Friday, 23 April 2010


In the Creative Writing group this afternoon at Network for Change on London Road (photo above), we take as our topic St George's Day and what it means to have - and to be - a patron saint. We talk about St George - who he was or might have been, where we think he came from, what we've heard he did, and what we believe about him. Wt discuss other sorts of positions in our society (e.g. Poet Laureate, Astronomer Royal) that help us see the nature and significance of a patron saint. We make a list of the sort of qualities we think a patron saint should have, then suggest people alive today or recently departed, who might be able to fill the role of a new patron saint for England, if the position suddenly became open. Some of the names are predictable, some surprising: Trevor Bayliss, Joe Bugner, Shami Chakrabati, John Cleese, Princess Diana, Malcolm McLaren, Katie Price (Jordan). We discuss the difference between appointing a patron saint and electing a new Head of State (which seems to be what some of the group members are thinking of). then they get a quarter of an hour to write the sanctifying myth for the new patron saint of their choice. One of the members of the group chooses Jade Goody. I asked their permission to reproduce that piece of writing here. Bear in mind, faithful reader, that this was written in one go, without corrections and that I've made no changes to the original.
In an era where the majority of English people have very little and aspire to find the fast track to having it all, the culture of the celebrity has talent or being able to do something well isn't as important as being able to fight for what you've got and pay for what you've done wrong.
To be famous without deserving fame could be said to be vulgar and negative but the English still struggle with a rigid class structure. Some are born with privilege, some aren't. Those who triumph over this injustice inspire aspirational worship.
As well as the rigid class structure in 21st century England we still have a rigid race problem.
Jade Goody exhibited cliched western racism and ignorance and she paid for it via eastern laws of karma. It all came back on her, she suffered publicly and died a martyr.Also it is still a woman's role to provide for her children. Her sacrificial public death allowed her to make money for her boys made her celebrity status for nothing justifiable. She took it all on the chin and made money from her own death to provide for her boys.
Kind of like the way Thatcher only became powerful and popular through the Falklands War. She was doing what she was doing in defence of "our boys".
Jade Goody was white, matriarchal, heroic in death and strong enough to be wrong in public and pay her karmic debt. Like the best traditions of the British army.

Impressive, I hope you'll agree. I was particularly taken with the clash of east and west in this piece and the role of karma (which, I have to admit, I'd never associated with this story before).

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