Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Monday, 5 September 2016
Brazen hussies in leopard-skin mini-skirts
Melvyn Bragg has begun a new series on t' North which celebrates the under-celebrated achievements and importance of the vast bit of land between the Scottish Borders and t' South.
The reason he has had to bring t' North to our attention is because all of us soft, London-centric Southerners have either been ignoring the place for hundreds of years, or we have claimed all the world-changing innovations as our own, under the umbrella of 'Britain'. He has a point. It is a bit like a Scotsman losing the men's final at Wimbledon, but a Brit winning it.
Being brought up in the heart of the Southern South with its soft, rolling downs and proximity to London, I was taught to despise and fear the North, with its dark satanic mills and rough-handed labourers who called a spade a spade in a funny accent, and I actually did live in dread of being exiled to somewhere like Preston or Hull for some childhood misdemeanour.
In the early sixties, our attitude toward the other half of England was formed by deeply depressing (to me), black and white, 'kitchen-sink' dramas, or Coronation Street. Because we did not have a colour TV, I thought that the North was permanently grey, but I knew from first-hand experience that the South was beautifully coloured and I automatically used a mental palette when watching TV pictures of it.
It didn't help that the whole of the five-year period of school history lessons leading up to exams were about nothing but the Industrial Revolution. The Flying Shuttle and the Luddites, etc.
I'll tell you what shocked me the most about the Greater Manchester area when I was a kid - that women would not only go to the pub (albeit relegated to The Snug), but go to the pub with their hair-curlers still in!