Well okay, we’re off. Bye Europe. It feels only polite to thank our EU counterparts for everything they’ve given us over the last however many years. Namely…
Topless sunbathing. Go to one of those European beaches, and what you got? Real hot tits and nips, that’s what. Even the odd willy.
Chips n mayo, thanks people of Belguique. Neuf points.
Sophisticated drug use – less glue sniffing, more schmoke and a pancake.
Campari. The Marmite of weird drinks (or is that Bovril?).
Michael Laudrup – the greatest footballer of all time, and that includes Lionel Messi, Lionel Ronaldo, and even Lionel Maradona.
Pickles – the essential bed mate for your Hamburger. From a little village called Hamburg.
Fermented food from Scandinavia, where they have to preserve their best produce to fend off starvation.
The Moog keyboard. The only instrument capable of interpreting creepiness/danger in 1970s/80s kids TV shows.
Bic biros, which replaced cumbersome quills and expensive Parker pens.
David Ginola and Eric Cantona, key invigorators of 1990s hoofball.
Antoine de Caunes and Jean-Paul Gaultier, key invigorators of 1990s television.
Pilsner Urquell. Handled correctly, you can drink yourself a full 360, through the brutal honesty and puking and back to complete sobriety (try it).
Calamari, pronounced “Cally-Marr-ee”, which translates as a squid, battered, then eaten with aioli (whatever that is).
Aioli, aka garlic mayonnaise. Oh look at that, we posed a problem then answered it.
Ikea – another problem solved. The problem being how to make your house look nice.
Mozart from a town called Germany, where he made sweet sweet music. Perfect for making love to.
The Schnitzel from Austria, the calamari of land animals. Squeeze over a lemon, then put it into your mouth. Now chew.
Jan Molby, pronounced Yan, from a small area of Merseyside called Denmark.
Tin Tin, a young private dick and his dearest friend, an elderly sea Captain. (hang on)
Jan van Eyck, famous for the Arnolfini Marriage Portrait, in which the dog at the feet of the bride symbolises chastity. There’s a later portrait where her hair is all over the shop. No dog.
Halloumi, one of a number of great Cypriot imports. Famous for making a squeaking noise when you hurt its feelings
The Killing (Danish: Forbrydelsen) – 78 episodes of intrigue and corruption, in which the killer wanders into view in ep 1 with blood dripping from his hands and penis.
Peter Schmeichel, another Danishman. Ironically missed an open goal when he didn’t name his son Michael.
Monet, the Grayson Perry of being good at art.
The Lumière brothers – the clever siblings who invented going to the pictures (in a way).
Le Boucher – part of this new wave of French cinema, which if we can be serious for a moment (un moment) was actually very angular.
Anna Karina – man’s haircut, two Christian names. This woman defied all logic.
Charcuterie – thinly sliced meats, gherkins, someone right next to you playing the accordion.
Cezanne – the Grayson Perry of painting fruit.
Godard, Melville. Just nod, even if you don’t know.
Depardieu – you must have seen Green Card?
What about Jean de Florette?
What about his the one that became Roxanne starring Steve Martin?
Bardot, the Monroe of being French.
Spiral – the fruity, buxom Miss Marple of brutal murder investigations.
Victor Hugo, he gifted us Les Miserables. We thanked him by pronouncing it like it’s a guy called Les and his surname is Miserables.
Rene Descartes – the Grayson Perry of modern philosophy.
Serge Gainsbourg, the Serge Blanco of brilliant music.
Citroen – cars, but fun.
MC Solar, the rapper of choice for sophisticated university students in 1994.
Edith Piaf, mainly for her excellent song about having no regrets, which she presumably wrote before she got hooked on drugs.
Marie Curie – basically invented X-rays.
Anne Frank – basically invented writing a diary.
Coco Chanel – basically invented the little black dress.
Croissants – a buttery pastry, also a word that’s impossible to pronounce with complete confidence.
Champagne, a birthday staple. Before this came along, anniversaries would be celebrated with a series of half-hearted compliments.
Beethoven, who made excellent concertos in his bedroom in Germany. Great for having very dramatic sex to.
Hans Zimmer – the Grayson Perry of modern classical music.
The Brothers Grimm, the twisted minds behind legendary Disney films like Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, and The Incredibles.
Metropolis, the best science fiction movie released in 1927.
Das Boot, the best submarine movie released in 1981.
The Lives of Others, the best foreign film of the last 20 years.
Bratwurst, best foreign sausage of the last 27 years.
Boris Becker, the only likeable Boris since Karloff.
Kraftwerk, the greatest band of the 1970s (and that includes The Faces, The Faeces, and The Races).
Socrates – from Greece, not Brazil. The deep thinker behind such pearls as “I know nothing” and “I cannot teach anybody anything” and “seriously guys”.
Souvlakis – it’s a kebab, but with chips in it. If you haven’t just jizzed, something’s wrong.
Feta, also from Greece, a crumbly cheese that crumbles when you crumble it.
Guinness, consumed in pints.
Leonardo Da Vinci – a hugely underrated drawer of pictures and painter of paintings. Did you know he also invented the helicopter? Okay, you did.
Michelangelo, wonderful artist. Achilles heel: completely unable to sculpt women who didn’t look like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Pinocchio, teller of elaborate anecdotes, very very long nose.
Pavarotti, proof that fat men are beautiful too.
Ennio Morricone, the wonderful composer behind The Mission soundtrack, and its sequel The Mission 2: Bless You.
Sergio Leone Spaghetti Westerns – the movies that really put pasta on the map.
Pizza, the official dish of being very drunk.
Carbonara, everyone’s third choice in an Italian restaurant.
Van Gogh – a failure in his lifetime, a genius in ours.
Holland’s Paul Verhoeven, the man behind the finest movies of the 20th century. Which are Robocop and Basic Instinct.
Ruud Gullit for teaching the world that sometimes a G should be pronounced as an H.
Bagels, a boiled bread from Poland. Great with cream cheese from England.
Custard Tarts – the official pudding of Portugal.
The Swiss Army Knife, the most polite weapon ever invented.
Picasso – the Grayson Perry of being exceptionally good at art.
Diego Velazquez – the second-best exponent of chiaroscuro, behind Caravaggio obviously.
Salvador Dali – the Grayson Perry of holidaying on the Costa Brava.
Pan’s Labyrinth, the best fantasy film of the last 43 years.
Penelope Cruz – the best Spanish actress since Mrs Franco.
Rafael Nadal, huge left arm.
Paella, for making rice less boring to eat.
Tapas, the acceptable face of having lots of starters.
Abba – the soundtrack to a million hen parties/nervous breakdowns.
Nico, for monotone singing.
Bjorn Borg – the Lord Jesus Christ of Men’s Singles titles.
Santa Clause – part 4th Century Turkish Bishop, part Dutch fantasy figure.
Any more for any more?