Thursday, 23 June 2011

My Kind Of Town by Lynda Waterhouse

When I heard the news about Jack White and Karen Elson’s sixth anniversary/divorce party I felt a pang. Karen is a fellow Oldhamer and therefore I feel an attachment to her. It is not just anyone who can inspire their spouse to write an album entitled ‘Icky thump.’
IMAGINE AN IMAGE OF KAREN ELSON HERE -COMPUTER NOT UPLOADING THEM TODAY!!
I hope you’re all right lass and drowning your sorrows or celebrating with a Holland’s meat and potato pie, mushy peas and gravy and a Yates’s Aussie White wine!
These days I am a terrible braggart where Oldham is concerned and say smugly ‘they’re from Oldham’ whenever one of my fellow ‘roughyheads’ makes good. Or I drone on about how ‘we invented fish and chips’ or ‘Oldham is the home of the Tubigrip Bandage.’ My husband tries his best to compete with famous people from his home town and so far has come up with someone from Showaddywaddy and the fact that one of the Goodies was born in the same county. Ecky Thump to that one!
IMAGINE A PICTURE OF BRIAN COX STANDING IN FRONT OF SAND DUNES
When I was 18 I left town. I couldn’t wait to leave without even so much as a thank you to Oldham Council for paying for my university fees or to Oldham Library for providing all the wonderful books and the space to sit and do my homework. This callow youth wrote pretentious poetry and read ‘The Waves’ by Virginia Woolf in public and Dorothy Whipple in private.
These days I’m spending more time back in my hometown retracing my footsteps and treading a newer path as one of my mother’s carers. Losing and finding myself in equal measure.
IMAGINE A BEAUTIFUL BLACK AND WHITE IMAGE OF ANNIE KENNEY
It is a comfort to recall that for such a small town Oldham has produced inventors, radical politicians, musicians, sports people, scientists and actors.
Here are few of my hometown heroes - Dora Bryan, Eric Sykes, Bernard Cribbins, Sir William Walton, Mark Owen, Dame Eva Turner, Dr Patrick Steptoe, Agyness Deyn, Professor Brian Cox and a special favourite of mine - the suffragette Annie Kenney.
Thank you for being a part of my creative heritage.
Who are your hometown heroes?

4 comments:

Sue Purkiss said...

Robert Lindsey, from My Family, came from Ilkeston. And DH Lawrence dropped in from time to time. I think he did some teaching there. Going by his descriptions of Ursula's days there in The Rainbow, he didn't like it very much. 'She did not want to be a teacher at Ilkeston, because she knew Ilkeston, and hated it... The very forest of dry, sterile brick had some fascination for her. It was so hard and ugly, so relentlessly ugly, it would purge her of some of her floating sentimentality.' Nice!

Leila said...

My mum's home town, Barnsley, seems to be pretty good at producing poets and writers and the like. Ian McMillan's from there, I think. And from Bangladesh - Tagore!

Jane Stemp said...

I was born in Lewisham (Spike Milligan, James Elroy Flecker (what a pairing)) but the town where I grew up, Horley, doesn't offer much - except, possibly, the master carpenter who designed and built the lantern of Ely Cathedral (William Hurley, d.1354).

madwippitt said...

Roald Dahl lived just down the road. And a few miles further on was the place where Milton was inspired to write the sequel to Paradise Lost. But I'm ashamed to say that while I've read the entire works of Roald Dahl the only Milton I've ever read is quotes in Philip Pullman's books ...