Friday, 1 March 2013

Two dragons

Today, so Google tells me, is St David's day, so a very happy that to all you Welsh people out there.

Sad to say that if Google didn't remind us, most of the rest of the world would be unaware of St David's day, even if a few people walked around with a leek in their button-hole - or worse, a daffodil imported all the way from a glasshouse in Holland.

It is impossible to ignore St Patrick's day, mainly thanks to the promotional efforts of Guinness. About 7 in 10 people suddenly become Irish on St Patrick's, in the same way that 9 in 10 Jews suddenly become Christians on December 25th.

I was in conversation with a young Irish friend the other day, and we were talking about racism, after a nasty incident (thankfully very rare these days) involving a mutual brown-skinned friend (my beautiful Sugar Daughter) who was called a 'nigger' by a drunken idiot when she was ill-advisedly buying a kebab from a Turkish takeaway here in town. I am pleased to say that Sugar Daughter immediately landed a full-swing punch right on his nose immediately after the comment. That's my girl.

Anyway, the young Irishman said that he simply could not understand racism, and I said that every time I wanted to understand how anyone could find it in themselves to be openly racist, I thought of the Welsh.

When he had finished laughing, we carried on with the theme of racism, and I reminded him that his own native country is to hold a convention for red-haired people this summer, as part of a tourism drive to encourage visitors to Ireland from all over the world, and help the flagging euro there.

Another form of prejudice which seems to be acceptable to everyone in the UK is directed towards anyone who happens to have red hair, so I think it would be good if - depending on the success of Ireland's convention - Wales took a leaf from Ireland's book and organised a ginger-fest (first 'g' pronounced hard) of their own next year. T-Shirts could be printed up with Welsh, Ginger and Proud! in large letters on the front. Merchandising is 80% of the profits, as the Rolling Stones have learnt over the last 50 years.

Another (male) brown-skinned friend of mine said that he had only visited Wales once, and had vowed never to return. It seems that when he was about 30 years old, he was walking across a North Wales beach with his (white) girlfriend, when a group of of young, local losers came up to him to tell him that 'his sort' were not welcome at this public resort.

I tried to assure him that this could have happened anywhere in the world, and would probably never happen again on that particular beach, but I also  had to tell him an old and stereotypical joke that I remembered from the bad old days:

Q:  What is the Welsh version of (Acker Bilk's) 'Stranger on the Shore'?

A:  'Who's that C*** on the Beach, then?'

Oh, and talking of the bad old days, that photo - in case you were wondering - is of Margaret Thatcher's bomb and bullet-proof, campaign tour-bus (recently sold on eBay) which she used to travel the British province of Northern Ireland in the 1970s, shortly after she pronounced that there was 'no such thing as Society'.

I wonder what worried her so much that she had to travel her domain in a virtual tank?


  1. I had forgotten it was st David's day
    How remiss of me
    As for your ginger comments I used to have a ginger tinted beard.....!
    Thank goodness for going grey

  2. Speaking of dragons, did you hear the Cardiff City owner wants to turn Bluebirds into Red Dragons. There will be blood ...

  3. Love your post title tonight Tom...
    And some of the comments your friends have endured are a daily occurrence here. It's kind of ordinary, tedious and awful.

    That said, I was speaking to a Londoner only yesterday. He was amazed at the casual use of 'black fella' 'white fella' language used in Australia. "So what do you call blackfellas?" I asked and he replied that you don't mention the word black or white at all because it is so fraught.

    But then you mentioned in a reply to one of my comments that your taxidermist friend, and others, were pretty cool with the language.
    Gawd, now I'm really confused but no more than I ever was since the age of about six.

  4. My son has red hair, as had his father - I don't know whether he has ever experienced any kind of prejudice - I shall ask him and report back.

  5. Baffles me why red haired people face prejudice anyhow, I've always wanted red hair myself!

  6. Yesterday was St Aubin's day here, but I did remember the other one; being a bit Welsh.

    Never really understood racism, hairism, sizism, or any other ism.

    1. By the way; how's the Volvo going?

    2. Still going - sans air-pump - thank you, so I don't know how much extra fuel I am using without it. I've never really understood Cubism, either.

  7. Well considering that the bold St Patrick was a Welshman, I would say that the Welsh can authentically have a double celebration !

    1. Being a Celt does not automatically make you a Welshman - you understand that, don't you Heron?

      The definition for a Welshman in some circles though, is an Irishman that cannot swim, so you may have a point.

      Tell me, do the Druids still have a get-together on Anglesea every year for old time's sake? Do they invite Romans too?