An artisanally crafted blog curated by Cooking Lager for discerning readers of beer bloggery

Friday, 23 April 2010

You can stick St George’s day

I got told today that it is St George’s day. Really? Whatever. I’ve never once celebrated St George’s day and I’m not about to start. Especially not if Billy Bragg says I ought to. I’ve never put a St Georges flag on either my home or car and if I see a St Georges flag outside a pub, it is for me a reason to not go in there. Not even when the footballs on. I enjoy football as much as anyone and would like to see England do well in the forthcoming tournament. As enjoyable as that tournament may be, it seems to me a poor excuse for emotive misplaced patriotism.

I can understand why other nations celebrate their Saint’s day, specifically our Irish cousins. They have a reason to. With a history emigrating to other lands in search of prosperity I can fully understand why people the world over wish to mark their Irish heritage. I’ve got an Irish great grandfather apparently. Along with grandparents of other nations. As has the Squeeze. In an interconnected world I suspect most either have links to other countries, or even find elements in foreign cultures they admire. I’m not sure whether the Scots make much of St Andy’s day, though have noticed Burns night appears to have become Burns Week through an increasing Scottish identity.

One aspect of Paddy’s day I quite like is that it isn’t an insular celebration of all things Irish, but an invite to the world to party with the Irish. As an Englishman I’ve never felt the need to celebrate my Englishness. Not with either my fellow English or the wider world. There seems something distinctly un-English about doing so. Arguments that I should tend to come from reactionary types with a chip on their shoulder about anything from immigration to political correctness (always gone mad and never just the basic politeness of using language as a tool of communication rather than offending your fellow man).

I am certainly not going to start celebrating it as a marketing exercise from English beer producers that happen to notice Paddy’s day is an effective marketing tool to flog Guinness; therefore can’t we have something to flog English Ale? Have they not noticed the beer of England is Carling? 100% British barley. Lovely lout is the beer of England.

St George’s day will go unmarked for me. That is the expression of my Englishness. My Englishness is celebrated daily, by my gentlemanly behaviour, reserved nature, the union jack shorts I wear in foreign climes, the insistence I have that foreigners speak English to me in foreign lands and serve me chips, and joy I take putting HP sauce on as much food as I can.

I really don’t want to hear any crap about how we don’t celebrate our Saints day and that we should because other countries do, or even that we should have a bank holiday. I don’t because I’m English.

20 comments:

Sid Boggle said...

Cookie sez: "St George’s day will go unmarked for me"

Sid sez: You should have posted this yesterday or tomorrow, then...

Ed said...

Awful isn't it? I hope any St George's Day crap flops horribly.

Cooking Lager said...

Crikey, you're not wrong Sid. If you want to mark the day, promise me one thing. You won't buy any beer with a St George symbol on the pump clip, glass, can or bottle. Just say no!

Come on Ed, That's not English either. Neither hope it succeeds or fails. Apathy is the true mark of the English. We celebrate our Englishness by not giving a toss.

The Pub Diaries said...

In the space of 3 hours I have seen a man on horseback dressed as St George, a horse drawn Youngs dray wagon, Morris Dancers and been forced to listen to a rousing chorus of Jerusalem followed by a toast to the Queen... enough to make me wish I was Welsh!

Cooking Lager said...

The only possible reason for wishing you were Welsh, as far as I can see, would be if Hayden Panettiere was your sister.

Montague said...

You'd love the 4th of July over here. We celebrate spanking your asses with bbq, hot dogs and lout.

The Pub Diaries said...

Ahh (or do I mean bahhh) you mean she could hold the sheep still. Good thinking.

Cooking Lager said...

Be careful what you promise, Montague. A few British politicians might visit the US if there is a promise of a free spanking now its more difficult to put mild perversion on expenses.

Sid Boggle said...

I saw the Official England Band (sponsored by Pukka Pies) near Trafalgar Square an hour or so ago, surrounded by totty and some balloons. Some fat lads with Cross of St George flag bouncing around on the SE corner of the square as the band ran through its (limited) repertoire.

Puzzled tourists were trying to work out why 4 fat men who couldn't play their instruments were being swarmed by the meejah.

Me? I drank a beer called 'Murmansk'...

Meer For Beer said...

I forgot about St George's day, bang goes the quick trip to the pub this evening.

Barm said...

Today is also German Beer Day, 450-something years of the Purity Law or something. Somewhat more important to lager lovers and an excellent way to wind up flag-waving idiots. So get your Lederhosen on and get out for a nice litre or two of something Teutonic.

The Beer Nut said...

HP Sauce: yaay!

That is all.

zythophile said...

I see George Orwell is still right, 65 years on: "Within the intelligentsia, a derisive and mildly hostile attitude towards Britain is more or less compulsory."

Oh, and BN - "HP" originally stood for "Houses of Parliament".

Daddies is better, anyway.

Meer For Beer said...

Actually HP never stood for houses of parliament that is just an urban myth.

Ed said...

Why do they have the houses of parliament on the bottle then?

The Beer Nut said...

Finding jingoistic flag-waving distasteful is far from the same thing as derision towards Britain, or any other country.

Daddies is too vinegary.

RedNev said...

CL: thanks for pointing out that Billy Bragg article and video.

Curmudgeon said...

Well, like it or not, St George - and Englishness - are much more celebrated now than they used to be.

As G. K. Chesterton wrote:

St George he was for England
And before he killed the dragon,
He drank a pint of English ale
Out of an English flagon.


Lout the national drink of England - what rot!

Cooking Lager said...

@zylo I hope your accusing someone else of being "intelligentsia"

@all Doesn't HP stand for Harry Palmer?

@Mudgie. Show us your tankard.

@all Patriotism is defining the values of your nation and making your country somewhere you would want to live. Not being told what to think or when to fly a flag.

I understand why Americans stick a flag in there garden. America is a fantastic idea, bound by the ideals of what is the greatest idea in history. Part of that is flag waving patriotism for that idea. I live on this Island and do not require it.

Some countries need to be good at sport. Watch The "Miracle of Bern" for a fantastic story of the importance of sport to the rehabilitation of a nation. I'm English, I do not need to be good at sport.

Many countries need to convince themselves and others of their merit. I am English. There is nothing to prove. Put the flag away.

Anonymous said...

I as proud an Englishman as any Welshman is of Wales or Scot is of Scotland. Stood in the park today watching several hundred Scouts, Guides and associated clubs pledge their allegiance to the Queen, God and the country. Their patron saint, St George, the park was adorned with Flags and proud families. Nothing stands for English (and for that matter British) values more than the scout movement.
Yes we should celebrate and that includes our flag.