The Four YorkshireMen Of The Apocalypse – Why Armageddon Won’t Be Good Enough For The Average Man From Leeds
The chances are that if you are not a snob, then you are probably an inverted snob. If you are not obsessed with broadcasting your good taste and refinement, then you probably bang on about how rough you had it when you were growing up. Even if you now lead a comfortable and successful life. In fact often especially if you now lead a successful and comfortable life.
The first introduction I had to the concept of inverted snobbery was when I first saw Monty Python perform “The Four YorkshireMen Sketch” in “Monty Python Live At The Hollywood Bowl”. I laughed so hard I literally couldn’t breathe and very nearly wet myself to boot.
The choice of YorkshireMen as the participants in that sketch was no accident. Yorkshire is the biggest county in England. In fact it’s so big – by British standards – that it is split into three parts : North Yorkshire, East Yorkshire and West Yorkshire. There is no South Yorkshire, for reasons I’ll come to later.
YorkshireMen are basically England’s equivalent of Texans. Everything in Yorkshire is bigger and better. The girls are prettier and the men are more rugged. Yorkshire’s nickname for itself is “God’s Own County” and, like Texas, its symbol is a rose. A white one though, not a yellow one.
A YorkshireMan never admits to being phased by anything, even when he actually is. Even if The End of the World came, a YorkshireMan would find a way of being nonchalant about it. So let’s say that actually happened. Let’s say that The Book of Revelation was a genuine prediction of events. A real foretelling of things to come rather than the rantings of a jailed madman whose captors put hallucinogenic mushrooms in his pottage because they thought it might be a giggle. Here’s how things would play out if Armageddon was witnessed by two blokes from Leeds :
“Only seven seals? Well that’s not very good, is it Lad?”
“No, not good at all. Didn’t they have one o’ these Apocalypse thingy’s over at Ilkley back in ’96?”
“No, it were Keighley and it were ’97. It were bigger than this ‘n all.”
“Oh aye, that were it, Keighley. And there were nine seals on that one.”
“That’s it, nine seals. And there were six Horsemen.”
“Six Horsemen. What were their names again? Death….War…erm..”
“Death, War, Famine, Pestilence, Arrogance and Bullshit”
“Aye, them last two were a reet couple o’ bastards. Oooh, is that The Beast?”
“Call that a Beast. I’ve seen bigger and nastier in lambing season. There were this one year….”
And so on and so forth.
There’s a little rhyme called “A YorkshireMan’s Advice To His Son.” It goes like this.
“Hear all, see all, say nowt. Eat all, sup all, pay nowt. And if tha ever does owt for nowt, allus do it for thisen.” In other words, always be an utterly selfish bastard. And Yorkshiremen repeat this rhyme with pride.
Despite this, every YorkshireMan I’ve ever met has been an utterly charming bastard who I’ve liked instantly. Maybe it really is God’s Own County.
They do have an Achilles’ Heel though. The reason there is no South Yorkshire is because YorkshireMen hate everything Southern. They have an intense, gnawing-at-their-bones distaste for anything Southern.
As luck would have it, I’m from Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The most Northerly city in England. So I get, quite legitimately and indisputably, to call YorkshireMen Southerners. It tell you what. They really don’t like it.
© Copyright Michael Grimes 2014