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UK Irish Gypsy Culture - Unique Insight?

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posted on Feb, 6 2011 @ 10:43 AM

Originally posted by lizziejayne
reply to post by oldgoat

Cheers for the heads up on the other show - I'll definitely check it out

I've been watching that show too, really interesting how the law allows them to be treated so poorly over there

Is it just the travelling laws you have in mind or other stuff too?

I'm sure it's presented in a biased way, but the way they make it out it's almost impossible for them to actually settle anywhere. In episode 2 they were being kicked out of a settlement where they had been for over 5 years.

posted on Feb, 6 2011 @ 11:14 AM
reply to post by oldgoat

I agree - for me that has been the biggest thing I've learned from the series so far

I'd never previously given thought to where these communities could actually settle (or indeed travel should they wish to do so). It's an interesting conundrum. I can't say I'd particularly be pleased if the field by my house suddenly became filled with caravans overnight. But that said, if these communities can't even stay on land that they own in law, where do they go? It's clear they have little choice other than using subterfuge to circumvent planning laws, simply because they would never be provided with planning permission. I suppose I can see the catch 22 they're caught in now, which I didn't before watching this series.

Personally, I think the general lack of understanding about the culture and community outside the group doesn't help matters. Ultimately because many outside the culture then inevitably relies on personal experience and stereotypes when the travelling community attempts to become part of their area.

In this respect, I think an insight into the culture (from shows like this for example) for additional understanding can only help. Additionally, I think that it could also be beneficial if the community itself acknowledged that the behaviour of some representing their culture doesn't lend itself to general societal tolerance (but instead leads to further animosity and separation). Ultimately, it's not about right or wrong but how two (or more) very different cultures can exist peacefully alongside each other with respect and understanding.

It's an interesting conundrum

edit on 6/2/11 by lizziejayne because: typo

posted on Feb, 6 2011 @ 11:21 AM
Well... Coming from the town, that one part of this series is based in, I have had experience in dealing with these people.

Personally, I understand they get a lot of stigma, but overall, a lot of it is well earned.

These are the same people who tried to steal the tiles from my mum's house when she was home alone and pregnant with my sister. They also broke into my neighbour's house and stole several things, before one of the younger one's defecated in his garden.

They have personally assaulted a friend of mine.

I literally used to live a few yards from a compound that housed these travellers and they were nothing but trouble. Assaulting people, stealing anything that wasn't bolted down. Firing fireworks at traffic, racially abusing the local Indian's, allowing dangerous animals to roam the streets and engaging in gang wars with rival traveller groups, drug dealing, carrying firearms and other such tomfoolery.

Nothing racist here. Just plain old observation.

posted on Feb, 6 2011 @ 11:36 AM
reply to post by mr-lizard

Nothing racist taken whatsoever

To be honest, it was in the back of my mind how much they *weren't* showing on the programmes. Similarly, I think I mentioned in my op that there's a definite 'missing' when it comes to explaining where much of the money resource comes from...

Expanding on one of my previous posts, I wonder how much of this behaviour comes from applying the cultural expectations and values within the community only. A bit like many gangster institutions I suppose - if you're in, you're sitting pretty. If you're outside, you're fair game. I don't know. Only a supposition.

I haven't had much contact with people from this culture, unlike yourself, so I'm still educating my knowledge and opinion. I'm sorry to hear that the experiences you've had have been so unpleasant.

It will be interesting to see how much the documentaries show of this communities interactions and impacts within the wider community. From what they've shown so far, I don't think they'll show much at all. In my opinion, that will be a shame - not only would everyone get a better understanding of the impacts their cultures have on each other; but the wider a "picture" the show provides, the more representative and realistic a representation it's likely to be.

posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 04:37 PM
reply to post by lizziejayne

I just watched an episode- as you suggested! I have to say, my opinion of them has only gotten worse. The arrogance, sexism and misogynism is everywhere. One man was asked what he was looking forward to on his wedding, and he said "nothing, just getting drunk". He said he was looking forward to having someone he owned, to do all his chores, look after him, and so on. After the wedding, they interviewed the couple, he informed his new bride he owned her, she disputed this, saying she belonged to him, but he didn't own her. He just repeated he owned her- you could tell it was a "let's pretend to make a joke out of a serious argument", particularly on the girls behalf, as she was probably scared of the consequences.

Repeatedly, the women said they were bored, and it wasn't fair that they had no say in the running of their camps, and so on. I imagine they'd have other things they'd like to complain about, but can't, out of fear. One woman specifically said she was miserable, and that women shouldn't marry, or at least should do everything they can and delay it as long as possible. Her marriage was shown in the same episode, she worked a full-time job, and was happy doing it, however, after the wedding, she had to quit and was confined to her caravan. The men constantly repeated the women did everything at home, and batted around the word culture to vindicate their thuggery, arrogance, and so on.

For me, though, the more extreme issue I had with their lifestyle is the sheer extravagence of it. One of weddings was ridiculous- it must have cost over £15000 easily. One man, who was in charge of running a council owned estate (so basically their head gypsy), got a new car twice a year. He was very proud of his brand new Audi convertable, and said it made him feel great. However, where did his money come from? The program specifically said he was responsible for the maintanence of the caravan park, but his money came from "other means". After one couple got married, it showed them haggling, buying several pieces of furniture, individually costing up to £5000. These people pay no tax, generally, yet happily use the services the system provides, and often the council provide them with an area to stay. How can they afford such extreme expenses?

A few times the males said they were proud of their "culture"- I'm not sure getting drunk and having a "wake" consisting of 50+ people, in the middle of a public cementary, whilst blaring out music as loud as you can is anything to be proud of. Nor is having to settle arguments with "honour" fights. In the fight they showed, one of the lads started laying into the other, before the fight had even began, booting him on the ground several times, after flooring him with a sucker punch. It was hardly an honourable bare knuckle fight. After one of the lads won, he spoke to the cameraman for 15seconds or so, and then told the cameraman to get out his face, or he'd send some guys round to beat him up.

Ok, now I really am being judgemental, but I really don't see anything positive about this way of life. However, on the positive side, I think most of us here can feel extremely lucky we weren't born into this self-perpetuating cycle. Genuinely, I feel sorry for some of these people, as with their cult like tactics, they really are in it for life- they have next to no choice.

Just incase I sound "snobbish", it's not that I think I'm far better than these people, and these are lowly paupers to be looked down on. The sheer level of selfishness and the self-serving attitude is what disturbs me- the way they look down on women, and show no regard for anyone other than themselves. If we all lived this way, the country would be ruined, what with no taxes, and their general disregard for law. I suppose they're not much worse than Sir "tax avoider" Philip Green, though.
edit on 8-2-2011 by ScepticalBeliever because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 04:53 PM
reply to post by mr-lizard

Just wanted to say from experience...they buy their own land and thats fine, they move their trailers onto it, again fine, but then they start to tarmac it, erect concrete walls and build a static community and this is when the problems arise.
Other *normal* householders buy the land then before they even put up a fence they have to apply for planning permission and the process to build anything permanent on it involves the full planning process through the local council together with all the required fees. If permission is refused then you have to go through the process of appeal and alter plans etc and re-try, this is where they totally smack the law in the face and just go ahead anyway. We have to abide by the law of the land especially if purchasing what we in the UK call green belt land, but they ignore all of it and just please themselves and that is when the locals start to complain.
It is infuriating for the locals to be told they cannot add an extension to their property because of planning rules and they look from their windows to see a full community doing just that and appearing to get away with it. Yes they can be taken to court and evicted and sometimes they are, along with all the violence etc it entails and then the law abiding taxpayer again foots the bill. I appreciate they have problems travelling around the way they like but there are travellers sites for them to stay on but they sometimes think that because it is not in the *best* part of a town then they prefer not to stop at them and park up where the fancy takes them, again disregarding local laws. Always two sides I know to each coin but this is one side I can speak from.
edit on 8/2/2011 by squizzy because: added comment

posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 05:44 PM
reply to post by ScepticalBeliever

I've just watched the same episode and agree that it wasn't the most positive portrayal.

I'd go so far as saying it was possibly the least positive portrayal so far in the series and I don't know whether that had anything with the fact that focusing more on the male roles and expectations really put the whole male/female dynamic into perspective.

I picked up on very similar things to you - the chap who just looked forward to getting drunk on his wedding day (and the admission that "gypsy men are head of the house... it's womens roles to clean"), the Audi chap with an seemingly endless pocket and the expense of the wedding (private estate, helicopter, LED dancefloor and wedding rings delivered by owl).

A couple of other things I found interesting:

* The fact that one man said he'd be embarrassed (and teased) for being seen shopping with his wife - and would never push a pushchair - because both were "a woman's role".

* The fact that the "independent" woman who was now giving up her job to be a wife felt uncomfortable about divulging her gypsy status to her employer (a hotel). Indeed, she'd actually previously been told by her employer to tell any gypsies inquiring about a room that they had none available. On being told, the manager 'diplomatically' turned this around to the "unreliability" of travellers who are not "settled".

I also found the bare knuckle fighting informative and somewhat disturbing. For some reason I'd expected 'old school' boxing rules in the vein of gentlemens rules/agreements etc. I was surprised to find that these "honour fights" to settle disputes and in the presence of a "fair rules" referee, were actually 'anything goes' fights that included kicking etc. I can now see why such things are held "away from outsiders... avoiding the police" and that "women aren't allowed to attend".

The fact that these things can go on (regardless of injury) and nobody intervene until one of the participants basically gives in - plus the fact that children are present - for me is quite disturbing. Especially in this instance when one fighter's little boy (who couldn't have been older than 5) had obviously viewed the entire scene.

I would however recommend watching all episodes to obtain a full overview of what's been portrayed so far

edit on 8/2/11 by lizziejayne because: typo

posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 05:46 PM
dont mess with PD paddy doherty

posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 06:02 PM
reply to post by lizziejayne

Ok- I will give those gypsys one more chance to redeem themselves

I'll be honest, I'm not looking forward to watching it again, but I'll try being as open-minded as I possibly can (ish)! I genuinely do feel a bit guilty when I the show, almost like I'm vindicating their behaviour. I just hope they don't get paid for being filmed.

I too had the same expectations about their fight, during the run up- honour is clearly a very subjective word! Good point about the children watching- I never thought of that. You're right, pretty disturbing for young eyes to be watching that, and seemingly have those older thugs as role models- just seems to be more of the brainwash type tactics though- "Violence is good!" etc.- gotta get their beliefs instilled at an early age. No wonder domestic violence is so high, when they teach the men to solve problems like that.

at the PD comment!

posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 06:10 PM
reply to post by squizzy

You make a very valid point

I too appreciate the difficulties that must be wrapped up with "travelling" or indeed "settling" as a traveller in this day and age. However, the fact that planning permission never seems to enter into the equation is worrying.

Indeed, I wonder whether this is one of the key reasons why much of the stereotyping and negative perceptions outside the community/culture persists - the perception that one party benefits from circumventing the legal system whilst another party is hindered by abiding by it.

However, playing devil's advocate, it could be said that the likelihood of them getting planning permission in the first place is slim to nil, hence the action without it. Not that I agree by any means, but just putting the shoe on the other foot as it were.

posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 06:13 PM
reply to post by ScepticalBeliever

PD is going to be a legend after this

Over 70 godchildren, a firm history of bare knuckle fighting (from which he made a mint), an initialled drive to the site, his own jukebox and Audi convertable. The man's a legend already!

posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 06:20 PM
reply to post by lizziejayne

A quick answer to the problem of buying land and having planning permission.
1. Get planning permission for what you want to do before buying the land.
2. Allow 8 months to carry out the work in accordance with the regulations.
3. Check the work was carried out accordingly.
4 If so fine, if not send in the bulldozers, refund the cost of the land.
Sorted, no appeals, no court orders etc etc end of story, abide by the rules or suffer the consequences.
I should add that this wouldn;t work in reality unless you were made to keep the money paid for the land in a *special* account for 8 months but hey can always dream of a small utopia.

posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 06:24 PM
Just remembered, PD was also in a documentary with Danny Dwyer or maybe his name Dyer, not sure now. Was a series on UK TV not too long ago about the *hard men* and what they get up to. Unfortunatley I can't remember what the series was called. He spent time with hardened criminals, KKK, basically the men in high criminal places who most people wouldn't wish to be around for fear of death.

posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 06:25 PM
reply to post by ScepticalBeliever

With regards to the financial aspects, did you too observe how seemingly hesitant any discussion regarding finances became?

As you said, although Paddy made his money from tarmac and cars, he mentioned "other means". He also referenced money from bare knuckled boxing and the programme alluded to the big gambling culture underpinning this; however as you say it's still unclear where the money comes from. Did you also notice how he refused to be filmed working out a deal in that rather expensive furniture shop? As a previously relaxed individual, he seemed significantly less so when it came to explaining why he didn't want to be observed.

Unfortunately, none of the shows indicate where the monies come from, only referencing similar jobs including collecting scrap metal. I also doubt that any "gaps" will be filled in during these documentaries either.

This I believe to be unfortunate, as the spending of such vast sums with such a massive gap in *how* they're appropriated is not going to lead to positive perceptions outside the community/culture.

posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 06:26 PM
There is a relatively large and well established gypsy community where I live.

They are not highly thought of at all.

posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 06:34 PM
reply to post by squizzy

Cheers for explaining that

Playing devil's advocate again
I would say their chances of getting planning permission in the first place (prior to purchasing land) would be unlikely in the majority of cases. In which case, what are their options? Settle in one of the relatively few sites, settle in a house or set up without planning permission.

I'm not agreeing by any means. Indeed - and you may think me awful for saying so - rightly or wrongly, I'd probably be the first campaigning if this community settled in a field by my home.

Playing devil's advocate but also trying to understand their perspective

posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 06:36 PM
reply to post by Freeborn

I have had travellers illegally pitching up not too far away from me and I know the trouble the locals have with them and the mess they leave after they have gone.
I also personally know a traveller family that has settled into a house, it appears the people around them are terrified of saying anything against them for fear of reprisals and therefore they live in constant turmoil because they have to put up with unruly kids, dogs barking, crime etc. Then there are others who because they will get them anything they want at a cheap price , ie, stolen first then sold at half the price call them the salt of the earth and make great friends of them. They will call on their Gypsy *friends* whenever they are in trouble and want someone beating up to keep their mouths shut.
Then there are the really nice, clean, hoest few...and it is a very small few who do seem ok people but get tarred with the dirty brush.

posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 06:38 PM
every traveler is not a gypsy
every gypsy is not a traveler
neither are both of the above always a romani
nor is every romani a gypsy or a traveler ,
one can also assume that of the above not all are from goa originally

list can go on ,

posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 06:40 PM

Originally posted by Freeborn
There is a relatively large and well established gypsy community where I live.

They are not highly thought of at all.

Same here, nightmare at school, if you ever pissed one off, you had a whole camp to deal with, they still strike the fear into me.

posted on Feb, 8 2011 @ 06:41 PM
reply to post by Freeborn

Have you seen any of the episodes Freeborn?

If so, as someone who lives close to a community of travellers and from your experiences, do you think it accurately reflects the culture?

Personally, I think the show should have been expanded to include the community's interaction with the wider community for a more complete (and possibly accurate) portrayal. That said, I keep forgetting it's meant to be a show about weddings!

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