A Monocle - The British Stiff Upper Lip, #10 of 100 Bloody Objects
Permission for top lip to wobble, sir? Certainly not!
Imperturbability and indefatigability have long been bywords for the British character. Sometimes it has been mythologized or exaggerated but at its core it captures something that is very real. Every nation possesses recognisable characteristics and traits and, for the British, understatement and the fear of embarrassment or letting the side down have long been part of our nature.
Examples range from the Duke of Wellington to Scott of the Antarctic, from the empire builders of the 19th century to the heroes of two world wars. There are multiple examples that demonstrate the stiff upper lip is no illusion. Yet it is more than mere emotional restraint. There is often in the mix humility and humour, a pragmatic understanding of the situation and a supreme distain for Continental hysterics. Wars have been won, crisis confronted and situations salvaged, all thanks to the SUL.
Screw in your monocle, stiffen your spine and banish that wobbly lip as you listen to this podcast.
So it Goes
Tom Assheton & James Jackson
Audio extras from Bomber Command Association dinner, 1977
Readings by David Hartley:
Bricklayer's Lament by Gerard Hoffnung
Chips Channon Diaries
Captain Scott's final diary entry - Antarctic
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