I thought I'd write this week's blog about myself and my background, an honest council estate lad who saw it all back in the day.
I was born in 1973 when your mum having you at 17 wasn't exactly the done thing, especially to a dad who was as hard as nails and who liked a drink or two. My parents first place to live was a shitty flat in Retford Notts and it soon came to pass that we ended up on Springfield rd, Rat Alley, the hill amongst other names it got over the years.
When I was a proper little un my dad worked at one of a few of the local power stations up the road and lots of lads local to us worked at either the local pit, the local rubber works, the paper mill or many other industry based jobs including some hot footing it across to Sheffield to the steelworks etc. Then the miners strikes hit, I knew lads at school who it never affected, lads who were from different estates etc, lads whose dads had safe jobs, lads whose parents owned their own homes etc, I never envied them or what their family houses had inside them I just got on with it, but now and then xmas would come around and the bmx not turning up at our house obviously hurt a little bit when all your mates were outside bezzin up and down the road.
What we did have was community, nobody else had that, we had characters too, people would be out on the street playing till all hours with adults sat on the pathways gossiping. You could be ill and off school and old Flo over the road would have you while your mam took the others to school and ran about everywhere, we had families that all had multiple kids, we all knew each and every one.
My dad was laid off from the power station and was off work a number of years due to the knock on effect of the pits closing etc, he did stuff to make sure we ate, he'd go strawberry picking with the local women who went on vans out to the fields to work, he'd also go down the market and get as much fruit and veg in as he could when the markets were all shutting down etc, it was a different sort of life.....Skint and hungry meant exactly that, I know for a fact my mam and dad went without a dinner on more than one occasion to make sure we got fed, it was normal.
I can't say it was all misery because it wasn't, we knocked about footballing on the local rec, we got up to ultimate amounts of mischief on the estate, scrumping some poor bastards trees for apples and pears, knocking on doors and legging it, pinching milk bottles off doorsteps on your paper round so there was milk at your grandmas on the way round, fuck me we even had the bubble gum machine off the wall up the road from school for nowt else other than a laugh (there was a shit load of 2p's inside but fuck me where was you spending them?) in fact we threw about 200 bubblies in the canal to see if they sank....they did not they carried on running through towards town...wonderful lol!....We walked on the icy canal in winter, we got in scraps with each other on a regular basis, we watched our mams and dads literally pulling each others hair out and throwing each other about through frustration, we watched a black and white tv (when we had one) and we'd eat whatever was put in front of us whether we liked it or not....We voted Labour, we hated the system, we hated the way the police looked down on us, we hated the way school teachers looked at you knowing you were from a council estate, we hated being tagged with being from the estate that we lived on...But later..When you started to understand what your roots were, when you started to understand what sacrifice and integrity and honesty meant you knew it didn't matter what you were labelled as, you were a real human being, a part of real British culture, someone with morals and someone who could stand on his own two feet without the need for an ego massage or a lift up from Rupert and Jemima, we were strong.
Don't ever let this tory scum or anyone from up above tell you your not good enough or make you feel undervalued just because you come from the social housing sector of Great Britain....It's the very place where real people are made.