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CELTIC-L  March 2006

CELTIC-L March 2006

Subject:

Re: More Rugby Rituals

From:

"vickicohen.shaw" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

CELTIC-L - The Celtic Culture List.

Date:

Wed, 29 Mar 2006 13:17:24 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (179 lines)

I just learned that Mr. Tom Jones, the Welsh crooner, is now Sir Tom Jones, having been knighted by HRM Elizabeth.  And he claims to have always been a royalist. Hmmm.  Seems a bit peculiar coming from someone who grew up speaking Cymraeg.....

Vicki

>From: Steffan Ellis <[log in to unmask]>
>Date: Wed Mar 29 09:06:56 CST 2006
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: Re: More Rugby Rituals

>
>Hmmm. Iím not quite sure about theworth of anonymous postings from other mailing lists which wonít see anyreplies to the points made. It seems a very black and white approach to a verycomplicated issue of ethnicity, identity and† cultures. 
>†
>Steffan Ellis
>Non-Plaid Cymru Welsh rugby supporter andsinger of Welsh songs.
>†
>†
>†
>†
>†
>-----OriginalMessage-----
>From: CELTIC-L - The CelticCulture List. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of [log in to unmask]
>Sent: 29 March 2006 15:37
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: More Rugby Rituals
>†
>Hi folks--more from H-Albion discussion on rugbyrituals...again, the posting is not mine.
>Dave
>---------------
>I'm glad to say that Pauland I seem to be thoroughly in agreement 
>that the apparently trivial business of what happens in the build up 
>to "international" sports events (and it is an interesting comment on
>
>how national identities in Britain and Ireland work that contests 
>between, say, Scotland and England have always been viewed as 
>"international" contests from their Victorian origins even though the
>
>participant "nations" are part of the same political unit- until the 
>recent efforts to launch a Catalan "national" football team there 
>seems to be no real equivalent in other "composite" multi-national 
>states) is a subject of more than anecdotal interest.
>
>Clearly there is some broader political context to the whole anthem 
>business. The adoption of "Flower of Scotland" in the 1970's 
>coincided with the peak electoral performance of the Scottish 
>National Party and the Welsh rejection of "God Save the Queen" with 
>one of Plaid Cymru's upsurges in the late 1960's. One always senses 
>that "Flower of Scotland" is performed with an additional edge of 
>enthusiasm when England come to Murrayfield and there have 
>undoubtedly been cases when individual Scotland-England games have 
>had broader political contexts foisted on them (invariably by the 
>Scottish media and normally after the event on occasions when 
>Scotland won). In a rather different but still broadly political 
>register, the Irish adoption of "Ireland's Call" as a clearly Irish 
>anthem which did not carry any political baggage and would be 
>acceptable to players and supporters from both sides of the Irish 
>border fitted well with the climate encouraged by the Northern 
>Ireland Peace Process and which also attempted to seek a more 
>ecumenical and unified view of the Irish past in which all 
>inhabitants of the island could find a place.
>
>How the politics worked is another matter. There were very few if any 
>declared SNP voters amongst my immediate colleagues in the 1970's 
>Murrayfield crowd singing "Flower of Scotland"- one of the loudest 
>choristers was vice chairman of the University Conservative (and 
>Unionist, to give it its full title) Association! The SNP electoral 
>heartlands in the north and east of Scotland map poorly on to the 
>geography of Scottish rugby. The same surely applies in Wales, where 
>Plaid has consistently polled most strongly in regions where rugby as 
>a game is relatively weak. The linkages between the political 
>expression of nationalism and assertions of "national" symbolism are 
>rather complex and don't necessarily march in lock step.
>
>This lack of linkage works both ways. "Flower of Scotland" was 
>finally taken up by the SRU more or less at the point in the late 
>1970's when the SNP's vote began to collapse (a process which was 
>under way before the first Devolution referendum) but there was never 
>any move to go back on its adoption. Nor do the ups and downs of the 
>Plaid vote in Wales appear to have greatly affected the ways in which 
>identity gets expressed at internationals in Cardiff- apart, that is, 
>from the introduction of a formal "official" singing of "Guide 
>me, Oh 
>Thou Great Jehovah" in the last year or so which I mentioned in my 
>first post.
>
>As an aside, it may be interesting to note that the rugby authorities 
>have struggled to fit this into the standard "choreography" of the 
>match build up in a suitably prominent way without intruding on other 
>parts of the ceremony.
>
>The first time this was done- in the Wales-England match last season- 
>it was inserted after the "official" anthems with a singer ambling on
>
>to the pitch, microphone in one hand and Welsh flag in the other, as 
>the teams were taking position for kick off. This completely threw 
>the TV commentary team and it looked for one wild moment as if it 
>might be a more than averagely melodic unofficial pitch invasion 
>until it became clear that the intruder was not being pursued by 
>stewards and police. Since then various approaches have been adopted, 
>the latest being for the chosen singer to strike up as the opposing 
>team takes the pitch but before the "official" anthems are played.
>
>Paul is also quite right to point out that more happens in the build 
>up to kick off than just the performance of national anthems. In 
>general terms I think it's fair to say that the pre-match 
>entertainments have got more elaborate (some might say over the top) 
>in recent years. Back in the 1970's at Murrayfield you got the pipe 
>band marching and countermarching as it played a familiar mix of 
>marches, strathspeys and other bagpipe tunes, supplemented by a 
>military band to do the anthems. In recent years the SRU have laid on 
>increasingly elaborate events to draw the fans away from the pubs 
>well before the match, involving such elements as massive pipe bands, 
>dancers, re-enactments of "Braveheart" (unsurprisingly when England 
>visited two weeks ago) salvoes of artillery when the teams took the 
>pitch and so on.
>
>The Scottish situation may be extreme but I think something of the 
>sort has tended to happen across the board with pre-match ceremonial 
>becoming increasingly lengthy and complex (to the extent that team 
>coaches are beginning to complain about the impact on the players of 
>the consequent delay to the kick off). It's interesting that the most 
>"conservative" venue in terms of pre-match events seems to be Dublin 
>(perhaps unsurprisingly given the complexities of the identities 
>potentially expressed by an Irish rugby team selected on a 32 county 
>basis- though there was a period when you didn't seem to be able to 
>have a game at Lansdowne Road without the Irish President turning up 
>and insisting on being presented to the teams) while the undoubted 
>increase in pre-match events at Twickenham has been a slow build up 
>rather than a massive one-off surge as seemed to happen in Scotland.
>
>Pre-match events in Cardiff still seem to focus on the traditional 
>community singing, though the repertoire seems to have shifted a bit. 
>Back in the 1970's when the BBC pre-match summarisers "went outside 
>to pick up the atmosphere" (something they always did at Cardiff more 
>than any other ground) the singing featured a mix of hymns and 
>traditional songs in a mix of English and Welsh. These days, as Paul 
>suggests, you seem to get rather more of Tom Jones' Greatest Hits and 
>other bits of relatively modern popular culture. The Welsh seem to 
>have been ahead of the game in professionalising the pre-match 
>entertainment with the introduction of figures like Max Boyce (for 
>the benefit of non-UK forumites, a comedian and singer who made a 
>highly successful career out of his persona as a professional South 
>Welsh rugby fan- although in his case the persona was the real man 
>writ large) to lead the singing.
>
>There may again be complexities over the increasing elaboration of 
>the pre-match entertainment. It's interesting that this seems to have 
>happened least in Ireland, where the Lansdowne Road ground is the 
>oldest and least modernised one in current use (it is indeed 
>scheduled for redevelopment later this year- and for reasons to be 
>set out below it will be interesting to see what happens in the 
>rebuilt stadium). In England, Twickenham has been the subject of 
>piecemeal redevelopment stand by stand- though there are already 
>beginning to be complaints that the expanded ground is losing its 
>atmosphere. Murrayfield underwent comprehensive rebuilding in the 
>1990's while Wales moved to a completely new custom built stadium 
>(with a strange exile period when they played their "home" matches at
>
>the old Wembley stadium in London- my quite unscientific impression 
>is that the pre-match entertainment began to be ramped up precisely 
>during this time). In both Scotland and Wales there have been 
>complaints that the new grounds, whatever their other merits, lack 
>atmosphere and it is entirely possible that expanded pre-match 
>entertainment is an attempt to rebuild this. It should also be borne 
>in mind that international tickets are now quite expensive and there 
>may be a perceived need to provide value for money- especially for 
>countries like Scotland where the performance on offer on the pitch 
>has been less than inspiring in recent years. Having said that, once 
>the ratchet has gone up it never seems to go down- as US forumites 
>who follow the Super Bowl will no doubt appreciate (how do you follow 
>the Rolling Stones?).
>
>Overall there is something worthy of further study here.


We come spinning out of nothingness, scattering stars.  The stars form a circle, and in the center we dance.
Rumi

http://www.geocities.com/omygoddess_soaps/

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