‘Jeremy Clarkson, Peter Sutcliffe, Geoffrey Boycott, Peter Stringfellow, Paul Daniels and Alan Titchmarsh. In both style and substance, Yorkshire takes pride – really, a great deal of pride – in sucking much bigger than anywhere else.’
Since long before Roman times, Yorkshire has been the country’s leading exporter of self-importance; a class apart in its size, rugged independence and unceasing need to point how you should be doing it this way, not that way. The power base of the Vikings and a fulcrum in the War of the Roses and the English Civil War, Yorkshire has felt the need to put the boot into almost every significant fight in British history and has claimed victory in every battle, irrespective of the result.
With a confidence that comes of handiness with techniques of persuasion such as the clenched fist, alongside a stubbornness that is not quite sane, Yorkshire looks on mystified at more retiring counties who carefully point out that in some arguments, logic can trump volume and repetition. They forget that Yorkshire dialect, or Tyke, has no equivalent words for ‘I might have misunderstood’, ‘I agree’ or ‘maybe’.
Notables who emigrate from the county are by law are given free rein to spout their views in newspapers and on television. Happy to take on roles as the nation’s megaphones, Yorkshire’s people aren’t really bothered whether anyone is listening to them, so long as they’re drowning somebody else out. Someday they’re going to be pretty embarrassed, assuming they develop the ability to feel shame.
- EXPORTS – Views, opinions, threats
- IMPORTS – Nothing if it can possibly help it
- BIGGEST REGRET – Not starting a colony when everyone else was doing it
- FREEDOM OF SPEECH – Applies only to self
- DISPUTES – Pretty much everything you say
- LITERACY RATE – Why read when you could talk?
- FAVOURITE NATIVE AMERICAN – Chief Running Mouth
- FERTILITY RATE – 1 child / 7.4 pints of bitter
949 – The last ruler of an independent Jórvík, Eric Bloodaxe, is elected on the strength of his promise to be ‘tough on pilaging, and tough on the causes of pillaging’.
1846 – With over 200 factory chimneys continually churning out black, sulphurous smoke, Bradford wins the coveted ‘Black Lung’ award for the being the most polluted town in England.
1932 – Dorman Long’s company bosses regret leaving the final touches on the Sydney Harbour Bridge to unpaid apprentices after they are forced to ship a final piece stamped with ‘MADE IN MIDLESBRUGH’.
1938 – In an incident of mass hysteria, many in Halifax believe a serial killer – The Halifax Slasher – is on the loose. Scotland Yard is called in, but conclude there were no “Slasher” attacks after several locals come forward and admit they had inflicted the wounds upon themselves to spice up a dull Tuesday.
1975 – As punishment for their role in the UK’s defeat to Iceland in the Cod Wars, Hull’s residents are forced by the armed forces to batter each other.
1989 – Copies of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses are burnt in the city of Bradford, but for warmth rather than in protest.
1990 – A brief period of unity is declared as Yorkists and Lancastrians unite against the piss-poor Michael Douglas vehicle The War of the Roses.
2001 – Middlesbrough becomes to first place in the UK to install combined CCTV cameras and loudspeakers to reprimand citizens caught throwing cigarette ends on the ground, littering, and having red wine with fish.
2003 – The Zoo Bar in Halifax becomes the first establishment in the UK to be closed under the Licensing Act 2003, after police intervention officers identify 420 of the 500 people in the club to be under-age drinkers. The club’s owner later launches an appeal, claiming that the venue was simply hosting a local school’s careers fair.
Did You Know?
A tradition borne from its industrial heritage, colliery brass bands are tolerated with more enthusiasm in Yorkshire than anywhere else in Britain. This is mostly because there’s quite a lot of space to hide from them in; They may get fewer groupies, but everyone loves a guy with a tuba.
Yorkshire and Lancashire boast one of the few genuine inter-county rivalries in England. The Battle of Towton in 1462 was the bloodiest ever fought on English soil – claiming the lives of about 1% of the country’s entire population. Enmity continued during the Industrial Revolution as the industrial plants of Lancashire caught up, overtook and eventually destroyed those in Yorkshire, allowing the latter’s workers to enjoy lungfuls of cleaner air as they were thrown on to the streets.
Frequently attacked for its inefficiency, Yorkshire Water recently banned the use of hosepipes in the county, as well as buckets, watering cans and large mugs.
Home to an annual Rhubarb Festival, Wakefield is known as the capital of the Rhubarb Triangle, an area noted for its unusually high number of fruit pie disappearances.
Guy Fawkes was born and educated in York. A member of a group of Catholic plotters that planned the Gunpowder Plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament, Fawkes originally rose to prominence as a populist political gossip and organiser of acid house parties.
Natives of Whitby call people from Scarborough ‘Algerinos’ after the sinking of a boat called The Algerino not far from the town. The lifeboat crews of several neighbouring towns responded while the Scarborough lifeboat did not, saying afterwards that they couldn’t leave until after they had finished their team huddle.