It’s May Day!
Another mixed up, modern day excuse for a knees up.
May Day, like most festivals in 21st century Britain, and particularly right now, is having an identity crisis. It’s not quite sure what it is anymore and doesn’t really know what to do with itself.
Put on a pretty frock, wear a floral crown and frolic around a maypole on the village green performing a ritualistic dance of summer, fertility and joy?
Or, rampage through the streets in an anarchist, proletarian revolt against the canons of authority, capitalism and exploitation of workers rights – in an uproarious celebration of temporary mayhem?
Which side are you on? Pretty frock and a floral crown- or placard and a can of larger?
Shall I frolic – or rampage?
Am I joyful or angry?
And why can’t I be both?
In the past ordinary folk, like me, were allowed to do both. To be both. At what point in the civilising process did we lose our identity? When did we lose our sense of joy and sense of humour – and the strength to uphold our traditions?
We take ourselves so seriously now we deny all our weaknesses. We’re so self-conscious and self-policing we don’t allow ourselves to make mistakes, say the wrong thing occasionally, get drunk and cavort outrageously. It can’t be healthy to be so civilised.
COVID has cancelled all maypole dances and the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill threatens to criminalise traditional non violent protests such as the traditional May Day demonstrations and celebrations of working class power and culture.
So with no other options this May Day I’m going to wear a beautiful floral crown, open a can of larger and swear at the news from my sofa.
If you’d like to join in my armchair revelry, here’s how to make a pretty floral crown.
You will need:
- A few lengths of natural raffia. (around 12)
- Some freshly cut flowers. (nothing too ostentatious….just a few sprigs of whatever you can find growing nearby)
You’ll need to secure your work – I’m quite happy to stick pins in my furniture – you might not be.
Gather your raffia and begin by tying a loop at one end – leave the ends nice and long.
Start to plait the raffia – and work the short ends into the beginning of the plait.
Check the length of the plait and when it’s long enough to go around your head thread the ends through the loop and secure in a knot. If you knot it fairly loosely you’ll be able to undo it if you need to adjust the size.
Trim your flowers and poke the stems through the plait. Use additional lengths of raffia to bind the stems so they don’t poke out.
Continue to add the flowers until you are happy with your crown. Now try it on.
I wanted to photograph the crown on my resident May Queen. But……
“I’m not wearing THAT.” Stomp stomp stomp. SLAM.
Hoorah! The spirit of protest is alive and kicking in our house.