Friday, November 5, 2010

Beer and Bonfires

It's bonfire night again in London, though really it's more like bonfire weekend... why stop the party tonight, right? As its name suggests, the holiday is rampant with bonfires and fireworks. These fires and fireworks are carried out to symbolise some bloke (oooh! look at me saying 'bloke' like I'm a local) who tried to blow up parliament and assassinate the king lo these many years ago. I think the British were originally encouraged to light bonfires to celebrate the king's escape, but now they see them as an opportunity to hold their politicians accountable, often tossing effigies of their most hated rulers into the flames.

Also, as with anything here, Guy Fawkes provided his countrymen with an opportunity to get royally drunk in his name. If only they could pronounce it. Ugh, I don't understand why anyone would name their child 'Guy', only to pronounce it 'Gaaaiiiiii'. Doing so makes everyone think of the word 'guy' (meaning young man, or random man - i.e. 'that guy over there is burning a Margaret Thatcher doll'). Sure, why not just name your kid 'Man' or 'Bloke' or 'Heyyou'? Francophones (and almostbutnotquite francophones like me) are the only people who seem to pronounce it properly. It should be pronounced 'Ghee', though not spelled that way because ghee is a clarified butter used in Indian cuisine. My refusal to pronounce his name the British way has earned me some odd looks, but I persist. Yes, I AM one of those annoying people who pronounce foreign words (and names) the way they are intended to be said, accent and all. It was probably the reason he was taken to trial, poor Guy. I bet a witness said 'some Guy tried to blow up parliament', and his fate was sealed.

On the other hand, who am I to turn down a party? We may go to the bonfire tomorrow, and if we do I will let you know how it turned out. I just hope they don't throw me into the fire because they think I'm French.

Coming soon: my obsession with all things français.

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