Thursday, November 19, 2009

Has it come to this?

Back in the There is too much internet post, Martpol pointed us to the Wikipedia list of statistically superlative countries.

Brace yourself. Britain’s entries are as follows:

- Most books published per year (new titles), 206,000
- Best performance at Eventing World Championship (equestrian), 8 gold medals, 19 total medals
- Most Formula One Grand Prix wins, 208 by 19 drivers
- Most Formula One Grand Prix wins (constructors), 494 by 12 constructors
- Best performance at equestrian Mounted games, 22 wins
- Best performance at ITU Triathlon World Championships (men), 8 gold medals, 13 total medals

So that’s us, is it? Once it could be said that the sun never set on the British Empire. Now what have we got? A load of terrible books, a bit of horseys, the sport for people who like spreadsheets and the frigging triathlon.

Surely we can lay claim to more than that? Most ironic attitude to the Eurovision Song Contest? No, Eire have beaten us at our own game there, and we blew it last year with the Lloyd Webber fiasco. Highest proportion of middle-aged men called Keith? No, that’s probably Ireland as well. Largest number of barbecues disappointed by rain? Oh dear, we need a binge-drinking World Cup asap.


worm said...

Britain can also lay claim to the:

most people expressing mild disappointment

most people with a collection of three ornamental samurai swords in a rack over the fireplace

most people who drive to a retail park and aimlessly buy things on sunday afternoons

Brit said...

You don't think the Yanks might trounce us on the last one?

How about: most people who describe themselves as 'lapsed'.

Gareth Williams said...

It makes me feel proud. Together they paint a picture of a country that's supremely literate, in touch with its chivalric past but pushing ahead in technological excellence and, err, with lots of random sorts of stamina. Well done, everyone.

Isn't it interesting how sporting-wise these are all minority pursuits that could be construed as gentlemanly in some way? None of them team sports either.

Brit said...

Ah well done, Gaw, you energise. Yes, let's look on the positive side. Surely we also have the most Doomed Explorers.

Interesting about the team sports. The oones we dominate currently are rowing, cycling and, oddly enough, women's cricket. The last two are of course individual sports disguised as team sports. I expect there's a theory about Anglo individualism vs continental collectivism there, if anyone can be arsed.

worm said...

most people who spend their bank holidays watching James Bond films

most people with collection of small books containing 'amusing quotes' next to downstairs toilet

Brit said...

Most Gyles Brandreths.

David said...

The trick in life is to figure out what you're good at, and then decide to like it.

Bombing third world countries? YEAH!

John Halliwell said...

Most people cleaning up town and city centres on Monday mornings after weekend piss-ups. A true team sport: "You scrape, I'll scrub, and Harry can disinfect"

Most people whinging because their Premiership and County Championship teams contain only two local lads and then urging managers of same teams to buy Giovanni Funnibonni and Jacques De Grunnt.

Most people who 'whoop' when some tosser of a floor manager on Strictly and X Factor exhorts them to whoop. Mind you, is any exhortation needed these days ?

Brit said...

Not really, I fear JohntyH. Though again I think we've a way to go before we match the Yanks. Have you seen American Idol? Paula Abdul alone does more whooping and standing-ovationing than our entire audiences.

John Halliwell said...

I have, Brit. Depressing, utterly depressing. Even the thought of it depresses me. I think I'll go and cheer myself up with Shostakovich's 10th Symphony.

malty said...

In a patriotic lather...

We invented the cats eye.
The mechanical TV set.
The pocket calculator with invisible buttons.
The most expensive vacuum cleaner.
The vanishing Mars probe.
The C5.
Mr Justice Eady.
Torvill & Dean.

We have also stuffed the French, Germans and Italians and lost the most personal data.

worm said...

ahh the vanishing mars probe.

Poor Marianne Faithful.

Ian Wolcott said...

I especially like Uruguay's single entry: "Most southernmost northernmost point of land."

malty said...

The French have a new one, the most digitised goal in history.

Willard said...

Possible the most 'Ant's and 'Dec's?

malty said...

Britain has most EU foreign affairs high representatives.
Who the chuffing heck is Baroness Ashton.

Gareth Williams said...

Those with a knowledge of Brizzle Zidy will welcome her first scandal: Ashtongate.

malty said...

Here's one we've all overlooked,
the most trampolines from Argos.

worm said...

most tragic disparity between number of women wearing 'babe' tracksuit trousers who are actually 'babes'

Brit said...

Most rubbish poets.

Gaw - that pun is unforgiveable.

Gareth Williams said...


Anonymous said...

Coming from the country that leads the world in canary seed production (and by quite a margin I might add), I know that tomorrow belongs to me, but nonetheless I am constrained to express my admiration to you all for keeping your delightful senses of wit in the face of your terminal, irreversible decline. It really does show...something.

malty said...

Why thank you kind sir, the thing is, we have always accepted our lot with quiet dignity, the odd spot of kraut bashing and a Meercat or two.