And much of what I’ve forgotten
Has taken vengeance by forgetting me.
John Lennon once sung his ode to the working class hero. He is ‘something to be’.
Lennon himself seems to have been such a man, this in the double sense of the words. He came from a working class family, with a sailor as a father and an usherette as his mother. And he truly became a hero of the working class.
For such proletarian performance the Brits elevate a man to the peerage.
As soon as you’re born they make you feel small
By giving you no time instead of it all
Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all
A working class hero is something to be
Sir Mick Jagger, by contrast, only performed the act of a working class hero. His father was a teacher, his mother an active member of the Conservatives. No two ways about it – genetically middle class.
Bowie told that same working class that each one of them could be a hero, just for one day. Perhaps at least for one day, taking the careers of Bowie and Lennon as a cue. A bit like Warhol, although he was less generous and gave everyone a mere fifteen minutes of world fame.
I, I will be king
And you, you will be queen
Though nothing will drive them away
We can beat them, just for one day
We can be Heroes, just for one day
Lennon’s heroism lasted a lot less long than Bowie’s or Jagger’s. Then again, Jagger also became Sir. Bowie, the true hero, turned such offer down.
Now we have once more a typical English hero, Bradley Wiggins – this time son of a father who was as a working class hero, a cyclist who was also a drunkard and what not. Actually his dad was Australian, but this time England went Yiddish, ascribing the mother’s nationality to her son.
Could it be that, if Bradley would not have grown into the world-famous cyclist, England might still consider him an Australian? More or less like the changing fate of Murray, who is British if he wins, a Scotsman when he looses a match.
Sad it is, but even when Wiggins won his Tour de France it was no reason for the BBC to broadcast the celebration on the Parisian Champs Élysées. Could it be that such program is only in store for us on the British telly, when the good man, now a Sir like Jagger, could win the Tour de France on England’s soil…
So, unfortunately, Wiggins did not become a working class hero in his homeland. My doctor, himself a great cyclist, stayed over there for his holidays. ‘Wonderfully quiet’, he told me. ‘But I have not been allowed to see anything of the Tour de France on the telly’.
Oh yes, indeed: ‘Fog in the Channel, the continent is isolated’.