If you are a subscriber to our weekly newsletter, Displaced Dispatch, you’re already in the know. But if you’re not (and why aren’t you? off with your head!), listen up. Every week, when that esteemed publication comes out, we present contenders for a monthly “Alice Award,” most of whom are writers or other kinds of international creatives who appear to have a special handle on the curious and unreal aspects of being a global resident or voyager. Not only that, but this person tries to use this state of befuddlement to their advantage, as a spur to greater creative heights.
Today’s post honors December’s two Alice recipients.
Starting with the most recent, and this time with annotations, they are (drumroll…):
1) LAURENCE BROWN, British expat in Indiana and blogger at Lost in the Pond
For his post: “7 British Christmas Songs That Somehow Never Made it Big in the US”
Posted on: 27 November 2013
Growing up in the United Kingdom, one of the more memorable elements of Christmas was the music that bombarded the airwaves day-in-day-out from November onward. And I’m talking huge hits, many of which shot to number one and continued their popularity some twenty, thirty, perhaps forty years after their release. And yet, as I embark on my sixth Christmas in the United States, it has come to my attention that these same hits—ones I initially assumed were likely just as big in the U.S.—are nowhere to be heard.
Citation: Frankly, Lawrence, we were so busy lamenting the lack of attention given to Carols from Kings that it hadn’t yet dawned on us that Americans are also missing out on Cliff Richard crooning “Christmas time, mistletoe and wine…” And you have a point: Why would anyone States-side wish to hear yet another rendition of Andy Williams singing “Everybody knows some turkey”—yep, that’s you, Andy!—”and some mistletoe/Help to make the season bright…” when they could break it up with Cliff from time to time? And you are so right, the song’s Christian overtones would not go amiss in this part of the world. (Forgive the aside, but does anyone in Indiana know the words to the Robert-Burns-poem-converted-to-New-Year’s-dirge “Auld Lang Syne”, or is that a lacuna as well? Genuinely curious…) We congratulate you for uncovering some prime through-the-looking-glass territory. It’s jolly difficult to have a proper holiday if the music is missing or doesn’t sound right, as anyone who spends Christmas in Vietnam will tell you—there the bands in the restaurants serenade you with things like: “Have yourself a merry little Crease-mass.” And as Alice herself found out when she joined the Mad Hatter for what she thought would be a proper tea party:
“’Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
How I wonder what you’re at!’
You know the song, perhaps?”
“I’ve heard something like it,” said Alice.
“It goes on, you know,’ the Hatter continued, “in this way:—
‘Up above the world you fly,
Like a tea-tray in the sky.
2) JULIE FALCONER, travel writer and social media consultant, Californian based in London, and blogger at A LADY IN LONDON
For her post: Lady’s Expat Holiday Blunders
Posted on: 28 November 2013
I picked [a cracker] up, pulled both ends, popped out the surprise gift and paper crown, and looked up to find everyone at the table staring at me in horror. It was one of a long series of expat moments when I knew that I had done something wrong, and that nobody was going to tell me exactly what.
I gently set the cracker and its contents down, flashed my most sheepish “sorry, I’m a foreigner” smile, and waited. Slowly, each person at the table picked up one end of a cracker, offered the other end to someone else, and played a little game of tug of war. So that’s what I did wrong.
Citation: Julie, we are sorry to have to inform you of this, but it’s time to crack on with the old cracker techniques because, crackpot as it may sound, crackers have arrived over here in the United States, at Target no less! Though the difference is that you have to show your driver’s license when you buy them because they are technically “firecrackers.” Now that’s crackers, if you ask us! Now, we do hope the English friends who witnessed their rather unfortunate self-cracking episode were a little more tolerant than Alice’s Red Queen (perhaps they thought it fitting in this era of selfies?) and let you keep the surprise gift and paper crown. In which case, you can count yourself a little luckier than our poor sweet heroine:
“You look a little shy; let me introduce you to that leg of mutton,” said the Red Queen. “Alice—Mutton; Mutton—Alice.” The leg of mutton got up in the dish and made a little bow to Alice; and Alice returned the bow, not knowing whether to be frightened or amused.
“May I give you a slice?” she said, taking up the knife and fork, and looking from one Queen to the other.
“Certainly not,” the Red Queen said, very decidedly: “it isn’t etiquette to cut any one you’ve been introduced to. Remove the joint!”
* * *
So, readers, do you have a favorite from the above, or have you read any recent posts you think deserve an Alice Award? We’d love to hear your suggestions! And don’t miss out on the shortlist of Alice contenders we provide in each week’s Dispatch, which are sources of creative thought if nothing else! Get on our subscription list now!
STAY TUNED for tomorrow’s post, a TCK Talent interview by Lisa Liang!
Writers and other international creatives: If you want to know in advance the contenders for our monthly Alice Award winners, sign up to receive The Displaced Dispatch, a round up of weekly posts from The Displaced Nation, with news of book giveaways, future posts, and of course, our weekly Alice Award!. Register for The Displaced Dispatch by clicking here!
Thanks for including me!
Of course! We really love your writing and particularly enjoyed that post. BTW, we could also identify with your sense of discombobulation when trying to explain Thanksgiving to the Brits, only to find yourself sounding like a “badly edited Wikipedia page.” Sooo well put! 🙂
I share A Lady In London’s sentiment. Very nice surprise. I’m also very excited by the work you do here on The Displaced Nation.
Thanks, Lawrence, aka Lost In the Pond, for that endorsement! It means a lot coming from you, as we are really digging all the posts you’re producing on US-UK differences, a topic dear to the heart of the Displaced Nation. (Two of our founders are Brits leading displaced lives in the U.S., and the other is a Yank who lived in the UK.) Keep up the great–in both quality and quantity–work in 2014! We hope the weather crazies in Indiana aren’t too much of a setback. Just remember, you’re a hardy Brit! 🙂
Congrats Laurence! Well deserved