I first blogged this (true) story back in about 2007 I think, but every so often I am overwhelmed with the desire to blog it again. Because there is really nothing quite like it, I feel. At least, not in my experience, I’m pleased to say. For this is a tale that nobody could ever have invented. Something so surreal that we have to pinch ourselve to make sure it’s true. And being Wales, these things happen more often than you’d expect…
A few years back (about 2000, I think) a Christian charity decided to bring the ‘real meaning of Easter’ to the nearby Welsh Valleys town of Porth. They prepared with care, hiring an actor to play the part of Jesus, covering him with fake blood and then took him to a derelict bit of land where the shiny new Jobcentre now stands. Then they nailed him up. (I’m assuming they used fake nails but I wouldn’t bet on it.) They then placed a plaque beside him saying ‘Look what Jesus had for Easter.’
Depending on one’s point of view, I supposed we could say, ‘So far so good.’ At any rate, the press described it as ‘shocking’, and apparently some shoppers were ‘in tears.’ The Christian charity was unrepentant. It was meant to be shocking, they said. Their spokesman (somewhat smugly, I thought) added, “We’ve had hurls of abuse, swearing, we’ve had people looking disgusted, there have been children crying,” as though that in itself was praiseworthy.
I still wonder to this day what ‘hurls of abuse’ are, exactly. Bad English, certainly. But I digress. As for the spectacle, maybe they were trying to get their point across, but I don’t think going out of your way to disgust people (their words, not mine) is really all that praiseworthy.
Although I’m a pagan, I don’t have any problems with most religious displays or processions. And if I want to celebrate the Green Man, Hecate or whatever, I should be able to expect the same in return. However, the Christian group had reckoned without the clearly godless lot in the little town. For somebody phoned an ambulance.
Yes folks, on Good Friday of the year 2000, someone dialled 999. Try and imagine the phone call….(and if you can imagine the accents, so much the better! I’ve imagined the dialogue, but judging by what happened, it’s not all that far off the mark)
‘Emergency service. Which service do you require?’
‘And what seems to be the problem?’
‘There’s a man being attacked in the main shopping street. Oh my God, but it’s terrible. He’s covered in blood! Blood everywhere!’
‘There’s a man bleeding in the street?’
‘Yes, it’s terrible. He’s been attacked. It’s shocking, terrible to see…’ then at a whisper, ‘they’ve even put nails in his hands!’
‘I see. He’s got a nail in his hands. Fingernail? Iron nail?’
‘Some sort of metal, I think. Probably from B & Q.’
‘I see. Any idea how that happened?’
‘Well they got this bit of wood, see, and took a bloody big hammer…. It’s terrible I tell you, barbaric! And not one nail, either. Two! Hundreds!’
[At this stage I should draw your attention, gentle reader, to the theatricality of the Welsh Valleys accent which has been known to turn a grocery list into high drama.]
‘I see. They’ve nailed someone to a piece of wood.’ You’d really think the penny would have dropped by now, wouldn’t you? ‘Is he conscious? Are the perpetrators still there?’
‘Purple traitors? Oh, I dunno about that… But he’s in a helluva state, poor fella. It’s horrible, horrible I tell you! I don’t know how much more he can take! Get a move on, dammit, or the poor man’s going to bleed to death!’
‘All right, we’ll get someone round there as soon as we can.’
And still nobody twigged what was happening. On Good Friday. And the paramedics duly turned up (and according to onlookers, so did the police.)
If you want to read the whole sorry story, go to:
But it’s the final line of the report that really has me in hysterics: ‘While some were “disgusted” others agreed that it showed what the Bank Holiday was all about.’ (my underlining. Sorry, just couldn’t resist it.)
So there we have it… allegations of Grievous Bodily harm, weeping shoppers and crying children, ‘hurls of abuse’, dialling 999 and calling the paramedics… That’s what it’s all about, folks!