This could be quite an interesting post because I’m going to examine something that is very much a part of me and if I remove the facade I don’t know anymore what may be behind it. When I say facade that doesn’t really sum it up the things I am going to look at are all anomalies, they are instances where I present something to the outside world that leads people to a simplistic conclusion and I suspect the reason I do this is because of some dichotomy or insecurity.

The first point is nationality: I am Irish. Am I? Seriously tho’ what is my claim to Irishness? I was born in West London, educated in London, I have lived in many places and 3 countries but never Ireland, I have not even been there. I do not currently have a passport and the last passport I held which expired 4 years ago was British. Both my parents were born in England with at least 1 Irish parent. Now it is true that if the Irish were black I would be partially black (my Grandfather was German) and I was indeed brought up with a rather un-English outlook. I cannot state with any surety though that part of my reason for feeling Irish was a need to belong, but not to the mainstream. This theme is something I will expand upon later. I do not hate the British, but I do not feel like them, I do not entirely understand them, but I can blend in with them like a spy. Strangely enough I have considerably less trouble from Irish people when I say that I’m Irish than English people. I don’t know if the latter think it some form of slight against them, that I have rejected them, but they’ll quiz me where was I born, where did I go to school and where are my parents from. When English people find out that I have not been to Ireland this seems to to prove their hypothesis, but I never claim to be from Ireland in the physical sense. An example of this random Geographical anomaly is that if you are born somewhere where you look different you are less likely to be accepted by those who live there or those who don’t. If I claimed to be from China I could say that I was born in Szechuan province but it would not make me look any more Chinese to either those from Szechuan or from anywhere else. I am starting to justify my Irishness again which is not my intention in this paragraph so I’ll stop there on point 1.

The second point is politics: I am on the left, I know this, I answered the political compass quiz truthfully and I did it twice 6 months apart to see whether it was mood based at all, the social/economic score was exactly the same and the libertarian score changed by less than a third of a point. Am I a Communist, well I wear the badge but there are many interpretations of what a Communist is and I am genuinely not well-read enough to discern whether the intricacies of this ideology transcend what I may find in any other ideology. The same indeed goes for Socialism. I speak to many people on the Left and I agree with parts and disagree with others. I am yet to find a political party that I can fully believe in tho’ I am actively looking. I am no working class hero, again I have lived amongst the Working Class, I have lived in grotty council estates in London and lived for 7 years in some of the more deprived areas in the South East. But I have a University education, I went to one of the top 10 schools in the country (altho’ I was very much one of the poor boys there and my fees were subsidised) I will never be one of the Working Class because of the outlook I have and the opportunities I have received. But I will never think like the Middle Class because I believe in the fundamental equality of all human beings.

The third point is accent: I no longer know what my accent is, I’ve been something of a linguistic chameleon, I speak with a reasonably high strata English accent with my parents, more so my Mother than my Father, but this is just the accent I have always had at home, at school I had a heavier London accent, perhaps to stand out, to seem hard, or perhaps that was the accent I felt most comfortable with. At work now it varies and I notice the variants, if I am talking to someone from London it’s a fairly broad South-East London accent, but if the person I’m speaking to is from further North then my accent becomes more neutral. Now I know I am not the only person who does this, many people do and to varying degrees, I had a flatmate some years ago who was very similar to me. It’s natural though for me, I am after all originally a linguist by trade and a good linguist assimilates by mimicry to mask any trace of mother tongue, I simply do this in my mother tongue as well as in foreign languages.

So I guess the principal question is what does this say about me? Well, to my mind and I have thought a lot about this recently, it would appear to suggest that I am as anxious to be a part of a group as anyone else, perhaps more so but for some reason I do not like the mainstream, I do not fit in on any occasion where I have had a chance to be part of the system. So I guess this explains why I am constantly wearing clothes that are a form of semaphore, Irish rugby shirts or t-shirts with cyrillic markings or political messages. It is perhaps a desperate identity search coupled with the need to find my own kind, a kind who may not even exist or if they do are perhaps so dispersed as to not really be a group at all. But if you are out there, here I am, London-Irish Communist? Well it’s as good a tag as I’ve found so far, ask me in 10 years, who knows who or where I’ll be then, probably still searching still flitting from one group to another wanting to belong. So there I am, stripped off my usual armour that I have built up so as not to feel alone. Time will tell how long it will be before I get cold and put it all back on again.

Song Of The Day – James ~ She’s A Star

Original Comments:

Rina made this comment,
All I need to know is you’re Irish and you’re on my team! I wish I was Irish and try to tell myself I am but it’s really so faded, so long ago. *Sigh* I think you’re Irish where it counts — in the heart!
Whatever you are, whatever you claim to be you’re gonna keep rockin’ us out. Check plus on this one.

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comment added :: 21st September 2004, 02:37 GMT+01
A visitor made this comment,
Interesting post Baron. I never thought that you were anything else. 🙂

[Redbaron responds – I am a compulsive liar!]

comment added :: 21st September 2004, 13:51 GMT+01
A visitor made this comment,
well,the first time i read your blog, somehow, somewhere at the back of mind i already have some preconceived notions.not that they’re all correct but don’t you find it amusing? i mean, people you don’t practically know could actually write in full pharagraph who redbaron is…
[Redbaron responds – Or who I want them to think I am muwahahahahaha, I am actually a 5’9″ Scouser who works for Burger King!]

but really, this “stripping off” thing you wrote here was a nice read (at least for me). makes me want to do my own self-analysis too.


[Redbaron responds – You know it makes sense Rayts, stripping off is always a liberating experience!]

comment added :: 21st September 2004, 15:37 GMT+01
A visitor made this comment,
Fantastic post. I knew a Londoner who was 1/2 Irish, 1/2 Sri Lankan, and he felt much the same way. He was British, but not.
I like the idea of your clothing semaphore. The Prince and I found, finally, our geek tribe thanks to a Babylon 5 shirt he was wearing and the sharp eye of fellow gamer geek. Anything that I wear that has words on it is a Rosetta Stone to the person I am.

Kristie []

comment added :: 21st September 2004, 19:39 GMT+01
haywood made this comment,
great post, that really is something to think about… Who are we all, the nation-state grouping is so simple minded. I remeber when i was a child and just thought how lucky i was to be an American, but what does that even mean? I love my State, Michigan, but there are places in America that I wouldn’t want to be remotely asscosiated with, mainly Texas. Any way cheers to you, great post!

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comment added :: 22nd September 2004, 00:43 GMT+01

Pimme made this comment,
Over here, some heritages are really flaunted,(Italian, Irish, Hispanic), while others are seldom mentioned. Loads of people go by wearing the colors of their ancestral flags, cars have bumperstickers with the same. What makes one group of people so proud to announce their heritage, while others just keep quiet and take it for granted? And why don’t the “underdogs” join in the homage? Maybe they’re just happy to be Americans, regardless of where Grandma and Grandpa came from.
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comment added :: 23rd September 2004, 04:43 GMT+01