Life on Mars


Last night after dinner, I was going to do some work but had to ditch that plan when I realised PBS was broadcasting “Life on Mars.”

The TV series is about a modern day cop who after getting hit by a car wakes up in the Manchester of 1973, where he has to live and work while at the same time figuring how to get back to the present.

British friends recommended it to me a long time ago, but it wasn’t until I got to America I watched it–and fell for it in a big way. Its mixture of Northern accents, biting sarcasm and gritty urban life is a potent reminder of the world I’ve left behind. It also has a great soundtrack of ’70s and ’80s music, which, if you are like me and a certain side of 30, is awesome.

Even though it depicts an England that is now greatly changed, it often manages to make me homesick, reminding me that living in America can feel like being on Mars.

Although Americans watching it probably feel they’re encountering just as much an alien world and especially an alien language. I watched last night’s episode with an American friend who spent much of the time wrinkling her face in confusion at the dialogue.

What can I say. England is a strange place and we do speak in rather strange ways, referring to the boozer and calling someone a gobshite; so here is a handy link to a site explaining some of those peculiar and pesky English phrases.

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