Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Serbian view of life in modern Britain

There's a wonderfully frank interview with Manchester United's brilliant Serbian defender Nemanja Vidic in today's DT.

"I will never stay to live in England, that's for sure. You get only a brief glimpse of sunlight before it's all cloudy again. The winters are mild, but in summer the temperatures seldom go higher than 20C. And it rains, rains, rains. "In Russia and Serbia the people's way of life is similar. In England it's totally different. Here they just don't have time to feel the joy of life."
"Throughout the week they all work so hard. They only talk to people at lunch break. Then in the evening they come home and watch the telly, so they can get up early for work the next day. The only time to meet friends is at weekends, but for football players it's the busiest time of all. It was much easier for me to adapt to Russia than England. In England I had no one to talk to. The first month was especially hard. I lived alone in a hotel, which I left only for training. I thought I would go crazy inside those four walls."

Well, I'm not a Serb but I agree with much of what Vidic says. Turbo-capitalist Britain is a country where money-making comes before social interraction and feeling the 'joy of life'. Moving to a neoliberal, privatised economy may have given us more material goods, but it's also made us less friendly and sociable. None of this has happened by chance- the big corporations who control our lives don't want sociable, affiliative people taking delight in the simplest of pleasures, but materialistic and perenially dissatisfied consumers. Britain is probably the hardest country in Europe for newcomers, like Nemanja Vidic, to forge deep and lasting friendships and that's because we have by far the most rapacious and profit-obsessed economic system.
And the worst thing of all, is that it's this dehumanising turbo-capitalist model that Britain, and America, are trying to impose on the rest of the world.


Nick said...

How true. Nonetheless Mr Vidic came to Britain partly, presumably, for the cash that turbo capitalism has to offer him, so don't feel too sorry for him.

Roland Hulme said...

RUBBISH! How come my quality of life in 'turbo-capitalist' America is so much better than in England?

I agree with yours AND Vidic's assessment that Blighty's a miserable place to live - but you can't blame capitalism (not entirely.)

Anonymous said...

I agree with Nick. I've had it right up to here with these "poor" footballers who whine about how unhappy they are with life. He should just be happy that he is earning more in a single month than most people are able to save in their entire working lives - just for kicking a fucking ball around!

Neil Clark said...

roland: where you live you have two advantages over Blighty:
1. you have proper seasons- long hot summers, nice cold traditional winters with lots of that wonderful white stuff.
2. the American people are, on average, friendlier than the average Brit.

Against that, Blighty has one advantage over the US.
We've got the most varied horse-racing in the world. Well, actually two advantages- we've also still got (just about) a National Health Service.

nick and anonymous- fair points about Vidic coming here because of the ridiculous amounts of cash turbo-capitalism has to offer him- so in that respect I'm not feeling too sorry for him, only saying that he makes some good points.

Anonymous said...


Not strictly related, but nonetheless check out the roasting that Slavenka Drakulić is getting on CiF from her compatriots for noting that a Croatian Holocaust camp commander was recently buried in full fascist uniform in his homeland.

Fred Preuss said...

This is different from nearly everyone I've ever met who's moved to 'the west'; everyone I've spoken to from eastern Europe says that we're spoiled and have easy lives. They're the ones who have to work all the time just to stay warm, fed and housed, not to mention bribe schools, doctors and lawyers (this is both Communist times and modern times).
Maybe he was lucky in Serbia.