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The happiness myth - Brits revel in misery

Ever thought 'happiness' is just a cheap, silly American export that doesn't actually exist in the UK? Then you might just be right. Some American journo by the name of Eric Weiner has been busy slagging Brits off in his book 'The Geography of Bliss', for being too 'miserable', 'bland' and ''chronically polite". Weiner's book is lounging smugly at the top of the US book charts, after receiving rave reviews and being lauded by many as the new definitive manual on world wide happiness.

Eric spent a year trotting round the world, assessing levels of happiness wherever he laid his napsack. From Iceland, to Moldova, France to Quatar, Eric measured readings on his special 'happy machine'. When happiness levels were high, the machine made beeby noises. And when low it crackled and whirred. Not! It was much more scientific than that. Eric based his findings on how happy he deemed the people in a given region to be. And which city did the chipper New Yorker head to with his grump-o-metre to compile UK stats? Slough. No wonder his machine packed up!

'Slough is a treasure trove of unhappiness buried beneath a copius layer of gloom" says Eric. "The colours range from deeper to lighter shades of grey. The people seem grey too, and slightly dishevelled - the word frumpy springs to mind."

Of course prominent Brits have struck back, pointing out that we're more than happy in our own way - we're just not big happy show offs like them across the pond. Ignoring all anecdotal evidence to the contrary, the Mayor of Slough's blaming it all on TV shows like The Office for giving a 'grim impression' of the city. "The truth is that this is a lovely city where people are very happy" he said, his face set in stone, eyes brimming with furious tears.

In Weiner's words though we shouldn't despair. "There's more than one path to happiness" concludes the wise old sage. And therefore... hope for us UK misery merchants yet.

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