The Loose Bloggers Consortium said: Write about culture. The Fountains Abbey pub opposite St Mary’s Hospital immediately came to mind. A plaque on the wall claims that the bacterium that led to Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin could have wafted out the pub window along with beer fumes, across the road and into the window of his office – leading to the contamination of the culture in his petri dish. The rest is medical history. (And good news for some of my World War Two relatives.)
But I saw a different memorial more recently. While I was joining the great and arty to commemorate Ted Hughes the other day, a stone in memory of people who served in Malaya caught my eye.
The inscription read:
To commemorate the work of all those men and women of the British race who served Malaya 1786-1968
They shall come from the east and from the west and shall sit down in the kingdom of God
The pic I took was too rubbish to show you. There are better ones here, along with one of the Queen Mother unveiling it.
But the inscription raised questions for me. The British race? What is it? Is there a British race any more? Was there ever? Or do you have to delve back as far as the British being driven into what is now Wales by Roman? Saxon? Angle? invaders – leaving a more varied bunch of immigrants to eventually take the name British. These days – do the people most likely to declare themselves as British fall into these groups – Black, Asian (though not Scottish Asians) and Northern Ireland Protestant – the rest tending to opt for English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish? Some questions – what do you think?
Meanwhile back to culture – Smiley Culture – so-called because at school he chatted up girls by asking for a smile. He had two hits – there’s one below. He sadly and controversially came to a violent end during a police raid – blogger Dàithaì C‘s take here – but he left his mark on British culture along the way.
In case you’re wondering – the song, Police Officer, is apparently about an episode when he was caught in possession of cannabis, but let off because the police officer recognised him as a reggae artist.
You can saunter on over to read what the other members of the Loose (morals? bowels? knicker elastic?) Bloggers Consortium have to say about culture at their sites listed on the right hand side of the page – just scroll down a little to find them.