A few weeks ago I wrote this blog about being English. I’ve been doing some more thinking, on who and what we choose to identify with. There has to be a reason that we choose to describe ourselves as something, this might be due to a shared history, a sense of belonging, shared experience or many other factors. We aren’t just something, there is something that happens to make us that. Often these things happen naturally as we live in a place, particularly in the place we grow up. I love history, and that is one of the things that helps me feel a sense of being linked to a place. But through watching the Rugby I’ve seen how important that connection is, and how it can come about in many different ways. Before this 6 nations, I had seen clips of Rugby, but could tell you very little about it, I could probably name about 5 plays who have played in the past. However my two flatmates are both mad Rugby fans, and were determined that they would convert me to liking it. This they managed to do, but obviously I was introduced to supporting Ireland. Over the course of the Six nations they had taught me as well as the basic rules , who some of the Irish team are. It was interesting then to see who I would end up cheering for when England played Ireland. (I was watching it by myself, so could choose who I would cheer for, without any other opinions.) If you ask me I would identify myself as English, and had half thought that I would therefor cheer for them. But when it came to it, I realised that the English team could be anyone, I didn’t know who any of them were, I had no history of cheering for them, no connection of any kind. The Irish team on the other hand I could recognise and name over half, and the rest I couldn’t name but could recognise them. It felt like I was cheering for a team that I had some reason to support, they weren’t just nameless faces. I guess this just underlines that we can choose who we want to identify with, but there has to be some connection for some reason. If I was already an English Rugby fan I couldn’t imagine for one moment that this would have happened. I guess we need to help people belong in different situations, and also ensure that we feel connected to where we are, who we are with.
Reading Unfinished Symphony’s blog, reminded me of a conversation that happened a few weeks ago in my flat. I was watching t.v with one of my flatmates. We were watching Michael Palin’s New Europe. In the episode that we were watching he was in Romania and got the train with a group of lumberjacks and commented to the camera “no singing now” or words to that effect. I had a little giggle, to which my flatmate asked me what was funny? I made some commented about the lumberjack song and received a puzzled look. I then had to explain that in Monty Python he had been the lumberjack in the Lumberjack song. To which my flatmate responded “he was in Monty Python?” My second flatmate walked into the room, and my flatmate asked her “did you know Michael Palin was in Monty Python.” To which she responded “I thought he was a travel bloke.” It’s at moments like this I shake my head in despair and realise how much younger than me they are.
Another trip to court, but this time to the high court. Which is a solemn, serious and could be a scary experience. The court room was a big Victorian room, with very high ceiling, maybe 20 ft high at least. The bottom half of the walls are wood panel, and the judge behind a big desk which raises him up so he is looking down on everyone. There was an amazing Victorian patterned ceilings, high up on the walls, were various Victorian style reliefs. There were big windows which started about 12foot up in the air. All in all a very imposing place, and then as I was looking round, high up on a window ledge I spotted a paper aeroplane.