Saturday 02 November 2013

“It’s not where you’re from, it’s where you’re at,” is a refrain often espoused by those with something in their past they wish to forget, be it for reasons of shame or shallowness or possible other reasons. But it’s bollocks. As are most cliches. Sometimes it is exactly where you are from and sometimes it is all about where you are at. Mainly it’s a mixture of the two, the balance dependent upon context.

I don’t really like where I’m from but I’m not ashamed of it and forgetting it would mean forgetting a lot of what made me who I am: an arrogant, self-absorbed, cynical, foul-mouthed, angry cunt. So, who would want to forget that?

I’ve been back to my hometown many times in the 10+ years I haven’t lived there. I’ve never been back to my primary school in the 24 years since I left, or been back to the house where my earliest memories were formed 27 years ago.

For some reason I thought it would have some meaning if I went to a couple of these places fleetingly today. It didn’t mean anything. I just looked at them, had a few memories and then got the fuck out of dodge.

The earliest home I remember [1 ] meant nothing to me. No memories stirred. I was surprised by how small the street was and how small the house was. It didn’t feel like part of my past. My primary school [2] did stir some memories. I d did think how remarkable it was that on one of the playgrounds the marking seem to have survived from when I was there. They can’t have done, of course, they were just standard playground markings that were a bit faded because it would have been a couple of years since they were last renewed.

I was  a bit disappointed that the school was not exactly the same as I had left it when I finished at the age of 11. But it’s a school – not a bedroom and I was just one of many pupils there and not  a dead child having its room maintained as a mausoleum by grieving parents. They had the cheek to change the interiors (I looked through the windows) AND the exteriors, adding buildings and having removed the mobile classroom they had.

The football field now had a second playground covering it. Bastards. Worst of all the two grids I was most looking forward to seeing [bottom of 4*]. The grids were still there but they were no longer prominent as they once were. They used to be raised and the grass around them was worn away. They used to be a great place to sit and seemed impressive when you were six. Now they just looked like two grid covers. At this point the whole Who Do You Think You Are? vibe took over and I thought a video was a good idea. Clearly it wasn’t – see bottom of today’s blog.

Going back to the house and the school did have something about them. Even if memories were not stirred there was an echo, or something. And there was some connection to a time for which I have no memories. The hard drive on those days was wiped a long time ago to store useless knowledge and song lyrics. Clearly the memories of the house where I lived between the ages of [about] eight and eighteen don’t need refreshing. And while it was hardly Angela’s Ashes, lots of it – particularly the latter years – were full of wanting to live anywhere else. Fortunately that was a want that I got, perhaps it was a need**.

*I don’t know what happened with the numbering here. I blame the editor.
**I’m doing a Rolling Stones thing here, it’s not very good or clever.

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