Where was Cool Britannia?

(Canscene) — In Hamilton and Toronto recently somebody staged something called a British Isles Show. In Toronto, at a cost of twenty-two dollars for two, I found I’d paid for the privilege of seeing what was little more than a collection of booths selling U.K. made goods. They ranged from Cornish pasties to complete DVD sets of British television comedies like Rumpole of the Bailey.

I’m not arguing about the quality of what was offered. The baked goods we bought and took home, including the pasties, were excellent. But being of partly British heritage, I found little to remind me of it. Where was the cool Britannia that draws millions of visitors every year.? All we got in the way of culture was a succession of Irish, Scottish and Welsh folk dance groups, plus a good pop singer who gave us Matt Munro and Tom Jones numbers.

The show which ran from eleven a.m. to five p.m. seemed to be inhabited with busloads of seniors. I hope they had a better time than we did. The next time I visit the British Isles it will be in person, not through an ersatz experience.

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