You may or may not know that before Boofuls, Lashes and myself relocated to the best bit of England we lived in a small northern town that had it’s heyday in the time of the Victorian cotton boom.
It is still dirty, grim and industrial. Attitudes are still pretty much fixed in the Victorian era. Fair to say we haven’t missed it much (at all). It does have some nice moorland around it though which can be lovely when it’s not raining, which is almost always.
Since we’ve lived in Devon I keep being reminded about the contrast between our northern home, all very Lowry-esque and our new home. The work of a local artist who’s work I like very much, Yvonne Coomber sums up in an instant how I feel about living here. It’s light, bright, colourful and jolly. Sums it up beautifully!
I was chatting with a fellow dog walker today about how attitudes differ in different parts of the country. Where we used to live you really didn’t see gay people around. If you did then it was a talking point. “Oooooh, he’s gay you know / a shirt lifter/a poofter/ a lino carrier. Whatever the term used, it was never complimentary and the gayness of that person became the thing that defined them as in: “You know, gay Steve.”
Just as an aside: Do you remember when gay used to mean happy?
Down here there are so many gay people that it’s just a normal thing. It doesn’t become the thing that defines them, they are just another person. I like that. What on earth has anyone’s sexuality got to do with anyone except themselves?
However, it’s not all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. We are right in the heart of UKIP country. In the north there was a massive Asian community and while there were race issues the majority of the people all just got along nicely. Down here it is rare to see a non white person. If you do, you notice it. That causes massive racism.
I suppose everywhere has it’s down side.
One nice old lady who walks here dog became a hissing, spitting harridan at the thought of Syrian refugees being homed a few miles away. I’m not going to repeat the things she said as it was just too vile but I did point out that if my home had been destroyed, my family had been murdered and I lived in daily fear then I didn’t think it was unreasonable to try and find a better life elsewhere and I hoped that I might get shown some compassion. Let my tell you that those words fell on some mighty stony ground! Now when she starts a discussion about ‘Pak..’ I can’t even bring myself to type it…Asians, it starts with “Well I suppose you’re all in favour of it but…” Well, I probably am. We’ve only got the one world and we’re all in it together so why don’t we all just try and get on?
That’d be nice, wouldn’t it?