Metric or Imperial, eh? eh? So what do you reckon? Well, all the Americans use imperial so they have no real concept of metric, the Europeans use metric and stopped using local or imperial type measurements many years ago now. But then both drive on the wrong side of the road so can you really trust either of them?!

The problem in this country is they can’t ever make up their mind, people are still talking about paying 10 bob for something and that all ended in 1971, if somethings a bit dodgy it’s ‘as bent as a 9 bob note’. I was born in ’71 and yet I remember half crowns, sixpences, shillings etc. they were still in circulation for quite a while. Back in those days we had proper bloody coins too, carrying a ten pence/2 shilling piece around you felt you had some importance, the 50p weighed you down on 1 side and the 5p was an exact fit for the German 1,-DM which meant you could get a pack of fags in the Fatherland for 20p! As for £1 the £1 note was something you’d get tucked into your birthday card from that aunt you’d buttered up for months and it was considered so much money that on no account were you allowed to be let loose with it unattended. The £20 note was so big it looked like a fecking Share certificate you had to fold it to get it in a wallet. Now the £1 coin is like something you get in a red string bag hanging from the christmas tree, I’m still waiting for one of the bastards to melt in my wallet on a hot day.

The measurements thing has been even more of a fiasco, the metric system has been kind of filtering in for decades and yet at school we learnt primarily imperial with some metric. I order my drink in pints, that’s because I do not wish to be gipped on 68ml by drinking half a litre, I know my height and weight in imperial but I have to order certain shit in the supermarket in metric, what the fuck is half a kilo of sausages? Bollocks, buy a pound and you know you get 6. How long is a kilo of bacon going to last? What about distance, well that’s fairly screwed up too because we seem to use miles most of the time, kilometres occasionally but the trend appears to have substituted yards for metres, which is just daft. Besides you know it’s only a matter of time before fecking retailers work out that they can diddle you by listing liquids in decalitres because no-one will have a fucking idea what the hell a decalitre is, yes I know that it’s 10cl and your point is….?

I agree I am a reactionary old twonk when it comes to this, but it’s born more out of laziness and bloody-mindedness than anything else, I can’t be bothered to try to figure out a new system I’d rather be obstreporous and have my ounces and stuff, I don’t have a notion of what 25g is. Its all down to the comfort zones, I know 454g is a pound and you can work things out from that, but if you need to decide between a quarter and 100g without much time to think it’s more tricky, I mean I can conceptualise 1/4lb but not 100g. Now in my defence I would claim that I was schooled in an era that didn’t know if it was coming or going the metric system was supposed to be in place but most people didn’t understand it so they just taught you what they knew hence we got a half-arsed idea of what either were.

What about food descriptions -‘Mint Imperials’ will be rendered obsolete and illegal under Weights and Measures legislation -you can’t have ‘mint metrics’ it’s just not right! What will the milkman do? What’s the metric slang for ‘Pinta’. The phrase ‘I think I lost a couple of pounds’ will be replaced by ‘I think I lost a couple of grams’ which, whilst mathematically perhaps more accurate, will not convey the fishing for compliment message that the speaker desires! And, Oh Christ, does this mean we’ll have to order the ‘Hamburger Royale with Cheese’ now too?! What about the effect it’ll have on rhyming slang, referring to a ladies breasts as ‘five euro pieces’ as opposed to ‘thruppenny bits’ will not make any sense, not that this will have any effect on me you understand not being one to dabble in such verbosity.

People’s notions of the size of their feet will be decimated, men will go from size 11 to size 48 and be substantially more cocksure whilst women will go into the size 30 odds and start contemplating lipposuction on their toes!

Now it’s when you get to clothing that I will really struggle, I genuinely have no idea what my waist size or chest size are in metric, all I know is that if I order the size I want and they’ve sneakily changed to metric I’ll get something that’ll fit my kids. The other thing is that I sometimes order from a French catalogue, because I only tend to wear 100% cotton stuff (-allergic to nylon and shit) and their size chart isn’t even std. metric, they seem to make it up as they go along. And let me add they seem to have a funny flap on duvet covers and no fastening, what the hell is that about, it’s like IKEA’s square bloody pillow cases -if it’s square it’s a fucking cushion and belongs on the fucking sofa not on the fucking bed!

*onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnineten*……. I’m sorry, I got a little carried away there. Another clothe thing tho’ while I’m at it, what’s the deal with hats? Is there any rhyme or reason to their sizes I think the Euro one is 60 (I have big hair ok!) now what is that the circumference of my bonce or what, in cm I presume whatever it is, the British size is like 9 or something suitably ludicrous, now that isn’t the circumference in inches and it certainly isn’t yards so what’s going on here?

Grrrr, snarl, leave me alone to ‘bah humbug’ in peace, and that’s a 1/4 of humbugs mind! By the way can you spare a tanner squire, just for 20cl of tea mind?

Song Of The Day – The Sundays ~ Summertime

Original Comments:

A visitor made this comment,
Hoo-yah! Awesome post. And look at all we’ve learned about you— born in 1971, buys from a French catalogue (= openminded and smart and fashionable) which most Brits are so pathologically against the French they can’t even say hors-d’oeuvres, they have to say “starters”. LOL And polyester and synthetic clothing SUCKS ass. Here’s to cotton all the way. AND– the freaking measurements– it is CRAZY and proves we are nowhere near as developed or evolved as we like to think we are. Me, I prefer crazy measurements cause they’re more creative, not because they are more accurate. Feh.

[Redbaron responds – One did always fancy oneself as something of an ‘Homme du Monde’ and cotton is where it’s at, as regards the fashionable side, well practically none of you know what I actually look like so I’m saying nothing!]

comment added :: 13th July 2004, 15:36 GMT+01
john made this comment,
I’m old enough to remember the large white £5 notes. In some shops you would be asked to write your name and address on the back before they would accept one.
Why do people still buy produce by weight ? I see old ladies ordering 100 grms ( “Is that a quarter dear?” )when all they need to say is “three slices of ham please” or “2 apples”. It’s the same as when you put petrol ( gas to you Americans ) in the car. You don’t measure it in litres you buy £20 worth or just fill up the tank. Roll on the Euro ! 😉
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[Redbaron responds – There speaks a lone voice in SE Kent I can tell you, Euro…. they’ll be letting Johnny Foreigner in at Dover next, ……by jove they already are, man the ramparts, prepare to repel borders, don’t panic, don’t panic………….!]

comment added :: 13th July 2004, 16:48 GMT+01
MrDan made this comment,
I was born in ’81 and the combination of learning metric at school but growing up in a society that uses imperial has left me equally useless with both systems!

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comment added :: 14th July 2004, 00:55 GMT+01
Pimme made this comment,
Sometime around 1980, we were going to go Metric in the US, and we were being prepped for it in school. However, the change never came to pass, and so we’re still on the Imperial system. About the only thing you’ll find Metric over here is the occasional ruler, thermometer, and car gauges.
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comment added :: 14th July 2004, 06:11 GMT+01
Rachel made this comment,
i think that American has been “preparing” for the metric system for about thirty years, but NO, we’re still using the imperial system. hmm…i didn’t know pimme was american…cool.
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comment added :: 18th July 2004, 23:09 GMT+01