FLANDERS FIELDS & FLASH POPPY FOLLY

Should have finished writing this yesterday on Remembrance Sunday perhaps. Didn't though. Today still want to consider the bad taste and general naffness of the flash poppy upgrades that are increasingly popular. On the TV show I go to known as the X Factor (to style the presenter), flash poppies are everywhere. Luckily my style co-operative agrees with me that an egalitarian paper and plastique option is only appropriate one.

Beforehand, I'm always on my own for the Eleventh hour thing, and the Last Post. Not sure if two minutes silence counts if you're pottering solo. I completely stop Tourettesing and pottering as a mark of respect. Drinking black coffee solemnly is allowed, am sure. Squirrel Bitch carried on eating regardless, the bloody heathen. My old man always liked a bit of Last Post, and would always explain that it's an amalgam of all the other daily bugle calls from the forces day cut into one. Always. At least we were sure of that fact.

Meanwhile, facts from the 'Factor state, most people above the level of runner favour the sparkle-pillock/pimped-up/diamante-glamour-naff poppy. The contestants and judges are mad for them too. It's a TV thing. When did that memo go down? There were various boxes of pimped-up poppies floating around. I collared The Pole (AKA Joan, my assistant, currently on covert manoevres styling the contestants), and went through her vigazzled-poppy-box (excuse the terminology) confiscating the worst offender.

Look at the disgraceful thing. A giant leather sun-dried tomato garnished with glitter fruit pastilles by the Liberace of poppy styling, whoever that is. A vile, gauche triffid of ostentatious remembrance. This is almost a costume poppy, but there are loads of other upgrade poppies getting worn with misguided pride. They cost a bit more, which of course justifies anything these days, particularly with charity. It's like sponsoring out your own lapel, promoting your own commitment to good at same time. How very undignified we've become. As Jesus said at the considerably less famous Sermon round the back of the Mount, "You Pharisees and people could just give more money and keep your gobs shut, couldn't you? Now clear off. "

Enough said maybe. I believe the original paper sort are made by veterans who've been injured permanently in war. Sobering. The reason the poppy was chosen as a symbol was the John Macrae poem 'In Flanders Fields', written May 1915. Simple and very potent. A lot like proper paper poppies.

IN FLANDERS FIELDS - JOHN MACRAE

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

TS.

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