals, tarot cards and gave personal readings for £10.

It might have been a certain pub which attracted green environmentalist types.

A shop which sold skanky looking clothes, as well as Tibetan singing bowls with joss sticks burning Nag Champa in the corner.

It could have been a local Pagan moot, where witches, occultists and esoteric-minded individuals would hang out.

The conversations ranged from “The world is run by 9 people in a room somewhere, who control everything” to UFO’s, fluoride in the water supply, “Aliens built the pyramids” and yes even those who read books by David Icke. In fact, it was one such person who did who got me started down this road. Her and her husband were Pagans, wore Green Man t-shirts and drove a pristine 20 year old hatchback car which looked like it had just rolled off the production line.

I never see these types of people anymore in my day-to-day life. Yes, they can be found online but I never actually see people anymore who stand out – who dress differently, who let you know they are offbeat in some ways.

I used to know a guy who always wore shorts, even in freezing cold weather. He had a mane of unruly hair. He was very clued up on how he felt the world was and a lot of what he spoke about (he was viewed as a ‘weirdo’ and a ‘crank’ back then) has come to pass.

So, where have all the ‘weirdos’ gone? I for one miss them.

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑