‘Are you saying God is a myth?’ The Archbishop of Westminster

Photo Graeme Robertson

I find it hard to be lectured on sex by a celibate, but then I’m not a Catholic. Isn’t it just possible that everything he does is based on self-deception? That there was no God nagging him on the terraces and his calling was just the fretting of a teenage boy overwhelmed by hormones and powerful priests? Not even this agitates the archbishop. He leans closer. “Then it is a very remarkable pattern in life, repeated millions of times over, that people give themselves to following a call in God, and live fulfilled and happy lives. Are you saying it’s all a myth?” I might be, I say. Nichols smiles again, the gameshow smile, as if indulging a child. “I don’t think so.” Read the rest here

How To Stop The BNP By Morris Dancing

Tom Pilston

You can’t get more English than a bunch of middle-aged bearded men with bells on their ankles, waving hankies and prancing like their piles are on fire, can you? The way to stop the BNP kidnapping notions of Englishness is by celebrating the new England. The riotous, bawdy, multi-ethnic Englishness evolving before our eyes. A piece for The Guardian

St George was Johnny Foreigner – so he’s the perfect saint for the English

What has a bloke on a horse with a ruddy big lance got to do with modern England? Isn’t that crusader suit a bit inappropriate these days? And aren’t fire-breathing dragons an endangered species?

The story of Saint George and the dragon has long seemed like a barmy old myth, way out of kilter with the nation that our patron saint is meant to represent. But I have a confession to make, on his feast day. Tonight, for the first time in my life, I will raise a glass of local ale to Saint George.

Not because I’ve fallen for the far right’s lies. Quite the opposite. It’s because if we don’t rethink and reimagine the emblems of our nationhood, and celebrate what they say about us, then the far right will.

And the thing about old George is that after years, even centuries of irrelevance, he suddenly looks like a saint worth having. It’s not that he has changed; rather, it’s that we have. The English are beginning to look just like him. Continue reading “St George was Johnny Foreigner – so he’s the perfect saint for the English”

Do You Want To Play With My Dalek?

Adults have a deep need to play, but it’s difficult. Go into the forest to play soldiers like you used to and you’ll get arrested (or charged £150 by a paint-balling company). Parents can get down on the floor and make alien noises, under cover of “joining in”, but it’s not the same. If I had a proper, life-sized Dalek I could send the family off to the park and play, unrestrained. Yes, that sounds sad and inappropriate, but that’s the whole point, don’t you see? A piece for The Guardian