Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Get drunk, have a kebab

More than any other type of venue, other than some pubs perhaps, football grounds in a southerly direction are frequently festooned by the red and white flags of St George - not just at this time of year, but throughout the season. Makes me a bit queazy, to be honest. Not just because the symbol has so often been colonised by far right xenophobes (there's no reason to let them monopolise it), but because it still often accompanies an unhealthy, chauvinistic form of Englishness. I say that as an English person with a miniscule trace of Scots ancestry that has played a significant role in getting me to look askance at all this. I also love they way Dumbarton fans have adapted the flag in a black and yellow direction.

Anyway, the BBC Radio 4 'Today' programme commissioned a wonderfully tongue-in-cheek poem for 23 April - By George! by Scottish poet Elvis Mcgonagall. It's his copyright, please note, even though I've reproduced it below. If it doesn't want to make you laugh, bury stupid national differences, and have a friendly drink with someone a bit weird, nothing will.

Once more unto the breach, dear Morris Dancers
once more

Jingle your bells, thwack sticks, raise flagons
Cry “God for Harry and Saint George!”
Gallant knight and slayer of dragons
Patron saint of merry England
And Georgia, and Catalonia, and Portugal, Beirut, Moscow Istanbul, Germany, Greece
Archers, farmers, boy scouts, butchers and sufferers of syphilis
Multicultural icon with sword and codpiece

On, on you bullet-headed saxon sons

Fly flags from white van and cab

But remember stout yeomen, your champion was Turkish

So – get drunk and have a kebab


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