Thirty Thousand Streets

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

So this is Christmas.

Well, the arse end of it anyway, and it's been a funny old one. Truth be told, coming back to the area I grew up in always makes me feel slightly melancholy, jostling for space with the ghosts from my past that pace the streets round here, in the perpetual drizzle that bathes Stockport.

Every time I come back, I feel at an extra factor's remove from everything around me. Christmas always seems to plunge everything into a supernatural stygian hush, but round here it feels like a veritable ghost town.

Stockport. I heard a while ago that it was the biggest town in England, and was frantically attempting to attain city status by transforming one of its churches into a cathedral; which may be so much apocryphal bullshit, but is also laughable as it would instantly be transformed from a somewhat dismal (in my opinion) northern town, into a city that could probably give Hull a run for its money as one of the crappest places to live in the UK. Actually, that's stretching it a bit, but whats it actually got going for it?

The largest brick structure in Europe (The viaduct)

A big college

Err.. a hat museum.?

Other than that its OK. Reasonably well to do, good employment etc, but coming back I'm reminded of why it was starting to send me under when I lived here. Living in London, the sheer plurality of humanity seems to foster an attitude of studied indifference, or perhaps as my friend Will has it, a "mind your own business" ethos, where everyone gets on with their respective missions at very close quarters, but blinkered to one another, which sounds quite bleak, but is actually somewhat liberating.

If I was given the unenviable task of 'rebranding' Stockport, as Slough have apparently done since 'The Office', I'd have my work cut out, because no-one would want it rebranding, and they'd just as soon settle for something like "Stockport, A Local Place, For Local People"

In London you could walk down the street wearing day-glo furry boots, sporting dreadlocks, wearing full plate armour whilst pushing a pram full of broken dolls, and while you would get some slightly odd looks, some people would almost certainly ignore you as though you'd just activated a Klingon cloaking device (that might just be Camberwell though, so don't quote me on that one)

Stockport seems to breed a really heavily parochial mindset, where anyone behaving slightly 'strangely' (students, foreigners, gays, weirdos etc) is regarded with a faintly xenophobic suspision, and runs the risk of being strung up from the nearest lamppost. I still fing it absolutely hilarious that the regulation townie uniform of stripey top (Henri Lloyd) tracksuit bottoms - importantly, and this cannot be stressed enough - tucked into simpsons socks, along with a pair of 'boater style shoes or trainers, is viewed, admittedly by default, as something to aspire to wear. If Stockport were a football team (and I'm not talking the 'hatters' here) it would be sponsored by Rockport.

The area I'm from, Heaton Moor is even worse, as despite being a very nice residential area, it has its own elite cadre of numb-nuts plastic gangsters, self appointed fake hoods who think that knocking out a bit of weed to their mates qualifies them as working class icons. Wrong, wankers.

A bit of grafitti I once saw at Stockport train station kind of summed it up nicely.

"The Heaton Moor hard men from their middle class backgrounds, lots of mouth when they're in a crowd, but when they're alone they're not so loud"

Made me laugh anyway. So there you go. I love Manchester, and could quite seriously contemplate living back (t)here but and Stockport? We're through like a tunnel.

Well, 'The Italian Job' has just finished, or at least I think so; the specific portion of by brain that can register it has been worn down by too many repeated viewings, a bit like an old C90 cassette. Cliches abound when it comes to Christmas viewing. Personally, I'd like to lob a metaphorical 'gat amonst the pigeons' if I was director at the BBC. There was a show on a couple of years ago about really super adapted predators. One of the featured beasts was the japanese hornet, (which are hard as f*ck by the way) and the show features five of these 'insecticons' butchering a hive of 30,00 bees. I'd just show that. Back to back.

Well I return to London tomorrow, and can't wait, frankly. I'm tired of sleeping on couches. Staying at my brothers is a bit like living in the Ice Station in John Carpenter's 'The Thing'. Blokey, messy, and crucially - very cold (thankfully free of superadaptive extra-terrestrial life though)Intermittently my brother stamps in from the cold, from whatever roof he's been working on in Denton, dressed head to in performance snowboarding gear, and looking like he's just been on some black ops mssion to take down a puppet state in the arctic circle.

One good thing about this Christmas is that I've given up smoking. Seriously. Tore my fags up on boxing day and chucked that shit. Should I feel compelled to buy any in the future, I might just cut out the middle man and mail the money directly to whichever super-rich American arsehole's pockets I'm ultimately lining.

There's now this 'Spelling Bee' type programme on TV. A bit like the film Spellbound, but with this huge disembodied head lurking behind the contestants reading out the words. She's either a kind of avatar of spelling - a bit like the Dixons girl is of cut price electrical goods, or a sphinx like creature who devours the losers after the show.

Right. I'm getting out of here. London, I'll see you tomorrow.


gridrunner said...

I never understood why those events are called Spelling Bees. Let’s be clear now: ‘Spelling Bee’ translates as ‘a bee that does some spelling’, does it not?

And – correct me if I’m wrong – it appears to be a load of children doing the spelling and not just one bee. It’s misleading.

But wait! Maybe the kids are just pretending to have a spelling competition and there is actually just one bee somewhere backstage, perhaps in a matchbox with a little microphone, answering all the questions for them. If that’s the case then, yeah guys, great name. said...

Hey, I know you are posh and obviously a bit of a snob, but do you always look down on things so much?
Like, you appear to maintain the mentality that you are better than stockport. When in fact, Stockport is an alright town. It seems like its you that has the problem, not Stockport.
You say that in Heaton Moor, the middle class kids pretend to be working class, abut you appear to be doing a bit of the same by throwing a couple of 'arse's, 'crap's, 'bullshit's and 'fuck's into your intellectual essay on how working class towns aren't to your liking. One word springs to mind; 'HYPOCRYTE'
Fuck off back to London you posh arse-mongerer, bullshitting hypocrytes who write crap essays aren't welcome in the North.
Dont you just love free speech? I adore it... EVIL LOL