Wireless 2012: Rihanna, Jessie J and MUD!

 

Jessie J’s set was one of the festival’s highlights

I’m not one to use awful clichés, but the rain couldn’t dampen our spirits at Wireless Festival in Hyde Park yesterday. Despite being rained on and caked in mud, we had a fantastic day watching Rizzle Kicks, Labrinth, Pitbull, Jessie J and the Queen, Rihanna!

I was pretty impressed with all the acts but Jessie J really stood out for me. Always professional, in tune, charismatic and energetic, her performance of hits such as Do It Like a Dude and her finale Domino really got the crowd going. She even picked an audience member to sing with her on stage during Price Tag, and she stayed up there looking rather bemused for the rest of the set.

As fantastic as Jessie J was, there was only one act we had been standing in the rain for hours to see, and that was Rihanna. Despite some expectations that she would pull out after her grandmother’s funeral this week, as well as having a bit of a shaky start, after warming up she rocked the festival performing hits such as Only Girl in the World, Don’t Stop the Music, and a rather fitting tribute to the festival with Umbrella.

For me the undoubted highlight of the day was Rihanna’s closing performance of We Found Love which got the 65,000 audience wild. It would be fantastic to have a video to show you at this point, and I did think of that yesterday but I jumped too hard, dropped my camera into the mud and the video was lost. Oh well, I think that shows how great the festival was though.

I’ll definitely be looking forward to next year’s festival as well as any other performances by Jessie J and Rihanna!

The ever-beautiful Rihanna bought Wireless Festival 2012 to a spectacular close

During a brief sunny spell

Mac Attack – we came prepared for mud and rain!

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Is the St. George’s flag racist?

The St. George's flag flying over Downing Street.

Today I read a rather controversial article that quoted a poll, which suggested that nearly a quarter of English people believed that flying their national flag and being nationalist were a form of racism.  However, the same article suggested that over 80% of people felt patriotic towards the British Union Jack.

The Union Jack has become increasingly popular over the last few years, and its design now features on any tourist souvenir stall, to home ware shops and even in high street fashion. This may be attributed to the Royal Wedding Effect, which saw a boost in patriotism last year, and this year’s forthcoming Diamond Jubilee. However, it seems that the St.George’s flag’s popularity has declined in recent years.

Although I am in no way suggesting that all people who choose to fly the English flag are racist, it can’t be denied that the flag has unfortunately become associated with far-right groups and hooliganism. I feel that the population at large have become embarrassed to fly the flag because of these reasons, and I point the finger of blame at the minority of extreme nationalists we have to put up with in our democracy.

Maybe our English flag needs some rebranding – it is after all the flag of St. George, the Roman soldier who in mythology slayed a dragon to save a young woman, who is also our patron saint. St. George, after all, wasn’t English, and his day April 23rd, is celebrated in many countries around the world.

I personally would like to see the St. George’s flag flying in celebration of St. George. To me, it symbolises a link we have with people from many nationalities, which should be celebrated in this day and age. However, it seems that many people believe that the Union Jack represents them in a better way, and that is a great thing for our society. To me, it says that the majority of people reject the views of the extremist minority that have sadly tainted the St. George’s flag, and that to me is a very patriotic message to send out.

What are your views? Do you prefer the St. George’s flag or the Union Jack? Comment below  or on Twitter. 

Mince Pies at Christmas? Only in Scotland…

Before you take a bite of  the festive treat on Sunday, you may want to think again. Under an archane English law, it is absolutely illegal to eat mince pies on the 25th of December! Infact, the only place in the United Kingdom where mince-pie  eating is not criminal on Christmas Day is Scotland, so you may want to pop across the border on Sunday to avoid a run in with the law.

The ridiculous rule came into force under Oliver Cromwell, the original Grinch, as he tried to enforce a puritan lifestyle on Britain. The ban on mince-pie eating is part of a list of the most ridiculous laws we still have in Britain, including one regularly flouted by taxi drivers: they are meant to check whether their passengers suffer from the plague or smallpox before travelling with them.

Find out more ridiculous laws here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/6204511.stm

The English Defence League and why they’re no Englishmen that I know

London: Our metropolis is a proud mixture of many cultures

Like many people that live in this country we call Great Britain, my heritage does not originate in this country. My dad’s family settled in London in the 60’s from a very small, very rural village in Southern Italy, and my mum’s Grandfather came to London after traumatically losing his first wife in Ireland.

Despite coming from different places, both wings of my family had more in common than their Catholic guilt. My Irish Great-Grandfather and Italian Grandparents came here for the British dream. That’s similar to the well-known American Dream of wealth and freedom for the hard working, but with tea and scones and our stiff-upper-lip attitude.

My family’s roots are common for many people who came to London. I can’t deny that racism and violence has been experienced my some foreign immigrants, but I have to say that my family were welcomed with open arms to the great melting pot of culture that is London.  And why shouldn’t they have been? England is a country derived from the roots of other people – in fact, to be Anglo-Saxon means to come from Scandinavian and Germanic descent.

But today, it seems that an increasing minority of “English People”, Anglo-Saxons, have become disillusioned with the idea of immigration to our country, and the cultures that are brought here.

Before you start thinking I’m going to go into a long, politically correct rant about how it’s racist to talk about cutting immigration, I’m not. I absolutely agree that we can’t have limitless numbers of people flooding through our borders; quite simply the size of our small yet strong nation just can’t cope with that.  What puts my back up though is the idea that people have bought their culture to this country thus destroying our culture.

Yesterday, over 1,000 members of the English Defence League met at Aldgate in London to protest against Islamification of our culture in Britain. “It’s not British!” they cried, “It takes away our identity!” Well I disagree. It is British.

British to me is of course tea and scones and country pursuits, but it’s more than that. Britishness is being able to have a Chinese meal one night, an Indian takeaway the next, a pizza for lunch one day, and a Turkish Kebab on the way home from the pub.  Britishness is a meeting of minds, a meeting of cultures and, absolutely, the pride to be part of so many cultures.

But of course, to argue against the EDL, we have to consider their argument. Is Britain becoming more Islamified? Yes, it is. But only because we’re becoming more GLOBALISED. Because of the media, the internet, Twitter, Facebook and cheap travel we experience more cultures and traditions, and we bring them home to our Great Britain, creating a culture that has roots  from all over the globe.

And globalisation doesn’t just happen one way. Just in my experience of other cultures, I’ve seen our British influence. From Scottish castles in the Canadian Rockies, to afternoon tea in Singapore, the best of Britishness has left its imprint on the world, and the world loves that, just as many Londoners love the cultures shown to them in their own city

So, I say to the EDL, yes, other cultures are changing and shaping our culture, but it’s only adding to Britishness, not taking away Britain’s heart.

I’m not naïve enough to believe that my writing and arguments will change the ignorant, closed mind of an EDL member, but I do realise that my thoughts will have much more in common with the 1,500 people who went out on the streets of London yesterday to oppose the much smaller amount of EDL thugs.