Mayday! Mayday!

Friday 1st May . . . all sorts of things to think about, starting with

(Image Credit: Melbourne Protests)

If you see a history of May Day in the newspapers this year, it is most likely to recount the mystical, medieval origins of a pagan fertility festival. And though you may never have seen a maypole in your life, you will be assured that a ribboned piece of birchwood is the sign and sanction of May Day.

Yet this has little to do with the reason that 1 May is celebrated in Britain, or why it is an international holiday . . . . May Day is international workers day. As such, it is – in the words of Eric Hobsbawm – “the only unquestionable dent made by a secular movement in the Christian or any other official calendar”. And its past is more rowdy than is suggested by the imagery of Morris dancers serenely waving hankies and bells around.

The origin of our present holiday lies in the fight for an eight-hour working day, in which cause the leaders of the socialist Second International called for an international day of protest to be held at the beginning of May 1890. They did so just as the American Federation of Labour was planning its own demonstration on the same date. The UK protest actually took place on a Sunday, and in London alone attracted 300,000 protesters to Hyde Park.

Initially, May Day was intended to be a one-off protest, and in some ways quite a solemn affair. But it persisted amid a flourishing of trade unionism. The symbolism of the workers’ Easter, of rebirth and renewal, dramatised this experience of revival. And it developed a carnivalesque aspect. May Day did not merely enact internationalism and working class solidarity; it celebrated these things with the familiar paraphernalia of badges, flags, art, sporting events and heavy drinking.

This is the beginning of a fine article: I commend it to Pubsters.

So, let’s recreate some of that carnival atmosphere – but with moderate consumption of alcohol, of course.

We will also have our Friday raffle, lots of good music, and even though the article’s author quite rightly says May Day is much more than maypoles, let’s get those paws a-twitching and the ribbons a-winding!

(Image Credit: Life With Cats)

537 thoughts on “Mayday! Mayday!

  1. “Tierre del feugo, Tierra del feugo,
    Thou art ringing in my ears,
    Like a soft sweet piece of music
    From the long forgotten years…”

    That’s how it goes, I think..

  2. You all know the tune, so sing out loud –

    The Abbott Family song

    They’re creepy and they’re scary
    Got votes from the unwary
    They’re so unnecessary
    The Abbott Family
    They got in thanks to Rupert
    Their policies are stupid
    They stay in we’re all rooted
    The Abbott family
    They call themselves the grownups
    They think they have us sewn up
    They make me want to throw up
    The Abbott family
    They’re funded by the greedy
    They’re nasty to the needy
    Their politics are seedy
    The Abbott family”
    (alternate verse)
    They don’t respect the workers
    They really love to hurt us
    They should be in a circus
    The Abbott Family

    TIA >> This Is Australia

    I cannot claim any credit at all for this, I found it on Facebook.

  3. leonetwo,

    I cannot claim any credit at all for this, I found it on Facebook.

    Good find! 😉

  4. Ladies’ night? No problems.

    Here’s one of my favourite female singers:


  6. Fiona,

    Many apologies, got your e-mail much, much too late. Number 2 daughter had an assignment due that night & the PC she was using decided to crash.

    With much switching of monitors etc, finally decided that son’s PC had crashed and so used boyfriend’s PC to re-do said assignment. ( cunning little sod, eh?)

    Anyway, the main reason for my absence from posting is because I broke my left index finger on Good Friday.

    As a two finger typist, I was somewhat handicapped & gave up trying to do it with one finger. Even with a partly mended finger, it is still somewhat of a problem as even though it is partially healed, there are quite a number of severed ligaments in it that result in it not working very well.

    Also, for some time, I have been on 300 mgs of Lyrica a day for neuropathy which was a bloody awful condition I ended up with after contracting shingles. Leonetwo gave a pretty good description of its side effects which have to be measured against the benefits.

    The jury is still out in regard to this at present. The balancing is a day to day proposition. For me anyway.

    Make sure you insist that your children & grandchildren get immunized against Chicken Pox. Getting Shingles later in life can be devastating and is even fatal.

    I couldn’t believe it when my eldest daughter, (a school teacher) informed me that mothers were still holding chicken pox parties to infect kids while they are young in the stupid belief that if they have it early, then they miss most of the side effects of getting it later.

    Bloody hell, even kids that get chicken pox can die from it. And why potentially sentence their child to the potential of dying from it from the age of 50 or spending the rest of their life with peripheral neuropathy and suffering the fairly adverse side effects from the pretty feeble means that the medical profession can put up to try & maybe alleviate the symptoms which it does pretty badly, I can assure you.

    And on top of the poor results of the best they can can come up with at present, Lyrica, you have to put up with the devastating side effects on top of it.

    And they wonder why people wander in front of buses or fall in front of trains. I’m not quite there yet, but it sure is tempting at times.

  7. Scorpio,

    I am sorry you have been having such a rough time.

    Take care, and be patient.

    Also, think of the poor bus / train driver.

  8. Congratulations and best wishes to all the birthday people on The Pub in recent days.

    Have kept up with all the comments, but haven’t been too flash in regards posting comments myself.

    Even if you don’t hear from me for a while, know that I am still interested in your comments and what you have to say, especially when something special like a birthday or a new grand son or grand daughter turns up to make your life totally exciting.

    The sad events, I even can more than associate with, but hope that for all Pubsters, they are more than a rare event as I hope they continue to be for the Scorpios.

    Eli’s mum advised me a few days or so ago that Eli is expecting a sister or brother early December. My bet is that it is a girl & I would be over the moon if it came on Eli’s mum’s birthday on the 6th of December.

  9. My maternal grandparents: Mr was Catholic. Mrs was Protestant. They were not married in a catholic churchand my Mum doesn’t remember them ever going to church. My Mum is an atheist.

  10. Scorps.
    So glad to hear from you and congratulations on the new sprog in waiting.

    Getting old is a b’tard. I am battling chronic pain from fybromyalgia. Gosh knows what is the cause of that.

    I had chicken pox as a kid.

    Don’t get me started on anti vaxxers. Especially if there is a baseball bat available.

  11. Puffy,

    Dad was notionally Catholic. Mum was the offspring of a Pressbutton father and atheist/agnostic mother, attended a Methodist boarding school and – even though she hadn’t been baptised – managed to be confirmed as a Methodist.

    They never EVER went to church except to get married – at St John’s Anglican Church in Canberra.

    They never EVER took me to church, even though they sent me to an Anglican school.

    I went to Sunday School (at St John’s) once only (the superintendent lived next door to us), and disgraced myself by (1) not wearing a hat, (2) not wearing gloves, and (3) – worst of all – sitting on the boys’ side instead of with the gals.

    Well, nobody told me.

    Still became sorta religious in the second half of my teens, was baptised by the school chaplain and confirmed when in my first year at uni, “prepared” by the lovely university chaplain George Garnsey, who set me a whole lot of history of the early church to read. It was very interesting, and I don’t regret it.

    I soon reverted to atheism, and only really revisited the church after I’d been retrenched in the 1991 recession. Fortunately, my parish church had an amazing rector (I still remember DD at the age of 5 telling him she had some problems believing in god, and Father Andrew squatting down to be at her level and saying, “Felicity, I have some problems with that too!”) and a delightful choir, which I was asked to join in 1992. Had a lot of fun there for seven years.

    The incense created by reasonable voices singing a cappella in a Victorian bluestone church on a cold Sunday evening was enchanting, and again something I do not regret.

  12. Re French in Texas. The Cajuns of Louisiana were French settlers of what is now known as Nova Scotia but was then New France. They were rounded up like cattle and transported to the Carribbean region by the British and then replaced by Ulster Protestants. A few of the original French remain in the far northern New England states such as Vermont.
    The Carribbean refugees were scattered all over, breaking up families and leading to a long trauma. Tha majority were scattered along the coast of what is now the US from about northern Florida around Pensacola to near Corpus Christi in Texas.
    Until WW2 the main language spoken in the region was French of a kind last used in France in the 1600s mixed in with a smattering of Spanish and African (Creole) dialect. After the war the use of French retreated to the area of south west Louisiana around Lafayette and parts of New Orleans. It’s use is undergoing something of a revival lately, but when I spent some time there in the late 70s and early 80s it was mostly spoken by old people and the very poorly educated. The traces of french usage led to an unusual speech pattern of repeating negatives and a repeated and emphasised subject, (eg you not goine nowhere, no you!) and an accent unlike most of the southerners which is somewhat clipped and glottal.
    Henry Longfellow wrote a very long poem called “Evangeline, a Tale of Arcadie” which purports to tell the tale of the dislocation from New France to Louisiana and the making of a life in the new land through the life of a young girl transported on the first day of marriage and never to meet he young husband again.

  13. Paddy 2, if you are still about, how did you go in the storm on Friday?

  14. Kambah Mick,

    On my first visit to Ny’Orleans in 2000, I spent my last day on a cruise of the bayous, with a Cajun skipper and all passengers apart from me being Canadiens from Montreal.

    The skipper asked whether I needed English translations. I told him, no (my French is fairly good still), and I was pleasantly surprised how easy Cajun French was to understand.

    It was a great trip.

  15. Tony Windsor, in his book, gave an excellent description of the uselessness of National Party politicians, quoted in Leroy’s links.They do bugger all for their electorates and yet their constituents keep on voting them back in. If you don’t have Tony’s book yet then you should get hold of it.

    Around here the legacy of Rob Oakeshott continues. We have a huge crane on the skyline again, building our new Charles Sturt university campus, won for us by Rob, Julia and Charles Sturt, with all the finances done just in time, so Abbott could not kill off the project.

    The Nats fool that took Rob’s place has, in 20 months in office, achieved absolutely nothing for the electorate, nothing at all. We can expect that to continue for decades, as National MP replaces retiring National MP, unless another strong indie turns . Fat chance!

    And in Sydney that bastard Baird has done the dirty on the voters of Campbelltown, doing an Abbott and punishing them for failing to elect a Liberal by taking away the promised funding for hospital extensions. You just can’t trust a Liberal (or a National). If their lips are moving they are lying. Or, if referring to a National politician, it might just be the only sign of life. Mouth breathing.

  16. If it’s ladies night we have to have K D Lang. She absolutely owns this song, no-one else does it nearly as well.

  17. Fiona. Yep, I loved the place after I recovered from the shock at the casual racial violence.
    There was a real hierarchy of races there, Cracker White Protestants from northern Louisiana first, white Cajuns second, followed by a stew of Vietnamese, creoles, blacks and “Redbones” (mixtures of black and Native Americans). Rural blacks were at the bottom of the pile and their rank poverty was hard to take.
    I loved going to the “Juke Joints” (from which we get the term Juke Box) which were sort of clubs, often in relatively isolated spots where musicians could perform for whatever they could earn from the crowd, or performed requests. I saw some fantastic performances in some of them.

  18. Leone,

    . . . in 20 months in office . . .

    Such a short time in which to destroy Australia.

    Such a short time in which to destroy our hope for decency, for our children and grandchildren, for our future.

    I could easily go into a threnody, but I won’t.

    We – all of us – I don’t care how old, how whatever, you may be, but we have to get moving.

    We must reclaim this country.

  19. Kambah Mick,

    My two visits to New Orleans were on my own – a lone white female.

    I wasn’t brave enough to explore any of the really interesting places, though I also didn’t restrict myself to the French Quarter.

  20. Something that I am interested in getting feed-back fro fellow Pubsters, is has everyone got their free Flu needle yet and if so, have you been able to dodge the more adverse side-effects that they infer, can possibly inflect one.

    Me, I got it in spades, thanks in most part, to the neuropathy following the shingles! I’m just starting to come a bit better after a week, but have been really shocked to find that some people have come off far worse than me and come down with Pneumonia after it.

    That’s some pretty serious side affect, I would think. The powers at be don’t make them out to be anything more than a minor irritant for a few days. Eh, what!

    Anyone surprised? Thought not! 😉

  21. Scorpio,

    The important point is that the fluvax uses DEAD viruses, so you can’t catch flu because you’ve had the vaccination.

    If you have contracted flu (as opposed to a man-cold) you’ve just been unlucky in not getting vaccinated soon enough – or else being unlucky in contracting a strain of flu that wasn’t included in the vaccination.

  22. Mild four-day ‘flu about a month ago. Seeing the GP shortly and I shall get a jab.

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