Sunrise on the south bank of the Thames, the morning after the election. This is where it all began for New Labour, all those years ago, with Tony Blair grinning like a preacher on fire. He saw the sky grow bright behind the Royal Festival Hall and told a gathering of true believers, ecstatic at their landslide victory: “A new dawn has broken, has it not?” That was May 1997, but this is the morning after the 2010 election and there is nothing spectacular about the dawn. The sun is hiding away behind a grey haze, as if locked in secret negotiations … A piece for The Independent On Sunday
Francis Beckett reviews the book in the May edition of the New Humanist. This is how he starts: “Cole Moreton can smile now at the young man he once was, mystically certain about his God and messianic about persuading everyone else. When he was 15 he and his friend Stu bunked off school and heard a siren which they mistook for the end of the world. He looked around in vain for the woman of his dreams who would want to spend her last four minutes on earth making frantic love to a teenage boy, “which would, obviously, leave an awkward post-coital silence lasting three minutes and fifty seconds.”
A very friendly review in Metro (which is a very popular paper indeed) today. Here it is in full: “The Britain whose subjects went to church, asked God to save our gracious Queen and ﬁlled 1980s football grounds to hear US preacher Billy Graham evangelise has gone. What followed is the premise for this consistently entertaining book, in which Moreton mixes his own rather amusing faith journey with an excellent, chatty social history of 1980s and 1990s Britain. Continue reading “'Consistently entertaining' says Metro”
“I don’t know mate,” said Jamie Oliver when I interviewed him the other day. “I’m not sure I’d want to be married to me. But Jools made that decision. It’s a challenge.” He was off to America again; she was at home with their three daughters. “My wife’s a real homey. The thing is, I grew up in a pub and one of my biggest passions in life is people. I love people. My best friends as a kid were a mixture of cockneys, gypsies and country bumpkins. So me and Jools are quite different like that.” It’s a pretty frank interview, in which Jamie talks about his home life, his upbringing, his attempts to get us eating properly and his admiration for McDonalds. Yes, really. There are also some great pictures like this one by Ian Derry. See it all here.
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”