During this recession, I've noticed a resurgence in that very peculiar brand of self deprecating nationalism that we British seem to specialise in. As ever, when times are tough, trust in those charlatans over the water (ie everyone, everyone is over the water from Britain) diminishes, as well as the number of Euro or Dollars we can get to the Pound, so we curl up on our not so cosy island and look through the stuff we already did.
For example, one of the years literary events was the launch of Iain Sinclairs much anticipated pyscho-geographical tome 'Hackney - That Rose Red Empire', the very title giving a hint to the insular rant contained inside. In music, we've revived our very crappest band in Take That. and tried to tell ourselves they were a national treasure, and all those Ivor Novello awards really meant something in the 90's, just before the Spice Girls started winning them. Even Damien Hirst is going backwards. He's finally learning to paint (slowly) after a decade or two of ridiculous shovels of cash being heaped in his direction, it's time to lock down in the studio and pick up a paint brush.
But wait, a positive. Last year, I went to one of Blur's stellar reunion gigs in Hyde Park. Interesting I think on a couple of levels. Not only are Blur up near the top of the list of bands worth reviving who are still young enough to have most of their floppy hair (and a law degree and a cheese factory), but they also made their money by singing about outright, glorious, insular bigoted spectacularly drunk, pie eating Englishness. A new(ish) movie documents Blurs return to the stage, a trailer for which is above.
I'm not sure how I feel about a return to Englishness. We certainly aren't going to see a new Cool Brittania, not with the forthcoming 'regime change' in the UK anyway, more likely a return to Life On Mars style bigotry. However, if New-Englishness means baking pies, having street parties and making bloody good films, books, buildings and music then count me in.