Saturday 21 April 2012

Leaving Stalybridge

As much as I love some people and places in Stalybridge it is rare that I am unhappy to be leaving. If I have stayed overnight then the harsh light of light and a hangover generally probably don’t have much tolerance for the crapness.

When I entered the train station today there was a long queue for the ticket window. That was fair enough: I had got there ten minutes before to a train to Manchester.Of course there would be people. What was odd about it was that there is also a ticket machine there. A working ticket machine¹. The queue of people were waiting for a person to serve them when there was a machine available. I am not sure but I could swear that someone whispered “he’s fornicating with the devil machine” as I got my tickets from the ticket machine.

Another unsettling thing is seeing people I know who are younger than me who (a) look about 20  years older than me, and (b) are with their son who looks older than me. The important thing to remember here is that I do not look young. These people are having hard lives. Or mixing an incredibly small, unattractive gene pool, at least.

Despite what I said yesterday I realised I am from an ethnic minority – I am from Stalybridge. Unfortunately there is no generic slur for Stalybridge people. Certainly nothing specific. At least it means I am allowed to criticise the town and people without any comeback though – like women who have a go at any other women for not being a feminist just for having a different world view to them². I love Stalybridge really. In a way.

A friend send me this link to a website listing chav towns, it was the entry for Stalybridge. It is not the article that is that bad: quite cuntish though it is, it is not that far from accurate. It is the comments. Bunch of fucking dicks. I don’t know where these raconteurs live but Stalybridge is hardly the dystopian landscape they paint. And I don’t know why they think there is a new phenomenon of dicks: it has always been full of dicks. I don’t think we can blame Tesco for badly-raised little drunken 14-year olds sitting on street corners.

Stalybridge is as good/bad as 90% of the places I have been in Britain. It is worth noting that I am not very well travelled and because I am from Stalybridge I avoid going to nice places as I feel too out of sorts, so the previous sentence doesn’t really count for much.

¹Just in case you are from Stalybridge: a ticket machine is a large box which quickly and efficiently produces a ticket for you: it’s like a magic robot version of the person at the ticket window.

²I feel I should qualify this a little bit, I don’t want to give anyone the impression that I have a problem with feminism. I am a feminist. Sometimes I feel, however, that a woman can be unfairly maligned by elements of the proactive feminist community by taking a man’s name/staying at home to look after children etc. It seems to me that anyone should be able to live however they want. I don’t think there is anything wrong with a man staying at home and looking after kids, for example. If it is a choice then I don’t think it’s a sign of subservience for a man or a woman to chose to be ‘a home maker’, sometimes it is just a choice isn’t it? A fucking boring one maybe, but a choice none the less. I think the place for me to try and say something about an issue where I could offend people by seeming like I am having a go as something important is about 50 words in a footnote of a blog. If anyone cares feel free to engage me and I can explain what I am trying to say.

National Record Shop Day

Record Store Day is today. Seems like a classic example of society killing something/it dying because it was not needed anymore and then going over the top and trying to save it because it seems cool. I am not going to deny I think that record bags are cool – and I have had a few. I have never put any records in them, though. I couldn’t really give a fuck about vinyl records: I don’t fetishise them or try and convince people they sound better than crisp digital recordings.

That said, I do like every record shop I have ever been in, I just buy CDs and not records. I like them because I like music and spending money on things I will possibly never use. Even better than that is the internet though – I can just steal as much music as I want: millions of songs to never listen to once I have searched for them and downloaded them.

A record store plays an important part in my my non-career. When I finished university it became clear that I should probably get a job. I hadn’t been one of them people to have a part-time job. So, now I was 21 and had no employment history to impress potential employers, who certainly were not going to be impressed by a degree in English. Anyway, there had been a record shop in Stalybridge. I can’t remember what is was called – I think it may have used an animal’s name or something. It shut down years ago  – not because of mp3s and You Tube destroying the music industry – because it was a shit record shop.

I planned to use the store as my main employer while I was at college so I didn’t look like some lazy little bastard who had never had a job. I came up with a whole list of ways I had displayed various skills working at the shop that I would use in interviews, knowing full well the shop no longer existed so they could not contact the owner to corroborate the things I had said in any interview. No-one ever gave me an interview, though, so I never had to go through with my lies. I imagine I wasn’t getting interviews because my sole employment history was working in a defunct record shop in a small moribund town in North Manchester and the only jobs I was applying for were ‘Astronaut at NASA’, ‘Starting Quarter-Back for the Chicago Bears’ and ‘John McClane’.

I don’t know what this has to do with limited edition versions of singles being released so people can put them on eBay. I guess that’s the miracle of Record Store Day. God bless us one and all.

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