In 1976 the Country marked the Centenary of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee . That year the Ciren Carnival reflected the event with series of “Imperial” themed floats. But what was thought to be “Imperial” back had a different perspective to the way we understand it today: The Carnival of 1976 had a number of Jingoistic floats depicting domination of people from what was regarded at the time as third World Countries.
Throughout my childhood and teens, the only exposure that many Ciren people had to foreign Culture, was a two week Clarkson’s all-inclusive holiday to a Mediterranean destination. Places further away from Spain or the Italian Riviera were mainly only within the experience of those who had served in the Forces or who could afford Thomas Cook excursions. I can remember my Father’s stories about places such as Egypt that he had visited in the Army: places which he described pejoratively, (due to his war experience) but always sounded exotic to me as a child and inspired me to want to visit as many countries as possible one day. I think it’s true to say that until quite late on, many Ciren people had never actually encountered a person with different coloured skin, Culture, or place of origin much further away from Ciren than the County boundaries. It was unusual to see anyone in Town that hadn’t been either born there or was visiting a relative in Ciren. The populist view of anything foreign to Ciren was informed mainly by newspapers, and TV shows such as “Love thy Neighbour” 1972-1976 and the longer running “Till Death us Do Part” ( 1965 to 1992). The Black and White Minstrel show was widely popular attracted an audience each week of around 21 Million viewers. The show presented traditional American minstrel and country songs, as well as show tunes and music hall numbers, usually performed in blackface, and with lavish costumes.