i've noticed in my four-and-a-half weeks here that England really likes PIE. i see pies on almost every menu and on the various food shows on the TV. what i didn't notice (until last night anyway) is that the word "pie" doesn't always refer to a baked fruit dessert in a crust.
in England you can't just say you're craving pie. you can't even really say you want pie for dessert, because someone might look at you like you're crazy. this is because in England the word "pie" also refers to entrees that are nothing like a dessert, and usually contain a combination of meat and potatoes. the obvious example would be Shepherd's Pie, which i always thought was some mysterious, delicious British dessert until about seven months ago, when i had one.
Shepherd's Pie is a hot casserole dish basically consisting of minced lamb meat and mashed potato topping baked together. it is definitely delicious, but it is not a "pie" to my American brain. there is also something called Cottage Pie, which is made with ground beef. and this is neither here nor there. it's just to let you Americans out there know that if you visit England, be sure to read the definition of the "pie" you're ordering from the menu before you ask for it.
other than pie, something else seems to pop-up a lot in my new life in Britain. it's Queen. not THE Queen Elizabeth II, as one might expect here, but the quite non-monarchial 1970s rock band "Queen" featuring the one and only Freddie Mercury.
and it's not Queen as a band in general -- it's one Queen song in particular: "Don't Stop Me Now." and for those of you out there who know this song, i hope you understand why i find it so amusing.
i have heard the beginning portion of Don't Stop Me Now" at least once a day, every day, since i got here. at first i thought it was being used as a production company's music at the end of certain TV shows. then i realized that this production company must produce a shitload of shows to have their logo and music on so many times each day. then i realized that the thing i was seeing was actually a cleverly disguised, very short commercial. but still, i had no idea what the commercial was for, and i was an Advertising major in school.
eventually the day came where a longer, somewhat bizarre version of the commercial aired. in this commercial you hear the intro to Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now" as the screen shows various oddly-shaped airport-type concept tarmac trucks/vehicles turning on and rolling forward, lights engaging. these strange vehicles are driving themselves with only a vague suggestion of people present as they line-up into position for an acid-trip-like drag race. "don't stop me nowwww..." is repeating as the race starts. the various tricked-out vehicles are racing and swerving and passing each other as luggage spills onto the tarmac and Freddie Mercury blares "'cause i'm havin' a good time -- havin' a good time..."
then the commercial ends abruptly with a small graphic of something that looks exactly like a production company's logo -- a tipped glass of milk with the words "A Glass and a Half Full Production."
who or what is this commercial for?
you know Cabury. as in Cadbury Eggs, the ones you get at Easter? you know, the giant candy corporation? yes. drag-racing space trucks that drive themselves to the tune of Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now" are advertising a candy company.
i guess the commercial works if i'm sitting here writing about it, but that doesn't make it any less amusing.
oh, and the icing on the cake was that recently i watched one episode of "Britain's Got Talent," and in that episode i watched one poor guy audition who had chosen singing as his talent.
what did he sing? "Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen. and that wasn't so much funny as it was just plain sad, because everyone knows only one person can sing like Freddie Mercury, and that person is dead now. the poor guy. i felt like i was watching American television for a moment there...
anyway, i'll keep my ears open for other examples.
"don't stop me now..."
for those of you with time on your hands, here's the Cadbury ad: