Q+A  :  PERSONAL  :  WORLDWIDE - countries / cities / cultures


In a previous answer about holidays etc., you mentioned that you quite liked the west coast of Ireland. I live and work all along the Irish west coast and was just wondering if there were any places / pubs in particular that you like?

Well, I love Connemara and have had a couple of fantastic holidays there. I don't like the tourist haunts, so I tend to try and find 'genuine' Irish pubs with live music. I couldn't tell you the names of any of them although you can bet your life at least one of them was called 'Paddy O Reilly's':-) We were based in a lodge on Loch Inagh. I've travelled all around Galway, Kerry and Mayo.

You did a concert here in the Philippines. I just wondered what was your impression of the country? Did you get to tour any places here?

It was a bit strange to be honest. I wasn't mad about Manilla but we were only there for a couple of days and I didn't get any time to travel around.

I'll admit I'm just a sad American sap. A friend and I are both quite fond of British slang. Could you come up with a small glossary of the kind of slang that you or other English people use?

Cockney rhyming slang is the most interesting but can get complicated. In it's simple form, you, for instance, are a 'Septic' (Septic Tank = yank) and perhaps you live up the 'Apples 'n' Pears = stairs. It gets complicated however, when you get your double and triple rhyming slang. For example, the rhyming slang for 'arse' is 'plaster':

'Plaster' - Plaster of Paris =' Aris', Aristotle = 'Bottle', 'Bottle 'n' Glass' =Arse

Say it fast. Get it? If you feel confident, try this one for size:

"Oi, 'ave a butchers at the boat on that Richard. Nice thru'pennys an' all. Good set of pins, big plates though. Not too sure about the Jules, looks like a bubble to me - dodgy 'ampsteads and he's definitely wearing a syrup."

Answers on a postcard please.....

Have you ever been to Bognor Regis? I don't live there so you can say whatever you like about the place!

I have had that pleasure.....it's too geriatric for me, like many English seaside towns - blue rinses everywhere.

Could you please explain the word "cheesy" for non English-speaking fans who cannot find this word in their dictionary?

'Cheesy' means 'in bad taste', kitsch , 'tongue-in-cheek', tacky....

In a forum question by Michael Perrota dated 22/2/98, you stated he should stick to things like baseball and drive-by shootings! Dark humour (I can appreciate) or your real outlook on the US (which I can also appreciate)?

Don't draw me on this one Mike. I haven't got the energy to explain the English sense of humour or what we really think about you septics ;-)

P.S. I am very offended about your remark about Brum :) I'll have you know that we are at the very epicentre of excitement. Next year the Bull Ring is being redeveloped, oh yes!

Can't wait......

What do you think of Las Vegas? You played there on my birthday in 1994. Was it a good show?

It's one of the cheesiest places I've been. We stayed at the Luxor hotel in '94 - tacky or what. I don't remember the gig really although I've got a feeling it wasn't very good for some reason. I seem to remember the venue had a theatrical feel to it. After the show, the entire DM entourage stayed in the casino and gambled except Hep and I who went out to a club called the Shark Bar or something.

What hotel did or do you normally stay in when you're in Los Angeles?

Most of the time with the Mode we used to stay at the 'Sunset Marquis'. The last time I was in L.A., I stayed at the Nikko in Beverley Hills.

Don't you love to laugh at us dumb ass Americans from President Clinton to Jerry Springer (the talk show host)! Do you get Jerry Springer in the UK?

Do we? Just every day. It gets the housewives afternoon slot as well as appealing to connoisseurs of kitsch TV. I can only watch for a couple of minutes until it all becomes too much and I have to return to the cricket - ahhh.

Ever been to Iceland?

No, but I'd love to go. The landscape is right up my street.

In an earlier response, you said you liked the sound of Italian. Have you ever heard Maltese (my mother tongue). It's an odd mixture of Italian, Spanish and Arabic? Would you be interested in a sample. Ever been to Malta?

Yes I would actually Mario - do you want to send me a cassette of you talking? No, I've never been to Malta.

Did you enjoy your time in Argentina during the 1994 'Devotional' tour?

I had a good time.

Have you ever considered returning to my country, either on tour or for a vacation?

After what you did to us in the World Cup, any soft spot I might have had for Argentina's disappeared I'm afraid ;-)

I unfortunately have never been to England. Do you believe that the film 'Four Weddings And A Funeral', accurately portrays some of the culturalistic details of the English?

Some things yes but it's also full of cliches. I really hope we're not all like Hugh Grant .....gosh (blush). Try watching a Mike Leigh film if you want to learn about the English and our class struggles. I recommend 'Life Is Sweet', 'High Hopes' or 'Secrets And Lies' although all Leigh's films are excellent and very funny.

Is it true that most Europeans consider American football to be "girly" because of all that padding that they wear?

Yes. You don't see our Rugga boys wearing all that garb, do you - that's because they're hard.

Have you ever been to Denmark besides touring or recording?

I spent a month living in Copenhagen in 1979, working at Daddy's Disco. (P.A. Hire)

What do you know about Catalonia or Catalan language within the Spanish context? Any special thoughts on Barcelona?

I know that it involves a lot of history and some fierce rivalry but not much more. I've never spent much time in Barcelona but I really enjoyed being there on tour.

I am a South African fan but cannot get my hands on any of the Recoil albums? Any suggestions or advice? By the way, there are many Alan Wilder fans here - why doesn't Alan come and see for himself.

Well, it's top of our list for a holiday destination. Can you guarantee us a good time if we decide to come?

I realise that you have little affiliation with Basildon but I'm fascinated with the "new town" concept. As an American, I imagine cities like Levittown, PA would be similar - sold to Euro-Americans fleeing urban squalor, this cookie cut town was the perfect middle class escape. Were England's "new towns" the same or were they more about relocating displaced families after World War II? On a recent visit to Basildon it appeared to me a bit run-down. All those 60's modernist cubes seemed quite tired and forlorn. Is this an indication of England's economy or have I been smoking crack?

Towns like Basildon and Welwyn Garden City etc. were planned and built to deal with both the housing crisis at the end of the war and the boom time of the 1950's. At the time they were a welcome relief to the squalor of back-to-backs but they haven't stood the test of time, ending up with a somewhat comical reputation - a sort of 'fake' suburbia with little or no character. Now it's become much more trendy to live in the heart of the city again.

On a side note, I visited St. Nicolas School where your former band members supposedly held the first ever DM concert. Based on your knowledge is this true? There's a smelly old multipurpose room there. Was this where the concert was held?

You're telling me you came all the way to England and wasted a day visiting a primary school? I don't know about their first gig or which school room it was or wasn't performed in.

Do you remember anything special about Hamburg during the time you were recording 'SOFAD'? Do you have any special clubs or bars you liked very much?

Unlike Puk in Denmark, there's plenty to do in Hamburg, mainly clubs and bars around the Reeperbahn area. I'm a bit vague about names but our great friend Reto Buhler (ex-label manager of Intercord) takes us to some great places - one called 'The Lounge' I think....ring any bells?

Have you ever been to 'Stonehenge' and do you have any theory as to what its meaning might be?

I don't make an annual pilgrimage but I have seen it. I think it was built for astronomical purposes.

Since you have an interest in architecture I would like to ask if you have ever been to London's Docklands and what kind of buildings (or places) you like most in that area and in London in general?

I like the OXO building obviously because I like art deco design. In fact, there are many fantastic buildings in London - people just rarely notice them. BBC Broadcasting house is amazing (1930's), Barkers department store on Kensington High Street is another favourite and the Hoover building as you approach London from the M4 is very impressive, especially at night when the floodlights are on. I also like Battersea Power Station and the Lloyds building.

What do you think of the old college buildings in Oxford and Cambridge, if you have ever seen them?

They're old and hallowed....er, apart from that I'm not particularly interested. Not really the right period for me.

Did you visit Brighton during '94/'95? I used to study there around that time but unfortunately, I seem to have missed you.

Hep and I tend to visit Brighton every so often and we've been doing so since '94. It's quite a large city - I think it unlikely we would have just bumped into you! As I'm sure you know, the North Laines are pretty good for wandering around and have some interesting antique, clothes and record stores.

Have you ever been to the South Downs? I think you should take Hep and Paris there for a walk. They will love it.

We wake up to fantastic views of the South Downs every morning but never seem to get around to walking along them. There are so many good walks right outside our doorstep, it never seems particularly appealing to have to drive somewhere to go for a walk...

What are your personal experiences with the Americans? Do you like them?

I have no problem with Americans. We Brits like to make fun of them but then we like to make fun of all other nationalities (in our smug "we're superior to everybody" kind of way ). America is a country of extremes. It has the best and worst of everything.

What is your general opinion about English society?

I love our history and our culture, and our class system is fascinating. London is also a very 'happening' city at the moment. Being an island, we feel slightly apart from the rest of Europe and we're very patriotic. There are also things that I hate about the English and some of our habits, but I don't think I would live anywhere else (just yet anyway).

I don´t want you to become a travel-guide but as I am visiting London in a few weeks and want to spend a day at the sea not extremely far away, I wondered if you know any beautiful places to go. Would you suggest going East, South or Southwest?

The nearest place from London is Brighton (south - about 1-2 hours). I don't think I could describe it as beautiful but it's worth a visit. The beach is pebbles only and the sea will be too cold to swim in but since it will be raining anyway, you'll be much better off in the North Laines area where there are some interesting Record / Clothes / Antique shops etc..

Of all the places you've been (musically or otherwise), what is your favourite in the world?

I don't really have one. I like different places for different reasons. I love the west coast of Ireland, South of France, New York, Berlin, Bali ...etc..........

Do you speak German?

A bit. Enough to get me by in restaurants and bars. My German gets better the longer I stay in the bar ;-)

I'm surprised to see that you would return to South Africa after all the misfortune you had here - kidney stones being removed, wardrobes being stolen etc. Were there any highlights for you, either playing here or just visiting?

Capetown was great. Fantastic location and weather, good restaurants, bars and clubs. I had a lot of fun there and the gigs were good too.

Do you have any recollections of Boston from your visits to the States? (Any worth mentioning, that is...)

Yes, on one visit we couldn't find a drinking establishment that would allow admission without American I.D. Not the most sensible policy in terms of tourism.....

Considering you enjoy the architecture of the early Twentieth century, you must be quite fond of a lot of the buildings in New York City - Manhattan in particular has quite a collection of buildings from that era. The Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building and my personal favourites, the cast iron buildings of the Soho and Chelsea districts come to mind. What are yours? Have you ever spent a day in NYC just walking around admiring the architecture?

I agree with everything you've mentioned here. Talking about the Cast Iron districts, the number of derelict / unused buildings seems somewhat uncapitalist - you'd have thought someone would have seen the dollar signs. The architecture surrounding Central Park is also very interesting. I wouldn't say we've wandered around NYC just looking at buildings but good architecture obviously makes any city more enjoyable.

How many times have you been to Japan and how was it?

At least 5 or 6 times. I always enjoy going there for a massive culture shock. The place never ceases to amaze me and the differences between the behaviour of the people and their customs compared to the West, is immense. Tokyo is also great for gadget shopping of course, and I like Jap. food although it gets a bit boring if you eat it every day. Hotel rooms are small but you always get a humidifier, the taxi drivers wear white gloves, don't speak to you (excellent) and their cab doors open automatically. Drinks come in small measures and cost the earth and getting from A to B in the city is a real problem due to the congestion. Crime is virtually non-existent, they bow a lot and all the women look about 12 years old.

During your time with DM, I think you went to Austria twice. Have you visited my country apart from those concerts? If yes, how do you like Vienna? Have you ever been skiing? If not, you and Hep should come over and try and see if you can keep up with us! 

Apart from DM tours, I've been to Vienna once - with Hep on the 'Unsound Methods' promo. trip. I liked what I saw of the city but didn't really have time to explore it fully. I've never been skiing and I doubt I'd be any good at it. Hep can ski though.

I am originally from Brittany, France and saw a DM concert in Brest a long time ago. I was wondering whether you had the opportunity to visit Brittany at the time? Do you like breton pancakes and cider?

Absolutely. I love French pancakes and country cider very much but it's hard to get over here except for a few specialist deli's.

You were saying that you liked musical languages and I was wondering what you thought of Portuguese (it's very Slavonic-sounding)?

Bit like Spanish isn't it? Er, no real opinion I'm afraid.

Seeing as people from all over the place have asked what you thought about various places, I was curious as to what you thought about Birmingham. Have you patronised our lovely city's nightlife? What do you think of our idiosyncratic culture?

Ahh yes, exotic Birmingham.....to be honest, I haven't been there for a while so I can't really talk about it objectively but it doesn't exactly have an exciting reputation.

You said one of your favourite places is Berlin but as I live there, I cannot believe this. What is so special about Berlin ? There seems to be a lot of culture here but on the other hand all big venues are being closed because of lack of money or other reasons and another big venue hall will be closed because of asbestos! What do you think of this?

I am very surprised by your comments. In terms of history, Berlin's 3 distinctly different and fascinating periods (pre. 20th century, the lead up and 2nd World War itself and the cold war / wall era) make it the most interesting place in Europe, for me anyway. The current re-building is also very exciting. I hope they don't eradicate all the history of the city because the contrast between all these periods is what makes the place so special. It's also got some great restaurants and bars, good clubs and a generally forward-thinking vibe. At least that's what I've always found.

Have you ever been inside the Tower of London?

Can't say I have, no. Nor Madame Toussauds, nor the Planetarium, nor Buckingham Palace. I don't suppose you walk around with a bit of the wall in your pocket either, do you?

What is the most important country for music evolution?

Well, if we're talking about all types of music then I don't think you can pin it down to one country. There are great composers from all over the world. England and America have always had the greatest influence over pop music. Even though lots of bands come from England, the roots of the music can very often be traced back to black America and the blues. Electronic music is much more European in it's influence.

Do you like football and finally, do you like France?

J'adore football et J'adore France.

Do you think it's easier for a Canadian to emigrate to England (I'd like to do it!) because of the Queen?

I've no idea - probably.

Is it true you once lived in Suffolk? If so, whereabouts.

I used to own a Moat House there but I never used it very much so I sold it. It was in Felsham, near Bury St. Edmunds.

Like you I have recently left London for the sticks (Hertfordshire). What made you leave and do you miss it?

I originally left London about 8 years ago because I wanted more space and a nicer environment to live in - both of which I'm lucky to now have. I don't miss living in the city at all although there are drawbacks to living in the country - namely, a lack of good restaurants, cultural events, bars and convenient shopping etc. Our way around this is to book a nice hotel in London for a couple of days every few weeks and pack in a load of activities.

Do you know the west coast of France (Nantes)?

Yes, it's opposite the East, in between the North and South...

When you were with DM, did y ou like to play in France?

Absolutely. Latin audiences make the most noise.

Do you know some french words?

Bien sur, mon ami....

Bonjour Alan,

Une toute petite question: parlez-vous français? Do you speak french?

Un peu.

Would you and Hep both like to come to Sicily for a holiday?

All-expenses paid? No horses heads in the bed please....

I´ve read somewhere that you have a brother teaching music in Finland. Have you ever been there? Did you enjoy it and have you tried Sauna or Finnish beer?

My brother Andrew lives and teaches music in Norway. I have a sauna at home and use it regularly and I always finish my beer ;-)

Have you ever flown Concorde? If so, was it worth the $8000 bucks?

I've flown on Concorde once but it was delayed so it took longer than a normal flight...doh!

Do you speak German?

Zwei vodka mit pamplemousse, bitte - schnell....

Why do you distinguish between English and British? Does a Scotsman also say that he is Scottish?

Yes he does. There is a big difference. Great Britain consists of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the United Kingdom excludes Northern Ireland. I always refer to myself as English. On my passport I am British and I am a resident of the U.K. .................confused?

Which places have you liked the best when you've been in Germany? Do you have friends here?

I've always liked Berlin and Hamburg. I have a few friends in these places and Anne Berning in Stuttgart of course.

Do you speak any Russian ?

You're joking aren't you?! - none whatsoever. I can say 'beetroot' and 'dumplings' - bladdy goood...

Have you ever been to Liverpool and if so, what were your impressions of it?

Nice cathedral, far too many scousers....eh, eh, dey do dat don't dey do...ahright there, don't staaarrt, ahlrite....eh, eh.

Is Basildon a bit of a dump?

I'm pleased to say that my knowledge of Basildon is extremely limited due to the fact that I've only been there about 3 times. All my visits were early on in my career with DM and at a time when I was really into photography and used to routinely carry a shoulder bag containing my camera equipment. My overriding memory of Basildon is sitting in a disgusting pub and being told by Daryl Bamonte to uncross my legs and hide the shoulder bag or I was likely to get the shit kicked out of me for being a 'poof'. Nice eh?! Can you all now understand why I hate it when journalists refer to me as a 'Basildon Boy'....

I have read that 'Unsound Methods' was recorded at "the 'Thin Line' - Alan Wilder's home studio". I then later read "the thin line -set deep in the Sussex countryside", which means that your home studio is in Sussex, hence your home is in Sussex. I then saw that the snail mail address at the bottom of the page is for Horsham, Sussex, which means that you live in or around Horsham, Sussex - yes?

Well done, Sherlock.....it was Colonel Wilder, with the drum stick, in the studio..

How did it feel to have a laser inserted into your member? Did the South African nurse have a nice uniform?

Well, as you know Mr. Bamonte, I was asleep during the operation although if you've ever thought about how it would feel to urinate pins and needles, then you can imagine what the after-effects felt like. One's member requires a couple of weeks recovery time before being fully functional again so the attire of the South African nurse was largely irrelevant.....

Personally I think England is the most beautiful place in the world, especially London. Would you ever consider moving to another country like Dave (America for example)?

I don't think I could live in the U.S. although I enjoy visiting parts of it. If I were to move away from England, it would have to be somewhere with lots of football and a good climate. Then again, most English people I know who have lived abroad find they have to come back and live in 'Old Blighty' every few years or so - I'd probably be the same.

What's your opinion of Dallas?

I've always had a good time there whenever I've visited.

Hi Hep!

I live in Sicily and 'Sessa' is a common name in this land. Do you have Sicilian origins?

My great-grandparents emigrated from a town in Southern Italy (although I think they were originally Sicilian) to the USA in the late 1800's I think. Don't know much more I'm afraid.

Were you in the city of Paris when your daughter was conceived?

Yes - hence the name. I think Hep was there too.

Of all the places you've been to in the world, on your own and as a member of DM, which have you found to be the most exotic?

Probably Bali, or perhaps on safari in Kenya.

What do you think of the city of San Diego?

I've never spent much time there so I can't really comment. We usually stayed in L.A. and travelled to and from San Diego for the shows.

When you had that memorable meeting with the aircraft, you were somewhere in Scotland. Where were you exactly?

We were in the highlands just outside Perth. Between Loch Earnhead and Killin to be precise.

What are your memories of Prague?

It's a beautiful city although when I was last there, I don't remember it having much to offer in the way of night-life. However, that was a long time ago and I've been reliably informed that it's now one of the most exciting places in Europe. I'd like to visit again.

I have been living in Australia for the last ten years and having grown up in England I've noticed a lot of similarities in the cultures. What are your opinions of Australians?

Quite good at cricket for a bunch of convicts....

Did you enjoy touring here? Any highlights worth mentioning?

It was ok. They weren't the most ecstatic audiences but DM never sold that many records in Australia and the crowds were never as vast. I enjoyed Melbourne but generally I found the Aussie mentality too similar to our own: Pubs, The Daily Mirror, Breakfast TV etc..

Could you handle the cold beer?

Cooling the beer is one of the better Aussie habits.

Portugal or Brazil?

Brazil - friendlier people.

Sinister Mormon vibe?!! I was under the impression that they absolutely love you (DM) in Utah. Every time we drive through on the way to Las Vegas or Los Angeles, you can always hear DM on the radio! What's so sinister about the place?

I don't dispute that they love DM but it's a bit worrying to have so many fans with just one eye in the centre of their heads, that's all. Have you seen 'Blue Velvet'? - nice town, dodgy underbelly.

Any interesting stories about your visits to Ireland?

Roight..... to be sure .....whilst driving around Connemara, we pulled up along side an old boy to ask directions and he said, "Would you be the O'Hannrohans from up the Cork Rd?".... so we replied "No, we're cockneys don't you know - we live in London." to which he replied "Ah, then you must know the McCaffety's, they live in London" ........ Doh!

Have you ever thought about living abroad and giving e.g. Paris the opportunity to grow up with two languages?

It would be great for Paris to grow up with a second language - it's so easy for kids to learn at this age. However, we like living in England and it would be a massive upheaval to move at this point. That said, Paris is pretty fluent in quite a few languages. She can speak Cockney yob, black gangster and one or two others.....;-)

Having been so fortunate (or am I wrong?) to have travelled the world so much, what are some places that you particularly enjoyed or disliked from a travel p.o.v. (not a concert p.o.v.)? Any places you have never been to but would like to visit some day? Any places you would never even consider returning to?

Well, there were very definitely places that were always pretty consistent year after year. New York for example is always a good party town, so is Berlin. By contrast, Salt Lake City (with its high altitude and sinister Mormon vibe) could always be guaranteed as the place where we'd get into a fight with dangerous locals or have a huge bust-up amongst ourselves or do an awful show.....we also usually got there at about the time during each tour when tensions were beginning to surface and people were getting tired. I must admit that I found parts of South America a bit uncomfortable - gun toting local merchandisers telling us we'd never leave Chile alive - that sort of thing. One place I've never been but rather fancy, is Iceland......

Do you remember anything about Pittsburgh from your DM days?

Not much to be honest. I don't think I've ever seen Pittsburgh by day.

When in Hamburg , did you visit the famous sex museum?

No. Perhaps I will one day.

While you were with DM, did you ever visit to South Korea? If so, when?

No I've never been there.

Were you asked to be a part of the 'Cool Britannia' campaign? If not, would you have accepted? How 'cool' is Britannia?

'Cool Britannia' is a convenient 'sound bite' coined by the Labour party to appear hip 'n' trendy to the youth of the country. It's bollocks.

"Oh come on, let's all celebrate the wonderful British Music / film industry and invite lots of cool 'drug takin', booze guzzlin' stars to No. 10 Downing Street to meet Tony Blair, then spend the rest of the year talking about how horrific drugs and alcohol are..."

The 'SOFAD' booklet shows some pictures of the group members walking along the Grosse Freiheit Nr.7, a famous street in Hamburg. I also recognise the store front of some very nice brothels. Have anyone of you (DM) ever been IN one of these pretty places? As I live in Hamburg I know them all and I was horrified when I realised that some of the pretty girls working there are actually men! uuuuh...

What, ladyboys?Well there's a funny thing. No sooner do I return from a weekend in Hamburg (where we passed by that very shop front and I said to Hep "Oh look, that's where we took those shots for the 'SOFAD sleeve'") than your question arrives. I didn't see you in there at the weekend though? ;-) We didn't go to any porno clubs but spent some time (and money) in 'World Of Sex' supermarket on the Reeperbahn. It is situated, very conveniently, next to McDonalds - Hep pointed out that it's always useful to be able to buy a double bacon cheeseburger and a double-ended dildo within 30 seconds of one another....;-)

Since you favoured us septics with some Cockney rhyming slang, try some American gangster slang c.1930:

"Alright, you mug! Get yer mitts offa the marbles den get on the blower an' tell yer moll to fork over the mazuma! If this don't go down pronto, and I mean pronto, I'm libel to poke ya in the button an' squirt metal! They're gonna fit you fer a Chicago overcoat, if you pick up what I'm puttin' down?"

OK - I'll have a go:

"Just a moment, you fool! Take your hands off of those diamonds and then make a telephone call to your good lady and tell her to hand over the money! If you don't do this very quickly, and I mean quickly, there's a good chance that I'm going to thrust my pistol into your stomach and fire it! In which case, you would then be taken to an undertaker to be measured for your coffin, if you understand what I'm trying to tell you?"

Have you ever been to India?

No I haven't but I know a man who has. I did pass through Bombay's airport lounge once - it was very exotic (not).

Considering your quite precise observations of America and your recent presentation of vivid cockney synonyms which, although perhaps considered lowbrow in England, are a touch more eloquent than our own vanguard slang ("yo, what the fuck, yo"), I am endlessly plagued by this mystery: just what the hell fascinates foreigners about this ignorant, oversized, nearly humorously violent country? The purple mountains? Fruited plains? Grits (being a dry-browed Northerner, I am just as unknowing of our 'confederate' brothers' secrets)?

I think it's the fact the America is a country of extremes. It has perhaps the best and the worst of everything. America is full of contradiction and hypocrisy. It continually proves itself to be a baby nation and yet has the arrogance to assume itself the police-force of the world. We, in our smug "we've got history, culture and class" way love to observe you and feel superior.

About the cockney rhyming slang - wow, I just don't grasp it. Did anyone respond to the little paragraph of slang that you gave? I'd love to see the correct answer.

Nobody responded actually. Alright, here we go then:

"Oi, 'ave a butchers at the boat on that Richard. Nice thru'pennys an' all. Good set of pins, big plates though. Not too sure about the Jules, looks like a bubble to me - dodgy 'ampsteads and he's definitely wearing a syrup."

"Excuse me, take a look at that girl's face. Wonderful breasts hasn't she. Her legs are fine but her feet are rather big. Her boyfriend's a bit odd though, maybe he's Greek - he really needs to have his teeth seen to and I'm sure he's wearing a toupe."

Butcher's hook = look
Boat race = face
Richard the third = bird
Threepenny bits = tits
Plates of Meat = feet
Jules = Julias Ceasar = Geezer = bloke
Bubble and squeak = Greek
Hampstead Heath = teeth
syrup of figs = wig

I thank you........

Any thoughts on the US ska / punk trend?

I didn't know there was one.

America or England?

Probably England, but not by very much.

Americans have:

Little understanding of the concept of irony
No idea of how to make an even half-decent cup of tea,
An unwavering inability to commentate on a sporting event without over-complicating the entire proceedings with useless statistics,
Ideals that are so politically correct that common sense goes straight out the window (e.g. the poor condemned prisoner who isn't even allowed a last cigarette because of some bizarre smoking law)
Mind-numbing television that's insulting to the intelligence
Really irritating waiters who say "Hi, I'm Greg and I'll be your server for tonight"
A postal service that's about as reliable as getting a good cup of coffee (so-called 'American' coffee is disgusting)
An unreasonable and worrying obsession with religion. 
But then again:

All Americans are born with the ability to mix a good cocktail
The cab drivers don't utter a word
You can always find a shop open
The electrical goods are always sold with plugs
Sporting events are still attended by families and people who haven't been done for GBH
There's the existence of a genuine summer
Supermarkets provide bags made of unbreakable material as well as someone to fill them for you and carry them to your car
Also, the T.V. presenters have better names - CNN for example: Ted Textooooorrrr - meteorologist, Slip Spiceland, Cokie Roberts (always looks like she's just downed a couple of valiums), Bobby Batista (bog-eye) and fashion correspondent Elsa Klench (sounds like something you do with your arse).

Also, why do Americans always buy '6' of everything?
Why do staff in restaurants only tell you to have a nice day when it's time to leave the tip?
Why does everyone, even old ladies, chew gum?
Don't Americans realise how they look in shorts and what's their preoccupation with 'check' fabric ('plaid' to you septics)?
Are there Americans who live and die without ever emerging from a shopping mall?
And will somebody please tell me what Grits are?

In England, our history unites the classes and everybody loves the royal family - even if they say they don't.

In America, more than allegiance to the flag or pride in the constitution, ice cream is the great leveller - it's raw cookie dough and peanut butter mush that binds the nation together.

For Hep: We have heard Alan's amusing take on America. Now can we hear your perspective?

I feel exactly the same as Al except that I'd like to ask:

Why do septics call their fringe 'bangs'?
Why are they so embarrassed and feel the need to call the toilet 'the bathroom' when they're quite happy to produce highly detailed advertisements for haemorrhoid cream and vaginal douching products while discussing the most intimate moments of their sex lives on National TV?
Don't they realise that 'fanny' does not mean 'arse' in England and 'spunky' doesn't mean 'high-spirited' either?
Why do they have such a problem with grasping the correct spelling of names. They either take a name like 'Geoffrey' or 'Beau' and simplify it to 'Jeff' or 'Bo' or they take a very simple name like 'Jenny' and spell it like 'Jennae'....?
What is it about Benny Hill that makes them laugh?

Do you like the sound of the Japanese language and do you know any Japanese words?

It's pretty weird for us but interesting and, as far as I know, sentences are constructed very differently. No I don't really know any words apart from 'kampei', 'mushi mushi' and 'oragato' - pathetic isn't it?

Did you go any historical places like Kyoto, Nara, Kamakura? If so, what did you think about them?

I've been to Kyoto (about 1983) to see the various temples. Again, I don't know all that much about the history or culture but I enjoyed the visit.

Do you have some problems with Germans?

What gives you that idea? Germany's always been one of my favourite countries to visit and I have some very good German friends. It's just that we won the war AND the World Cup in 1966 ;-)

I am an American girl and I need some pointers on how to catch an Englishman's heart. Any ideas? Feedback from you both would be much appreciated

Don't talk during the football and don't fall into the trap of thinking that being aloof makes you cool. Humourless women who play silly sexual games (especially when they're all talk and no trousers) and are more concerned about breaking a nail than breaking wind, won't get anywhere with English blokes. It's not that we don't like strong and confident women who like to flirt but you'd better have something upstairs to back it up - when it all comes down to it, like every red-blooded man, we may fancy someone for a bit of 'how's yer father' for 15 minutes but if you're boring or rude you can forget anything more than that. We like women with a sense of humour.

Just curious, do you have any trace of Italian in you?

Nah, nothing as exotic - I've got some Irish, to be sure.

I heard that Skoda cars (made in the Czech Republic) have had a very bad reputation in Britain and people make jokes about them in a similar way the people of Eastern Europe used to talk about Trabants. Has their reputation got any better?


What do you think about gypsies immigrating to Britain from the Czech Republic? Are you disgusted by their behaviour in Britain? I am very ashamed of being a citizen of the same state as they are.......

I'm afraid I'm not well enough versed in the current politics of the region to make any real statement on the subject but the one thing I do hate to see is the way some of the women drag babies and little kids around with them. It doesn't make me pity or respect their plight, it makes me angry to see such exploitation.

Why do you hate Americans? (feel free to be blunt, I hate them too)

I don't hate them at all - I have loads of American friends and Hep has a good dose of septic in her.........I, (like all good limeys) just like to take the piss out of them 'cause they're such an easy target.

Why do the British accept that pig Monica Lewinsky?

Oh, I think we always like the underdog. 'Dog' of course being the operative word......

I was listening to something last week about Britain's problem with prostitutes and how police are no longer giving warnings to those who are 'caught in the act'. Men who solicite girls here in the States are referred to as 'Johns', in England they referred to them as 'curb crawlers'. Have you heard this term? My wife (truly British and not a prostitute) says she's never heard it. Does this tie in with "carpet crawlers"? What's going on over there?

What a strange question.........yes, of course I've heard the term 'curb crawler' - it's the most widely-used expression for someone who picks up hookers, second to "Member Of Parliament.". No idea what a "carpet crawler" is. Sounds like Hep when she's had one too many vodkas.......

How do you feel about 'lobsterback' as a slur for the English? It's something that the handsome American boys came up with to denigrate the ugly British lads during the War of Independence - a reference to those red coats. No wonder you guys lost, sticking out like sore thumbs........

I'd rather be named after an extremely expensive and sophisticated seafood delicacy than a place to store shit ;-)

As I'm from Argentina, I must ask if you like or know Tango music. Have you ever thought of mixing some of these sounds into your music? Do you like it?

I don't know anything about Tango, except that it's usually setting number 7 on most drum machines.

I have family in the Sussex area and am considering getting married at Amberly Castle. Have you ever been there and if so, what did you think?

I've never stayed there but passed it many times on my way back from Arundel and often considered stopping for a meal. I'll ask Daryl Bamonte when I next speak to him - The Cure use it sometimes when they're recording in the area around Bognor.

What do you think of the church steeple (all that's left of a church) in the middle of the modern buildings in Horsham? I like the modernization of the town. I've been going there since I was little.

Are you mad??!! Do you really expect me to believe that you have a fondness for 'Swan Walk'? The place was once a beautiful market town - now it's been butchered beyond recognition (courtesy of Sun Alliance) except for a few small areas. We avoid going there if at all possible.

I was in London last month (I'm American) and I noticed signs in the tube stations saying "No Busking, £200 fine." What is busking? Is it really bad enough to warrant paying £200 ?

Buskers tend to be skanky students / wannabes who hang around the platforms humming (no, not as in singing). Usually scratching an acoustic guitar with grubby fingernails, they sing awful renditions of old Beatle's numbers. Trouble is, most of them only know the first few chords to each song so they have to fudge over the difficult bits - like that descending guitar sequence in 'Here Comes The Sun'. At one time or other, most musicians have either taken the 'busking' plunge or seriously considered it - a sure-fire indication of having hit rock bottom. Personally, I've never lowered myself to such a level. Occasionally, you get a good one though and I'll happily give them some cash - especially if they're playing a cello or some such instrument that's hard to carry. Actually, I don't like to see buskers banned - they relieve the boredom of waiting for trains and don't harm anybody.......unless of course they're singing Oasis' 'Wonderwall', in which case I advocate kicking them very hard in the bollocks.

Can you explain to us non-Brits exactly how big a deal it is for you to play Scotland in football?

Basically, we've been fighting with the Scots for centuries - physically, up until about 300 years ago and since then, in various sporting contests. The 'sweaties' (sweaty jocks) hate us with a vengeance - partly because we always beat them.

When you were in Quebec City for the 'Devotional' tour, did you have time to visit? The city's beautiful during the summer time and very European compared to the rest of Canada. What did you think of the Chateau Frontenac?

Isn't that where Dave got arrested for laying out the concierge? There was a power cut - Dave wanted the light on ;-) Apart from that, I do remember the city being very attractive but I was busy changing my underwear - it was the first date of the US/Canada tour.

Also, how come you guys always had such a low "Hi, I'm God but my voice is shaky cause I've just recovered from a bout of the flu because I didn't wear my wellies" tone of voice when you performed?

English eccentrics. We like our wellies, not least to protect our tootsies from the inclement weather but also for somewhere convenient to stick the hind legs of a............. no, I can't go on, my mother reads this site ;-)

Call me an ignorant American if you want, but what is a loo?

Khazi, Bog, Shit house, W.C., Toilet.

Can you suggest any good pubs, restaurants or clubs in the Horsham area 'cause I'll be down there on business in the next few weeks? And could you possibly sign my 'Unsound Methods' CD cover if I posted it?

No clubs but great shopping. Check out 'Swan Walk' shopping centre, especially 'Martin's newsagent and 'Dixons' (for all your electrical needs). There's also my bank and lots of cobblers and hair salons. There's a lovely sculpture too. You could try 'Bar Vin' but it's crap, and you can eat loads if you're big on pizza and MacDonalds. Actually, forget Horsham altogether, try some country pubs in nearby villages like 'The George and Dragon' in Dragons Green. In fact, they're not much good either unless you fancy a snooze and some disgusting grub. Nearest half decent place to go out is in fact, Brighton.

I was informed by many Brits that Halloween isn't really that popular a holiday, but it's popularity has increased in recent years. If you had trick or treaters come to your door, would you treat them or shut off the lights and pretend that noone was home.

Depends on the damage the little blackmailing bastards are likely to inflict. I don't fancy my Mercedes being keyed.

Did you know that it was we Americans who standardized the written English language? If it weren't for us, ye spottie auld Britz wuld still b all ovre thee plase wen ye tryed too do anye reeding ore ryting. Besides, it's not our fault you guys leave in all those superflous 'U's and you use 'S' where you should use 'Zed'. No harm meant, I'm just coming to the 'defence' of American English speakers (all except Jam, I've got no idea what he's saying half the time) :-)

The European Union commissioners have announced that agreement has been reached to adopt English as the preferred language for European communications, rather than German, which was the other possibility.

As part of negotiations, Her Majesty Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a five-year phased plan for what will be known as EuroEnglish (Euro for short).

In the first year, "s" will be used instead of the soft "c". Sertainly, sivil servants will reseive this news with joy. Also, the hard "c" will be replased with "k". Not only will this klear up konfusion, but typewriters kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome "ph" will be replased by "f". This will make words like "fotograf" 20 per sent shorter.

In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters, which have always been a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of silent "e"s in the languag is disgraful, and they would go.

By the forth year, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" by "z" and "w" by "v". During ze fifz year ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining"ou" and similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters.

After zis fifz year, ve vil hav a reli sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trobls or difikultis and evrivum vil find it ezi tu understand ech ozer. Ze drem vil finali kum tru!

I saw in some of your answers that you were looking for a vacation destination with a nice climate and some football. It's a lovely country, the people are warm and friendly and there's a lot to see architecturally. So what do you say, next Christmas - Israel?

Thank you for your suggestion Adi. I've heard alot of good things about Israel and it does look very beautiful - I'll bear it in mind.

My first visit to England is toward the end of June when I'm taking eighteen students from my area for a 24 day trip to Europe with an organisation called People to People. Because of your extensive knowledge of wine and your exquisite tastes, I thought I would ask you to recommend some places for us to check out.

If I were you, I'd avoid the tourist traps of Leicester Square and just head for Soho / Covent Garden. There are thousands of really good late-night bars and restaurants. Buy a 'Time Out' guide book.

You are one fwyoine piece of meat! Do you like ice cream? If you were ever travelling on Highway 25 in northern Indiana would you stop by my place of employment---Char-Bett Drive In---and get an ice-creamy treat?!? Believe me, you wouldn't have to pay. Ice cream is like so cool! So, stop by sometime...you, your woman and the little one!!!

Er, I'm confused.......? What does "fwyoine" mean? I'm afraid I find the bizarre version of English you septics speak (and write), rather baffling all round.

I noticed that you lived in Bristol. Being a Bristolian and having to move away because of work, what did you think of the place and did you ever go to a Bristol City Football match!

I quite liked my time there but I found the music scene to be very incestuous and, ultimately a bit limited. I lived in Redlands (Chandos Road). I never visited either football ground.

I live in Hawaii but I'm a Brit who grew up in Chelmsford and Brighton and I really miss Blighty :( Have you ever been to Hawaii and what did you think of it? I think the only good thing here is the weather!!!!!!!

Hawaii is ok, but it's not really that different from other warm parts of the States - of course there's some fabulous scenery but you could easily be in California or Florida. Also, my memories of the place have been somewhat tainted. During the 'Devotional' tour we had a break between legs in Hawaii and, while everyone else was sunning themselves on the beach, I was stuck in the hotel teaching Daryl Bamonte the keyboard parts as he was taking over from Fletch. I did however get a day off at some point and decided to go for a swim. So, there I am lolling about in the sea and wondering why everyone else was on the beach sniggering and pointing. I later found out the reason - apparently I was not the only thing that had been released off the coast of the island that day......4,000 tons of sewage had also accidentally escaped ;-(

I will name my first born after you, regardless of sex, if you agree to say: "I've come on behalf of the Queen to ask for the country back!" next time you're in America. Whaddya say? I'm betting you'll do much better than Elvis Costell did.

What are you talking about? Why on earth should we want the U.S. back, now that you septics have sullied it with your bastardisation of our beautiful language (whaddya) and incorrect spelling of our most treasured bespectacled muso (Costell)? Why should we want to embrace back into the arms of our glorious empire, a country where you serve tea, the greatest of British institutions with ice and lemon, don't understand the rules of cricket and where 80% of the population think everyone in England talks like Dick Van Dyke or Hugh Grant.....

Everything that is popular in England comes/originates from Denmark - Butter, bacon, women, goalkeepers, pornography, beer etc. Why don't we merge? ;-)

I like Kerrigold butter from Ireland, bacon from my local butchers, women of normal height who don't all look like Rutger Hauer, David Seaman, Razzle's readers wives from Essex and Stella Artois.........don't see anything Viking there, do you?

I would like to go this summer or the next to England and I would like to ask you something about the social life there: How are the English girls? Can you give me some advice on how to meet some of them? Imagine me in a disco. What can I say to a girl to be her friend... or something more? I wait an answer from your wisdom in this theme.

You could try: "Get yer coat love, you're pulled." or "you got any Spanish in you?, No? - yer want some? ahhhhh..." or why not try the subtle "There's a party .. in my pants." or "I play keyboards you know... want to see my organ?"

Each attempt will probably earn you a slap in the face unless, of course, the girl comes from Essex.


Q+A  :  PERSONAL  :  WORLDWIDE - countries / cities / cultures