You know that saying that you learn something new every day? I always think of it when I learn something new, or when I discover something very obvious. Today I learned about the Wurzels.
What on earth is a Wurzel? These are the Wurzels:
They’re a singing group from the Westcountry here in the UK. The existence of the Wurzels has vaguely penetrated my consciousness several times before now; people randomly humming snatches of ‘I am a Cider Drinker’ or merrily shouting ‘I got a brand new combine harvester and I’ll give ye the key!’, but mostly these grand old bastions of Westcountry culture have passed me by utterly. I’m not sure why, but I got the sudden urge to investigate these Wurzels last night, and discovered a myspace page which not only contains the aforementioned tracks, but a wonderful ditty called ‘Blackbird’ which I have been singing all day (please follow the link and listen, I was crying with laughter earlier today and kept going ‘buggered if I won’t ‘ave thee’ at random intervals, much to the amusement of everyone at work) plus a marvellous version of the Oasis track ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’, complete with authentic ‘Ooh arrrrrr’s in a thick Westcountry accent. Seriously, you’ve never heard folk music this good. I certainly never have! Makes me proud to be a country bumpkin.
Some day I’ll tell you all about Tar Barrels, another long established Westcountry tradition. Maybe now, since I’m thinking about it. In other parts of Britain they celebrate bonfire night with fireworks, possibly as a reminder to the monarchy that but for a stroke of luck, it could have been them up in flames so be nice to us commoners lest we hatch a plot to blow you up again, sort of thing. Apparently we don’t see it that way down here in the sticks, because the way we celebrate is by heaving huge barrels of tar onto our backs (and when I say ‘we’, obviously I only mean the slightly insane among us), setting them alight and hurling ourselves with gay abandon down streets jam-packed with drunken spectators while the barrel blazes merrily away and sparks set unwary members of the public on fire. Of course, you try to foist the barrel off on someone else before it burns all your hair off, and then they can run like a mad thing back the way you came. If you don’t believe people can be quite so stupid, see here.
Anyone else have any interesting local traditions? There’s also the Morris Men of course, who I haven’t seen for years, mainly because I haven’t been to any local fayres or anything. They dance around and have bells on their knees and belt each other over the head with inflated pigs bladders. Excellent entertainment. I look forward to hearing about anyone else’ s strange local customs!