One of my favorite shows on Youtube is New British Canon by the channel Trash Theory, where they talked about a range of various artists (new or old) that came out of the UK. It wasn’t until I watched the series that I realized how many of my favorite artists come out of the UK.
I know as Americans, we like dog on Britain for losing the war and all. To this day, I still love talking smack about the UK. I mean, I have even more of a right since I’m Indian, they literally colonized us!
But even though that’s the case, so many of my favorite artists and people come out of that small, depressing little island. Burial, FKA Twigs, Dean Blunt, Blood Orange, Jamie XX, Aphex Twin, James Blake, MIA, Gorillaz, Joy Orbison, Massive Attack, Pinkpantheress, King Krule, Sophie, Sampha… I could keep going if I wanted to but I digress. I also grew up loving Doctor Who and Top Gear, so it’s kind of ironic that we love to hate on them even though they’ve produced some of my favorite pieces of culture ever.
What makes the present-day UK so appealing to people like me anyway? I once read something about modern-day Britain that sort of changed my perspective on it. The British Empire was at one point in history the most powerful empire in the world. Compare that to what we have today? Definitely not great. The British people had been reduced from the mighty members of a great empire to tw*ts out of a depressing island. And in a way, they’ve accepted that humility into their culture. British people are pretty self-deprecating and dry. They’re very aware of what they are in a way, and kind of accept that. On the other hand, Americans are some of the most egotistical and honestly obnoxious people on the planet, simply because they are American. The bleakness of being English is definitely a defining aspect in the art as well. You can hear that in some of the artists I just mentioned.
I’m still going to make fun of British people. I’m going to continue trash talking them for eating beans on toast and losing the Revolutionary war. But I can’t deny their culture and people have changed me in many more ways than I had once thought.