George Mikes has been studying the British for a long time; here in one book are his three major works, in which he unstintingly offers the fruits of forty years of field research to all aspirant Brits. Having himself been born abroad, Mr. Mikes is in the ideal position to counsel others in the same unhappy state – and even Brits born and bred may pick up a few unexpected tips from his irresistible blend of laconic humour and sharp observation.
How to be a Brit 19 csillagozás
Eredeti megjelenés éve: 1984
Isteni olvasmány egy angolos szürke nap, amikor az ember másra se vágyik, mint hogy valami felvidítsa. A szarkasztikus gondolatai Oscar Wilde mondatszerkesztésére hasonlítanak, úgyhogy ebből a könyvből is össze lehetne szedni legalább két oldalnyi frappáns idézetet. Leginkább az első könyvecske (How to be an Alien) tetszett, a másik kettő nem nagyon tesz újat hozzá se tartalmában, se hangnemében.
This is the most important topic in the land. Do not be misled by memories of your youth when, on the Continent, wanting to describe someone as exceptionally dull, you remarked: ‘He is the type who would discuss the weather with you.’ In England this is an ever-interesting, even thrilling topic, and you must be good as discussing the weather.
EXAMPLES FOR CONVERSATION
For Good Weather
‘Lovely day, isn't it?’
‘Isn't it beautiful?’
‘The sun …’
‘Isn't it gorgeous?’
‘Wonderful, isn't it?’
‘It's so nice and hot …’
‘Personally, I think it's so nice when it's hot – isn't it?’
‘I adore it – don't you?’
For Bad Weather
‘Nasty day, isn't it?’
‘Isn't it dreadful?’
‘The rain … I hate the rain …’
‘I don't like it at all. Do you?’
‘Fancy such a day in July. Rain in the morning, then a bit of sunshine, and then rain, rain, rain all day long.’
‘I remember exactly the same July day in 1936.’
‘Yes, I remember too.’
‘Or was it in 1928?’
‘Yes, it was.’
‘Or in 1939?’
‘Yes, that's right.’
Now observe the last few sentences of this conversation. A very important rule emerges from it. You must never contradict anybody when discussing the weather. Should it hail and snow, should hurricanes uproot the trees from the sides of the road, and should someone remark to you: ‘Nice day, isn't it?’ – answer without hesitation: ‘Isn't it lovely?’
Learn the above conversation by heart. If you are a bit slow in picking things up, learn at least one conversation, it would do wonderfully for any occasion.
If you do not say anything else for the rest of your life, just repeat this conversation, you still have a fair chance of passing as a remarkably witty man of sharp intellect, keen observation and extremely pleasant manners.
In these past twenty-one years England has gained me and lost an Empire. The net gain was small. I used to pronounce my name Me-cash but nowadays most people say Mikes to rhyme with likes. The Empire now pronounces its name Commonwealth to rhyme with nothing at all.
The open fire is an accepted, indeed a traditional, institution. You sit in front of it and your face is hot whilst your back is cold. It is a fair compromise between two extremes that settles the problem of how to burn and catch cold at the same time.
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