Tuesday, May 31, 2011

One week in Manchester

Last week was a good one. I've realised I haven't told you much about "my life in Manchester", but there are a couple of reasons for that, though. 1. This blog was never meant to be autobiographical; 2. This last semester (when I started my blog) has been remarkably uneventful, considering most of my time has been spent reading and working in university. However, last week I finished my last exam! This means I've finally got more time to look around and focus on other stuff that's going on. These are some of the things observed in Manchester last week, by yours truly.

Remember last Saturday when the world was supposed to end? Well, there's a group of (fundamentalists) Christians who have been preaching about this in Market Street for quite some time. I don't know whether they are part of Harold Camping's following or if they follow their own agenda, but it's clear that they have seen one 'end ' or another coming for a long time. They rarely catch anyone's attention, though. Everyone just seems to pass them by, probably taking them for some crazy group of doomsday Christians. Except for a little group of kids. A little group of teenage protesters who find entertainment in standing next to them and shouting retorts at everything these Christians shout. You may call it childish, but it is no more childish than those Christians are eccentric and aggressive. Last Saturday I noticed that the group of kids had started wearing Justin Bieber masks as well. Here's a picture of the doomsday Christians with a Justin Bieber-masked kid next to him. (You'll have to forgive the poor picture quality as I took the picture with my mobile phone as I was rushing past).

Justin Bieber on the left, Manic (Market) Street Preacher on the right.

Not a very good picture. Here's one with added red ring so you can spot the Biebz.

"...And I was like Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, ooooh..."

I think it's fair to assume that everyone took Harold Camping's doomsday prophecy with a pinch of salt. Still, the shelves in Marks&Spencer's on the Sunday (the day that was never meant to be!) seemed to indicate that a lot of people had taken a "better safe than sorry" stance and stocked up on food. You know, just in case... Either they must have thought "If I don't get chosen by Jesus, I'm still going to try to outlive this apocalypse! Better stock up!" or "If I get chosen I'm sure heaven's a long flight away. Better stock up!". Or perhaps the anticipation of doomsday or no doomsday make people hungry.

Get your doomsday ready meals now! Don't be hungry when you come to heaven or get left behind!

My beloved Manchester City finally won a trophy for the first time in 35 years (!) when they beat Stoke in the FA cup finals. Of course, this had to be celebrated! The streets of Manchester turned sky blue as fans gathered in the street to cheer on a parade with City players and City heroes. Good times.

What also happened this week is that I finally saw real Morris dancing!! This bizarre spectacle is an old English traditional dance. You might wonder why I've wanted to see this? The reason is I just find it hilarious because it's so fucking weird. Just look at it! 

According to wikipedia, they're not sure of the origins of this form of dance. I have my own theory, though. I believe that in the old days when societies were few and scattered, small villages would have designated 'guardsmen' or gate keepers who they would send out to scare away predators or unwelcome strangers. These guardsmen would wear bells on their legs for enhanced effect of loud noise, and also carry a stick for waving and potential mêlée battle. However, as societies grew it was inevitable that some villages would bump into each other. The conflicting villages would then send out their guardsmen with bells and sticks to chase each other away. However, these guardsmen were used to their opposition (usually just a wayward animal looking for food) turning around a fleeing just by the loud noise of the bells. Neither of the guardsmen had ever before experienced actual physical combat or an enemy that didn't flee. Hence, they clashed into each other in the middle of the field (or rather, a 'moor') and the men, not being used to direct confrontation, proceeded to jump and run around each other, bashing away with their sticks, rather incompetently and feebly. The spectacle of men with bells on their legs and sticks in their hands not hitting a single target rather than the other mens' sticks, must have been an entertaining one for the villagers watching. From that day on, the villages decided to join forces and relegate their inadequate guardsmen to entertainment dancers, or Morris dancers.

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