Sunday, 12 February 2012

Episode 1 - The twentieth of March 1980

It’s a little after midnight. Somewhere out there on the North Sea a rusty hulk is sinking.

“Radio Caroline broadcasting on 319 metres, 9-63 kilohertz. Well we’re sorry to tell you that due to the severe weather conditions and also to the fact that we’re shipping quite a lot of water, we’re  closing down and the crew at this stage are leaving the ship…“

Meanwhile I’m underneath the bedclothes with a transistor radio, a torch and a well-thumbed copy of Penthouse. I’ve stopped looking at the glossy breasts; all my attention is focussed on what’s happening on the old rust bucket with a radio station shoehorned into the cargo hold.

“…Obviously we hope to be back with you as soon as possible, but we just want to assure you all on land that there’s nothing to worry about we’re all quite safe, just for the moment we’d like to say goodbye…”

Then there was static. I took the earphones off, switched the torch off and went to sleep.

I live in Bournemouth. God’s waiting room on the south coast, where blue-rinsed OAPs come to die. I don’t want to be here.

I come from Stoke-on-Trent. Someone had to.

If you come from Stoke you can accept the fact without questioning it, settle down with a local girl called Sharron and get a job in a pot bank or down a coal mine, and live there for ever and ever.

Or you spend your time moaning about what a dump Stoke is and how you can’t wait to get out, and then you settle down with a local girl called Sharron and get a job in a pot bank or down a coal mine and live there for ever and ever.

As you join the M6 motorway heading south there’s a big sign that reads: “You’re leaving Stoke now, but you’ll be back. Oh yes!”

There isn’t I made that up. But there OUGHT to be one.

One day last summer my step-dad came home from work and he announced that he’d been promoted, and that meant that the family was going to move down south.

I was eighteen, and I’d just taken my A’ Levels, I was waiting for the results – I wasn’t confident that they’d be good.  I could see that leaving might give me a new start. It also meant saying goodbye to my friends and family. I was torn.

In the end, I reluctantly accepted that I had no say in the matter, and settled down for some quality sulking and moaning that life is SO unfair.

 I’ve got a job now we're down here in Bournemouth, nothing I’d call a career. Let me put it this way; I have a nametag and a baseball cap. And my overwhelming feeling concern is: life, there’s got to be more to it than this!

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