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.