Saturday 17 October 2015

"...a mixed, culturally-diverse place, very cosmopolitan..."

Ah, the BBC and its 'messages'...

Last night's Front Row on Radio 4 previewed The Last Kingdom, the BBC's new epic drama/attempt to cash in on the success of Game of Thrones. It concerns the Vikings' invasion of Anglo-Saxon England. BBC historian Dr Janina Ramirez talked to Kirsty Lang about it.

According to Dr Ramirez, it looks as if it might 'express' a familiar BBC point:
And there's some very important questions being asked about identity - something we still need to ask ourselves today. It's a truism that we trace English heritage back to the Anglo-Saxons but that in was a mixed, culturally-diverse place, very cosmopolitan, and this series, I think expresses that very well.
I bet it does.

Away from bias,
Front Row also talked haiku.
New finds, old poet.

Two hundred haiku
by eighteenth century great
Yosa Buson found.

Show's guest compared it
to discovering lost Keats' 
notebook, miracle.

Guest, wise as water,
Translated one found Buson
For us. Petals fell.

"The torn paper um-
brella has just become a 
ghoul with moonlit eyes".

Tip for Halloween:
Must tear paper umbrella,
scare trick or treaters. 


  1. Yes, I can just see those metrosexual Saxons opening a copy of Ye Olde Guardian to read an editorial about how the Vikings are introducing a new vibrancy to these isles, and that while their cultural traditions may be somewhat different to ours (noting briefly in passing that razing monasteries to the ground and enslaving captives can never be condoned), their cultural values had to be respected...and anyway they made marvellous brooches.

  2. My DNA male ancestry originates in the Upper Elbe part of Saxony. The reason mine signed up in the XX Legion Augusta to go to Britannia was to get away from all those Goths Vandals and others who were trampling about our lands. See you in Deva Vitrix.

  3. If you had told Alfred in the 870s, adrift and hiding in the Somerset marshes, that he was living in a cultural rainbow nation I imagine his reaction would have been slightly emotional. I don't actually think a huge influx of Dane and Norwegians today would create quite the same alarm in the shires as the hordes moving through Europe just now (controversial to say, but probably true). The Danes and the Saxons shared plenty of DNA anyway. No, I think we're all Victoria's children. Modern Britain is a post-imperial, post 20th century place. To superimpose Guardianista values on our historical foundations is a little fatuous. For one thing slavery was common place in Anglo Saxon times, as for the Viking rite of the blood eagle.....let's leave that till after lunch.


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