You put my feet
back on the ground
Did you know
you brought me home?
You are sweet and you are sound;
You save me
-Zero Seven, ‘Somersault‘
It’s OK, I grew up there, so I’m allowed to say it. Doncaster’s shite, and it smells of pasties and fags. All the bars – all of them – play music too loud, so you’re screaming to make yourself heard. Not that is matters, because no one from Doncaster has anything worth saying.
I went to Doncaster Pride at the weekend (I know, right? Doncaster has a Pride!). The music was too loud and they spunked too soon by having strippers on as the first act. I grabbed a pint with Leo and we sat drinking, petting some guy’s puppies. Bloodhounds.
Walked around the stalls; The police missed a trick by not having any fit coppers doing outreach and the fire brigade was all women, so we didn’t dally. Sipped our pints.
Rainbows. Fucking rainbows! What is it with fucking rainbow tat?! How anyone makes a living like that is beyond me. We sipped our pints. The wind picked up, a chill; rivers of rainbow boas.
“Now, do you have something warm to wear” mum asks; finds a fleece. “Hardly the height of fashion, I know, but it’s only Doncaster!”
I stuff it into my new ‘Head’ rucksack, the one I bought to make me feel sporty and proper and new start new me.
“I know you cope perfectly well in London but while you’re up here I’m afraid you’ve got me to worry about you. Now is your money safe? And what time will you be back?”
“Probably not”, I grin “and late!”, bounce out the door with Leo, make our way.
“Do your best to have a good time!” she jokes. Doncaster’s shite, after all, and we’ve come all the way from London.
Laura runs fast from nowhere, hugs me tight, tight. Twenty year friendship, glowing, ignites. I smile daft.
“Too loud!” she shouts, we retreat inside. I grab another pint.
Leo -> Laura; Laura -> Leo. And the kids. The kids, crawling happy all over us.
Laura has kids! This still amazes me. You get older, without noticing.
Doncaster’s shite, but this space is nice, the new theatre and culture space is nice. It smells of coffee, and today it’s full of fags.
And you can’t help but laugh, playing games with kids, chasing and rolling and being pulled every way around. Spinning with them, them squealing with delight. Old friendship ignites, new flames. Doncaster’s shite, but you know, in some lights…
Time passes. I sip more pints. Walk with Laura, holding hands; I tell her what’s been on my mind recently. She holds me, tight; “Oh, Phil”, and she holds me and it’s warm as autumn light. Her kids, running through the whirling rainbow boas, chocolate smeared cheeks. Music too loud. Doncaster’s shite.
And we’re up from London, Leo and me. London’s great, after all. It smells of city dust and money; London’s great, you know this because all the Londoners say so, on TV and radio. All the buzz all these people all these minds I can feel them racing round, getting ahead, getting along in life. London smells of tarmac and traffic going nowhere – where else would you want to go?
The boys are pretty and they flex their pecs and their jeans hang from their arses, just so. The music’s better and the clubs are cooler and you can get high and fuck strangers and it’s so hot, so hot in those sweating gurning moments when you pour petrol down your throat to make your soul ignite. Blaze bright.
Doncaster smells of beer and chips and piss in doorways at night. Shouting fights, girls tottering along Silver Street, boys swagger. Ambulances, police – frightening, I guess. If you didn’t grow up there.
Off to Crystals – it’s shite. What did you expect? Music too loud, bar three deep. I gulp my pint, smoking rollies. Arm ’round Leo and next to Laura. Outside, smell of stale beer and stale fags. Cheap weed.
So of course London’s cooler, and Doncaster’s shite. It’s OK, I grew up there, I can say that.
I didn’t bother with London Pride. I mean I live there, so why would I do that? Got pissed on gin at my mate’s flat, watched ‘Bridget Jones’.
“Oh, Phil”, Laura says; hugs me tight.