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Big Fat Gypsy Weddings

C Stuart Cook 17 Feb 11 - 07:45 AM
squeezeboxhp 17 Feb 11 - 08:32 AM
GUEST,Patsy 17 Feb 11 - 11:27 AM
Diva 17 Feb 11 - 02:18 PM
Diva 17 Feb 11 - 02:25 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 17 Feb 11 - 02:45 PM
InOBU 17 Feb 11 - 06:13 PM
GUEST,Diva 17 Feb 11 - 08:22 PM
InOBU 18 Feb 11 - 07:53 PM
LadyJean 18 Feb 11 - 11:32 PM
GUEST, topsie 19 Feb 11 - 07:16 PM
InOBU 19 Feb 11 - 10:01 PM
GUEST,geust 20 Feb 11 - 05:17 AM
Lizzie Cornish 1 20 Feb 11 - 05:32 AM
Lizzie Cornish 1 20 Feb 11 - 05:52 AM
InOBU 20 Feb 11 - 11:31 AM
Mrrzy 20 Feb 11 - 04:10 PM
Jim Carroll 20 Feb 11 - 06:57 PM
C-flat 21 Feb 11 - 03:20 AM
GUEST, topsie 22 Feb 11 - 05:33 PM
GUEST, topsie 22 Feb 11 - 05:41 PM
InOBU 22 Feb 11 - 09:24 PM
GUEST, topsie 23 Feb 11 - 04:38 AM
GUEST,Patsy 23 Feb 11 - 05:19 AM
GUEST, topsie 23 Feb 11 - 05:42 AM
GUEST,Patsy 23 Feb 11 - 10:00 AM
InOBU 23 Feb 11 - 10:42 AM
GUEST, topsie 23 Feb 11 - 12:42 PM
GUEST, topsie 23 Feb 11 - 04:04 PM
LadyJean 23 Feb 11 - 08:41 PM
GUEST,Patsy 24 Feb 11 - 07:58 AM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 24 Feb 11 - 08:29 AM
InOBU 24 Feb 11 - 09:05 AM
GUEST,Patsy 24 Feb 11 - 09:47 AM
GUEST, topsie 24 Feb 11 - 11:08 AM
InOBU 24 Feb 11 - 11:16 AM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 24 Feb 11 - 11:26 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 24 Feb 11 - 11:55 AM
GUEST, topsie 24 Feb 11 - 01:33 PM
Jim Carroll 24 Feb 11 - 03:24 PM
GUEST, topsie 24 Feb 11 - 04:07 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 24 Feb 11 - 05:00 PM
Penny S. 24 Feb 11 - 06:24 PM
InOBU 24 Feb 11 - 07:01 PM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 24 Feb 11 - 09:02 PM
InOBU 24 Feb 11 - 10:24 PM
Jim Carroll 25 Feb 11 - 03:55 AM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 25 Feb 11 - 06:08 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Feb 11 - 06:32 AM
InOBU 25 Feb 11 - 09:52 AM
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Subject: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: C Stuart Cook
Date: 17 Feb 11 - 07:45 AM

Did anyone see the programme on TV last night. A bit confusing as it looked at both the Irish Travelling community and the Romany Gypsy travellers without seeminmg to differntiate between them.

The weddings bit seemed ludicrous but the section on the Romanies and their Horse Fair at Appleby was illuminating and appalling. They were being subject to intensified Police harassment, both on the way to the fair and in Appleby itself.

"The Moving On" song would now seem understated. I've been to Appleby on the Fair weekend and it was an experience never to be forgotten. Traditionally the roadside verges were used all the way up the A1 to rest the horses on the way up to the fair. Same on the Lancashire side of the Pennines. This time every rest and watering point for the horses had been blocked off by the police.

This seemd to me to be a deliberate cruel attempt by the Police to make it distressing for the horses. This could only be in the knowledge that the Romanies would not put the horses through hell on a hot summers day on hilly stretches if they could avoid it.

I thought it stank.


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: squeezeboxhp
Date: 17 Feb 11 - 08:32 AM

A1 not suitable any more for horse traffic plenty come up through the dales over a period of time taking it easy


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: GUEST,Patsy
Date: 17 Feb 11 - 11:27 AM

Yes I have been thinking the same thing, I have been following it all the way through and as you say CSC the last episode was appalling and also they didn't attempt to differentiate between the two, infact all the way through it focussed on the travellers rather than Romany gypsies. Anyone watching would automatically assume that they were mostly intermarried with Irish. It could be that travellers might be easier to interview than Romanies, I don't know.

Somehow I think it was a bit of a sales pitch for the dressmaker, I could be wrong.


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: Diva
Date: 17 Feb 11 - 02:18 PM

Been watching but I have to say that it bears no resemblence to any travellers that I have been privilleged to know


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: Diva
Date: 17 Feb 11 - 02:25 PM

But I can fully understand why they are big showy events....


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 17 Feb 11 - 02:45 PM

I've been amazed at how sexist the men are.....
Gee whizz, who'd be a Gypsy girl, eh?

And as for the dresses and the weddings....Yuk! I mean...a dress that weighs FIVE STONE!! Come ON! And 'the more blood that they have on their hips, from the sheer weight and rubbing of the dresses, the better' ????

Did people get crop sprayed with Idiot Dust when I wasn't looking, or what????


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: InOBU
Date: 17 Feb 11 - 06:13 PM

Hi Lizzie: I didn't see the show over here in the US, but Romany woman do very well here on a number of levels. To begin with for the Kalderash and Machawya communities, their ecconomies are matriarchal, and women gain more and more power by wielding control of the spiritual environment in a Romany home. There is almost no domestic violence, due to a "bride price" a reverce dowery which acts as an insurence against violence in a Romany home (hit your wife and loose up to $10,000 of your families wealth...) There are liberal divorce laws in the Romany Chris, (courts).
Most Romany woman I know whould never think of becoming gyzhen, non-Romany - they see non-Romany life as violent, disordered and silly.

Idiot dust blows in many directions, there has never been a war started by Romany people, we did not build the ovens used to cover Polish fields with the ashes of our families and our Jewish sisters and brothers... we just move on, seems sensible most of the time to me.

Devlessa
Lorcan


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: GUEST,Diva
Date: 17 Feb 11 - 08:22 PM

To our modern outlook it may look sexist but it was traditional at one time in the culture of the country hantle for the man to be breadwinner and the woman to look after the home.


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: InOBU
Date: 18 Feb 11 - 07:53 PM

Well, it is deeper than that, there is a great Western European and American tradition that we have the right to define the world, if it doen't look like my idea of modernity, it is backward, if it does not match our view of either concervative or progressive, it is wrong headed.
The west swings about in its fashions of change and politics and the centered cultures which persist in the face of the oppression of the modern are covered in idiot dust. And yet, the enlighted westerners will pay some new age woman in a long Indian dress to "read" their cards and plan their lives, and the deelee gyzhe thinks she is actually reading the cards and hasn't the googee to work a lasho buzho on ... well never mind...
Lorcan


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: LadyJean
Date: 18 Feb 11 - 11:32 PM

The English were horrified, to see Native American women doing farm work, while their "lazy" husbands hunted. Not realizing that 1. Native Americans hunted for food and 2.Women in the eastern tribes were treated with the greatest respect, consulted before the tribe made any major decision, and treated with extreme respect.

Of course the native Americans thought English women were lazy because all they did was sewing, spinning etc.

We look at each other through the lenses of our own cultures.


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 19 Feb 11 - 07:16 PM

Although the programme makers don't stress a difference between Irish travellers and Romanies I was very struck by how the few who were identified as Romanies came across as very different, appearing to show more integrity and dignity.


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: InOBU
Date: 19 Feb 11 - 10:01 PM

People are people. I've known Dunns, Sherlocks, and Goremans, and McNallys who come immidiately to mind, who have as much integrity and dignity as anyone I know of any culture. Just because each of our cultures are different, we are still just folks.
Lorcan


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: GUEST,geust
Date: 20 Feb 11 - 05:17 AM

I found to be a very interesting and enlightening series. I've visited Appleby Horse Fair and in my eyes the behaviour of the travellers varied from impeccable to appalling, although the very bad behaviour emanated from a minority.

I post this as a guest deliberately. A man who lives on a site close to me was given much coverage and he came over as a tough but sensitive bunny. What wasn't portrayed was his involvement with the local drug dealing scene and that the area he inhabits is now a no go area for the police.

The travelling fraternity are on the whole thoroughly decent but there are some seriously bad apples in their community.


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 20 Feb 11 - 05:32 AM

I'm not downgrading motherhood, heck I believe we've thrown way too much of that away anyway. Bring back Mothers!

No, it's what happens within the particular communities that were filmed in this programme. As the older girls leave to get married, around 16, so the younger ones are taken out of school forever to take her place looking after the rest of the children and the home. From that moment on she spends her days cleaning, scrubbing, cooking, babysitting..being 'Mum' basically. It's a hard and lonely life for a child of around 12/13....

Then there's the wonderful 'tradition' of 'grabbing' where a boy gets to show his interest in a girl by chasing her, touching the most intimate parts of her body, sometimes hurting her quite a lot in doing so too.

This is seen as 'a bit of a lark' by the lads of course, who see women as second class citizens already..although I'm sure they respect their mommas..

My brother used to deal with many of the folks from those communities, just outside London/Heathrow Airport..around the Uxbridge area. He bought and sold second hand stuff from rubbish dumps...He was and still is, obviously, severely dyslexic, never diagnosed in those days..so he made his living with the Gypsies and the Irish Tinkers as they were called back then. They knew him as 'John'...nowt else....I'd go with him somedays, sit in his van whilst he went over to the fireside to talk with the men, do his deals, sell to them or buy from them...

The places were usually tips, but the caravans shone out in the sunshine, their metalwork gleaming brightly.....

It's a tough life, no denying it, but...it's hard for some to break free, if they want to...

The other strange thing is the moral outlook for the girls. Even their dressmaker commented on it, saying that if you saw the girls out and about, you'd think they were hookers, as they dress in the most blatantly sexual way, move and dance like that too, yet any gypsy woman who goes with a man loses her reputation overnight...They only ever go out in big packs, so as to preserve their reputations, never being alone with a man...but they flaunt openly with them, and I mean FLAUNT, even the littlest girls seem to know how to do the thrusting and pole dancing, dancing....Ugh! It made my skin shiver, I'm afraid...

They choose the most outrageous dresses possible, bust down to their, thigh slits up to there...boobs almost hanging out over the top...and yet they're all virgins.

Part of the message is good, that they respect themselves in some ways, but in other ways, the message is sooooo screwed up! Some of these kids make Jordan look like Mother Theresa, seriously!

I'm not knocking the entire Gypsy race, heck my own ancestors were Spanish Gypsies...the de Torres clan..many of whom settled in Cardiff when my greatgreatgreatsighgreat...however many times over...grandfather first decided to bring tomatoes to the shores of Wales.

It's just that they don't quite seem to have the lesson laid down in the right way..and the young lads in particular, have a pretty bad view of the girls and how they, the men, are allowed to behave towards them. That's all....


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 20 Feb 11 - 05:52 AM

I'm putting this down here too, as well as the music section, in case some may miss it. I met Cristofe recently, and he was telling me how hard it is to break out of the Gypsy world, even as a man. Married at 15, despite not wanting to be, he spent many years finding his way to happiness. He found that in a small Devon town, close to where I live...where he now plays his wonderful music on the streets, as well as doing folk festivals, concerts, gigs etc...

Lovely man...

Here's what I wrote in the Music section:



>>>>If ever you go to Totnes in Devon, look out for our Gypsy Prince in the High Street, standing on the sidewalk, lost in his music...You may find him in Sammy's Cafe sometimes too.

I found him a few weeks back, when I was in Sammy's place for a cup of coffee with a friend. We got talking to him about his music and it turns out that Cristofe is the son of one of the Gypsy Kings (can't recall which one now, sorry).....

Married at 15 to a gyspy girl...born in France, but right on the border of Spain, where his heart lies...Married to a second gypsy girl when he arrived in England, but eventually, he broke out of the Gypsy circle, finally marrying a non-Gypsy lassie, with whom he lives in Totnes..in deep happiness.

Anyways ups, here's Cristofe, because heck, he's a great musician, as you'd expect..nice man too. I hope you enjoy his music and that of his family.

The Gypsy Kings - Sabroso

Cristofe Sors - Gypsy Prince - Facebook page

Cristofe's site with videos

Cristofe singing and playing - Youtube video


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: InOBU
Date: 20 Feb 11 - 11:31 AM

In answer to the "I knew some 'Gypsies' once..." rehtoric ( and Lizzy I say this lovingly, we should be having this talk over a pint or two...)

Quite truely, I knew this Gyzho one, let's call him "Spencer" his real name is equally Anglo... Well, his mother's boy friend murdered her, and the poor fellow found her... - I understand this happens among the Gyzhen all the time, he grew up with an uncle who was an anit-union thug, whould hang cinderblock at head level for the drivers of trucks during trucking strikes, he went with his uncle once to burry the body of a "snitch". We work together, and I am always having to deal with his sexist comments to other staff... he also teaches art in the NY public school system. He is a "blues" musician and gets his pre-pubescent children to sing obscene words to his songs on his recordings - to sing things Romany people consider mahreemay - not spoken about in proper company.
Among the gyzhen, he is more or less respected, ran for city counsel even.
He never went to war himself (somehting Romany people don't do or advocate, by the way) but was a big voice for bombing Mecca after the events of Sept. 11, 2001. He suggested we should drop dead pigs on Mecca.
Yes, from his behavior, I deduce that Gyzhen society is dangerous, dirtry and should be avoided... oh... by the way, his 18 year old kid, just got his girl friend pregnant, and Spencer got his friend's wife pregnant.
All true... oh the Gyzhen. Best keep moving.


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: Mrrzy
Date: 20 Feb 11 - 04:10 PM

You want to see a hysterical gypsyesque wedding, see White Cat Black Cat.


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Feb 11 - 06:57 PM

There is nothing in any way enlightning about this series, it is a blatent attempt to humiliate Travellers, as has been pointed out by Traveller organisations here in Ireland who have officially complained about the series.
Whatever you might think about the costumes (personally I hate them), they are no more outlandish that anything you might see on a modelling catwalk, or at Ascot on Ladies Day, or any 'Come Dancing' type programme - or any of the extremely expensive tat they dress children up in for some of the 'Irish dancing' competitions (not forgetting the hair styles, of course).
The programmes tell us nothing about Traveller culture, and they come at the worst possible time.
At the present time Travellers are being hounded and driven off the road; if they camp illegally they have their homes impounded, and if they move into houses they are persecuted, threatened and driven out by hostile locals.
Not so long ago there was a programme on Irish television on Travellers; the first part showed a bare-fist fight, and despite the fact that the narrator pointed out that this was now very much a minority activity, it dominated the whole programme.
Hysterical - I laughed all the way to the gas chamber!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: C-flat
Date: 21 Feb 11 - 03:20 AM

Part of the problem seems to be recognising and distinguishing all the various travelling communities.
They are not all one group and they do not all share common values.
Just because someone prefers to live in a caravan/living wagon/mobile home/etc doesn't mean we therefore know all we need to know about them.
There are certainly many travelling families who are decent people, just as there are those who are disruptive to the settled communities.
The travellers who cause trouble, steal, fist-fight, leave their rubbish strewn on green areas, etc, make far better television to the program makers eyes than those that live quiet lives.
It's the former type that society sees. The latter are relatively unnoticed.


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 22 Feb 11 - 05:33 PM

Something I felt the series lacked was any account of how the weddings came about, apart from a few mentions of 'grabbibg' and a repeated film of a girl being carried out of a wedding reception - seemingly against her will.
We were left with the impression that such an unpromising beginning would ineviably lead to a lasting marriage!
Surely there must be more to it. The couples must meet and get to know each other. Either of them must have the opportunity to change their minds.


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 22 Feb 11 - 05:41 PM

'grabbibg'

Sorry -'grabbing' [but you probably worked it out for yourselves].


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: InOBU
Date: 22 Feb 11 - 09:24 PM

Dear Topsie:
Here in the US, Romany people marry fairly young compaired to the Gyzhen, but not illegaly young. Part of the reason is there a strong tradition against pre-marital sex. The marrages are arrainged by the families, yet the community is close, so the partners are not strangers, and can say yes or no.
As with the Gyzhen, there is a general acceptance of divorce and either the man or woman can move for divorce. However, there is a general tradition if there is a divorce to marry again, and second marrages have a bigger rate of permanence. Part is that there is a great sense of importance given to family.
All the best
Lorcan


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 23 Feb 11 - 04:38 AM

Thank you Lorcan. I expect that is how it happens with the families in this series, but it is certainly not the impression put across by the programme makers.


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: GUEST,Patsy
Date: 23 Feb 11 - 05:19 AM

My father's father had quite a bit to do with the families in Coalpit Heath and Winterbourne which is mainly a farming rural area on the outskirts of Bristol. Some of them worked for my grandfather on his bit of land helping out with building work or farm labouring in exchange for food etc. and it worked quite well. My mother on the otherhand coming from the city had never had that much to do with them unless of course gypsies happened to be selling pegs around the doors but their views about the community are totally different.


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 23 Feb 11 - 05:42 AM

I would often see them near Bristol back 50 years ago. There was a little orchard opposite the entrance to Ashton Court where they used to camp.

The 'gypsy' clothes pegs were much better than shop bought ones, especially if it was windy. When they stopped coming round selling them I learned to make my own.


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: GUEST,Patsy
Date: 23 Feb 11 - 10:00 AM

How do you make them, out of curiosity? Is it in the same way as whittling sticks? My mother did prefer to use them and missed gypsies bringing them around.

How interesting that they used to camp near Ashton Court. It is a nice spot to be in so I can quite understand why they would have chosen it.


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: InOBU
Date: 23 Feb 11 - 10:42 AM

Hi Patsy, there was a wonderful book I used to have, Make things the Gypsies made...

there appears to be four copies on US Amazon.com here is the link...

http://www.amazon.com/Make-Things-Gypsies-Marjorie-Stapleton/dp/0289706645/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1298475542&sr=1-1

I hope it is the same book, everything from beesons to clothes pegs. Great book.

All the best
Lorcan


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 23 Feb 11 - 12:42 PM

I used willow sticks about as thick as your thumb and empty corned beef tins. Cut the tins into strips about 1/4 inch wide. Peel the bark off the sticks and cut them into pieces about six inches long. Wrap a strip if tin round one end of a stick about an inch down, and fasten with a tintack. Shape the other end into a rough point, then split it, starting at the point, nearly up to the metal band. That's it.


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 23 Feb 11 - 04:04 PM

There is an interview with Eva Petulengro on BBC Radio 4 in about half an hour on the 'Midweek' programme. I assume it will be available online for the next week.


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: LadyJean
Date: 23 Feb 11 - 08:41 PM

I knew a girl in college who had come from a big Catholic family. Her mother was worn out from giving birth to so many children, especially as several of them were born by Cesarian. So, her oldest daughter had to take over raising the younger children. She went to school, of course. Her father was a teacher, though he ran a housepainting business on the side, with all the boys in his family working for him.
But at the age of 18, she was engaged to a man in his twenties. She had decided they would have two children, then they would have separate bedrooms.
That family was, indeed a train wreck. But typical of Catholic families? You get the idea.


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: GUEST,Patsy
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 07:58 AM

Hi Lorcan, many thanks for the interesting link and I look forward to taking a look.

Topsie thanks for describing how the pegs are made too.

Best wishes

Patsy


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 08:29 AM

I suppose they look for colourful characters who they think will make an interesting programme. Its been a very successful series withlots of people talking about it. However, there must be more to it than that. Otherwise everyone would get fed up of being a gypsy and just settle for being someone ordinary.


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: InOBU
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 09:05 AM

Dear friend, Alan:

First of all, being "Gypsy" is as ordinary as being English - it is a national identity not a life style. Settled people always say to me, "why don't THEY come into the 21st century." The great huberus of settled folks, especially in the large industrial nations is that they own modernity. Nomadic nations have as much right to their government, their language, their law and beliefs as does thee and thine.

In the US, for example nomadic Vlax Romany people have been here since he 1620s, before the ratification of the Constitution (1792) and as such, are an encapsulated people in the expression of rights in international law. As such, they have a right to have their courts respected in those aspects of governance which cover internal affairs such as marriage and child rearing. They have a right to be schooled in their own language and walk with equal respect among us.

The conflicts between settled and nomadic societies often stem from the lack of place and services allowed travelling people. In Ireland, for example, large rocks have been placed along many roads making it impossible to develop halting sites. Most halting sites do not have trash pickup or mail delivery. On the other hand, on the outskirts of Dublin, there is a well managed halting site, with good accomodations and their is a palpable difference in the relationship with neighbors. Few people treated like trash act well. The remarkable thing is the general respectful lives lived by people who are still excluded from so much expectation of protection of law.

While young Travellers are still subject to being murdered by thugs, such as the young Mr. Delaney (?) was in England less than a decade ago, while Romany people are driven from their homes in Belfast, while Travellers and Romany people in the US are subject to racial profiling by the police, and denied schooling which takes into account their right to their culture, if they were as agressive and violent as settled nations, they would rise up.

BUT, I DO appreciate the intent of thy comments, Alan, and of course, as ever, all the very best. Drop me a line if thee will be in New York, and the first pint (of many...) is on me.

Cheers
Lorcan


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: GUEST,Patsy
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 09:47 AM

I do recall seeing an episode where a traveller girl broke the mold and had herself a job outside the community, not in any particular rush to marry and for all that there didn't appear to be any bad feeling towards her just because she had a job and was considered 'old' not to be married. However she seemed to have gained the confidence that the traditional traveller girls lack which really can happen to anybody whether a traveller or not.


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 11:08 AM

There were at least two girls portrayed as having jobs. One was working at the wedding cake shop, making the huge cakes, so still involved with the travellers' lives. The other had been working for several years in a hotel. She was specifically described as a Romany and her family lived in a house, though she was going to live in a caravan after her wedding.


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: InOBU
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 11:16 AM

Well, I know of a number of Romany people, both men and women, working in the mainstream, most of whom remain fully Romany in their lives, but live in fear of being "outed" and loosing their jobs to the general prejudice against Romany people.

One case I knew a woman who was given a manuel on profiling "Gypsies" in a large chain of stores. Being Romany herself, she quit.


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 11:26 AM

Well Lorcan all i can say is that the gypsy thing, like the Irish thing is something, people do opt out of in England. My own family being a case in point having opted out of both racial groups, ghettoes, religious practices.

Doubtless our grandparents thought they were bettering us. I think the church went first. A member of the family committed suicide and the priest denied him the right to be buried in the family plot. Once you disengage from one thing - I think you start looking at the rest.

I don't know if you've seen the programme - but I don't think you would like to live in a prefab house on a small encampment, and where the only law and order seems to be provided by the guys who can use their fists. That is the world portrayed. lets hope to god, its not typical - for their sakes.


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 11:55 AM

As Jim says, the programme makers have been heavily criticised for the poor light in which they have presented travellers. On the other hand the harassment endured by Romany around the time of Appleby Fair does exist and was fairly presented. I've been there during the fair and it's an exciting time to be there. I saw no trouble between people, though I have seen some unpleasant abuse of horses by youths who are usually drunk at the time. (The fair takes place in early June if anyone's interested in going.)

The more "hecks" that Lizzie throws around, the more I detect a whiff of prejudice.

(Greetings Lorcan! Glad to know you're still alive and kicking.)


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 01:33 PM

The Romany hotel employee's family were living in a two-storey brick built house in the town, and made no attempt to hide their identity.

The 'houses' on the traveller sites aren't thought of as houses. They are called 'chalets' and are regarded as an expanded, comfortable trailer but without wheels.


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 03:24 PM

Can I point out that it is a tad discriminatory to attempt to distinguish between 'Romanies' and 'Travellers'.
There is much to be discussed about the practical differences (if any) between those claiming to be the former and other itinerants, but makers of programmes like BFGW cast their nets wide enough to include all Travellers in their vitriol spray.
Nowadays, the main difference between the various groups is that Travellers as a whole have yet to receive official recognition as ethnic groups.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 04:07 PM

If they describe themselves as Romany then that's good enough for me, and I think it likely that if the programme makers made a point of describing some of them as Romanies it was probably because the Romanies had asked them to.


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 05:00 PM

"The more "hecks" that Lizzie throws around, the more I detect a whiff of prejudice."

Eh? Would you care to elaborate a little more? Sighhhhhhhhhh....


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: Penny S.
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 06:24 PM

The greens round here (NW Kent) have little banks around them to stop caravans pulling off the roads. But in summer there are usually ponies grazing, piebald and with feathered fetlocks.
I saw a funeral a few weeks back, with white horses with white plumes pulling the glass hearse, white limousines behind it, and a string of pickup trucks with great flower tributes showing the history of the person - I suspected it to be from the local community. Some live in a site by the A2, others in houses.
Every now and then we would have a child brought into school, but this was always a little fraught. Kent has a support officer or two to help with background, cleanliness laws and so on, but dealing with children whose parents use the "p" word and the attitude that goes with it is not easy. The first child in my class unfortunately arrived while the class had a very disturbed boy who would find out everyone's weak spot and pick at it, so with her, it was the "p" word. I tried to explain to the parents while they were shouting at me that he had an insult for everyone and we were trying to control him, but they took her out of school. They used to watch at playtimes because they were afraid of bullying - which we didn't actually have, apart from the disturbed boy who brought in what his father did to him.
The second one was a boy who was eager to learn. He changed our music programme, which was all set to use the "Gypsy Rover", and which he cogently explained was not appropriate. His parents moved away again, back into Greenwich, a borough which prides itself on being an equality borough, and sticks notices on its lamp posts to tell people this. His mother registered him into school on a day the head teacher was away. The head came back and unregistered him. The traveller liaison person who spoke to me about his work was not happy about this, but was bound by the head's decision.
The swimming coach at our local pool described some lads there by the "p" word, as if it was perfectly normal. There's a long way to go before people are easy with the nomads.
I've heard so much argument in the last few weeks from different communities about "travellers", "Irish travellers", "Romanies" and "gypsies" that it is really hard to know which words to use fittingly.
I have half a dozen pegs left which we found in my Dad's shed. I think they are about 50 years old. They are superb at keeping the washing on the line, and don't pinch it into odd shapes. I don't think they were cut down from a point, though, because the outer surface of the peeled wood goes right up to the open end. If that makes sense. They are more as if the stick were cut down into a deep v. I've been wondering how to get more. I think I would do myself damage trying to make them.
I have not watched the programmes, though I gather they sneaked some stuff about how badly the people are treated in to the voyeurism. If this was intentional, to increase sympathy, they may have made a mistake, as some places have had people commenting about the source of the money. Rather as a news broadcast about (non-traveller) children in poverty hovered about the (very lower class) mother's 9carat bracelets and rings while she described how difficult it was to feed her children and live in their tiny accomodation. There is nastiness about these days.

Penny


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: InOBU
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 07:01 PM

Dear friend Allan: In my interactions with England, I find there to be a great deal of lack of understanding of the difference between intergration and assimilation. England has a deeply conformist culture ( though being quiet proud of its own excentricities, often...)

The concept that intergration is a one way road is wonderfully seen if thee rents the very good film, "The Man Who Never Was..." There is a moment when an English officer is asking for the body of a man's son, to use in a war time spy event, and he makes the mistake of saying (as it turns out to a Scott) "your son will have done something important for England". The father replies, often you English say England when you mean Britain. I hear echoes of this when thee speaks of abandoning the Irish thing, while writing on a folk music web site... after all, we are speaking of our deep families traditions, national and ethnic traditions here - they are worth not abandoning with out thought.

As to how would I like to live? Oh, my, Allan, I have lived by the side of roads, I have lived in a narrow bunk aboard traditional sailing vessels, a cold water cabin in Ireland, I've lived on Indian reservations, sleeping around an open fire in hunter/gatherer worlds, and ... and now in a very comfortable flat over the the theatre I now run. I work more hours now, and hot showers are quite nice, but... working for a living, rather than living as my work - either are good. I still dream of walking miles with my beor, my pack and my pipes in cold pouring rain, and the lovely weight of bags of coins from busking, so wet and misserable you had to laugh, and so happy for a pint and a hot meal when the busking was good... busking up a plane ticket for example... and if you can't imagine the joy in that... well you never will.
Oh, one thing I know, I'd be less heavy today, less headachy, less troubled by gout if I stayed in a few of those rough old worlds, and I miss them.


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 09:02 PM

Well, Lorcan, its not really just an Irish or a traveller thing. People in England did, and to a lesser extent still do, hide their regional accents and backgrounds. they see it as a possible disbarrmement from from social advantage.

i was quite surprised when the young consultant seeing my wife, this week spoke in deep Lancashire accent. It still seems strange to my generation to think of a young upwardly mobile - speaking with the accent of a Coronation Street character, the sort that i grew up with. You weren't really brought up proud of your roots.

Because of my parents religious beliefs - I attended a Quaker public school when I was about fifteen.
the Headmaster used to say, We're terribly sorry Whittle, but we really can't understand a single word of what you're saying. Perhaps if you stood up and tried to enunciate more clearly we might get it.....

Nowadays, its probably not so bad. you hear regional accents all over the place, but in my time and my parents time. Mainstream culture went one way, and the rest of us did what we could to keep up.

I written a couple of songs on the subject. the irish tinkers Son is about denying your roots. I have it playing on my main page.
http://www.bigalwhittle.co.uk/

And Auntie Nellie is a Lancashire accent piece. Which is also on the first page.


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: InOBU
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 10:24 PM

I'll have a listen... tell thee a quick funny story first - I was singing in a band with another Quaker, and she and I often spoke plain with each other, thee and thy, and Seaneen, who was from Lancaster would fall in as well, as his family in Lancaster still used thee... he found it very comforting that we used the singular of you with him...


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Feb 11 - 03:55 AM

"If they describe themselves as Romany then that's good enough for me,"
The problems of Travelling life today are ones experenced by all Travellers, not just 'Romanies'.
There have been tendencies within the various Travelling communities to look for scapegoats to blame for some of the wrongs committed by some Travelling people - "It wasn't us 'real gypsies', is must have been them 'mumphers', 'knackers', 'pavvies'" - or simply 'Irish' or 'Scots', which can be just as damaging and discriminatory as the attitudes adopted by the settled community, and just as racist.
Dividing the various travelling communities by surrounding some of them with a meaningless aura of romanticism will hasten the end of Travelling life just as quickly as anything the settled community can throw at them - divide and conquor is one of the oldest tactics in the world.
'A moral tale'
We (my wife and I) have been involved with Travellers, mainly Irish, for over thirty years and have noticed that the greatest problem experienced by all Travelling people is the shortage of stopping places.
In the 1980s Traveller friends of ours in London formed a group made up of Irish, Welsh, Scots and English people, to campaign for sites. They got some suppport from solicitors and others in the settled community and eventually the local authorities agreed to provide a few sites, but insisted that they would only deal with 'real gypsy' organisations. One of these 'real gypsy' organisations (who had not taken part in the campaign) took control of a couple of the sites provided and allocated the stopping places to 'real gypsies', moving them in from the rural areas around London. Most of those given stopping places had neither the desire to nor the intention of stopping in London, and after a short period, moved back to the countryside. These 'real gypsies' sold the sites to the people whose campaigning had secured them in the first place.
This incident did more damage to inter-Traveller relations than centuries of anti-Traveller activity had ever achieved, and helped the Conservative Government of the day repeal the 1968 Caravan and Camping Act, thereby leaving all Travellers with little chance of obtaining stopping places.
As I said - divide and conquor.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 25 Feb 11 - 06:08 AM

'Dividing the various travelling communities by surrounding some of them with a meaningless aura of romanticism will hasten the end of Travelling life'

There was a cheap plaster plaque in our house as a kid 'The interior of an Irish cottage'. There my Grandads old shilleligh gathering dust in the shed. A few old John McCormack records 'The Old bog Road', 'The rocky Road to Dublin'. My other Grandad's songs and stories, clog dancing...scarcely tolerated. A few old stories (mostly bloody depressing) from my Grandma and her sisters, one or two old faded newspaper cuttings and photographs.

that's all most of us have of our past, our roots. People take the piss out of the Yanks and their green beer on St Patricks day. I can sort of relate to that. The oklahoma Bomber, Timothy Mcveigh's insistence that he was '10th generation Irish'.

Do you know ralph McTell's song 'The Gypsy'. You'll find the lyrics on the Weather the Storm site.
http://www.weatherthestorm.it/_private/lyricsuk.htm



romanticism ....maybe. perhaps its just the buman trait of trying to give things a positive spin.


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Feb 11 - 06:32 AM

I honestly believe tht George Borrow, as well-meaning as he was, did more damage to gypsy culture than any other single individual by presenting them with an image they could not possibly live up to.
I see some of it here on this thread.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
From: InOBU
Date: 25 Feb 11 - 09:52 AM

Jim is right, in my estimation. Here in the US, Romanichal folks, Pavees and Vlax Romany people are thrown together in "Gypsy" boat. It doesn't matter if you are nomadic and "in the rhelem" or a settled lawyer (not me - a Romany lawyer driven from the profession because of his mother's living her spiritual beliefs, in Romaniya...) - you are subject to loss of your basic rights as a US citizen. When working towards a unified Romany responce, I often told friends in these communities that as long as it is one boat when it comes to discrimination, we should all row together.

It is more than just Traveller nomadism. In the Americas, US, Canada etc. nomadic origional nations are stripped of rights everyday. Settled people believe they have the right to exclude those whose culture is less agressive. There is no more agressive stance on earth than to claim sole ownership over that which all beings were given, the resourse of the earth.

Just as Thomas Jefferson wrote that England held him in the "bonds of slavery" because of a tax to end slavery through the control of sugar (not tea) while he ignored the humans he litterally had chained to his plow and his land, settled people with their massive stocks of weapons of war, with their armed police, with their walls and laws of exclusion, claim that the nomadic people are violent and dangerous. Well, there's lots of roads to the truth, and if that is your world view, and you wish to be a little bit more well rounded, spend some time in an Innu hunting camp, travel with a herding society, walk into a night club in New York with Romany "Gypsies" and find out that the public accomodation laws don't apply to you suddunly, and perhaps your view of the truth may be shaken a little if not broken all together.
All the best, to all
Lorcan


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