Wednesday, 14 October 2009

the world is divided into two kinds of people

The world is divided into two kinds of people


those people who like where they come from

and those people who don't

well me, i fall very much into the latter

i don't


I'm always meeting Scousers, Mancs, Weegies... and people from Montreal, Bristol, Vancouver, Oxford, New York, Boulder, Toronto, San Francisco, Kerala, etc, etc, Melbourne, Aberdeen, Leeds, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Budapest, etc, etc... and people from all manner of small places ... and from Alberqueue, Valencia, Perth, Galway, Boston, etc etc... who love where they come from.

well me, i'm not like that

I come from Camberley in Surrey. And blimey it was crap.


People have said to me, Camberley is a really lousy place to be from. And, well, its hard to disagree.

I certainly I have no pride in the place. Zero. Nada. In fact I always hated it when I was growing up… [super-conservative, proto-Thatcherite, small-minded, 70s working-class aspirational, and, most unnotably, nothing to do]…

Its the kind of place punk rock was made for. Made to blow up. Made to give some hope, yes hope, to the kids who lived there, were stranded there.

Me and my brother Chris did [retty well in our school exams. Because we worked extra hard at school. Because we worked out fairly young that college was going to be the easiest way out of Camberley. So we got good results. And we left.

I always say, the only nice thing about Camberley is my parents. Who are still here. In the house of my youth. And well, I still agree with that, they are the only nice thing. Otherwise it’s a fairly non kind of living.

Depending, of course, on what you want in life. And me, I never wanted that… Home-Counties quiet suburban life. A lot of people like it, my Mum and Dad like it, a probable majority of the human race who ever lived would like it, would probably swap their lives for this comfortable existence at the drop of a hat.

But not me.

I always say, I like to think there’s been a few achievements in my life. And the main one is not being in Camberley anymore.


So its in Surrey, by the Hants-Berks border. Guildford, Reading, Farnham, ish. Large conservative majorities ad infinitum, ad nauseam, ad ever.

Surrey is, if you don’t know, the wealthiest county in Britain. Its very stockbroker belt.

Camberley itself is very military. Its Sandhurst Army College, Camberley Army College, the home of the officer’s of the British Army

Its retired colonels writing disgusted letters to the local newspaper. You know, the empire’s dead, but they’re not.

It’s the kind of place where you can be in the woods, reading a book in the straw or the heather or the bracken, and a couple of bushes walk past. And you don’t ask any questions of those bushes, because those bushes probably contain members of the SAS, or the Gurkhas, or even the British Royal family.

And more than once I saw a couple of bushes consult each other, trying to work out if this boho reading Bukowski in the straw [i.e. me] is part of the exercise or not. And then they decide that I’m not and they drift on slowly into the undergrowth.

That kind of place.

I used to do a short poem about it.


At my middle school
There was a school uniform
But no-one wore the school uniform
Because no-one owned the school uniform
Because you couldn’t buy the school uniform
Because none of the shops in town would stock the school uniform
Because they didn’t want the
Kind of parents
Of the kind of kids
Who went to my school
In their shop

O yes.

I’m a comprehensive peasant.

My secondary school was Collingwood Comprehensive, on the Old Dean in Camberley, then the roughest estate for miles. It was a hard school, and you know when i say "hard" the "ar" is long... arrr... A lot of the boys in my year ended up in jail…

And my middle school was Cordwalles, also on the Old Dean,

Where no-one wore the school uniform.

O yes.

Isn’t that crap. Isn’t that hideous? Isn’t that crappy-arsed English snobbery at its worst?

Yes it is.

Like I said, I’m superglad I’m gone, I’m out, I’m else.

Except I’m obviously not gone right now because right now I’m in Camberley, at my folks’ house, where I grew up, putting on a pound a day through cake alone, lying on my old bed, writing this…

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