The problem with writing a blog is that sometimes, two weeks go by with lots of things happening that are very interesting to me but absolutely of no interest to anyone else, so I’ve got little to write about. I mean, going out for $5 Coronas with two lads I haven’t seen in 2 years was great for me but frankly if you wanted to be entertained by stories of friends drinking cheap beer you can watch Corrie, they have a higher production budget. I took this nice photo the other night though;
So, with that in mind, I thought hey, I know what you’ve always wondered – what are the things we have in Britain that Australia doesn’t have, but needs to have, and vice versa? Having now lived in both places, I have decided to stoop to this form of blog content and do a list! (Am I angling for a Buzzed job? I cannot say) This then, ladies and gents, without further introduction, is part 1 of a 2 part series;
10 Things Australia can learn from Britain
Where to start? This is a particularly painful one for me given my sugar addiction; but Australian chocolate really has a lot to learn. I don’t have the answers, but someone out there must, because Cadburys is just a bit weird here. If you really need something chocolatey – your options are either Aldi (the best of a bad bunch) or a low chocolate-chocolate bar, like a crunchie. Yes, I take this that seriously. I could literally write a whole blog on how to survive as a chocolate lover in Australia. I might. Keep your eyes peeled.
Imagine if ITV2+1 and Channel 5 had a baby, then you would have something akin to Australian television. Its not just that there’s nothing on (there isn’t), but the quality is so low that some things you can’t help but watch. My favourite recent example was the excellently titled ‘SUPER SCARY PLANE LANDINGS’ (yes this is real). This isn’t on some small time channel with about 6 viewers, its primetime on the main channel. All this quality interspersed with adverts that are genuinely reminiscent of the 1980’s gives the power off button an understandable attraction. And who numbered the 5 main terrestrial channels?
Now, usually, I’ve got no problem with this. Shopping, I will freely admit, is up there with excersise on the list in my head of ‘activities that technology should be eradicating’. However, it does sometimes become necessary, for food and that sort of thing. In Australia however, there are only 3 supermarkets, Amazon doesn’t really exist and Zara Australia, as Katie keeps telling people in incredulous tones, doesn’t even have an online shop. Seriously though, I miss amazon and prime one-day delivery more than I ever thought I could. If your supermarket doesn’t have something – nowhere does, because there’s nowhere bloody else. And if your supermarket does have it, they’ll make you pay for it – I recently went into cardiac arrest in Coles when they tried to charge me $1.70 for a single lime. You can buy a house in Blackpool for that.
Of all things to forget to bring on a 6 month journey to a brave new world with a load of prisoners, pub culture was perhaps Britain’s greatest oversight. Yes there are some old fashioned places, but everywhere calls itself a ‘bar’ or worse, a ‘hotel’. Further to this abomination, they have ‘schooners’ which are not pints and are smaller than pints and cost more than pints. Give me an old building, a ridiculous name like ‘The Lamb’s Head’ and £2.50 for some good local Ale any day – rather than Heineken on draft in a trendy place with no seats for $10.
Now, I should qualify this. Some parts of Australia have excellent transport – Melbourne (I’m told, will report back in December), Sydney city centre (sort of). However, if you want to get to the fun places, even big tourist destinations on the East and West coast – your choices are car, campervan, 5 million different buses for $50 per mile, or just bloody walk it. Walking is not the slowest option on that list. In the UK you can get to literally anywhere on a train – places like Scarborough, Blackpool, Skipton. These are places no-one wants to go and its still easier than getting to Port Stephens (may or may not be based on personal experience).
- Ability to deal with the cold
Ever wondered why Australians call the English Poms? Well, apparently, its because we look like pomegranates in the sun. Which is fair. But, for a country that delights in telling the English how they can’t handle the heat, the Aussies are hypocrites. The temperature in Sydney winter is frequently the same or higher than the temperature in London at the same time (summer), yet the Aussies are wrapped up in all manner of coats, scarves, hats, gloves and whatever else. If you’re wearing sunglasses, you shouldn’t need a coat – its just that simple.
No nation I have ever been to, nor probably in the world, has as much self confidence and bias towards everything about itself as Australia. Its actually nice to see in a way, national pride I guess – but it does mean on occasion (always) that they are horrendously biased. Take sport as one example – during the recent England Australia test series, all the Australian pundits were wearing matching vivid gold (the colour of the Australian teams kit) ties on electric blue suits. Then they proceeded each match to sum up why the Aussies would beat England, then sound very sad afterwards when England had battered them. You may also have heard about the advert slating England which has now disappeared from the internet. (Ha!) Olympics coverage particularly highlighted this – they cut away from Mo Farah’s 5000m to see an Australian fail in the initial round of the pole vault. They also tend to think every Australian ever is brilliant despite any flaws and god forbid you identify a flaw in anything they do. Be a bit more British and say your country is crap, ey chaps?
- YORKSHIRE PUDDINGS
THEY. DON’T. HAVE. YORKSHIRE. PUDDINGS.
GET. YOUR. ACT. TOGETHER.
- Free ATM withdrawals
Imagine my surprise when I went to withdraw $20 from a Westpac cash machine (a bank the equivalent of something like Barclays in the UK) from my Commonwealth Bank debit card (say Lloyds, without the bailout history) when the machine asked for $2.50 to get my own money. Cheeky buggers. The only time I paid for my own money was at Leeds Festival in 2012. Now, I made a lot of mistakes that weekend, but safe to say that was by far the worst (and that’s saying something). In Australia, if you want to withdraw money from any ATM other thank your own bank’s, they’ll charge you. Not only are the adverts stuck in the 1980’s, so is the commercial banking, apparently.
Having been to see Noel Gallagher a few months ago, I began to search for more gigs to go to in Sydney. Maybe I’m getting old, but I honestly hadn’t heard of a single artist on the list infront of me. To put this into perspective, find a band that’s doing a world tour and see if it has Australia in it. Katie will also want me to point out at this point that Beyonce has done this exact thing – but frankly the idea of shelling out $500, half my assets and the blood of my firstborn for two tickets (that’s what they cost right?) means I’m less devastated by this. I’ve just had another look at what’s on in Sydney this weekend and the 5th result is ‘ABBA Mamamia Tribute Band‘. My, my, how could I resist that?
Alex Odlin will pay anyone well over the odds for deliveries of English chocolate to Australia. Please get in touch. For less Buzzfeedy content, have a look at the blog from the very beginning here: 1. The Masterplan. If you’d like to be notified about more funny stuff (and part two of this mini-series, What Britain can learn from Australia) – why not follow the blog (from a safe distance) in the bottom right of the screen.
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