|Chris, Josh, Teresa, Me, Mick|
King of the North
Roaming free in the Yorkshire fields behind my childhood home in Wakefield, I could easily have imagined myself King of The North in my egotistic, juvenile imagination – or at least a Prince of The North since I had older brothers and there were plenty of other older lads around. I was definitely several places removed from being heir to the throne. And the arrival of a younger sister meant I was definitely no longer the one to be spoiled....!Harper, Kerry, Dolly
I am sure all areas of the UK command tribal loyalties. “The North” does, though, seem to possess a conceptual life of its own:
- Northern Ireland and its relationship with the rest of Ireland
- North America compared to South America
- Northern Europe and Southern Europe
- The northern yankee states as opposed to the southern confederate states
- North Korea versus South Korea
- New Zealand's North Island and its contrasting South Island
|Harper Lee, Kerry Madden, Dolly Parton|
Although Southern Europe is intrinsically romantic: linguistically, artistically, geographically, historically and architecturally, I still find myself feeling more akin with Scandinavia and northern Europe despite the short days in winter, the possessive attitude to alcohol and the grim humour that seems positively macabre. Maybe it’s because my surname is Johnson so I imagine an ancestral link to Vikings…. And maybe it’s because one of my go-to reading books as a child was a battered Tales of the Norse Gods from Ginnungagap to Ragnarök. Even in France you find the equivalent of southerners being suspicious of anyone living north of Watford Gap with Lyons standing in for Watford Gap. (Paris is an anomaly in The French North.) If in doubt, check out the entertaining film Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis.
|Ginnungagap, Ragnarök, Welcome to the Sticks|
Am I part-Southerner now?Having lived in The South for two months as a student (working in a bookshop on Shaftesbury Avenue and witnessing a drug addict dying on my delightful Royal Princesses display), and having lived in The South on and off since May 2014 (and full-time from July 2014 to today, Sunday August 17th 2014), am I now part Southerner? Am I on the North-South turn? Can a man not control his own sense of who he is?
I say again, there is no English soul
More stronger to direct you than yourself,
If with the sap of reason you would quench,
Or but allay, the fire of passion.