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April 23, 2012

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flyingrodent

Really don't understand this bizarre angst/forced jollity over St. George. Only the Nats give a damn about St. Andrew's Day up here - there was actually a good bit of resistance to making it a national holiday the other year.

That's largely because we do our kilts 'n' whisky 'n' shortbread stuff throughout the year - Hogmanay, Burns' Night, at weddings, football and rugby matches. It's not a big deal - just something that's done. "National pride" isn't really an issue - nobody really cares, and again it's only Nats who would object if you said you thought Scotland was rubbish. After all, large parts of it are rubbish.

Rather than making a big deal of it all, maybe a lot of ignoring it and just getting on with it would be more successful?

Richard J

I propose that Bonfire Night is England’s actual national day; it accommodates our historical talent for blowing stuff up and general riotous assembly.

And anti-popery, of course.

Cian

St. Patrick's day was invented by the brewers, and green dye manufacturers. No possible fact that anyone can unearth will change my mind on this point.

Cian

Really don't understand this bizarre angst/forced jollity over St. George.

Two people care:
1) Opinion columnists, because they need to fill column inches.
2) Hack Tory politicians, because they think that they can somehow turn the clock back to the 1890s if only everyone would celebrate St. George's.

The idea that the English are not patriotic is not one which survives much critical examination. Its just no longer wrapped in jingoistic pride in our lords and masters. Or the bizarre belief, that I'm currently experiencing in the US, that your country is the best in the world.

Cian

For my entry into the earnest pwoggie stakes, I propose that Bonfire Night is England’s actual national day; it accommodates our historical talent for blowing stuff up and general riotous assembly.

Nah. Dr Who, Britain's got talent, or the Tennis thing (you can talk about the weather and about how crap we are simultaneously. Result!).

nick s

it accommodates our historical talent for blowing stuff up and general riotous assembly.

Except it doesn't really, not in the days of It's Health And Safety Gone Mad, I Tell You. The councils are shit-scared of injuries, the displays can't be on a school night, etc. Unless you're in a small, insular town on the south coast, in which case good fucking luck to you. And it doesn't travel well in Yorkshire, home of G. Fawkes, Esq., where instead a day out at the Scarborough Festival will satisfy all patriotic yearnings.

(The Norn Iron Prots do anti-popery conflagration better, and in the summer when it's warm outside too.)

john b

St George's Day as presently observed characterised by bizarre angst, forced jollity, earnest pwogginess, fake nostalgia, and mutual suspicion and loathing between the middle class and the working class. As such, it's a perfect national celebration for England.

nick s

john b wins the thread; his prize is a minibreak in Lewes over November 5th.

Martin Wisse

The second prize is a tow week holiday in Lewes?

seeds

The Catalans also have St George as their patron, and they use the day as a much nicer alternative to Valentines. It's a bit sexist though - men give women a single red rose, and women give men a book. Aside from the implication, nowadays a rose costs about a third as much as a paperback.

Still, no greeting cards.

seeds

I should add that they also have a couple of fantastic scatalogical Xmas traditions, too.

Alex

they use the day as a much nicer alternative to Valentines. It's a bit sexist though - men give women a single red rose, and women give men a book

This was apparently invented by a bookshop in Barcelona in the 1920s. It's still nicer than the greetings card industry inventing festivals, though.

CMcM

" ... while two-thirds in the capital find national pride in Yorkshire pudding."

It's all very well for you hoity-toity cosmopolitan types to mock, but whose heart isn't stirred by the quality of sociological research revealed in Sunder's publication?

ejh

The Catalans also have St George as their patron, and they use the day as a much nicer alternative to Valentines. It's a bit sexist though - men give women a single red rose, and women give men a book.

Well also, it's a bookselling day in general (as it is in Aragón, not sure about the rest of Spain). Booksellers set up stall in plazas and other places - we were in a school in Sant Cugat yesterday for this very reason - and do very good business. Sales are not just to women. (Though you are supposed to give roses to female customers.)

guthrie

The whole St George thing was a piece of medieval re-branding and attempt at setting up a modern national symbol suitable for a modern monarch with international ambitions.

Anyway, David Starkey reckons the English need more education on their country, I'm sure he'll be disappointed and be in the papers again.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, the st George's cross has been reclaimed by football fans.

redpesto

We could always celebrate Shakespeare's birthday instead (though the institutionalisation of 'The Bard' [TM] is increasingly worrying). People could choose between mock-hanging all the lawyers, going cross-gartered and in yellow stockings or cooking something with some slow-roasted eye of newt (Heston Blumenthal's probably got the recipe).

ajay

What is a pwoggie?

belle le triste

There used to be Empire Day (24 May): full poco acknowledgment and pride suggests "Winds of Change" Day (3 Feb)

Sadly it only reached #2 in the UK charts.

seeds

Well also, it's a bookselling day in general (as it is in Aragón, not sure about the rest of Spain). Booksellers set up stall in plazas and other places - we were in a school in Sant Cugat yesterday for this very reason - and do very good business. Sales are not just to women. (Though you are supposed to give roses to female customers.)

According to my relatively Independentista friends, it's a million-year old tradition and the dastardly Spaniards nicked the day (along with La Liga this year). YMMV.

Also - Sant Cugat de Valles? I used to live just next door! Isn't that a bit of a drive for you?

(Oh, and well said in your letter to Private Eye.)

seeds

This was apparently invented by a bookshop in Barcelona in the 1920s.

20's chauvinists missed half of their market! I'm out a rose and a copy of Sunnyside this year...

ejh

Also - Sant Cugat de Valles? I used to live just next door! Isn't that a bit of a drive for you?

Cerdanyola?

Most of where we go is a bit of a drive. It's not as far as Cáceres. Or Oviedo. Or Ciudad Rodrigo.

seeds

Sabadell... And I was working all around the Valles Occidental.

Hope you got good weather yesterday.

Solomon Hughes

I grew up in Yorkshire (Elland) and we had pretty full on Bonfire nights, so I 'm not sure Nick S above is right. The night before Bonfire Night was better, known as "Mischief Night" , when all kinds of idiotic japes went on (like the burning-newspaper-on-top-of-a-dog-turd-on-the-doorstep followed-by-ringing-the-bell) . One leading mischief night trick was prematurely setting fire to bonfires on the 4th Nov that people had prepared for the 5th. This led to local tragedy when some children camped inside their bonfire on Mischief Night to guard it from early lighting.

jim5et

And Health and Safety (nor, indeed, basic common sense) haven't stopped Ottery st Mary from continuing their annual "running down narrow crowded streets with barrels of burning tar on their heads" festival.

nick s

I grew up in Yorkshire (Elland)

Tha's nearly Lancashire, lad. But yeah, growing closer to York itself and being a left-footer probably meant I was more ambivalent about it than the general population.

Alex

I grew up in Yorkshire and we had pretty full on Bonfire nights, so I 'm not sure Nick S above is right. The night before Bonfire Night was better, known as "Mischief Night" , when all kinds of idiotic japes went on

Yes. I will always remember the guy who threw the used crate of fireworks onto the bonfire, only to find it wasn't all that used after all...

ajay

This many comments and no one has mentioned Flanders & Swann yet? This is not the blog it once was.

jamie

ajay: 'pwoggie' as in particularly annoying progressive.

The prod thing never played a part in Bonfire Night, as I recall: all of us from St Theresa's went out stealing wood, lobbing fireworks and the rest of it along with the heretics.

seeds

In my final year at university, we spent a lot of time around early November setting off rockets in our (full) bathtub and giggling hysterically. The fuse keeps burning underwater and they make a really impressive "depth charge" style waterspout.

We did have to spend quite a lot of time mopping cordite stains off the ceiling before giving the keys back, though.

ajay

'pwoggie' as in particularly annoying progressive.

Ah ha. Thanks.

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