HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW YOUR EUROPEANS?
Chas Smith's indispensable guide to the people of Europe
by Chas Smith
Europe is smaller than America, geographically, but it is bigger than America in history and in variety of beer and moustache.
There is the East Bavarian handlebar. There is the Cannes French moustache. There is the Austrian Chaplin.
Europe is bigger than America in variety, in general. It is so totally diverse and so are her peoples. None of them can understand each other due to the linguistic diversity.
But they can (almost) all shop while using the same currency. And half of them could buy Ireland or Greece, if they so wanted, or rather, whoever is going bust this week. But still.
Diversity is a bitch. It is confusing, in general, but here the clutter is cleared. Behold the Guide to Europeans.
The Rowdy Beer Drinkers
The British and all Eastern Europeans are one. They drink beer. And it colours their worldview the same. They see everything in shades of amber. And they will all guffaw at being lumped together but then they will all drink lots of pints of beer and throw their arms around each other’s shoulders and sing jibberish songs.
The Goodbye Countries
The Belgians would be classified as beer drinkers but, due to a geographical oddity, are a goodbye country instead, along with the Netherlands and Luxemburg. They are all below sea level. And as China continues to consume French and Italian goods and as Chinese factories continue to produce those goods, spewing greenhouse gasses into the air, the below sea level countries will disappear. The Dutch will last the longest since they produce Olympic swimmers from time to time.
The Luxury Good Makers
The Italians and the French could easily be in bigger trouble than they are but they make Gucci and YSL and the Chinese love love love Gucci and YSL and so the Italians and French still get to look down their moustaches at others. They feel, in their hearts, that a rising, even if artificially low, Chinese currency floats all boats. But they still don’t like the Chinese. They don’t like anybody. Except for Carla Bruni. Both Italians and French love Carla Bruni - apart from the ones that hate her.
Leo Fioravanti does not make luxury goods, but Giorgio Armani does and word is that Giorgio personally made a suit for Leo! Photo: Christie. Portrait: Testemale
The world has not changed for hundreds of years in Scandinavia. The people are tall and often blond. They carry arcane grudges against each other and against the Soviet Union. Aside from the Finns (who?!?), they are completely unaware of the Euro and sometimes go to France with pockets full of Francs. Their birthrates are moderate and their food is bland and health is for all. Clean cold air and hot hot cedar rooms are for all. They sometimes hear about a plague they have unleashed around the world called IKEA but they forget about it as soon as they eat meatballs.
Scandi pro shredder Freddie Meadows tears a Swedish windswell a new one! Photo: Flindt
Russia is not, technically, Europe but no matter. The Russians have made billions of dollars off of fertilizer and smelting. Billions. And they have decided to use their money to become European. And so they move to Europe and they purchase football clubs and they wear Dolce and Gabbana, Prada, Etro, Dior, Chanel, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen all at the same time. And they drive Bentleys and they say, “Da! Scratch a Russian find a Brit or maybe a Finn!"
And so they benevolently created a currency that ended with Irish, Greeks, Portuguese and Spaniards coming cap in hand asking for odd jobs. It is what they wanted all along. And they rub their hands together and mutter, “Das is gut!" And the Italians and French will join the Irish, Greeks, Portuguese and Spaniards if the Chinese ever tire of Gucci or YSL. And the Germans will rub their hands together even more and mutter, “Ja! Take zat."
People From Broke Ass Countries
The Irish, Greeks, Portuguese and Spanish seem different. The Greeks like feta. The Irish like cheddar. The Spanish and Portuguese like spicy meat. But they have similar income/expenditure issues. And so their language is not important. They can be praised for their past accomplishments, like sea-faring or the creation of democracy or the creation of potatoes, but are in a bit of bad way. And sea-faring and democracy is expensive, and potatoes are going up.
The Celtic Tiger may be dead, but the big wave surf scene is still in rude health!