America, Asia, Countries, Europe

Olympics Flag Day

It’s a vexillologist’s dream, Olympics Flag Day… and there were 206 of them at the opening ceremony.

Of course the majority of them will never be seen again on the podium.

Now flags are really just the costume a country dresses itself up in.

Olympics Flag Day

So just like women and dresses it would never do if you turned up with your best flag.

And then you saw somebody there with the same drapery.

But that is exactly what happened at the 1936 Games in Berlin.

See the Leichtenstein flag

When Leichtenstein turned up for their first Games proudly displaying their blue/red split horizontal flag.

Only to see Games veterans Haiti flying theirs.

And so they did what every lady does… accessorise by adding a crown while Haiti added their coat of arms.

And Haiti has had a redraw

Of course the Olympics are the chance for every country and its athletes to meet people they’d never encountered before.

So just a couple of words here on some flags we’ll see a lot more of in the next couple of weeks.

Made in Japan

Nice one sun

Japan: The Rising Sun flag is one of the most distinctive and easiest to draw… if you’re Giotto.

Japan is said to have been founded by the Sun goddess Amaterasu in the 7th Century BC.

And is an ancestor of first emperor Jimmu… and surely a relative.

Chinese stars

Keep the red flag flying here

China: We all associate China with the Reds but, of course, Communism only dates back 70 odd years.

Not being political here but we prefer an earlier iteration, the Yellow Dragon Flag used by the Qing Dynasty.

Betsy’s bunting

And how it was

USA: The world’s most famous seamstress, you can learn the whole story of the American flag in the City of Brotherly Love.

Of how Betsy Ross sewed the definitive Stars and Stripes in Philadelphia.

And persuaded George Washington to agree to five-pointed stars rather than six because that was easier to sew.

UK OK?

Look who’s dropped in: Boris Johnson

UK: So, you thought you know the story of the Union Jack, actually the Union Flag, the Jack is naval.

It encompasses the St George’s flag of England and its then vassal territory Wales, the Scottish St Andrew’s Cross and the St Patrick’s Saltire.

As was inevitably the way of it the English wanted to tuck the Scots flag up in the corner and the Jocks to have their ceoss dominate.

Until they came up with the drape we all know.

Uber alles

Go for it Gretschen

Germany: The German black, red and yellow horizontal bands derive from the 1848 Year of Revolutions.

And are inspired by the black uniforms with red facings and gold buttons of the Lutzow Free Corps who fought Napoleon.

Happy to share

Pole position: Scotland or Tenerife

Scotland and Tenerife: Vexillologists everywhere know that Scotland and Tenerife share the same flag.

But for those who need a reminder I unpicked the threads of it.

You’ll not see the Saltire fly at the Tokyo Games unless, of course, it’s draped around the shoulders of Jock winners.

That would be a twist on Olympics Flag Day.

But it should have been me, it should have been me.

 

Africa, America, Asia, Countries, Culture, Europe

Murty’s further adventures of Tintin (or Jim Jim)

So what do I have in common with Boris Johnson? The art of scribbling, of course, but also Hergé’s The Further Adventures of Tintin.

It transpires that the most famous ginger boy journalist in history has been keeping the convalescing British prime minister’s spirits up.

Because rather than poring over government papers and that pesky bug the premier has been gorging on Tintin adventures.

Encore Tintin

In French obviously!

More Tintin… this time in English

Maybe though he’s looking for inspiration on how to beat the bug because this coronavirus really could be a script out of a Tintin book.

Un pour Boris

One for Boris

Tintin and the Curse of COVID-19

The one where Tintin and Snowy head for Wuhan and the white fox terrier is captured by wet market traders who want to sell him for food.

And he also exposes a laboratory which is harvesting viruses.

We all need a scientist

All the gang come out, or are there already…

Thomson and Thompson are on a lecher tour, while Bianca Castafiore is performing to adoring Chinese ausiences.

And ‘blistering barnacles’ Captain Haddock is getting into all kinds of scrapes while Professor Calculus is researching a cure.

My journalist hero (no, not Boris)

Of course Tintin has been a hero for Fiftysomething journalists all over the world.

With the BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardiner even retracing Tintin’s steps for a TV special.

Hergé, interestingly, never left Belgium and his grasp of the world came from a photographer friend.

A joke in every line

Which means that the settings were somewhat stylised and his characters stereotyped.

But the adventures were, and still are captivating, and inspired a love of travel in all of us.

His adventures

The first of his 24 books was Tintin In The Land Of The Soviets which he wrote in the Twenties and where Frank revisited. Which you should do… https://www.visitrussia.org.uk.

While Hergé, like many young men in the Twenties was transfixed by America.

Tintin in America saw the Wee Man ride off into the Wild West. Sure you have to… www.colorado.com and The New Frontiersmen.

While he also took on the gamgsters of the Prohibition era.

And you can learn all about the real ones at the Mob Museum in Las Vegas https://themobmuseum.org. Also visit www.lvcva.com and Strip… the light fantastic

Tintin in the Far East

And he rocks a kilt

Tintin does travel out to China https://www.chinadiscovery.com in The Blue Lotus and other exotic destinations Cigars of the Pharaoh and The Crab with the Golden Claws in Northern Africa.

I got a glimpse of Egypt which just stirred my passion to get out there (I had passed up on Sharm el-Sheikh a couple of years ago) from the Jordan side of the Red Sea.

See www.visitjordan.com, www.gadventures.co.uk and http://www.egypt.travel.

Hergé Museum

And I had the type of misadventure that Hergé couldn’t even make up, and which I might even reprise when I stir up some courage again… https://www.visitmorocco.com/en.

The best place to see Hergé, of course, is in his homeland, the Hergé Museum in Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve outside Brussels https://www.museeherge.com/en.

These days we are all confined to barracks and in the case of Boris Johnson bed-ridden by COVID-19.

So why not, do like Boris and let Tintin take you around the world.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD