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ok, so i know i’ve been banging on about girls aloud a lot of late and while the starting point of this post is the girls aloud advert posted above i promise you, dear reader, that this is not simply another post extolling the virtues of the prefab five. what the above advert reminded me of was two things: the british public’s ability to become completely obsessed en masse by a cultural phenomenon, and christmas.

first and foremost one of the biggest things i miss about england is the way the general public stirs into a frenzy of common consciousness over the most random things. i think it’s because the uk is such a small country and because television is still largely dictated by four main channels. here in canada, pop culture seems so fragmented, especially across such a large geographical expanse, that very rarely does something grip the nation with any sort of tenacity. there is something both comforting and exciting about a majority of people sharing a common conversation that doesn’t include the weather. take the girls aloud video above: the aloud are everywhere right now and have leapt back in the british psyche. big shows on british television regularly command up to half of the viewing audience. imagine that, half of the canadian viewing audience sharing a common experience, it just doesn’t happen and therefore there is less general pop culture information to reference in everyday conversation.

i think some people find pop culture repulsive and degenerative to ‘true art’ but i love pop culture which i think at its heart is just a shared experience of the world around us. shared experiences are what makes the world feel less foreign and in an increasingly fragmentary world it is shared experiences that are hopefully making a resurgence, even if it is through ‘social networking’ sites such as facebook.

the second thing i miss about england is christmas. there is a different sense to christmas in the uk than in canada and it’s hard to put my finger on exactly what the difference is. i think there is a sense that christmas is a more special time of year in the uk, that normal service has been halted and it’s perfectly normal to say ‘happy christmas’ to a stranger on the street. i’m probably romanticizing my childhood to a certain extent here but i think there is a kernel of truth as well. i love the snow in canada which really makes christmas for me here but i do feel that christmas is somehow more isolated to those you love rather than everyone you meet: goodwill towards men, with the qualifier that you know them.

christmas television is also amazing in the uk with lots of one off specials by musicians that are actually interesting and not anne murray or rita macneil. back to studying now…