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We're British, Innit: edited extracts from the book
We're British Innit jacket

Baked beans
An essential part of the fried breakfast, baked beans are very much a national favourite, so much so that supermarkets are often willing to sell them at a loss just to get customers in to their stores. They know that we cannot resist a can of beans for 7p, even if we know they are the ones scraped from the remains of truckers’ breakfasts at transport cafés on the M6

Readers' wives
It may go against one of the Ten Commandments, but British men love nothing more than to covet another man’s wife, especially on a Saturday morning when their own wife has gone out shopping. Ideally the wife in question should be inexpertly photographed on a patterned draylon sofa, in a room where the chintzy curtains are firmly drawn shut. It is preferable that flash photography be used, as this brings out a special shade of whiteness on areas rarely exposed to the sun. There has been increased inclusion of a wider variety of interior design styles, so that men that hanker after seeing a slightly overweight Norfolk florist next to some half-constructed Ikea shelving are well catered for.

This useful piece of punctuation can be used to end any sentence in Britain, providing a simple reaffirmation of the facts therein (It is well hot, innit?) or adding emphasis to the need for confirmation of a fact from a companion (Are you going to the cinema, innit?). The genius of the word is that it can be retrospectively applied to classic literature or speeches and still make sense. So, Shakespeare may ask ‘To be, or not to be, innit?’.

Nothing is more British than a cup of tea. Not even Stephen Fry wrapped in a union flag, riding Reverend Ian Paisley over Ben Nevis whilst eating roast beef with All The Trimmings and flagellating the shouty Ulsterman with a leek. Originally discovered by chimps wearing human clothes, tea is said to date back as far as 4,000 years. It took until it was imported into Britain in 1660 (when King Charles II was first to utter the words ‘stick the kettle on, love’) for anyone to start drinking it properly, though. Singer Boy George spoke for a nation when he said he would prefer a cuppa to sex.

We are the only nation that offers an apology when someone stands on our toes, barges in front of us in a queue or when we have to send back food in a restaurant. This character trait has lead to us slipping behind in the field of commerce and innovation in recent years, with inventors often not wanting to seem boastful by telling all and sundry about their cure for cancer or knowing how to start their pitch for investment in their product that will cure world hunger without saying ‘I’m really sorry, but …’.

Irn Bru
Curing Scottish hangovers from primary school to nursing home, Irn Bru is the sticky-sweet beverage that claims to be made in Scotland from girders but is actually manufactured by wringing out wasps that have settled in cans of Tizer. If you spot a Scotsman searching through the bins in your town centre it is highly likely that they are one of Irn Bru’s highly skilled ‘harvesters’, whose job it is to track down the Tizery wasps.

Admiral Lord Nelson, Horatio to his friends, is one of the most celebrated Britons largely due to his efforts in the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar, which lead to a victory over the Spanish and French fleets, as well as his own untimely demise. His last words are often misquoted as being ‘kiss me Hardy’, but this was said sometime before he died from a bullet wound. His last actual recorded words were: ‘Drink, drink. Fan, fan. Rub, rub’. Many British men repeat these words as a tribute to the great naval hero whenever they visit a lap-dancing club or massage parlour.



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