Like Princess Diana, I would have liked to have chosen 'I Vow to Thee My Country' as one of my funeral hymns, purely because it goes beyond a pride in one's past and heritage, but to the very core of one's ethnic origin. Its quite stirring. Unfortunately, I come from mixed breed, a combination of a Scottish Father and Irish Mother. Just to complicate things further, I was born in Brixton, No. 17 Ferndale Road. Something that I kept secret, until I discovered that my then hero David Bowie was born in Brixton, and it became ok to say it out loud.
It was 1957, a time in which 'No Dogs, No Blacks, No Irish' hung out as signposts on boarding houses in the upmarket parts of London Town. My dad's Scottish accent was indistinguishable from Irish, to most landlords and landladies, so we boarded with the less desirables, the Blacks, the Jews, the Polish, were our next door neighbours. We all belonged to the same 'underclass' - yet we maintained our own cultures and lived happily side by side. I believe it was our dear Polish neighbour, who delivered my goodself, when my mother went into premature labour. Whoever you were kind Sir, my mother and father were forever grateful to you.
It was during a discussion the other day with my son, that we ventured into the area of ethnicity. My son is studying psychology, and it has always been of interest to me. I have always had an inner turmoil, about who I am (those who know me, will understand the neurosis). My father was Scottish, my Mother Irish. Any celts reading this would see 'trouble ahead' as the song goes. The Scottish and the Irish argue like fiends, yet usually end up, laughing, attempting a jig and rounding off the night with 'Oh Danny Boy'.
From a scientific perspective, I am a huge fan of The Big Bang [funny and informative] I would say it traces back to that time before the Ice Age when Scotland and Ireland were physically attached. My dad (who spoke like Charlie Endle - hint, Budgie, lol) was best friends with a Northern Irish man - who proudly wore his Orange ribbon and bowler hat! Two opposite ends of the political spectrum, who'd have thought.
I am left in an eternal quandry, am I Irish, Scottish or English? I Vow to Thee My Country, would be farcical, at my funeral, because I could never be sure which country I would be vowing to? In truth, I play to them all. When I am loud and witty, I put it down to the paddy in me, when I am philosophical, I put it down to the Scots, and when I chill out, I put it down to the English. There is something good, and right, about the British people, something that says, almost Bertie Wooster like: ' hang on old chap, we can't allow that'. We are presently undergoing atrocities that we would throw our arms up in horror, if it were happening in Third World Countries. Yet here we are accepting, without so much as a whimper, the megalomaniac hype of an ex Bullingdon Boy, who tells us Food Banks are part of the Tory ideal of the Big Society.
I think I was watching the 1940's black and white film of Oliver Twist at the time his statement came out. Then I switched over and watched some twat from Made In Chelsea on 'Come Dine with Me' calling his maid and servants to heel as if they were mere chattels.
I have been asked to give a newspaper quote on my hopes and ambitions for next year. I have been reticent in replying, because I feel gagged right now due to my opinions on the McCanns, but I actually, now just feel, feck it, I will say what I think on all subjects, before the internet police shut us all down.
Was my book political? You bet your arse it was. My book is beyond a misery memoir, for those who care to delve further.
As for the McCanns, I will continue to watch the saga unfold, albeit, in breathtaking slow motion. This government I will hammer relentlessly, simply because I remember those old boarding house days, and that haunting statement................. first they came for the Jews.........................