Thursday, 23 April 2009

By George

Use the word "Patriotism" to a lot of people in the world who can speak English and chances are that they'll picture the kind of extreme American images and speeches that would give a Fox News executive a hard-on. In fact, it wouldn't be surprising to find that the US Republican party have trademarked the word and its offshoots, seeming as they like to ram home the fact that that being a Patriot is the only way to be a decent human being with a US passport.

But the fact remains there's nothing wrong with being a Patriot in the most straightforward of ways. Our history, culture, political status, social attitudes and everything else will always contribute to our upbringing and so it should be guaranteed that we have a grateful affection to where we come from, especially if we're lucky enough to live in a democracy. We should love our country, but I should concede we should not automatically be proud of it - that's a different thing entirely.I'm the former, but definitely not the latter.

If you're scratching your heads over my slightly highbrow topic, it's because today is St George's Day and, as England's patron Saint, a reason to celebrate being English. Except about half of English folk don't have a clue about it, while a significant proportion of them have never heard of St George. His origins and history is questionable, but the fact remains he is the English patron Saint. It still appears to be socially unacceptable to mark the day, yet us English get St Patrick's day rammed home every March. I love Guinness, but I have no Irish heritage so do I have a right to celebrate March 17th?

The Scots, Welsh and Irish are encouraged by the man to be faithful to their flag, but not the English. Why? The Empire? It was British, so scratch that. The only reason a lot of folk can give is due to the fascistic impulses of the lardy English football hooligan community - a picture all too indelibly marked on the conciousness of our media and the face of a Turk. Does it come down to the fact that the English, a nation that gets on with it with a bit of a moan but no overwhelming melodrama, doesn't need a national day - we're English all year round, what's the point of a special day?

Anyway, the point of this is Happy St George's Day - if you care that is. I'm marking this day on a childish principle right now - most other countries have a national day of sorts, so this is ours. No fuss, just a respecful nod, which to me really is the English way, I guess.

I can't leave without throwing up some tracks that , to me, are wholely English. Enjoy and, as usual, dig deeper.

SAXON - Wheels of Steel (live)(1980)

Classic English Metal. 'Nuff said.

CARTER THE UNSTOPPABLE SEX MACHINE - The Only Living Boy in New Cross (1992, The Love Album, 1992)

Shamefully overlooked Sarf Lahndon Grebo drum loopers with daft haircuts.

THE STREETS - The Irony of it All (Original Pirate Material, 2002)

Three English staples - the self-righteous pub thug, the stoned student hippie and Garage.

SHAM 69 - Hurry Up Harry (That's Life, 1978)

"We're going down the puuuuuuub" - It doesn't sound as good if it's not sung in an English accent

NEW ORDER - World in Motion (1990)

Well, I couldn't resist

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