Welcome to BRITPICKERY, a resource for fans – or fen – in all fandoms deriving from British-based canon. (And there’s your actual first joke: Fen. Those wishing to make jests about Fen Country’s being the place where all the Norfolk Broads go to write, are on their own.)
BRITPICKERY exists to supplement, not to supplant, all the other wondrous and praiseworthy Britpicking resources in fandom, from FA to LJ. Its primary purpose is to address precisely the things no one ever thinks to ask (if writing) or to mention (if editing, critiquing, or Britpicking. Yes, I do have an aversion to the term, ‘beta’).
What do we mean by this? What are these unasked questions to do with? The day to day details that seem too trivial to mention or that are not recognised as particular and differing from one country to another. And of course they are not trivial, these common-or-garden details: they are the texture of life, and in the right hands … well, La Rowling has made a career of taking them and reflecting them in a funfair mirror, Betjeman made poetry of them, and Miss Read and Barbara Pym did very well out of them indeed.
There is more, we rather feel, to Britpicking than making sure your characters are in hospital – not in the hospital – and that ‘honour’ and ‘colour’ and ‘dreamt’ are properly written. Good Britpicking adds the little touches that matter so largely: milk floats (that’s the milkman on his rounds, love), getting your pint down the local, what birds are in the garden, what programmes are on the wireless….
We encourage you to ask questions. We also encourage you to spend time elsewhere, reading the essays at Britticus Totallus, querying usage at britglish, and listening and conversing at FA’s Britpicking threads. Listen in to the tame Brits in their zoological enclosure, the Britishisms thread, talking amongst themselves in their natural environment.
But, again, there are those questions that are not often asked. We cannot answer questions – at least we cannot do so with intent to do – that are not asked, of course. But one can engage in some intelligent anticipation. Contributors are therefore requested please to maunder, muse, reminisce, and waffle endlessly on about their daily rounds: what life is like in their village or urban district-or-borough, the soundscape, the scents and smells, the temperamental Aga and the washing-up (‘hands that do dishes can feel soft as your face, with mild green Fairy Liquid’). Please also to use the tags provided, a key to which – based upon BBC programming, naturally – is at the top of the pops, I mean, of the page, and is reproduced here as well:
I’m Sorry, I Haven’t a Clue: questions to our panel Any Answers?: answers to specific questions. Please to repeat or paraphrase the question and, if you possibly could, link to the post that asks the question
The Shipping Forecast: weather; also, matters maritime, from Channel ferries to Cowes Week
Apprentice to the Past: history, recent and otherwise
Today in Parliament: governance
The Westminster Hour: politics, which may be very different to governance
Prayer for the Day: religion, such as it is
Land Lines: particularism and a sense of place, including built landscapes, industrial sprawl, greenbelts, council flats, and country houses
Farming Today: agriculture and the working countryside
The Food Programme: nosh, from frittatas to faggots
Nature: precisely what it says on the tin, from forests to foxes
Gardener’s Question Time: allotments and herbaceous borders
At the Water’s Edge: angling, rivers, canals, and water bailiffs
Test Match Special: sport
The News Quiz: current events
Mornington Crescent: transport, and the myriad ways in which it can go tits-up
The 99p Challenge: money, including pre-decimalisation
You and Yours: the consumer-society, from bespoke tailors to chav-bling, from fair trade to BSE to Tesc-oh-no!
The Archers: family life, and may God have mercy upon your soul
The Woman’s Hour: all the things Wemyss is not about to try and answer, for the distaff side
Scotland Today: all things o’er the border
A Short History of Ireland (in 240 episodes): all about John Bull’s other island – and why most of it isn’t his any longer
Good Morning Wales: all answers sung by a male voice choir
Dad’s Army: now also incorporating the Navy Lark: the services, explained
Naked Scientists: and clothed ones, as well
Dixon of Dock Green: PC Plod and the tearaways, crime and punishment (or the lack thereof), barristers and dock briefs, the Fraud Squad, and the Common Law
King Street Junior: schools and university
Word of Mouth: a glossary, as needed
Book at Bedtime: Brit lit
Top of the Pops: pop music and culture
Composer of the Week: real music, culture, and arts
Round the Horne: humour – and why no one else gets it