Saturday, 12 June 2010

There are only two syllables in England

The house diagonally opposite has a huge cross of St George flag hanging out of an upstairs bedroom window. There are smaller versions flying from small masts on their car. They are not alone. Over the last few days it's been difficult to cast your gaze anywhere without seeing an England flag.

It's World Cup time again. And, for one month out of every four years, a collective insanity grips everyone.

I say that like it's a bad thing. It's really not.

Let me state my position right away. I'm not a massive fan of football. I have a little difficulty with the offside rule. And I'm not entirely sure I'd want to spend too much time with professional footballists. (That is the correct term, isn't it?)

I'm also not into the public displays, the flags, the bunting, the t-shirts. This open, chest-thumping, tears-in-your-eyes form of patriotism - it's fine for other countries, just not very, well, English. I love the place, its history, landscapes, cities, culture, humour, people. But I'm well aware that nationality is an accident of birth. If I was born elsewhere I'd probably have similar feelings about that place. Well, maybe not Belgium, but you get the general idea.

But I don't mind other people indulging in all of this. Although if you're going to fly an England flag, please choose one that is a simple cross and doesn't have 'ENGLAND' emblazoned across it. We're not schoolchildren on Flag Recognition Day.

But here's the thing. Despite my lack of football knowledge, my quiet undemonstrative patriotism, I love all the stuff and nonsense that goes with events like the World Cup. For four weeks we'll all be united, gripped by dramas being played out thousands of miles away. We will sing silly songs, share outrage and delight, and maybe the odd beer or two. And we will, undoubtedly, find some tiny level of detail, some rulebook minutiae, over which we can obsess.

Sounds decidedly English to me.


Lois Lindemann (three-legged-cat) said...

What's wrong with Belgium then?

Beer and chocolate. I rest my case.

fatboyfat said...

tlc - good point, well made.


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