Visited another church on Sunday, a Pentecostal Cell church. Fascinating. I’ve said this already, but I can’t get over how multicultural churches are here. The head pastor was white, the head of their training school had an Oriental name, the guest speaker was Nigerian, and about 2/3 of the congregation was black. A friend of mine who was involved with a multicultural church in NYC once told me how they had to make a really strong effort to stay multicultural, and that doing so involved tradeoffs in terms of growth. Here the multiculturalism seems unavoidable.
One effect of that is that the background worship singers are awesome. Not to be racist, but blacks have the best voices, and since they’re at all the churches here, they compose many of the background vocalists, and they sound good. I remember seeing a Tim Hughes video a while back where he was leading worship and his background vocalists were black, and I thought that was odd, since his musical style isn’t exactly soulful. Now I get it. The churches here are just mixed, so that’s how it is.
I can only think of one food that’s cheaper in the UK: Scottish smoked salmon. It’s shockingly inexpensive. Frequently the cheapest sandwich at a store, even less than sandwiches without meat. Everything else costs way more. One random thing that costs a ton more: Lactaid pills. Actually, they’re kind of hard to find – I went to one pharmacy (which are frequently combination makeup stores / pharmacies) and asked if they had Lactaid. He’d never heard of it. Never even heard of the concept. Where you do find it, it’s crazy pricy. Odd.
English food gets a bad rap – the food here is really not that bad at all. I actually think that overall, they place more of an emphasis on fresh, organic, local food than in the states. I was at a McDonald’s in Notting Hill and they had a ticker advertising how they only use free-range, local eggs and have for the last 15 years. Same with their beef and so forth. At a McDonald’s. At certain groceries, it’s actually hard to find non-organic, conventionally farmed food. And I’ve tried, because I’m both a cheapskate and (hate me if you want) not that into the organic thing. That said, because organic is the only thing available, competition seems to have driven prices down – it doesn’t seem like there’s a significant price premium for organic. That or I’m becoming desensitized to London prices.