Wednesday, 3 December 2008

4. Fighting in the playground...

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh lanugage and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

...or more cogently, the lack thereof.

Listening to Instill today, I got to thinking about those playground games we used to indulge in at Junior School. Nothing as straightforward as football or conkers, more like the creativeness of Bulldog, British Bulldog, Stuck in the mud and the most fucking bizarre of the lot...

Who wants to play Japs and English?

Now, for those of you who didn't play or don't remember, this is not a war-based roleplaying game. This was actually just putting your arms on each others shoulders to form a line that expanded with each new 'recruit' whilst singing the above question in unison. The line got longer and you all walked around the yard drumming up new candidates for the game.
When you had to turn a corner or turn around, those in the middle of the line had it easy while those on either end were suddenly obliged to sprint like fuck to keep the line straight.

The most important thing to remember is that this recruitment drive never seemed to lead into any actual game where the Japanese forces would be pitted against their British counterparts in military combat. It was always the end of break (alright, PLAYTIME) before we could get that far.

With this in mind, we also never got into a situation where we had to pick which side we were going to be on. This was probably just as well, as being a bunch of English, caucasian boys, no-one was going to volunteer to be Japanese. This was probably just as well too as the Japanese were clearly going to lose (as would any nation that oppsed the might of the British Empire in the mind of a seven-year-old). There weren't any Japanese kids at our school. There weren't any Asian kids either. There weren't any Afro-Caribbean kids until I was in the third year and we all seemingly reacted like we'd never seen black people before (much to the teachers' disquiet, and my own now).

>> With this in mind, why the fuck were we pitting the Japanese against the English?

My only explanation is that "Who wants to play Germans and English?" didn't fit phonetically with the tune we sang it to (made up of two different notes with the first syllable of ENGlish being three semitones lower than the rest of the line). So with that musical constraint, we were going to make sure the opposing force was made up of people who couldn't be accurately represented in the playground. If we HAD chosen Germans, at least some of us could have passed for the Teutonic enemy, being largely Caucasian themselves.

That being said, if there HAD been a Japanese boy at school at the time, the poor fucker would only have had a line of caucasian boys wanting to play out a 35>1 war with him, hungry for English victory. And if there'd been MORE than one Japanese boy, it could easily have spilled over into gang warfare. Or even some Chinese kids - at that age we weren't fussy. >> Probably all for the best then <<

Incidentally, Google brings up NOTHING for this game, but I fucking assure you - it DID happen.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organizations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

1 comment:

  1. As I think I commented on this at the time before Facebook removed one of their best applications (or arrrplications as my Pirate Facebook says), I don't remember this at all, although I was playing girl games, like arguing over how hopscotch actually works. We never did reach an agreement on that. Vic Reeves says in Me:Moir that he played this game. I think it must be a Northern thing.