Here’s another in our occasional series of articles called simply “Village Ways” in which local villager and expert on village matters Major Fore-Shortener sheds some light on the mysteries of the country side of the village.
Today Major Fore-Shortener tackles that special day in the village “May Day.”
Good day to you. It’s me again. Major Flemington Glastonbury Fore-Shortener. Expert on all ’country ways’ that affect the village. By the way I know my name is a bit long. But there you go, I am stuck with it. I have thought about changing it to something shorter and indeed the ‘chaps’ in the regiment used to call me various names for short such as Flem, Flemmy, Flemmers and indeed ‘Four-Shorts’ but none of them quite stuck. By the way that last one was nothing to do with shortening my name – it was actually because I was well-known for owning four pairs of shorts – all of slightly different lengths as it happens. And I would select the short length I wore according to the weather – they went from Gunner Sugden to Gary Lineker ’88 if you get my meaning.
So, when I left the army I did consider changing my name completely, like many of my favourite hip-hop artists have like Marcel Theo Hall (Biz Markie), Curtis James Jackson III (50 Cent) or Juaquin Malphurs (Waka Flocka Flame). I thought about it, but couldn’t come up with anything to express the ‘hip-hop’ side of my personality – the closest I got was “Flame For Sure” which is still quite long, but is actually really cool when you look at it like that. And I actually regret not changing it now.
Anyway. Where were we?
Ah yes, May Day celebrations in the village.
I am sure many of you will know that May Day is one of the most important days in the village. One of those days when the village folk really let their collective hairs down – like Christmas, or New Years, or Easter or one of the many Saints days that we celebrate here including the special cheese rubbing ceremony of Saint Juthwara in November.
May Day has a special place in our hearts because it really does celebrate the birth of Spring when the whole of nature seems to conspire to breathe in fresh air, to be intoxicated on the fumes of life and to start to get down to all the good stuff that nature intended. I am sure we all know that May Day is a pagan festival and we like to the spirit of this alive and insist on being unfettered by the robes and rituals of the Christian Church.
Instead, myself and other village elders and ‘Gentleman of the Forest’ have taken the matter in hand again and can promise you quite a day next week on May 1st.
The preparations for a rip-roaring celebration in 2013 are well in hand
I am not permitted by the rules of the ‘Tree Folk’ to tell you quite who is up to what and we will all be in costume on the day.
But I can say that I will once again be ‘The Hedge Man who oversees much of the day. I can also tell you that the Badger Man has been snotted and the signs are good – the antlers have taken. And the Flangebeater’s dancing troup are well up to scratch and kicking high. What’s more the Cladge has been aired and the young buds are velvety which bodes well for a fertile year for all our gardens and a time of economic prosperity for the village.
We look forward to seeing you in village pub car park at dawn on 1st May for the baying of the Swan and the tweakng of the cygnets, which will signal the start of the carnival. As usual the pub will be open from 3am and we’d like to see as many of you masked and daubed at that time.
Soon after dawn we will watch the Badger Man rise and twitch and then watch him spray and remember the direction in which he sprays is a sign of what the mood in the village will be in the coming twelve months.
We look forward to this special day in the village.
PS Has anyone in the village heard the latest Ghostface Killah album ‘Twelve Reasons to Die’ it is a “Jonny Belter?!” I think you could call it a lean and mean exercise in lyrical mayhem, with Ghost absolutely fighting fit – but he ain’t playing to no Marquess of Queensberry Rules oh dear me no! Instead he weaves a sinister tale of bloodshed and revenge on this splendid new disc. So do yourself a favour pour yourself a fine old malt, open a tube of Pringles and let yourself go.