Robin Hood Stateside

We have just been invited to visit America by some friends. Naturally we are thrilled at the possibility and it has produced a flourish of internet activity by my wife and I looking for info on holidaying in Florida.

Mrs M started her search by looking for clothing recommendations for sub-tropical climes and then planning shopping expeditions to prepare for the adventure.

I, on the other hand, wanted to ensure that I was ahead of the game when it comes to all things guitar related; this is after all the home of the Gibson Les Paul and the Fender Strat.

Visiting a new place has all the potential for both adventure and culture shock so we are right to prepare.

Some years ago we became friends with an American couple living in the UK. They were stationed here by the USA air force and were determined to make the most of their time here in Blighty.

As part of their induction they were given instruction on how to understand British culture. Needless to say the details were wildly general and over stated.

One of the main areas of confusion was related to the amount of space we live in; or lack of it. Whereas stateside they have the luxury of almost 10 million square kilometres on which to house their 300 million inhabitants, we have only a quarter of a million km for our 60 million residents; hence their conception that we are a densely populated isle with very little room to move.

There are times, when stuck in traffic at the Saltaire round-a-bout, that I feel there assessment may be correct.

Still we are heading across the pond to see the land of the free; I wonder what mistaken views we might have built up over the years.

I tend to think of long dusty roads and small one-street towns, but then I grew up watching old western movies. I know too that there are skyscrapers and yellow taxis, as well as large canyons and giant redwood trees.

Of course we get most of our views from the movies and the TV so it is hardly surprising that we believe certain inaccuracies. Hollywood, and perhaps Elstree too, have a lot to answer for here.

Some years ago Kevin Costner treated us to his Nottinghamshire/Californian accent whilst playing Robin Hood in a major motion picture.

Other than the stars verbal mismatch the film holds tight to historical accuracy by showing Costner and Morgan Freeman returning to England via the White Cliffs of Dover then, after walking along Hadrian’s Wall, arriving at Sherwood Forest; the only way to travel through this land I think.

I hope our journey to Florida doesn’t take equally preposterous diversions. In order to fit in I might practice my east coast accent (Florida not Norfolk). Well it can’t be any worse than Robin Hood sounding like a prairie cattle rancher.

Whichever way we travel I must try to avoid the Saltaire round-a-bout.

No comments: