Sunday, 18 October 2009

The Boys In The Brigade

I often don't have time to go to church these days. It's not that I'm any less au fait with Mister Jesus, I merely usually find myself at the wrong place in the wrong time on Sunday mornings, or I have critical essays, critical secret projects, or critical tiredness. I went this morning, though, as it was the centenary of our church's foundation stone being laid, and people were turning up in Edwardian dress.

I remembered this just as I was heading out the door with my grandparents, who looked like someone's maiden aunt and Charlie Chaplin. Improvising, I grabbed a coat which I'm saving for the London Expo next week (as part of a Doctor Who costume), the scarf TD knitted for me last Christmas, and my dad's cloth cap. There - Innocent Barrowboy.

The church was decorated with old-style posters advertising the Boys' Brigade. I've never particularly agreed with the BB - my grandmother made me go when I was very young; I hated it, got hurt a lot, pulled out and threw myself wholeheartedly into Woodcraft - and it usually makes me upset to see my little cousin in it. But I guess if the church is going to have a BB, I can just go and mutter darkly in a corner and not cause any fights. I'd get beaten up again, for one thing.

These posters. I couldn't take my eyes off one of them, hanging directly above the cross behind the stage. A row of cartoon boys - fresh-faced, clean-cut, all-white, all-young boys, drawn in that turn-of-the-century style (you know the type, Main Street USA sort of drawing), looking forward, as if into the distance. Kind of like this, only without the excellent music, and... you know... worse.

They all looked the same... they looked so... Aryan. But then there was the caption. And this caption just made everything all right.

Boys' Brigade: Maybe they will take you!


I smirked. A lot. Endorsement of homosexuality, in a company which doesn't allow homosexuals? Irony: yes, please. Yes, indeed.

1909 - repressed? Pah!

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