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England, my England
Friday, April 24, 2009
St George's Day - as I walk through Newcastle City Centre I come across a flag waving crowd under Grey's Monument - the part of the city where people gather to make a point. The flag wavers were men, close cropped hair, levis, cherry doc martins. Ah just like the old days: the cherry red bovver boys of yore, the same old uniform of the nationalist. Surely they could be dressed as Morris Dancers for a change? The red and white, the chanting, the sound of male voices united in rage - they are like low end football supporters - and give most football supporters a bad name by association. They were singing "Here we go" for goodness sake. Did St George sing this? They do not represent me as a statement of Englishness. They only represent themselves - and it's hard to see how they could ever attract people other than those who look and behave exactly like them.
The small group of people in opposition were young, women and men. different skin colours. Not uniform, except in a not conforming to conventional fashion sense. They looked frail but brave and steady as they tried to persuade the on-lookers that racism and fascism was not a good response to an economic downturn. Their arguments too subtle for a Thursday morning crowd on their way to TK Maxx. But as the police removed a young woman, curled up like a hedgehog on the pavement, I sensed an unease. People (myself included) have believed we can do without politics, don't need to stand up and be counted, use our work to make the points we want to make. I don't know. It has made me feel worried about what might be coming. Will the lights go out in ways that I haven't even thought of yet?
On a slightly brighter notes, I saw Stackridge at the Cluny last night. Wasn't expecting to enjoy but did - apart from that whimsical stuff (which I think has some relationship to the flag wavers and the audience was mainly men). I prefer it when they play harder and don't mention dragons.

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