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English Culture - What is it?

Dave Hanson 02 Jan 09 - 03:23 AM
Nerd 02 Jan 09 - 01:10 AM
Richard Bridge 01 Jan 09 - 10:13 PM
SPB-Cooperator 01 Jan 09 - 06:34 AM
Big Al Whittle 31 Dec 08 - 08:13 AM
GUEST,lox 30 Dec 08 - 06:31 PM
The Sandman 30 Dec 08 - 03:31 PM
Nerd 30 Dec 08 - 02:03 PM
number 6 30 Dec 08 - 01:31 PM
Big Al Whittle 30 Dec 08 - 01:26 PM
Stringsinger 30 Dec 08 - 12:45 PM
The Borchester Echo 30 Dec 08 - 12:08 PM
Big Al Whittle 30 Dec 08 - 11:57 AM
Richard Bridge 30 Dec 08 - 11:45 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 30 Dec 08 - 11:36 AM
GUEST,glueman 30 Dec 08 - 11:29 AM
Big Al Whittle 30 Dec 08 - 06:38 AM
GUEST,glueman 30 Dec 08 - 05:41 AM
Big Al Whittle 30 Dec 08 - 04:53 AM
GUEST,lox 29 Dec 08 - 07:31 PM
GUEST,lox 29 Dec 08 - 07:29 PM
GUEST,Claudes youger cousin-Basic structuralism 29 Dec 08 - 07:05 PM
Gervase 29 Dec 08 - 06:35 PM
Big Al Whittle 29 Dec 08 - 06:09 PM
The Sandman 29 Dec 08 - 06:00 PM
Nerd 29 Dec 08 - 10:14 AM
GUEST,lox 29 Dec 08 - 09:17 AM
The Borchester Echo 29 Dec 08 - 08:57 AM
Jack Blandiver 29 Dec 08 - 08:53 AM
The Sandman 29 Dec 08 - 08:42 AM
The Borchester Echo 29 Dec 08 - 08:37 AM
The Sandman 29 Dec 08 - 08:32 AM
The Borchester Echo 29 Dec 08 - 08:32 AM
Jack Campin 29 Dec 08 - 08:26 AM
The Borchester Echo 29 Dec 08 - 08:13 AM
Jack Campin 29 Dec 08 - 07:50 AM
The Borchester Echo 29 Dec 08 - 05:50 AM
Lizzie Cornish 1 29 Dec 08 - 05:41 AM
The Borchester Echo 29 Dec 08 - 05:26 AM
GUEST,Tam 29 Dec 08 - 05:11 AM
Nerd 28 Dec 08 - 08:00 PM
Lox 28 Dec 08 - 05:46 PM
The Sandman 28 Dec 08 - 04:42 PM
Big Al Whittle 28 Dec 08 - 02:45 PM
The Borchester Echo 28 Dec 08 - 02:29 PM
The Sandman 28 Dec 08 - 02:22 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 28 Dec 08 - 01:59 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 28 Dec 08 - 01:49 PM
The Borchester Echo 28 Dec 08 - 01:45 PM
The Borchester Echo 28 Dec 08 - 01:26 PM
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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 02 Jan 09 - 03:23 AM

There is a good culture appearing on some Christmas Day sprouts in my kitchen.

eric


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: Nerd
Date: 02 Jan 09 - 01:10 AM

Richard is right. The sense in which "culture" is like "cultivate" has no bearing on whether it is a past or present phenomenon. People cultivated in the past, and they cultivate today. They had culture in the past, and culture today. And their current culture, like their current agri-culture, has some continuity with the past, as well as some innovation.

In more tedious academic terms, culture has both diachronic and synchronic dimensions; we can talk about "today's English culture" as a system that exists all at one time, but each element in that system also has a history that stretches into the past. Some elements, like folksong, drama, and literature, stretch back a long way, while other elements, like cinema, only stretch back a few years. Some, like Indian cuisine, have a long history elsewhere and only a short history in England, but they are certainly part of current English culture.

That said, I agree with much of SPB's post as well...I just think the etymology of the word "culture" doesn't go that far in explaining our shared positions.


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 01 Jan 09 - 10:13 PM

But the cultured vegetables or roses (or, indeed, dogs or cats) are based on the genes of the old, and by what their creators wish them to be, as well, plus a certain amount of random variation (and selection).


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 01 Jan 09 - 06:34 AM

I hope I am not repeating something earlier in this thread....

To culture = to cultivate

Therefore by definition, a culture is not what something used to be, but something that is now, by an on-going process of refinement and cultivation..... a culture is something that is made, grown.

Therefore, English culture is what we have made 'Englishness' today, but it would be arrogant to say there is one English culture, as local cultures form independently (rural vs urban, city vs market town wealthy 10% vs poorest 10% etc.) It is a sad that many cultures are converging into being defined by identical shopping malls, out of town retail parks, fast food shops, etc.)


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 08:13 AM

"what if one of the Brazilians was a cousin of the watersons, and another was actually the third yo yo player in the in 1968 line of fairport, and another had written a song recorded by billy bragg?

i reckon you'd have an entire edition of frooots and half of mike hardings next programme in that pub."

Just struck me. chuck in a couple of rockstars too old and useless to get the Stockport pantomime gig as Wishy Washy, and you'd have a pretty typical line up for Cambridge.


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 06:31 PM

WLD - ROFL

Antonio Carlos Waterson - the Girl from Bridlington

Young and pale and cold and chubby
The girl from Bridlingon goes walking
And as she passses all the boys go
Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 03:31 PM

the prs/mcps are sodding useless unless you're paul macartney. they could afford to dib out a bit more if they weren't always sending idiotic communications and glossy publications generally about bugger all.
well said,and the same goes for IMRO.


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: Nerd
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 02:03 PM

Dickens is a fine example of English culture. I read and/or watch a film of "A Christmas Carol" every year. It is not only a great English story, but also a great metaphysical story about improving yourself through introspection.

There are a couple of overtly Christian references in it, as when Tiny Tim says he likes people to see him at Christmastime so that they may be reminded who made blind men see and lame beggars walk. Still, Frank's point holds: it emphasizes the peace and goodwill over the religious specifics.

This brings up a folk-related question, which perhaps should have its own thread so as not to divert this one.


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: number 6
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 01:31 PM

"English Culture - What is it?"

I dunno ... when an answer is found let me know .... ok

biLL


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 01:26 PM

the prs/mcps are sodding useless unless you're paul macartney. they could afford to dib out a bit more if they weren't always sending idiotic communications and glossy publications generally about bugger all.
Clairvacancy meter always seems full to overflowing...

bah humbug!

quite right Frank, nothing better than the winter solstice; to sit by a roaring fire in the depths of winter and chuck onto the flames the latest glossy publication from the PRS.


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 12:45 PM

I think of the Winter Solstice as a part of English culture, the yule log in its quest to bring back the Sun (not the Son). Happy Solstice, everyone. The New Year started on Dec. 21.

I think of Charles Dickens, too, for his social commentary. No overt religious references
in his "Christmas Carol" which I appreciate. Just peace on Earth and good will. Who can disagree with that (who is in their right mind)?

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 12:08 PM

Funnily enough, BBC R4 this very morning broadcast The Fortune Hunters which explained exactly how to go about chasing unclaimed royalties. First of all, you register as the clairvoyancy meter at the PRS is clean out of shillings . . .


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 11:57 AM

equal cultural footing.........which bleeding annexe of the planet Zog are you currently inhabiting?

And every seat at Stratford is subsididised by how much, every seat at Covent garden by how much.....And your Public Library won't even let you put up a poster for a local folkclub because that means them getting involved in rank commercialism - The Amadeus Noseflute Quartet are up there with the 'acceptable' folkies (a sizeable part of whose acts seems to be telling you of how they were sudsidised for writing and performing something totally unmemorable).

PRS gets the money no problem for some dotty opera that about three people listen to on the 3rd programme. But hey when you pop in and do a session for afternoon radio somewhere or other - actually they're doing you the favour publicising your minority music, they'll log the play - but hey who knows if you'll get anything. (I do! you won't))

Try suggesting that folk music in England could learn an awful lot in terms of populism and hiring a decent record producer from American Country Music and then you will really hear the howls of derision - you can't improve on the perfection that they consider themselves to have attained.

English artists influenced by americana are the real untermenschen of the folkscene in England.

equal footing....it means they kick you with one foot, then the other.


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 11:45 AM

There is surely a degree of expectation, a degree of normativeness, and a degree of distinctiveness about the expression "English culture".

As to "distinctiveness", there may well be representations of facets of other coultures tobe found in England, or observed by some English, but that does not make those things representative of English culture - as the exaple above of the Brazilian bar demonstrates.

As to "expectation" it surely cannot be said that an activity that is commonplace but generally disapproved within a culture is part of a culture - so tax evasion (rather than avoidance) is not IMHO part of English culture but is widely said to be part of the Italian culture (the "two sets of books" philosophy). Conversely, something may be unlawful but widely accepted and so is part of the culture - for example unlicensed downloading of copright music.

As to "normativeness" an activity that has not yet become established and so commonplace within a culture cannot surely be part of that culture.

It would seem to follow that as well as current activitites, past activities will be part of the culture, but not those that have come to be depsised - eg bear-baiting and cockfighting. THey are art of history, but not culture.


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 11:36 AM

Got It!

DEFINITION OF ENGLISH CULTURE.

A blind man.
In a dark room.
Looking for a black cat.
Which isn't there

Done Deal.


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 11:29 AM

Perhaps WLD but culture (singular) implies homogeneity, a monolithic and easily accessed national default which infers stability in a range of key signifiers. I don't think we have that. We have a situation where skateboarders are on an equal cultural footing to pianists which are vying with experimental video makers and football shirt collectors.
I'm not attributing value to the situation, simply remarking on what I observe.
Actually, there is a prejudice against traditional forms and groups and anyone trying to attain money for artistic projects from the larger sources will find diversity, inclusion, ethnicity, etc., are terms that free up cash more readily than continuity and permanence.

It doesn't make Daily Mail type steam emerge from my ears because all sorts of groups have hogged creative resources over the years, financial and human and most were mainstream, male and white.


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 06:38 AM

your view of culture is too small.   sociologists say that three people on an island are a society. and every society has a culture.

All play for example is a form of cultural activity. It is the people's vitality which makes a culture, not a load of dumbshit rules about made up by academics, anoraks and the like.

English culture has no option but too survive, because the place is full to bursting point with creative players. Whether it survives in a form you approve of, is another matter.

But objectively speaking, culture has not left the building.


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 05:41 AM

I'm struggling with the idea of films 'being' culture. Reflecting it certainly, the Boulting brothers, Hitchcock, Charles Crichton, Powell and Pressburger all held up recognisable mirrors to England but that's not the same as the core cultural product.
The weakness of a consistent meme has made sweet wrappers, pulp movies and pop music suggest culture to someone, which is not the same as an on-going music, dance, dress and cuisine. If it isn't popular culture and isn't unmediated historical fact and English folk is largely a revivalist invention I'd suggest English Culture has not survived in a meaningful or universal way.


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 04:53 AM

what if one of the Brazilians was a cousin of the watersons, and another was actually the third yo yo player in the in 1968 line of fairport, and another had written a song recorded by billy bragg?

i reckon you'd have an entire edition of frooots and half of mike hardings next programme in that pub.


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 07:31 PM

(and of course not much body hair ... )


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 07:29 PM

"And I'd be very interested in hearing why you would think anything else is a tenable position!"

In London - A Brazilian Bar, full of Brazilians, watching Brazil play football on the big screen, as samba music is played on the stereo ...

What do I win?


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: GUEST,Claudes youger cousin-Basic structuralism
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 07:05 PM

What makes culture English?

There's a good un when your pissed and up late and not in England. Lets get started then.

First human activity, First act of humans- seperate self from nature, become cultural. Food (cooked=first culture), drink, family structures, kinship, all cultural. Invent spoken language. Song and storytelling part of language. Codify/organise culture to pass on down generations. Seperate the story/song from act of telling or singing = Myth/survival machine.

Therefore Carry on films=cultural. Music (all)=culture.

Second act of humans-seperate 'us' from 'them' Some 'us' is English. We Chuck bricks at 'them'(Welsh, Scots Irish, Jews, Poles, Immigrants, fill in the blanks, you know your own weaknesses).

Third act of humans- seperate 'us' from those lower/different/ than 'us'- 'them'. (lower class/upper class, high culture/low culture; popular/minority.hmm sounds familiar)

Fourth act of humans- use these categories as a means of forming an identity (sense of self and place in the world)and personalise it so that you describe yourself in terms these categories= 'I am.....'

Fifth act of humans- forget that these categories are the product of humans (cutural) and believe that they are part of nature/common sense/(natural).

Sixth act of humans- ascribe worth to people you have never met on basis of cultural values attributed to them: stereotype. and get very upset with them when they don't behave......

For myself, if I can make a value judgment I think just about the lowest(!) sense of self identity that can be expressed is that of nationality. And the lowest(!) kind of politics is nationalism. Which in my book is but three steps from facism.

SO for that reason, I'd have to answer the question by saying- any human activity occuring in the geographical area called 'England' is English culture. What makes it English is that England is where it happens. And I'd be very interested in hearing why you would think anything else is a tenable position!

Best wishes. I'm going to bed.


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: Gervase
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 06:35 PM

Sorry, but that's absolute bollocks.
Look at Boka Halat. Who, you ask? Exactly. A fantastic fusion of English and African music that appeals to people outside the narrow ghetto of 'folk'. It's the sort of thinking that crosses borders rather than erects barriers (as some on here would seem to want to do).
And if that sort of music finds itself confined to BBC 2 programmes - well, good for them, because it's rather more than the average folk club offering manages to do. I'm sorry, but the 'traditional' as opposed to the 'tradarts' stuff can't seem to find airtime anywhere. Sad, maybe, but true.
So instead of sitting on a rather frail ivory tower and casting aspersions, can I suggest that those who would criticise would actually listen to some of the stuff they decry, and look at the sort of people who are drawn to it, and then sit back and think very hard. Think how they can engage the same sort of audience, and how then can make their material as fun, relevant and engaging.
Which leads us, in a commodious vicus of circulation, back to the thread about folk clubs dying....


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 06:09 PM

no captain, its a very good and descriptive term.

the problem is to contain this rubbish - keep it confined to BBC2 programmes that no one listens to; just get the artists to play and sing obscure shit in really silly voices that no one could possibly relate to; make it a sort of middle class ghetto for people with sod all to say to say and just about the requisite amount of talent to say it........

I don't think you could hope make it work.

Happy new year!


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 06:00 PM

tradarts,equals bullshit.


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: Nerd
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 10:14 AM

As Jack says, from the anthropological perspective, those films are culture. And in fact, from every other well-defined perspective, except for the values-based one, which says that some person or organization gets to decide if something is "culture" based on how "good" it is. The problem with that model, as I said, is that "tradarts" usually lose out, and are not considered culture by most of the arbiters who decide what counts a "culture."

"Tradarts," by the way, is simply a neologism for "traditional arts," which is itself more-or-less contiguous with what is often called "folklore." The term has developed mainly in the internet age, when "tradarts" became an element of various URLs, including the one Diane gave above. It is a conscious attempt to shed the terms "folk" and "folklore" because of the baggage those terms carry.

Academic folklorists, as well as people who perform traditional music and dance, have for years struggled with the baggage of the term "folk," so I sympathize with Diane's wish to avoid it. The problem is that "traditional" is no better. In the language of arts organizations, which is where my career has been up to a couple of years ago, the "traditional arts" are painting, classical music, ballet, and other "High art." My former boss used to come to meetings with funders and say "we present folk and other non-traditional arts," until I worked with her to break her of the habit. So using another term, which already had another meaning, rarely does any good.

Inventing a new term like "tradarts" may help, so I wish her luck with it. But I don't see it catching on much, so if one uses the term one is rarely understood.

One challenge for this thread, it seems to me, is that some of us are taking Lizzie Cornish's question at face value, and others are responding to different questions, based on a long-running argument that most of us here don't quite understand. The thread was not called "English Tradarts-What are they?" so even if your favorite kinds of culture fall under the umbrella of tradarts, discussing other forms of culture is still appropriate to this thread. I think it's relatively obvious that films and poetry (even poetry I may not like) are perfectly valid examples of "culture." The question was, what makes culture "English"?


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 09:17 AM

I think its fair to conclude that

1. English culture is a very complex and hard to define amalgam.

2. It is also a very interesting area of study.

3. It is a very sensitive issue.

4. 3 English people in one room will advance 3 different opinions of what english culture is.

5. each will probably argue that the other two are wrong.

6. they will probably all get upset.

7. The BNP will hang around like bad smell to try and convince all of them that they best represent the viw that each of them of them is convinced of


Like the story of the 3 blind men arguing over what an elephant is ...

... its a curly snake - no its a tree trunk - no its like a little rope.


I think the poster has asked an interesting question, though I am concerned that her mind is closed to some aspects of English culture that she doesn't understand and therefore finds unpalatable.

But I don't see that she has been any more closed minded than some of her critics.

Which of course ultimately proves that I'm the most open minded and enlightened person in the whole world!


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 08:57 AM

Closing Down (like everything else)


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 08:53 AM

What's tradarts?


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 08:42 AM

His writing about shakespeare and the english monarchy,,Second Anglo-Sikh War 1848-49

During the nineteenth century, the British slowly extended their hold over the whole of the Indian subcontinent, fighting a series of wars to secure their gains. The Second Anglo-Sikh War saw the end of the independent Sikh nation and the incorporation of the Punjab into British India.

The Battle of Gujrat
Crimean War 1854-55

Britain's first European war for forty years, this war with Russia was conducted with quite extraordinary incompetence by the British generals. The most memorable event - and poem - of the war was the Charge of the Light Brigade, but McGonagall adds a few more...

The Battle of Alma
The Battle of Inkermann
Indian Mutiny 1857-58

The rebellion of Indian soldiers, and much of the native population, sent shockwaves throughout Victorian Britain. Marked by acts of barbarism on both sides, the events of the mutiny were still inspiring McGonagall to write twenty years later.

The Hero of Kalapore
The Downfall of Delhi
The Capture of Lucknow
Second Ashanti War 1873

Typical of many of the "small wars" fought to maintain Queen Victoria's empire, the Second Ashanti War saw a powerful West African nation brought to heel.

The Ashantee War
Contemporary Wars

Amongst the newspaper accounts of civilian death and disaster which regularly inspired McGonagall's pen came stories of military deeds from across the Empire. These were grist to the mill of McGonagall's Quixotic genius and inspired the following "Gems":
Zulu War 1879

Border disputes led to this conflict, remembered in the movie "Zulu". Though successful at first, the Zulu nation was eventually destroyed.

The Hero of Rorke's Drift
Second Afghan War 1878-1880

The Last Berkshire Eleven
General Roberts in Afghanistan
First Boer War 1881

The Horrors of Majuba
Egyptian Revolt 1882

The Battle of Tel-el-Kebir
Mahdist Uprising 1883-85

General Gordon, the Hero of Khartoum
The Battle of El-Teb
The Battle of Abu Klea
The Rebel Surprise Near Tamai
Reconquest of Sudan 1896-98

The Battle of Atbara
The Battle of Omdurman
Second Boer War 1899-1902

The Battle of Glencoe
The Relief of Mafeking
Lord Robert's Triumphal Entry into Pretoriain other words subject matter


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 08:37 AM

But (as I said about the Carry On films, what has McGonagall got to do with culture? (Or England?)


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 08:32 AM

Diane,if you cant appreciate bad poetry,that is so bad it is good,,and also extremely funny,it is a shame.
as far as I am concerned it is eminently more interesting and amusing,than much else on this thread.


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 08:32 AM

So no music then?
Oops, wrong forum, obviously.
Where do you go these days to discuss English tradarts?


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 08:26 AM

From the standard anthropological standpoint, "English culture" *does* include those films, along with Barbara Cartland, Commando comics, Spanish souvenir cruet sets mounted on a toy donkey and hen night parties in fishnets and fluffy plastic stetsons.


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 08:13 AM

To attempt to equate the Carry On trash films with "culture" is a step far too far. Even for Humpty Dumpty.


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 07:50 AM

One can legitimately ask Sid James's work in the Carry On films counts as "English," which was Lizzie's original claim. James was in a series of English films, directed at an English audience, in which he played English characters. Certainly in many other countries, if an immigrant was so fully adopted into a country's cultural scene, especially from one of that country's former colonies, his work would count as part of that country's culture.

Particularly since hardly any of his viewers would have realized he was from anywhere else. It had never occurred to me before this thread that he was anything other than a native Englishman with a Protestant background.

We don't often get to find out the ethnic background of British Jews in public life until we read it in their obituaries (or similar - I didn't realize Malcolm Rifkind was Jewish until he lost his seat and some journo wrote a political obit for him).


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 05:50 AM

Yes, I see. Extraneous bollocks it is, then.
A rambling piece encompassing all manner of Humpty-Dumpty-like uncited and unreferenced sources.
Highly academic. Not.


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 05:41 AM

It's about this, actually:

The Culture of England - Wiki


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 05:26 AM

doggeral (sic)

I can at least spell it.
I recommend actually reading the thread.
There are those who seem intent on contributing tripe-like doggerel to it - from dirgy, dodgy popsongs and pretentious Scottish crap principally - but none from me.
I am simply upholding the importance of English tradarts, as I am wont to do.
This is, after all, what this thread is supposed to be about, rather than extraneous bollocks. (Or is it?)
As I have already remarked elsewhere in the forum this morning. I recommend Specsavers. And engaging brain before fingers land on keyboard.


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: GUEST,Tam
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 05:11 AM

So Diane just wants English tripe-like doggeral and I'm sure there's plenty.


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: Nerd
Date: 28 Dec 08 - 08:00 PM

I think the problem wasn't Jim's or my own cut-and-paste, per se, nor any "transatlantic person's" failure to comprehend Diane, but the fact that Diane's original formulation "more English than the Royal Family isn't" doesn't actually mean anything, on either side of the Atlantic.

Nonetheless, the basic point of her post was clear. My relatives, who are English Jews, in order to claim they are English must "ponce about, pretending to be English," but, luckily, this practice, also known as "the practice of immigrants (however far back) concealing their roots," is dying out.

I think most people on this thread have already disagreed with her on this, so we need say no more.

On the other hand, Diane's statement that "a South African Jewish comedian is scarcely representative of either Englishness or of culture" expands the question about Sid James's work a bit.

One can legitimately ask Sid James's work in the Carry On films counts as "English," which was Lizzie's original claim. James was in a series of English films, directed at an English audience, in which he played English characters. Certainly in many other countries, if an immigrant was so fully adopted into a country's cultural scene, especially from one of that country's former colonies, his work would count as part of that country's culture. This is, therefore, open to debate. Diane is welcome to her opinion that it isn't English culture, but this is by no means obvious or uncontroversial. Others can with equal justification say that it IS English culture.

Suggesting, as Diane does, that the films aren't an example of "culture" at all is using a values-based definition of culture. In this scheme, some artistic productions are culture and some aren't, and the arbiter uses his or her values to decide which is which. This is the same understanding of Culture that allows many English people to devalue folklore, or as Diane would say, "tradarts."

Luckily, this understanding of culture has been pretty forcefully rejected by those who study culture. We have learned that a series of popular films like Carry On can tell you as much about ordinary people as either so-called "high culture" (such as Shakespeare) or so-called "subcultures" (such as punk.) So within the British-pioneered discipline of "Cultural Studies," these films are, in fact, regarded as part of English culture.

In an article from the BBC online, here, Andy Medhurst, lecturer in film, media and cultural studies at Sussex University, said of the films that "They capture the way people living humdrum lives with limited horizons found a release in comedy. They seem to encapsulate an everyday life in Britain of that time."

Peter Ackroyd mentions the films in his book Albion - the Origins of the English Imagination, where he suggests that they are typically English, and moreover that they represent a stratum of English humor that goes back to middle English mystery plays.

English? Yes, many people think so.
Culture? Yes, many people think so.
English culture? Looks that way to me.


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: Lox
Date: 28 Dec 08 - 05:46 PM

I am reminded of a book of Graffiti I read when I was a lad.

One little gem, spotted in some public toilet somewhere no doubt, read as follows;

"To err is human ... to pretend you don't is English"

Oh England is a merry place.


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Dec 08 - 04:42 PM

Diane,he had aspirations to be poet laureate,his bad poetry is regarded by many as amusing,and since he has graced us with his lines on such notables as William Shakespeare ,and the royal family,he can be said to part of english culture.
An Ode to the Queen

All hail to the Empress of India, Great Britain's Queen!
Long may she live in health, happy and serene;
Loved by her subjects at home and abroad;
Blest may she be when lying down
To sleep, and rising up, by the Eternal God;
Happy may her visions be in sleep ...
And happy her thoughts in the day time;
Let all loyal subjects drink to her health
In a flowing bumper of Rhenish Wine.
And when the final hour shall come to summon her away,
May her soul be wafted to the realms of bliss,
I most sincerely do pray, to sing with saints above,
Where all is joy, peace and love -
In Heaven, for evermore to reign,
God Save the Queen. Amen.


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Dec 08 - 02:45 PM

paying mortgages.........!

well you can't get much done when you're homeless - not unless you fancy the Robert johnson road where you anaesthetise yourself to not not having a roof over your head, and make a swift exit halfway through the first act.

I suppose I've known the Paul Downes gang since about 1975. they've never shown much signs of being materialistic - quite the opposite. Its always been about making the music work.

Its taken a fair bit of idealism to get them where they are - rooms full of people nationwide singing their songs - despite never really getting on telly very much, no major label, no major agency, no hit record. stuff that mored favoured artists take as a given.

I'm sorry you can't see that. I'm sure they will do better - but really they've done pretty good.


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 28 Dec 08 - 02:29 PM

William McGonagall was Scottish (quite obviously).
So what's his tripe-like doggerel got to do with the topic?


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Dec 08 - 02:22 PM

to relieve the tedium,some more mcgonagle.
The Christmas Goose

Mr. SMIGGS was a gentleman,
And he lived in London town;
His wife she was a good kind soul,
And seldom known to frown.

'Twas on Christmas eve,
And Smiggs and his wife lay cosy in bed,
When the thought of buying a goose
Came into his head.

So the next morning,
Just as the sun rose,
He jump'd out of bed,
And he donn'd his clothes,

Saying, "Peggy, my dear.
You need not frown,
For I'll buy you the best goose
In all London town."

So away to the poultry shop he goes,
And bought the goose, as he did propose,
And for it he paid one crown,
The finest, he thought, in London town.

When Smiggs bought the goose
He suspected no harm,
But a naughty boy stole it
From under his arm.

Then Smiggs he cried, "Stop, thief!
Come back with my goose!"
But the naughty boy laugh'd at him,
And gave him much abuse.

But a policeman captur'd the naughty boy,
And gave the goose to Smiggs,
And said he was greatly bother'd
By a set of juvenile prigs.

So the naughty boy was put in prison
For stealing the goose.,
And got ten days' confinement
Before he got loose.

So Smiggs ran home to his dear Peggy,
Saying, "Hurry, and get this fat goose ready,
That I have bought for one crown;
So, my darling, you need not frown."

"Dear Mr Smiggs, I will not frown:
I'm sure 'tis cheap for one crown,
Especially at Christmas time --
Oh! Mr Smiggs, it's really fine."

"Peggy. it is Christmas time,
So let us drive dull care away,
For we have got a Christmas goose,
So cook it well, I pray.

"No matter how the poor are clothed,
Or if they starve at home,
We'll drink our wine, and eat our goose,
Aye, and pick it to the bone."


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 28 Dec 08 - 01:59 PM

"Of course SoH are in it to make enough to pay their mortgages. It's their job."

Bit like the Wandering Minstrels or Yore, then, singing for their suppers?


"I've never liked what they do as a band, I've always said so, knowing them to be capable of so much better."

I'm sure they'd love to have you coach them. :0)


"I don't think they mind."

Really? Try asking their manager, Vaughan. You can find him via their Myspace page.

And now, back to Sir Christopher Wren, or had we reached Nell Gwynne?


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 28 Dec 08 - 01:49 PM

>>It's 'my' English

No, it bloody isn't.<<

Yes, it is, as in 'it's the way I write, spell, whatever, as in my way of 'English', that is, *my* English. You've got your way, I've got mine. My way means that I don't tell people how to write English. :0)

And...er...talking of South Africa and Ireland, and Judaism, let's read about Peter Ackroyd's 'Albion'

"It isn't our resistance to foreign influences that makes us English, he argues, but our ability to assimilate them: "Englishness is the principle of appropriation." We're a "mungrell" nation - hybrid, heterogenous, adaptive, accumulative, eclectic. Forget blood or genes. National traits come with the territory. The common ground we have is the ground itself. Placism, not racism, should be the slogan."

Taken from: Peter Ackroyd's 'Albion' (The Origins of the English Imagination)

"Placism, not racism, should be the slogan."

So, let's place Sid James and George Best right back where they belong, as part of English culture..alongside all the other people, places and things already mentioned in here.


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 28 Dec 08 - 01:45 PM

Of course SoH are in it to make enough to pay their mortgages. It's their job. I've never liked what they do as a band, I've always said so, knowing them to be capable of so much better. I don't think they mind. They have quite enough of a "following" to make a living, thank you.

I live in hope that they'll be able, some day soon, to jack it in and concentrate on far more representative English music such as Phil Beer produces from time to time. Farewell "Roots" for ever. Hurrah!


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Subject: RE: English Culture - What is it?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 28 Dec 08 - 01:26 PM

A quiz about Prince Philip's bons mots that shows him to be all too typically "English".


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