Standing on the Edge of England

I’ve been making a podcast with my friend Emily Jeffery, an award-winning presenter and producer, about the landscape in which we live, down here on the southern Edge of England. There’s a dog called Mabel, a Spitfire that haunts us, a lighthouse and a lot of cliffs, some incredible stories and a beautiful bit of Bach by the beach. Episodes one to three are on iTunes, episode four will be up in the next 24 hours or you can listen to it and all of them right now on the website www.edgeofengland.com.

Thanks, do share if you like it and let me know what you think.

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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”

Frank words about England, women, God and his mum

Frank Lampard by Ian Derry

Footballers don’t talk. They can’t, as a rule, and those who can have it coached out of them. For some reason, the Chelsea and England midfielder felt like breaking that rule when we sat down for a nice up of tea. There’s stuff in here about the World Cup, Capello, John Terry, the breakdown of his own relationship, his kids, being booed on the pitch, having too much money and being considered thick, as well as this about his mum: “Before every game, I have a little moment thinking about her. It’s like a prayer, basically. Not like the Lord’s Prayer, there’s no “Amen”, it’s just my own little prayer to my mum, saying, “Give me strength and look after the family.’ When she died I started visiting church every day, basically. That was hoping for a miracle. I just went to spend time in there. Sit there for half an hour. I know it sounds stupid, but I don’t even really know how to pray. I just sort of speak to my mum in my head. I still go fairly regularly. I certainly believe in God. I don’t think I would be able to handle it anywhere near as easily if I didn’t.'” He also said that “too much is made of the money thing”. When he said that he was wearing a (borrowed) watch. It was worth a quarter of a million pounds. Anyway, here it is. Enjoy.