Friday, 11 May 2012

Union Jack- Who do you think you are?

Oooh, it's such an exciting time to be British aint it. Oooh the olympics. Oooh the Jubilee. Street parties, days off work, cheese and pineapple on a stick, bunting and booze. Don't it just make you all warm inside? Well no actually, but that's just me.

I'm worried about tube delays and rising prices. Gormless tourists and crowbarring the idea of patriotism into every piece of useless ephemera; but don't mind me, I'm just a Londoner; we're sour it's what we do. I'm sure the rest of the country is thrilled at the prospect.

However, when it comes to vacuous stuff like fashion, and design on a broader sense, I find all this British hoo hah actually quite fun. The main thing I like about the queen is when she gets her glad rags on. I like the aesthetic of a British souvenir (aside from an I love London jumper; which all clearly need to be burnt) The sparkle, the pomp and ceremony; appeals to the magpie in me. Its bizarre and lol and British.

 But I do feel like people are taking one thing too far. And that's the union jack.

One good thing about all the BRITISH things happening this year is that I do feel normal, decent British people have been able to reclaim our flag from the racists. The pesky BNP did a bit of re-branding to a flag that is pretty good in the iconic stakes. Racists are pretty good at that; just look at the swastika. For ages those stripes represented the bitter aftertaste of the British fish and chips; not the fried delights of the main meal. But perhaps with Kate and Will as our new representatives and all these dates in the diary, being British means something better (at least for now) and red white and blue is back in favour. Actually to say it's 'in favour' is a massive understatement; it is bloody everywhere.

If your buying your lunch in M&S and the content of your sarny is slightly British (ie. contains cucumber) it's emblazoned with it. Not to mention if you fancy some strawberries. If you open a newspaper, look at an advertisement, turn on your television, oh yes; it's there. Its there, but it's not there. Its meaning is getting watered down. It's become twee; executed in muted pastels, printed on crafty cushions and hung from bunting. Without trying to sound like the racists that squirrelled the flag away to their dingy dwellings  in the first place; that's not the way I see our flag.

For me, the last time I saw this piece of design used successfully and appropriately to personify the country it represents was stretched across Geri Halliwell's boobs at the 1997 Brit awards. Now that depicted a britain I recognised. She literally may as well have been on a seaside postcard. That union jack summed up  page 3, sugary tea and chips from the paper. The pervieness, the gaudiness, the tack. As much as we try to represent a Britain that's got it's shit together and is prepared for the world to bowl into it's capital for sports day, really we're all just in it for the piss up. Whether you're from the royal borough or moss side; if your British, you're more likely than not brassy, pompous or batshit cray or all of the above, and we've got a suitable flag to prove it.

It's nice that waving around a conglomeration of colours and lines doesn't mean you hate immigrants as much as it did, but I vote we save the flag for things that really represent this crackpot of a nation. Leave the bunting up, but find another way to advertise clotted cream.

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