Friday, May 01, 2009

Not so much about the workers

Ten or so years ago, when I was young and shiny and we believed in our political leaders, M and I got up (or possibly stayed up, I have done it both ways round and can't quite remember) for May Morning. It was a glorious dawn, and on the way into town we bumped into two of our friends, heading in the same direction, and we all parked our bikes together and walked up to Magdalen Tower.

These two were rarely seen out together, as one of them was married to someone else at the time. I don't approve of That Sort Of Thing, but I'd only really ever known them as a couple, and who was I (or indeed am I) to tell other people how to manage their relationships. It wasn't the first liaison of its kind, I did know that, and I assumed there was some kind of tacit 'arrangement' in place.

We were early enough to find a great spot, listened to the singing, squeezed into the very unfashionable Mitre for a couple of pints, wandered down to the Covered Market for a drunken breakfast and then parted ways.

It was the perfect Oxford May Day experience, except for the fact that when that week's Oxford Times came out, there we all were on the front page, beaming up at the tower. Whatever kind of arrangement *was* in place, I can imagine it didn't encompass appearing together in the local press. Rumour has it someone went round buying up every copy of that week's edition in West Oxfordshire. I still have mine.

By the time it came around to falling on a weekend again, we lived on the other side of the bridge (which is always closed from around 4am to stop drunken students jumping off and braining themselves on shopping trolleys other drunken students have thrown in the river). We wandered up Cowley Road around 5ish, stopping to pick up various friends on the way, feeling like we were calling for them on the way to school. We stayed east afterwards as well, drinking Guinness at the Temple Bar (still in its pre-makeover formica and urinal cakes phase if memory serves) then back to ours for kedgeree and Bloody Marys in the garden.

It's great, is May Morning, if you do it right. There's something deliciously transgressive about going to the pub before breakfast... it sort of reminds me of Lytham Club Day in my teens, when the pubs were open ALL DAY. Hard to imagine now what people used to do between 3pm and 7pm on sunny bank holidays.

And if you're only here for a few years, then yes, clearly you must get up and get out there. If you live here though, and you don't have a thing for Morris dancing, and you have to go to work afterwards, and you're SO not a morning person, then all you get is the aftermath... girls with smudged mascara and bleeding feet, boys who have been drinking for so many hours that every civilising vestige of their expensive education has been obliterated and you just want to drive a stake through them and their can of Red Bull.

On balance though, I wouldn't be without it.

joella

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1 Comments:

Blogger Andy said...

It's great. Apart from the unutterably unimganitive, failing policy of closing the bridge. The purpose of the closure? To prevent people incapable of making a sensible decision from jumping into the river.

The outcome? Those very same people wait until 7am when the bridge re-opens and then jump in.

So, what does the policy achieve? Well, it doesn't stop people jumping. No, it stops people in East Oxford enjoying the celebration and makes the bridge look like a murder scene instead of prime Oxford beauty.

A smidgeon of imagination could imagine either putting boats UNDER the f**king bridge, or a few metal barriers and a few cops along the bits of bridge above the river.

I tell ya, it makes my blood boil. Oooh, it does.

9:50 pm  

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