At the moment, it's a little hard to be British. The country is divided by Brexit and – wherever people stand on the Leave/Remain continuum – the one thing that unites the kingdom is that politics has not covered itself in glory in recent years. If you travel abroad, you are often met with expressions of sympathy – not necessarily about the event, but about the abject mishandling of the event as it draws to what (as we go to press) might be a close.
However, if you take a few paces away from the Westminster play pen, Britain is busy getting on with life! Granted there are those seemingly stuck on those six letters like a cryptic crossword, but beyond that we're seeing a rekindling of good quality British gumption, expressed through the medium of high-performance audio! It's time to move on and get on with enjoying the world once more.
Of course there will be those keen to differentiate between 'British' in the sense of 'designed, built, and made in the UK' and 'designed in the UK, built elsewhere, owned elsewhere', and get upset about the latter, but I think that mindset fails to see the positive. The UK might be an expensive place to build things, but it remains one of the most important places on the audio map for high-quality audio product design and development. In being sour-faced about the decline of audio manufacturing in the UK, many seem to forget that the UK still has a pivotal role in the development of high-performance audio streaming and continues to push loudspeaker performance. This is not just down to chance; if you look to almost any high-technology / precision engineering exercise, we punch above our weight!
We should not be complacent or arrogant about this, or think it speaks of exceptionalism. There is no destiny component in the British making good audio equipment; its investment in STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), which helped forge generations of audio designers, just as it helped create generations of Formula One engineers, movie-making technologists, and ensured technology companies like Google sought out the UK as a European center of excellence.
Because of the farce taking place in the Mother of Parliaments, the UK needs to have something it can be justly proud of. It needs a boost, and there's nothing quite so uplifting as listening to good music played properly.
Congratulations this month go out to our lucky winner Willie Mackie from Ayrshire, who wins a tour of some of that high technology – the Linn factory in Glasgow!