Embrace Your Inner Eccentric

May cup by Tom Pilson

May madness matters. It’s a festival of British eccentricity — from dancers at dawn on the Cerne Abbas giant to maypole plaiting in Gawthorpe. The sinister ’Obby ’Oss has already cavorted through Padstow, but huge crowds will watch the Jack-in-the-Green do the same in Hastings this morning. It is easy to dismiss these things as silly and say they are mostly relatively recent inventions, the product of guesswork and improvisation designed to attract tourists as well as hark back to some illusory time when we were closer to the land. That’s all true. But they are also an example of something else, which is very relevant this week: good old British wilfulness, a stubborn resistance to being told what to do and what to think, and an eagerness to stick two fingers up at those who try it. A piece for The Times

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