Corporate Branding taken to new lows?
Dear yeomen, as we hurtle down the carpool lane of life, we find ourselves at the signpost marking the start of a new month. As I stood at the window yesterday morning, sipping on a cup of the strong brown coffee that kick starts my day, I was able to watch as a tradition unfolded before me. I watched a couple of little boys gleefully running down the road being chased by their irate father, dressing gown gaping and waving a random kitchen utensil.
It is good to see tradition being maintained. For children of all ages, April 1st is a day when withheld allowances are the very least of our thoughts while we indulge in a few pranks for All Fools Day.
It does seem to be a very strange thing that on one particular day of the year, people are actually encouraged to lie and cheat. Plus, why on earth have I opened my entry with a picture of a piece of wood? Ah yes, as my longer serving yeomen have probably have already deduced, I’m off on synaptic tangents again.
On the 1st April, 1752, I wonder if George II had the general populace first celebrating and then roaring with laughter by declaring a public holiday and feasting between September 3rd to September 13th? (Note 1)
Sadly, I can find no record of such a royal April Fool jape. If history is to be believed, then it wouldn’t have been George II that would have been involved, but his Prime Minister, Henry Pelham, who also instigated a minimum age for getting married. All of this is very interesting, but doesn’t really help us with the synaptic tangents.
However, fiddling about with calendars has more to do with April Fools tradition than you may expect.
Back in 16th Century France, the start of the year was a thing for local interpretation. Some places chose to start the year at Easter, others at Christmas. Charles IX, the boy king, decided that it would be a good idea to have a standard start of the year on January 1st and issued the Edict of Roussilon which did just that (along with some rather boring bits concerning justice).
The French had the tradition of sending people New Year gifts. So when the date of the New Year changed, the date that presents got sent changed to. Of course, some of the French people didn’t particularly like the idea of change (and let’s face it change can be rather uncomfortable), So, to show their displeasure, they took to sending joke gifts and ‘paying calls of pretended ceremony’ (a bit like a joke first footing). (Note 2)
So there you have it a rambling explanation of why we play jokes on April 1st – or at least a rambling explanation of why I think we play jokes on April 1st.
Oh yes, the picture. Well, the great tradition of the prankster is slapstick humour -As the link above confirms so well. The opening picture is of a slapstick – the musical instrument from where this… errr… art form takes its name.
From 14th June 2006, the industry standard Crozzy Standard has been applied to footnotes.
NOTE 1: Because in 1752 the British Empire (of which Merkins were still part) finally decided to catch up with the rest of Europe and switch from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar. In a rather pragmatic and wonderful switch over methodology they decided that there would be no September 3rd to September 10th that year. Thus denying the bulk of Virgos a birthday bash that year. Click to return
NOTE 2: In France you are not an ’April Fool’ but a ‘Poisson d’Avril’. I just through that I would throw that in. Just like I’ll lob in that Charles IX came to the throne aged 10, was in power for the massacre of Protestants on St. Bartholomew’s Day and is said to have died mad at the age of 24 Click to return