Monday, May 26, 2014
Whitsun Hats On
Any alien hordes scrutinising the United Kingdom during the latter half of the Zellion-Kruutz Cycle with the aid of a suitably fine-tuned Pan-molecular Oojit Morphoscope Array might be forgiven for thinking that its entire population had nothing better to do of a Bank Holiday Monday than to gad about the rain-lashed panorama fulfilling unnecessary DIY dreams and shopping online for strategically marketed “bargains” before settling down in front of the telly — full of dread for the “back to normal” Tuesday looming on the horizon — to lap up an ITV première of a blockbuster movie they went to see at the end of the previous summer on the August Bank Holiday the BBC claimed was the WETTEST FUCKING EVER.
Those aliens might think that — but I won’t.
As the years have rolled by, thrusting wisdom upon me in the form of worry lines, excess flab, and an overall bone texture approximating ever closer to that of dust, I’ve become something of a Bank Holiday connoisseur.
There are rainy ones, sunny ones, happy ones, sad ones — all involving juggling acts of family and friends on a par with Zeus playing keepy-uppy with a sextet of Chinese circuses. And I love them. (The Bank Holidays, not the circuses.)
In particular, I love Whitsun.
If you’ve checked out any of my entertaining stories available right now on Amazon perfect for Bank Holiday reading whether you’re luxuriating in an armchair rocking in a ski lift or simply idling in the bath rubbing exotic soap over your flesh like a camel masseur de-stressing his favourite dromedary with a tangerine buy now for only 75p/99c you won’t be disappointed in fact you’ll be anointed with a weird kind of glee particularly in the latter half of the Ecdysisium book when the suspense factor flies off into the stratosphere thanks to a rollercoaster ride in an elevator OUT OF CONTROL then you’ll know that I’m something of a Whit.
At school, I was forever being asked to say something witty — typically by BIG KIDS who would beat me up if I didn’t. They beat me up even if I did make with the wit, but don’t let that ruin the story for you. Ruining my childhood is enough of a trophy for those bastards.
My one consolation for having to endure this sorry childhood — a childhood so riven with strife that I made Oliver look like the sun shined out of his lucky, lucky ass — is that Whitsun got to be MY day.
It was “Whitty’s One” — Whit’s ‘Un.
For one day only I was paraded down the street on a cushion like some curious Indian potentate while kids from 2 to 15 threw sweets and offered home-made gifts, occasionally cheese.
Then there would be dancing, a trip to the cinema, and my favourite frozen cod in breadcrumbs for which my Mum was prepared to splash out a humungous 8p.
It’s only later that I found out the true reason for celebrating Whitsun. According to my exorcist priest friend (and believe me, everyone should have one), the origins of Whitsun are twofold and depend on whether you’re a Christian or an unreconstituted heathen.*
* If you’re unsure, take this test:
1) Have you ever strangled a chicken as part of a ritual?
2) Do you personally know more than six archdruids?
3) Do you regularly dance to Motorhead with your skull imprint curtains closed?
If you answered YES to all three questions, you’re probably an unreconstituted heathen. Otherwise, you might be a Christian, informed non-believer or exorcist.
The Christians hold that Whitsun commemorates the return of Jesus’s spirit to the world. He hovered over his disciples for a few minutes before performing a spectacular aerial display with the Red Arrows. Thus we have the two terms “White Sunday” and “Flying Son of God Plus A Load of Jets”. The former version stuck, eventually being shortened to “Whitsun” when Henry VIII choked on an onion shortly before dispatching Anne Boleyn.
The heathen origins of the celebration go back much further, possibly even as far back as the dinosaurs or the primordial swamp. Gay apparel is donned, goats are mutilated, and revellers gather at midnight to chant naked.
“Wheat soon. Wheat soon.
Make our crops grow high.
Keep away Pteranodons
You know the one.
These days, Whitsun has been demoted to the humble “Spring Bank Holiday” — a euphemism for Torrential Rain Fest of Biblical Proportions. By the time you read this, Whitsun as was will be over, slotted between all the other run-of-the-mill Sundays like a Barbara Cartland novel in a bookcase of recycled cardboard.
So spare a thought for this Day That Once Was So Much More, whether you believe Jesus flew with the Arrers, or Lemmy Kilminster is the true saviour of the universe — or even all that business about the 2 to 15 year-old kids throwing sweets at my cushion-borne form. Hey, some of those kids were as old as 35.
Have a great Whitsun.