Let's Be Independent!
By Amanda Morison
Can you celebrate Independence Day in the UK?
Given that you’re essentially celebrating the end of Britain’s dominance as a colonial power it might seem a little rude to break open the ticker tape (the US version of bunting, and like so much from this part of the world, much bigger and messier than anything you’d find in the UK).
Commonly known as The Fourth of July, because a federal holiday is held on that day in the US, Independence Day marks the successful conclusion, for our American cousins anyway, when the US finally extricated itself from British rule.
Independence Day is a huge occasion in the US..
The workforce downs tools across the country to enjoy festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts, to more informal family gatherings and barbeques.
What they all have in common is plenty of red, white and blue accessories, clothing and food. Yup, Americans are no stranger to the blue cupcake and red popsicle. That both are markers for poison in nature isn’t necessarily a coincidence.
Unsurprisingly, the UK’s resident American population of nearly 200,000 US-born souls doesn’t like to miss out on the Independence Day fun, and you’ll find restaurants and bars up and down the land serving hot dog brunches and star-themed cocktails.
Always up for a party, Thomson & Scott is going to join them – and will pay homage by serving our Grand Cru Rosé Champagne in a blue glass bobbing with ice cubes. Red, white and blue, see?
Giant-sized food is the order of the day!
Our fave haunt for this kind of moment is Shoreditch-based Blues Kitchen. As well as lashings of blues music, you’ll find Wings & Things platters, sweet potato fries and corn chips. And there are lots of NOT DOGS at fabulous vegan hangouts such as Eat by Chloe in Covent Garden and our newest BFFs at Tell Your Friends in Fulham.
US visitors often complain that the dress code in the UK is unfathomable...
Pants are trousers, black tie means an entire suit, ‘smart casual’ covers the sartorial spectrum from sequin skirt to skinny jeans and heels. And that’s just the men.
The Fourth of July is the time to show your true colours - or colors. Crack out the stars and stripes fabrics, go mad with the red, white and blue accessories, and pop a Statue of Liberty souvenir on the top of your head. Brits will either get what’s going on and wish you a polite ‘Happy Fourth of July’. Or will assume you’re over early for Trump’s visit later this month, and possibly give you a wide berth.
Only 14% of US citizens own a passport...
... So take advantage of being able to get on a bus and end up in Paris, or a train and wake up in Amsterdam. It’s the smart way of celebrating your independence.
If you’re an American citizen who has lived in the UK for a while, you’ll have got used to driving in a car made backwards on the wrong side of a street that’s the same size as a sidewalk back home.
Celebrate by sticking a bumper sticker on your automobile. It’s estimated that at least half the cars in the US have humorous (depending on your point of view) bumper stickers. About 16 cars in total have them in the UK. Go all in with a, “Honk if you do it on Independence Day!” Or maybe “Brits do it on the wrong side of the road” and see if your host nation’s legendary politeness fades a little.
Brits approve of irony...
They would love to be invited to a Boston Tea Party-themed celebration. They won’t find it so amusing if you don’t use china cups and saucers and scold the pot first. So if you don’t want another declaration of war on your hands, plan accordingly.