Thursday, February 11, 2010


We went to see a one-man show about the life of Eric Morecambe - a great British cultural institution (though he wasn't too fond of the Glaswegians). If you get the chance to see this, it is highly hilarious; fortunately for me, like Shakespeare, it is full of quotes.

I say this because I do not recall ever seeing Morecambe & Wise as a child. I'm not sure if it was because of the timing of the shows, because it was "common", because my parents just plain didn't like it, or because by the time I was considered old enough to watch it, it was on ITV (also "common". Note my parents would never have used that word, but you get the picture). We watched The Two Ronnies.

I know I'm missing out on a basic element of British culture. But I am also missing quite a bit of American culture which makes me occasionally confused. My mother did her best to raise me somewhat American but outside the US, but there are some things you don't get.

We've been thinking about culture/nationality/ethnicity in relation to the adoption too - and I've been reading about transracial adoptees not feeling they fit in with people of their own ethnicity - I guess I feel a little like that myself, not wanting to open my mouth and show my passport at the same time. And Mr Spouse who has a classically Welsh name (if you are my friend on FB you will be able to see that you don't get more Welsh than that) actually has a "lots of planets have a North" accent. When you are in England and you say you are Welsh or American but sound English no-one is that bothered (though sometimes they do a double-take with Mr Spouse). But when you are in Wales or the US and you are both "from" and "not from" it is confusing.

Eric Bartholemew/Morecambe also had an adopted son, adopted in 1973 at the age of 4, after two birth children. In the show he was described as "a gift we gave to ourselves" which is in some ways a lovely way of putting it. Adopting a 4 year old in 1973 must have been very unusual. Irritatingly I can't find much about him though the two older children were interviewed for "Relative Values". Of course all references to him in the media say "two children and an adopted son". Or omit to mention him at all. But the interview with his siblings talks about how he came to be in the family - and this route to adoption was mentioned in the book I've been reading recently as well, about institutional care in this era.

(We also saw John Hegley in the same theatre recently - we are curious as to whether they admit artists who do not support Luton Town).

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