|Photo: Adriana Pusha|
Poor housing, bad food, but the humour is good and you are well looked after …
Thirteen of the fifteen people I stayed with in
had been to Sweden at least once. But the question is
whether a weekend in England gives a true picture of London or just contributes to preserve stereotypes?
Although five of my study subjects had lived in England for longer periods. England
"They’re polite and say " love "and stuff like that to strangers. They drink a lot of tea. They eat bad food. Disastrous school dinners and not so good schools either. "
"I have met many English people who have lived cool lives and had cool thoughts. But I have a bit of a problem with Englishness, there’s too much talk. Everything is "lovely" and "darling" and "nice to meet you." You’re always well looked after, but I have not met anyone, have never had a true meeting. "
"It's a cool language, I like English ladies, they call you " love "and" darling ", you feel looked after in some way."
"Bad food, anyway. They drink tea a lot. I don’t know much about the culture, it’s similar to
"There’s nothing weird about saying hello to people in the street. They’re very nice and polite, you get a cup of tea, you’re always invited. Very homelike. "
"There’s not much of a food culture. But there’s history, many events, festivals and things like that. I also think they’re very nice. Some people just start chatting to you, like the lady on the bus. "
"Not good food in general, but super good breakfasts in particular. Full English breakfast is a treat, that you can have breakfast in the middle of the day is a special thing. "
"Not very high standard, cold flats."
"All the houses are cold. But I like the houses and the villages, the old stone houses. "
"The fucking fitted carpets, the draught, the mould, the damp and on top of that the unreasonable rents, damn it!”
"Usually they’re quite nice but sound pretty posh because they speak English. I’m more used to American English, Americans are more relaxed. Great beer, ginger-haired people, rowdy football fans."
"It feels more open. People talk to you just like that, it doesn't happen very often in
. For example I have done coach surfing
there and it’s so natural. Here, people find it a bit weird." Sweden
"They're very polite, respectful. They’re respectful towards each other, but don’t have respect for authorities. "
"I like British humour, Monty Python."
"Fish 'n' chips. The Royal Family. Humour, comedy, they have the best TV series. "
"They’re not that complicated. They are light-hearted, have a certain kind of humour.”
"The rain. I have watched the Time Team, a series of archaeologists in
. It always rain, they’re always soaked. " Britain
"The class system, social division. People voted for Margaret Thatcher. And they voted a second time! A lot of neo-liberal crap. Poor housing. But a lot of culture, music and stuff. "
"A colonial empire. The standard of living and the living conditions are poor. Low wages, crappy jobs. There’s no paternity leave. They still have gender-segregated schools, which is so incredibly conservative and affects people a lot. Their view of women.”
"I'm not particularly drug liberal. The country is a bit passive and it doesn't feel like an exaggeration to link it to the drugs."
"I keep returning to
to get cultural kicks. I watched the
Olympic opening ceremony and realised how much I love English culture, it’s the
country that has influenced me the most culturally. I almost forget about it
because there’s so much that is destructive and sad." England
Brighton is the most vital, vibrating, inspiring
city I've ever visited."
"Very old houses. Architecture. A lot of countryside, pub culture, and a lot of football. Rain."
"People are more extreme and stick out more than in
. They say what they mean, but I don’t not
know if that’s true. " Sweden
"I think a lot about
, it's like other European cities:
shopping and musicals, but that’s such a small part of London . There are many people who have been to England and think that’s Stockholm . Sweden is not the whole of London . " England
"More familiarity, I picture a pub in front of me, the whole family goes to the pub. A football mad country. The Queen, conservative and royalist. "
"More crowded, more packed, more density in cities."
"Very conservative, but I don’t know if it’s like that, I don’t have in-depth knowledge. I was in
many years ago. It was stern and strict.
At Harrods we were not allowed to stand still, a little stiffer than London ." Sweden
"Divided, more conservative, hierarchies. More rebellious, artistic."
"Spontaneous, simple, easy to understand. Easy to find your way, easy to go on the tube, easy to live there."
This study is by no means scientific, the answers to this particular question are based on interviews with fifteen people in
, aged 22-52. Next question: Where have
you travelled? Sweden