Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I thought I may be going to DC for work so I looked up the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery to see if their are any shows and lo and behold a show ending in Sept called Great Britons. Traveling from the NPG in London. Fab. I had a quick look to see what was being presented and was struck, not once, not twice but three times at some of the choices for the all time Great Britons. Sir Winston yes, Queen Victoria check, James Joyce of course...... whooooa horsey, did I miss something, did Dublin move, is it still in the Emerald Isle? James Augustine Aloysius Joyce, Séamus Seoighe as Gealge, in Irish. Born Feb 2nd, 1882, Rathgar, Dublin. Does that sound like someone who was born in Chelsea. Alright so you give 'em one, so who's next, Oscar Wilde? For the love of mike. Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde, their wasn't a English Victorian mother who would bestow that moniker upon any child, plus they threw him in jail for his ...poetry. I'm sure he wasn't the only Poet in England at the time, but he was an Irish poet. So what am I gleaning from this. The National Portrait in London decided that if your country had been invaded by the Empire, you renounced you nationality whether you like it or not, you fell nicely into their category of Briton, as the commonwealth was spread nice and wide back then. So would that make Mahatma Ghandi a big Tottenham Hotspur fan?, he still wouldn't be happy about that today. Now to round all this off, here's another one who snugly fit in between Queen V and Kate Winslett, Oliver Cromwell. Well if this wasn't a genocidal maniac roaming the seas I don't know who was. Responsible for the death of anywhere between 2 and 10,000 Irish people in quelling the rebellion of 1641, he may have single handedly set of a string of events that would hold sway over Ireland for the next 400 years. Pitting Protestants again Catholics, this divisiveness festered till, well.... today. The saying " may Cromwell's curse be on ya" still is used by many old timers in the auld sod. My great auntie Jo would spit every time his name was mentioned and believe it or not its still mentioned. Plus he rankled his own crowd so much they dug him from his grave, hung him and then beheaded him. Nice chap. I'm not quite sure what the NPG were thinking here, what was the prerequisite for entrance to the hallowed list. This may sound like an inferiority complex, trust me its not. The Commonwealth has influenced my thinking as much as anyone, but you have to stick up for your own even if they are all dead. Get your own greats leave ours alone. PS Becks never look better.


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Frankie Griffin said...

Well said Ber.The ol' Corkonian is still in ya boy!