Monday 23rd April – It’s St George’s Day today. A celebration of England’s patron saint, who around 2000 years, according to legend, slayed a dragon. Born in the middle-east to Greek Christians, George is purported to have confronted the fire breathing beast on horseback (George, not the dragon) armed only with his lance (Ascalon), shield, valour and a pack of mint Tic Tacs.
An accomplished horseman, George was a sort of 1st century AD Frankie Dettori, only with weapons and a more conventional way of dismounting ……. I suppose the Italian jockey would claim they’re are many other glaring differences between the pair – In particular the patron saint’s lack of riding an Epsom Derby winner, or failing to captain a team on long-running BBC TV quiz A Question of Sport.
Before blasting the comparison out of the water, though, the diminutive Italian would do well to look at the undoubted similarities. Parallels like shared horsemanship skills, connections to eastern European and middle-east countries, along with the fact they both met Lester Piggott.
The Scots, Irish and Welsh will also be raising a glass today. Mind you, that isn’t in honour of the English patron saint, moreover their liking of beer as much of us Anglos…….. Chuffing alkies!
I personally shall be celebrating my Englishness by writing a blog on a Japanese laptop, pruning Dutch spring flowers in my garden, treating my fence with French wood preservative. All this with a heavy heart borne from my Italian owned soccer*** team’s mid-table position meaning another season in the second tier of English football.
*** Apologies for the unforgivable use of the word soccer instead of football. An act forced upon me as I wanted to avoid repetition within the sentence.
This evening I will continue this patriotism by eating an Italian food, washed down by Australian beer or New Zealand wine.
I will precede this fare with the cry “God for Harry, England and St George.”
Incidentally, William Shakespeare, the man who wrote the stirring battle cry in Henry V from which the line above appears, died 402 years ago today. Triggering worldwide reverence of a man deemed by many as the finest ever writer in the English language.
Until recently, I hadn’t realised how many of quotes from Shakespeare’s work were adopted in our everyday contemporary conversations. For example:-
“Break the ice.” – The Taming of the Shrew
“Neither a borrower or a lender be” – Hamlet
“Bated breath” – The Merchant of Venice
“Be all and end all” – Macbeth
“Refuse to budge an inch” – The Life & Times of Karen Strachan (The Musical), and
“Can you empty the dishwasher, Gary!” – The Tempest
Hopefully, I haven’t tempted fate by writing the name Macbeth, whose utterance is deemed in theatrical parlances as bad luck. Instead they are encouraged to refer to it as the Scottish play.
I’ve actually witnessed the Scottish play in Leeds….. The Scotland rugby team playing the USA during the 2015 Rugby World Cup at the Elland Road stadium, home of Leeds United football club.
What will be the legacy of our creative writers to the children of future centuries? Could it be a catchphrase from the late entertainer Sir Bruce Forsyth perhaps? In the year 2416 will a female promise a night of passion with the words “It’ll be a big night tonight if you play your cards right!”
Or could the inhabitants of this planet 400 years hence be quoting the words of the Eastern European meerkat puppets used to sell insurance products on TV.
Will the same chuffing meerkats be still selling insurance products? After all, the company who uses this sales approach don’t seem in a rush to move on to a different epiphany. This despite the writers of the ads milking the originally good idea with 3-4 years of uninspiring tat.
Will there be males and females in four century’s time? Perhaps we will have evolved into hermaphrodites by then. Which if nothing else will mean if you tell someone to “Go f*** yourself” they’ll have the wherewithal to literally achieve the request.
This cynicism aimed at our current writer’s legacy to future generations is of course tongue in cheek. Mischievously poking fun at Brucie’s writers, as well as a company seeming unwilling to change an advertisement strategy despite it no longer being funny (in my opinion).
There are of course reams of literature from our time that will I’m sure be utilised by people in the 25th century, whether they are hermaphrodites or not.
For example, I envisage the saying ‘Catch 22’ being around then – A phrase adopted from Joseph Heller’s novel of the same name.
Likewise, I’m sure ‘chortle’ taken from Lewis Carroll’s ‘Through The Looking Glass’, and ‘honey trap’ from John Le Carre’s ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’ will have the longevity of use for many generations to come.
Saying that though ‘honey trap’, ie clandestinely using your sexuality to lure a suitor into revealing information, won’t be much use if people are hermaphrodites in 2416.
Right, I’ve got to close this now as, like St George, I have a dragon to conquer…… Well, if truth be told, stop my missus nagging me to preserve my garden fences.
Once more unto the breach dear friends, once more…….