A couple of weeks ago when news came that people in Great Britain had voted to leave the European Union, a lot of us here in the former colonies scratched our heads at the news, wondering what it all meant. Would the British pound and the euro plunge in value, causing massive disruptions to the European and world economies? If so, how could an enterprising American profit by the misfortunes of Great Britain? What kind of shopping advantages could this economic turmoil present to those of us looking for good deals from England and the rest of Great Britain? Here are a few items to consider.
7. Guitar Amplifiers
There's a lot of great music equipment and instruments made in England, but a lot of that gear has generally come with a hefty price attached to it. Few brands are associated with rock and roll as closely as Marshall — the "Marshall stack" is considered essential for certain types of hard rock and metal. Other English brands, such as Orange and Laney, have lent their roar to countless bands over the years. A guitar player looking to add one of these premium amplifiers to his stable of gear was usually facing a sizable financial investment to make that happen, but now that Brexit has slammed the pound's value to its lowest point in more than 30 years, it's time for even the most broke musician to look for deals. With any luck, Marshall and other British gear companies will have to drop their prices significantly, and we'll all be rocking ACDC style, with our own back line of ridiculously over powered ( But now really cheap) amplifiers.
What does England bring to mind for most Americans? Sure, some folks will picture bad dentistry, weird food or Harry Potter, but a lot of us are going to think about castles. America is pretty awesome, but it would be a lot more awesome if we had castles over here, and ones that weren't part of a Disney theme park or some rich role-playing-game dork's themed McMansion. Fortunately, it turns out that a person doesn't have to be a king or a medieval wizard to own a castle, and while they're not "cheap" (yet, anyway), there are quite a few for sale in the U.K. Now that everything's been "Brexited" and the economy is spiraling, it's time for a few Americans to buy up all those soon to be sale-priced castles and have them moved here, brick by brick. After years of being told by Europeans that we "don't have any history" in the United States, maybe it's time a few of us take advantage of an economic downturn to take some of their history. We're Americans; we're good at taking things we want.
5. John Lydon
When he was a youngster, Johnny Rotten shook up the status quo, and pissed off a lot of people as the face of a scary new form of rock that was exploding across England in the late '70s. Nowadays, rock music rarely seems frightening to most people anymore, and Johnny Rotten became plain 'ol John Lydon — a grouchy, aging musician seemingly locked in a race with Henry Rollins to see who will become the first punk rock version of Andy Rooney. Still, the man's a music icon, and it would be pretty cool to claim him for America. We no longer live in a country where it's legal to own people, but with a strong dollar against the weak Great British Pound because of Brexit, you might be able to hire a live-in punk rock legend to hobble around your house and entertain guests at parties. "Ever feel like you've been cheated?" Not likely if you can scoop up John Lydon at a bargain-basement price.
Despite this country being founded after a revolution to free it from a monarchy, Americans often seem like they'd enjoy having a royal family. Sure, few of us want an old-school monarchy cracking the whip, but we're really eager to exalt celebrities and certain politicians in much the same way royalty is treated in other countries. Why settle for the Kennedys, or Kanye West, when we could use the Brexit financial crises to lure some actual British royalty over to America? Surely there are some low-ranking Dukes or Duchesses who'd love a break from their shabby life in Great Britain, and who would enjoy being a King or Queen over here. Would we even have to pay them? I'd like to think we could just set them up in one of those freshly moved castles and pay them a few bucks to pose for photos with tourists, and they'd be pleased.
3. Guinness Stout
Besides leprechauns and Michael Flatley's Riverdance, most Americans probably don't know much about things produced in Ireland, even though a good chunk of our country's population claims to be "half-Irish." But the Emerald Isle is home to Guinness Stout, which tastes like liquefied wheat bread and rubbing alcohol to me but is loved by many beer lovers around the world. Sure, an economic downturn in its home country is unlikely to sink a brewery that's been around more than 250 years, but it might make it a hell of a lot cheaper to buy its products and get tanked. The average cost of a six-pack of Guinness Stout is about $9 (according to my half-Irish friend), but we can keep our fingers crossed that some Brexit panicking might slash those prices and make Guinness a contender for "really cheap beer" status soon.
2. Doctor Who
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Along with the Harry Potter series, more than 50 years of Doctor Who has proven that millions of adults enjoy fantasy entertainment originally meant for children. It's difficult to envision a science fiction television series more "British" than the tales of this time-hopping alien, and the (mostly) young women companions he seems to enjoy traveling with in his magic police box. But now that Great Britain is experiencing an economic calamity, perhaps it's time for some wealthy American television producer to buy the series and drag production over here. Why not? Three's Company was originally a British show; who's to say Doctor Who couldn't be shot in Houston and star Matthew McConaughey as the iconic Time Lord? "Alright, alright, alright"...That's what I'm talking about.
If we can get ahold of a few English castles and royalty, why stop there? Everything has a price, particularly when a country's economy is plummeting, so someone should just buy Stonehenge and move it here. Yeah, a few English "Druids" will probably be pissed off, and the Texan buyer might have to guard against curses and whatnot, but the advantages of owning one of the world's biggest magnets for mystical weirdos would far outweigh the disadvantages of repelling magical attacks. Just think about how much the gift shop would earn in a few years! In any case, a Texas Stonehenge just makes sense. It's exactly the kind of thing someone would try here in Houston, and perhaps Tilman Fertitta can just buy the thing and house it in the Astrodome — finally finding a good use for the "Eighth Wonder of the World"; protecting one of the seven other wonders from hippies, New Agers and other hooded, robe-wearing folks unwilling to pay to get into the new themed restaurant Stonehenge could become.