Monday, April 27, 2009

Why do they get to be the English ones, how is that fair?

"Oi! Tosspot! Give us back our pretty flag! Who said it belonged to you all of a sudden?" *And yes, I'm aware of the difference between the England and GB flag - but are they?

You have to hand it to the people that celebrated St. George's Day/Shakespeare's birthday earlier this week: they managed to turn up on the day and do something. Even if that something was only wearing a red rose, wearing an England football shirt and drinking some ale. At least they managed that. Not like me. I can't even get a blog written until (how many?) errm 4 days later.

So, keeping it brief. Does England belong to sweaty men drinking lager outside pubs and chanting? Does the day that 'celebrates' Englishness belong to them? And if it does, should - we/I - really care?

If the skinhead & beerbelly folk want to enjoy themselves who am I to complain. In fact, I plan to be a skinhead with a beerbelly myself one day. It's an ambition. It's the inevitable future for most British males. My major heartache about the day is the the people going round saying, "We're not allowed to be English! Everyone else gets to have their celebrations, but not us!!!"

Which, y'know, fair enough if it was true, but I didn't see anyone actually stopping them from standing outside the pub and singing Inger-land, Inger-land, Inger-land. But I mean, for Shakespeare's birthday is that the best that we can do? That and articles on breakfast tv about Morris Dancing in Somerset.

England can obviously organise a piss up in a brewery to celebrate the day. But surely we could do better, if we're gonna bother at all.

And what's the betting that the next Tory government brings in 'Churchill Day/St George's Day' to replace May Day? Highly likely I'd think. Given that May Day is to celebrate errr - I'm not sure.... in fact in a class this week someone asked me what May Day was for and I said...

"..... errr, anyway, adverbial clauses... "

I know they used to like doin May Day parades in Soviet Russia. May Day was 'celebrate the workers' day as far as I know. And a bit rubbish if you haven't got any nucleur missiles to parade through Red Square. So why don't we make a Public Holiday out of St George's Day and take on the toxic far right nasty people on their own day? By all means celebrate Englishness - just give us something better to do than stand outside pubs fighting and drinking. And complaining about immigrants and the price of petrol. Where's your celebration, chaps? It sounds like you're being a bit negative, huh?

5 Notions to Improve St George's Day

1. Taking a template from Christmas - create a meal that everyone is meant to have every St George's day whether they like it on not - we could vote for it on some tv show. Although it'll probably consist of Yorkshire pudding, apple crumble, chicken tikka masala and crisps. And a Muller fruit corner for afters. Lovely. Unless there's a last minute internet voting scam to get *Spotted Dick* on the menu. Fnah, fnah.

2. Taking an idea from English cricket - God's own game as well as 'the national sport' - everyone should dress up for the day. And by dressing up I mean - wear a fancy dress costume! English people are famed for their *eccentricity* - so what better than dressing up as a giant chicken for the day. Or Britney Spears. Or a dragon. It's your choice people, just make sure you're not wearing anything flammable if you're working at McDonalds (serving the *McGeorge* - a dragon burger in a yorkshire pudding).

Even the Queen has to dress up. And she can't cheat by dressing up as 'The Queen'. That would be surreal. But I would like to see her dress up as Freddie Mercury. Just for a laugh, ma'am.

3. Can we bring back Yards of ale? I'd really like to have a go. Thanks.

4. Send all children out to the countryside for the day. England's green and pleasant land n all that. Let them look at daffodils and get some fresh air. Plus... plus... no. I've not really thought that one out. The problem with kiddiewinkles is the more you force em to do something the less likely they are to like it. But then, sometimes, if you don't force em to do something they won't do anything. Annoying aren't they, the young folk. Make them listen to English beat music from the 1960s on the coach, that's the main thing. Make them sing along. The Welsh might be famous for having great singing voices, but the English like a bit of karaoke.

I say *the English*, most of the time it's pretty hard to differentiate between the various English speaking people in this island and the one next door. Accents, obviously. But really, you often have more in common with someone from miles away than you do with your neighbours.

5. Do something that would really annoy the BNP for St George's Day. Put Konnie Huq in charge of organising it, perhaps. She's nice. No one could not like Konnie Huq, unless they were mad or from Tibet... Actually, I am running out of ideas there. We've got under a year to get something decent organised. But then, I'm English every day of the year, doing things in England.

Now if I lived in Saudi Arabia or Australia - I'd be well up for celebrating Englishness and eating a boiled egg with Marmite soldiers and drinking plentiful cups of Earl Grey tea. But living here, all I have to do is go to Asda, come home - make me food. It doesn't seem that special, it's too easy. I guess that's why the exiles and immigrants celebrations are more successful - they're missing something, getting together for a day to pretend they're back home. We already are home and aren't quite sure what all the fuss is about. Apart from the complaining people standing outside the pub - but then we're English, we like complaining - and we like standing outside of pubs. It's just what we do. 365 days a year. We either need to think of something new and exciting or else give up on the national day idea all together. When I were a lad we had a Spring Fair at this time of the year. Can't we just go back to the Pagan rituals instead? Slaughter a few baby lambs and worship the Sun God? That'd be a very English thing to do...


  1. I have the same attitude to people flying an English flag in their garden. It's as if they're saying "This is England". And I think, Yes, I know.

  2. Urban Child4:52 pm

    Jotfeed - Do you know? I don't think you have a clue.

    What's wrong with flying an English Flag? Do you also think those that fly the Saltire are also stupid?

    Aren't you proud of your country? If not .. I suggest that you both leave it for somewhere obviously more congenial to you - may I suggest Zimbabwe

    Sorry - but this is rather pathetic

  3. Urban Child: What's wrong with flying an English Flag? Do you also think those that fly the Saltire are also stupid?

    - if they're flying it in their front garden, and the garden is in Scotland, then it's very similar. Stupid is not a word I would use, though. Having said that, if you fly an English flag in your garden in England, it is generally assumed that you're making a point; a point that I would generally disagree with.

    I'm neither proud nor ashamed of my country. I think my government is flawed but better than the administration that has been in charge in Zimbabwe recently. Does that clear things up?

    Are we really having this discussion in someone else's front garden?

  4. As Mr Joyfeed said on 23rd April, 2007, "I shall be celebrating Englishness today by not making a fuss about it." That's a very British Empire, stiff upper lip attitude to take:
    'Broken your arm, y'say? No, need to stop playing cricket, what? Come on, man, you're batting for England here!'

    Traditionally one doesn't make a fuss. Personally if there's any sport involved I make a big stupid fuss. The WAG World Cup in 2006 left me depressed for weeks. So much hope, such a rubbish team... I'm expecting the Ashes this year to raise my hopes then shatter them soon after. But without some other country to compete against, it does seem a little meaningless. And joyless. So therefore, Mr (you are a Mister, aren't you?) Urban Child I offered up this post in the hope that someone would come up with exciting and even worthwhile ways that we might celebrate Shakespeare's birthday/St George's Day. We've established the flying a flag, whinging, and drinking element - now we need to think of something a bit more exciting. It's not Easter, is it? There's no egg hunt. In Spain they have festivals and fireworks. They have bulls running through the streets. Perhaps we could have the running of the bulldogs???

  5. But those people who fly the flag in their back garden are marking their own bit of England! That is patriotism, and an ism that is OK in my book.

    What a shame we only have the BNP lot celebrating on St George's day. It rather puts a double negative on the whole thing don't you think?

    There are some who would say that there is no point in celebrating something that has been so watered down over the years that it does not taste right any more.

    Let's see just one example of watering down...

    Nursery Rhymes that have been declared racist... these are chants that have been handed down over hundreds of years, and yet our children cannot sing about black sheep any more...

    I agree in principle with the St George's day thing, but its too little too late, and akin to throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    Perhaps the BNP do have a point? The rest of us are apathetic, and will watch our heritage slowly drip away drop by drop until we have nothing left to offer anyone.

    What a shame they are such a vile bunch of thugs. Typical of the way we represent ourselves abroad.

    Thw whole thing is a mess, and confusing. One thing though.. there should be no need for any of it, if the PC brigade had not been quite so accomodating to anoyone who complained in the first place... "if you don't like it, then don't stay!".. should have been stated a bit more.. or is that OTT?

  6. The baa baa black sheep myth is generally regarded as being made up by, amongst other people, the Daily Mail, to serve their own social and economic purposes. Most stories about Political Correctness gone mad are usually not much more than fabrications by people who have nothing better to do than go on and on about this great nation of ours being nonetheless now completely shit. Here is the ever reliable wikipedia on the subject, but with references, one of them clickable:

    To me the point of celebrating a national day is inane, pretty much whatever the nation. For it to work it has to draw on such generalised notions of nationality as to be meaningless, or else drift into xenophobia.

    And no, the BNP do not have a point, and a more fervent celebration of Englishness on 23 April would not safeguard our heritage, it would contradict it.

    Ya esta.

  7. 2And no, the BNP do not have a point, and a more fervent celebration of Englishness on 23 April would not safeguard our heritage, it would contradict it."

    Agree with this.. the BNP just like scoring points.

    The nursery rhyme thing? You are probably right, but there are so many things we have to keep in check nowadays, that I believed it. There is nothing that would not surprise me these days.

    Perhaps our heritage, our Englishness, is in being the tolerant race we are, but if there were no unrest then the BNP would have no credibility, and I fear they are gathering strength from disgruntled individuals who fear we are losing our identity?

  8. Well.

    I think it's a bit of shame that Englishese people don't have the silly things that other nations have to celebrate their Englishness. Why not be pleased to be English?

    As a Scot, it's embarrassing almost how much we embrace the Scottishness of being. I didn't particularly notice how much the word "Scottish" is used until I didn't live here and returned for a visit. You buy your Scottish butter from Scottish cows, in your Scottish store, all wrapped up in a nice wrapper with a saltire on it somewhere. We have kilts, which the majority of Scottish males don at any opportunity, we have haggis, we have ceilidhs, we get overexcited about celebrating the birthday of some country bumpkin that wrote a few naff poems. We are the only country in the world where the best selling soft drink isn't Coke, no, ours is Irn Bru, teeth rotter and carpet stainer extraordinaire.

    But there's not a lot of that in England. You don't get St George's cross adorned cheese from English cows all over Asda. You don't have English Pride butter, English Blend tea etc. I think you're a bit done and I personally would like the chance to just be a bit English. I like Doughboy's notion of doing something just to mark the occasion to go "yeah, it isn't all bad, it's quite a nice country we live in".

    I'm not lording it over the English here or particularly praising it, the whole Scottish thing is ridiculous. But as virtually ever other nation has a day of being patriotic, I just totally understand why people might want to try and assert a bit of Englishness on a day that is, after all, a pretty notable date. It's Shakespeare's assumed birthday and the definite date of his death (23rd April is also the anniversary of St George's death, let's be morbid) - he is the greatest poet ever to have lived - and why not get excited about it? Or Keats? A million times better than Burns. Have 31st October as Keats day (or 23rd Feb if you want to go with the death thing), you can have Keats Suppers and eat, erm, roast beef or something. It doesn't have to be xenophobic, it doesn't have to mock anyone else, it just celebrates things that are the essence of England, the things that make England unique.

    As to flags, I'm with Joyfeed (annoying how the t is so close to the y, isn't it?), it's a bit tosserish to fly an English flag when you're in England. If you are outwith England and want to show that you're English, fair enough (if a bit foolhardy). The only time I've done something like that was when I lived in England with an English registered car and so had an Ecosse sticker on it, but that makes me a completely different type of tosser.

  9. But the English are just that... English... we don't make a fuss... we let others do it...LOL

    Anyway.. if you want heritage butter, just go into M&S......

    *runs for cover now*

    I like the idea of flying English Flags out of the car windows though... :)

  10. Anonymous3:42 pm

    "I have the same attitude to people flying an English flag in their garden. It's as if they're saying "This is England". And I think, Yes, I know"

    What a pity that an anti-English, control freak bigot like you can't control what your neighbours do ah joybitch? Ha! ha!
    It's as if i'm stating "This is joydick". And I think, Yes, I know blah fucking blah blah"

    Anti-English twat! " is generally assumed..."? You arrogant arsehole. You ahve no right to assume.
    That's what makes me laugh about people like you mate. You constantly stab England and English folk in the back and go on about how crap England is; won't fucking leave. Why don't you go and live somewhere else then?

  11. In case "anonymous" comes back.

    I did leave the country once. I lived in Catalunya for 2 years. I saw nationalism at close hand, and it was ignorant and mean spirited. I gave it a go, but in the end I decided I prefered it here, and I came back.

    I'm not anti-English, of course, and nothing I have said here could reasonably be interpreted as such. I very much like England and its "culture". What I dislike, in a quiet, almost English, way, are abstract, overt displays of nationalism that feel completely alien to our national tradition, and demands that we, the English, must have a day, our own day, when we can indulge in a special sort of arch bollocks. Celebrating a national day, and celebrating whatever we want to cobble together to call Englishness, feels as much an assertion of my nationality as dressing up as a matador and yodelling.

    We don't need to champion England because we live in England, we can indulge in Englishness every day of the year. We are free to fly our flags in our gardens, and have our picnics, and wear our union jack underpants, and we don't need to make a fuss about it.

    The patron saint of Catalunya is also St George, except they call him Jordi, and on the 23 April every year they have a right old do. It's a bank holiday, and by tradition all the men buy the women a red rose, and the women buy the men a book. Thus they celebrate their nation character with a traditional blend of literature, romance and sexism.

    My name's Peter.

  12. Agree with Joyfeed here. We don't have to do anything to be English! We just are!

    Anonymous... this is the kind of post I would expect from someone who is perhaps a 'patriot'??

  13. While I find the Scottish thing a bit embarrassing, the insinuation that we're idiots for celebrating our country - albeit on the wrong day- is a little irking.

    That is a part of the reason I no longer live in England, it's ok to be a joke but sometimes it's a bit tiring.

    That's why we want independence, nothing to do with being above our station, but because as a nation we don't like being a joke, a mockery, a poor relation, thought of as such by the majority of "our" country.

    Just to clear it up, I'm neither a pisshead nor am I tight.

  14. I'm tight, but that's a whole 'nother story.....

    Sorry.... please feel free to delete this doughboy.... just wanted to inject some English humour in here......... :)

  15. Tight, as in stingy.
    Not as in "as a mouse's ear".
    That is, indeed, another matter altogether.

  16. I'll be deleting nothing, Sarah! Joke away! And I don't think anyone said Scots are idiots for celebrating. I just think the English are confused at this point in history and these comments kinda prove that. We need to work out our 'issues' and then have a lovely happy Saint George's Day next year. Hurrah.