Mike’s Historical Half Truths: Black Friday (and Lancashire Day)

Want to speak to the American A17ers today? Can’t because its still Thanksgiving I think. This Friday is also known as Black Friday.

For a brief introduction to this series, see Easter

Black Friday 🇺🇸

Mike’s Historical Half Truths: Black Friday (and Lancashire Day)

In most states Black Friday is not a holiday, its certainly not a Federal holiday so I don’t know why Americans have it as a holiday. Anyways, a common explanation for the name “Black Friday” is that it is the first day that retailers earn a profit; supposedly they operate at a loss (in the red) for the rest of the year before Black Friday and then they operate in the black until the new year. This isn’t entirely true, but it makes a good excuse for rampant consumerism.

The term “Black Friday” has been used to describe many events throughout history, financial crashes, terrorist attacks, fires, massacres – that kind of thing. Black Friday as we know it today probably gets its origins from 1950s Philadelphia. Every year there was a big Army vs. Navy football game held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. On the Friday masses of people would descend on the city, the local police couldn’t would have to work longer hours dealing with the extra people. Having masses of people and police stretched to their limits would also bring out the shoplifters causing more headaches. The police in Philly nicknamed the day “Black Friday” – presumably because it was a total PITA.

Black Friday Internationally🇨🇦🇬🇧🇫🇷🇮🇳🇲🇽🇷🇴

Mike’s Historical Half Truths: Black Friday (and Lancashire Day)

It makes sense to me that parts of Canada have Black Friday, as I can imagine Canadians driving over the border to take advantage of the bargains, Bargains, BARGAINS. Frustratingly Black Friday is becoming a thing in other countries, including mine. And honestly I hate it. All it seems to do is bring out the very worst in people.

One of our largest retailers, ASDA, has stopped doing Black Friday after violence and damage caused a few years ago as people rushed stores, trampling on each other, to buy mildly discounted shit TV’s. It seems these sales bring out a special kind of moron, who all have spaces reserved in the deepest annuls of hell waiting for them.

Probably more I could say about Black Friday, but honestly, I can’t get motivated to write any more on it. Instead, I’m going to tell you about Lancashire as on Wednesday 27th it was Lancashire Day.

Lancashire Day🌹

Mike’s Historical Half Truths: Black Friday (and Lancashire Day)

The county day of Lancashire, the red rose county, and my home county in England. Lancashire Day is only really noted by local newspapers and town criers shouting about it – most people probably don’t know that Lancashire Day is a thing. As for ways to celebrate it, erm, cups of tea, hot pots, wrestling in (British) gravy and listening to Lancashire folk songs, such as Howard Broadbent’s “Lancashire Leads the Way”. Which has the rather charming chorus:

Lancashire leads the way me lads,
Lancashire leads the way,
whatever they do in London,
we did it yesterday,
whatever they do tomorrow,
we’re doing it today

Lancashire was established as a county in 1183 and Lancashire day commemorates the day in 1295 that Lancashire first sent representatives to Parliament.

Lancashire is home to Blackburn and Burnley, which apart from being football rivals are also the birthplace of the industrial revolution thanks to Richard Arkwright (the inventor of the spinning machine), James Hargreaves (the inventor of the spinning jenny) and Samuel Crompton (inventor of the spinning mule). Other inventions from Lancashire, that don’t involve spinning, include the kilt (yes, not Scotland), fish’n’chips, the torpedo, the jelly-baby, white road markings and the police force. Oh, and the modern computer. The Ribble Valley in Lancashire is said to be the setting for Middle Earth in the Lord of the Rings books, King Arthurs’ sword “Excalibur” lives in Lancashire’s largest lake, Martin Mere and we have excellent goth credentials as the UK’s largest witch hunt took place in Pendle, Lancashire in 1612.

Lancaster is the county capital (the county town), its a gorgeous Victorian and Edwardian city whose roots date back to the Romans. It is the home to one of the 12 castles in Lancashire; my favourite castle in Lancashire is Clitheroe Castle. Although I think I rate castles based on the quality of the cakes in the coffee shops.

Manchester used to be a part of Lancashire, some administrative changes in the 1970s gave Manchester its own county but still today most of us consider Manchester, Bury and Bolton still a part of Lancashire. If you’ve met me, I’ve told you about Manchester.

Lancashire is also home to my parents, who have recently had a new fence installed in their garden:

Mike’s Historical Half Truths: Black Friday (and Lancashire Day)

My mother emailed me 20 photos of this new fence and 10 more pictures of the older fence so I could compare. The new one is nicer. If you had ever wondered where I get my slightly eccentric nature from, its my mum. She’s ace.

Here we are on Times Sq a few years ago:

Mike’s Historical Half Truths: Black Friday (and Lancashire Day)

Shortly afterwards we went up the Empire State Building, she cried, it was awkward and then she got drunk in an Irish Bar. Good times.


Also published on Medium.