Thursday, October 25, 2007

My cousin Westmoreland. I actually prefer "Cousin Caterpillar".

In order to catch up with this blogging business, I thought that it was about time that you received some education and benefited from my wisdom. I thought that as today is a day when a couple of famous events happened in history, I would tell you about them, and other things that I have found out by doing a bit of internet searching.

Every schoolboy knows that 25th October is the anniversary of the battle of Agincourt, and courtesy of Bill Shakespeare therefore knows that it is St Crispin’s day. Most schoolboys also know it is the anniversary of the Charge of the Light Brigade.

Before continuing, let me just say that when I say “every schoolboy”, I mean anyone who was a schoolboy 50 years ago. Today’s schoolboys know fuck all, (not their fault, and not necessarily a bad thing) and are proud of it.

Let me deal with some international events that are not necessarily to do with England, but may have some significance nevertheless.

Today is Picasso’s birthday. As you will know I have little sense of appreciation for the visual arts, so what Picasso produced in his studio is of little interest to me. Some of you may be fond of his work. Others may say that it is complete bollocks. I say “Happy Birthday, Pabs”. I prefer Dali, who painted some freaky pictures, according to the song.

It is also the anniversary of the second battle of Dorylauem, when the 2nd Crusade got their arses well and truly kicked. Good. The Crusaders were the medieval equivalent of Jehovah’s Witnesses, although a visit from them was slightly more exciting. They were under the impression that their particular brand of God bothering was worth slaughtering half of Asia Minor for, but met their match with the occupiers of the Fertile Crescent. The Saracens were not people to politely say “Sorry, we’re Church of England”, and quietly close the door. Oh no! “Come round here with your fucking Watchtower, you dozy wassock” was more their style, followed by a fairly definitive dismemberment, if you were lucky.

St. Crispin, was not, of course, English. He had a twin brother, also a saint, called Crispinian. What the fuck was the matter with his parents, you may ask. Malchristening (I will come on to that again shortly) is a guarantee of a less than happy life. Crispin is the patron saint of cobblers, so is therefore particularly welcome here. Him and his kid brother were tortured and beheaded for their troubles. I take comfort from the Saracens not having a monopoly in dealing with the boring doorbell ringers. Astonishingly, if Wikipedia can be trusted, this all happened in Belgium. You have been warned. Don’t go peddling your religious tracts round Zoe’s house.

Other foreigners who knew how to weed out the less desirable elements were the Bolvsheviks. In 1917 they captured the Winter Palace.

Today also marks the death of King Stephen. The only two things I can remember about King Stephen are from Sellars and Yeatman, and I have consulted that tome to verify my recollection. King Stephen was a mistake. He was also malchristened. I suppose in these days having a King Steve might be considered slightly trendy, but back then it was asking for trouble. I don’t want to spend any more time on him – let me know if you know anything interesting about him.

It is also the anniversary of the death of Chaucer. I was in form 4Y, and we did not have Dr. Adey for English. Dr. Adey got a Ph.D. for knowing stuff about Chaucer. As far as I was concerned, he was welcome to it. We did modern poets instead. At the time I thought that Philip Larkin was more interesting than Chaucer, so did not complain. I have never read Chaucer, know very little about the Canterbury Tales, but can tell you that their author has been underground for a few days short of 607 years. Ironically, the modern poets are all dead now too. Funny old world, isn’t it?

I have written before about good old George III who began his reign on October 25th. He is to be commended for his policy of garbage disposal. May he rest in peace.

So, to the two things that some of us already knew about. (Are you taking notes, Adam?).

The Charge of the Light Brigade is commemorated for the two fashion items that originated there. Young men died there, but that is not memorable or we would have learned lessons from it, and wouldn’t be sending our children to kill and die in Iraq.
(That is the end of the serious bit, you can open your eyes again.)

Henry V. Another meddler. Got England involved in the 100 Years War. Tit. There was also a man called Henry Scrope who did something or other during his reign. I just like the name, OK.


dinahmow said...

I read this educating column regularly, but rarely admit to it in print. Just thought I'd let you know.Not that you are likely to care!

Anonymous said...

Picasso's birthday....perfect. No wonder some bitch rearranged my face.

Vicus Scurra said...

Yes, Dinah, of course I knew, and I was trying to keep it quiet for your sake. Now you've gone and told everyone.
Dyna. Is this some sort of Californian tradition of commemorating the great artists? Be careful what happens to you on Dali's birthday if that is the case.

Dave said...

What are the odds on your first two comments being from Dina and Dyna, eh?

I found this move towards educational blogging very exciting, and a pleasant change from your previous drivel.

Perhaps you could do a small monograph on classical architecture next.

I, like the view said...

you've dwelt on what every school boy knows

what about the school girls. . .

MJ said...

Is there going to be a test on this?

Richard said...

I liked history but because we had a true psychopath taking it, I gave up in the third year so didn't really get past the end of feudalism. Consequently most of these dates passed me by. Thank you. I once had a cardigan and still possess a balaclava.

Vicus Scurra said...

Dave. You know that we don't do requests, do we? What if I were to turn up in your congregation and insist that your lesson came from Deuteronomy? No, it wouldn't be fair would it.
ILTV. "What about the school girls" is a thread running through my life. It is one that I try to keep private, thank you.
MJ. Not for you, I think we all know what your score would be, don't we? You still owe me an essay on the decline of the Persian silk trade.
Richard! Your school practised feudalism? How very quaint! Was it in the south, perchance?

Vicus Scurra said...

And Richard, that article was an excellent one, wasn't it? 26 comments! We dream of that these days.

homo escapeons said...

Fascinating. All of those events are now marked in my Day Timer.

That whole British Empire collapsing thing still stings doesn't it?
It should come as no surprise that schoolboys in the UK no longer receive instructions concerning Historical events, by Jove it's not your problem anymore.

I've heard that these scalawags now use this newfound spare period to make a bloody nuisance of themselves while they sit the hallways smoking Pot and twittering about Headmaster Albus Dumbledore being outted.

Apparently Head-master jokes are all the rage.

Vicus Scurra said...

HE, I for one am glad that Britain disposed of all that surplus real estate. Only Canada and New Zealand have prospered since the withdrawal of the King's Own Light Infantry.

Richard said...

Vicus, yes those were heady days indeed. 26 comments raging from doped-up tank drivers in Crewe to West Ham Utd football club's correct address. I think I'll put that one in my portfolio. Those lessons must have made their mark because I'd forgotten the original reference to feudalism when I repeated it yesterday. I must now go out and tend my strip farm.

zoe said...

"Don’t go peddling your religious tracts round Zoe’s house." VERY wise advice. I think it must be the first time, but there's always a first, isn't there?

Vicus Scurra said...

Well Zoe, I have to retract it. I think that the rest of you should make the transformation of Zoe a top priority. She obviously has some anger issues, and maybe a drop of divine love is what she needs.