ESSAY Lloyd Robson

NWR Issue 104

What Rhymes with Yonkers

So I’m in a bar on the Upper East Side, watching USA lose to Canada in the semi-final of the Olympic (ice) hockey, and as a sideshow my mate from North Carolina is trying to wrap his head around my national identity.

‘So, you’re Welsh but not English or British, right?’

No, mate, I’m Welsh and British but not English.

‘I thought you hated the British?’

No mate, I am British.

‘I thought the English were British?’

They are, mate.

‘But you been saying how the Welsh and English are different, so why claim to be British?’

Mate, I’m not gonna cede my Britishness just cos someone else defines it differently. The Welsh, the Cornish and the Bretons are the remains of the Britons – the original fucking British! I ain’t giving that up just cos someone might think I’m English. ‘Men of Harlech’, mate – in the version America knows, it goes:

Now the Saxon flees before us,
Vict’ry’s banner floateth o’er us,
Raise the loud exulting chorus,
Britain wins the field!

See! The Welsh are the British. And you can’t fuck with ‘Men of Harlech’, mate, whatever the battle….

Ad infinitum, while drinking on empty stomachs $5 beer-and-shot combos. But he wants to know, he genuinely wants to know...

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