Monday, 24 August 2015

AND WHERE DO YOU COME FROM?



Do you know where you're from?  No, I'm not talking the 'birds
and the bees'.  What I mean is, do you have a sense of self springing
from a particular area where you grew up or lived at some point in your
life?  For example, I'm Glasgow-born and lived in the West End of the
city for the first year and a half of my life before moving to a new town.
However, although I'm a Glaswegian by birth, I don't feel so 'con-
nected' to the city as the town in which I grew up.

Humans seem to be territorial creatures and tend to align them-
selves with the neighbourhood they were raised or lived in during the
formative years of their lives.  I spent five and a half of my first seven
years of existence in one neighbourhood, and the next six years, seven
months of my life in another neighbourhood, before moving back to the
first one.  Apart from four years spent in yet another neighbourhood
from 1983 to '87, I've now lived in my current neighbourhood for
forty-four and a half years of my life.

Each of those two neighbourhoods (as well as others) had their
gangs, who were bitter enemies of one another.  Which is not to say
that normal, well-balanced kids from each area didn't get along per-
fectly well together, but 'officially', as far as the neddish gangs
were concerned, they were at war.

If I were to label myself based on where I've lived longest,
I'd be a 'Murray' man, but as I spent nearly seven years of my life
from the age of seven, to five months short of my fourteenth birth-
day in an area called Westwood, I tend to regard myself as more of a
'Westwood' man.  After all, I spent most of my primary school years
there, and continued to go to secondary school in the area, even
spending the final two and a half years of my school life there
after moving back to the Murray.

Thing is 'though, as I lived in the Murray first, and have now
lived here longer, I feel slightly disloyal in not considering myself,
first and foremost, as a Murray man.  As I mentioned, I only lived in
the Westwood for just under seven years, but that period encompasses
most of my school life, and just about everyone I still know from child-
hood I first met while I was living there.  Not only that, proportion-
ately, that period was around half my life at that point, so that's
quite a significant factor to consider.

So, to which area should I pin my loyalties and
sense of identity - Murray or Westwood?

 I don't have the same problem when describing my Nationality
on forms - I always put British.  That's because I'm a British Scot or
a Scottish Brit - doesn't much matter which way you put it.  So why's
it so hard when deciding which neighbourhood I'm really from?  I sup-
pose I could say I'm a Westwood man who lives in the Murray, or a
Murray man who lived in the Westwood, but neither seems to
do the situation justice.

Both areas left an impression on me in my formative years,
and in embracing one, I don't want to spurn the other.  The best
I can do is to describe myself as a Westwood/Murray man, or a
Murray/Westwood man, but it still seems to me like sitting on
the fence to some degree.

Aw, shoot!  I'll work it out one day I guess.  What I want to
know 'though, is where you consider yourself from.  Is it the area
you grew up, or the one of which you have the fondest memories -
or even the one you've lived in longest?  Or don't you think that
way?  Perhaps I've just got far too much time on my hands in
even pondering the matter?

If you feel motivated, share your thoughts and observations
in the comments section.  That's what it's there for.

32 comments:

DeadSpiderEye said...

I come from Krypton.

Kid said...

Ah, but which part of Krypton? (I thought you were from Krapton,)

Colin Jones said...

I was born in Islington but since the age of two I've lived in South Wales so am I Welsh or a Londoner ? I think of myself as Welsh because all my memories are here and all the people I've known are here but there's still that small connection to North London where I was born. I'm amused that nowadays Islington is considered upmarket and gentrified - I remember reading somewhere that in the '60s the area was basically a run-down slum, so that's what it was like when I lived there !

Kid said...

Do you think of yourself as being from a particular part of Wales, CJ, and if so, what part?

Paul McScotty- Muir said...

Well for me that's a complicated one as I don't really have an allegiance to any one town as I have stayed in 12 towns in the Lanarkshire/Glasgow area either with my parents or on my own - I certainly have no link to being from a region of a town probably because of this and probably associate myself with being from Lanarkshire (the South, not that Northern lot :) ).

Most of my early year were spent in towns in the Greater Glasgow area (Rutherglen, Cambuslang ) and I continued to go to school in Rutherglen even when my family moved (several times) to other towns around the areas until I was 17 years old. So if anything I tend to consider myself to be from Rutherglen even although I haven't lived there in 37 years as I have strong and good memories of that time in my life.


The town I live in now (Larkhall) I have stayed in for about 30 years (moving out a couple of times for short periods - 4 years in total) but as strange as it may seem I would NEVER consider myself a "Larkhall" man (and not because that has certain connotations in this area of the West of Scotland - some to be fair are founded but most are exaggerated to the nth degree or just not true - it's actually a very nice/close and borderline insane community) - but as my parents and brother loved this place (and are all sadly now no longer with us) I have an affiliation with the town now for memories I can associate with them and the older I get the stronger that becomes, and my link to Rutherglen gets weaker.


To add to this I was actually born in Paisley and that is on my driving license, birth certificate etc BUT I was literally only born there) - but I don't consider myself a Paisley buddy and don't understand how some folk consider themselves Scottish, Irish etc because their great granny's pet parrot was born there.

In general re nationality I consider myself to be Scottish first and British second (you can imagine how popular I am in Larkhall) but happy to be both (as that's the weird set up the UK has)

John Pitt said...

Well I am a kind of Brummie/Geordie mongrel hybrid (half Barry/half Oz!!) I was born in the Midlands, so I always consider myself go be a Midlander. But, I have lived up here in the North-East amongst LOVELY people since '71, and I am PROUD to be an adopted Northerner! So, I guess I get the best of both worlds!

Kid said...

That's interesting, McS. You have a more varied experience of living in different places, whereas, in my case, although I've lived in six houses in my town (if you count the one I've lived in twice as two separate ones), I've only lived in three neighbourhoods. I was only in the third one for four years, as an adult, so I have no real affiliation with the area as far as a 'sense of identity' goes, but I do with the other two. I have fond memories of both of them, but the nearly seven years I spent in one of them during perhaps the most impressionable part of my life gives it a bit of an edge - sometimes. Then I feel as though I'm denying part of my history by not according the same degree of 'respect' to the other neighbourhood and am beset with reservations. What can I say? Obviously I'm a nutter.

******

I think I'll have to try and adopt that attitude with my neighbourhoods, JP, but it's hard. I think I over-analyse things too much.

Colin Jones said...

Kid, I definitely associate more with South Wales which is why I said I live in South Wales rather than Wales - the south is more "anglicized" and hardly anybody speaks Welsh although a lot of the street names etc are in Welsh and all official literature is in Welsh as well as English. That's the daftest thing about living here - we just had a change in our recycling collection and the booklet explaining the changes was half Welsh/half English which must cost double to print, even when you go to the post office the voice that says "cashier No.2 please" has to say it in Welsh too - it's all rather silly but if it didn't happen the nationalists and Welsh language purists would be up in arms.

Kid said...

More PC crap in my opinion, CJ. Why are we obliged to cater to minorities when there's no need for it? Even Welsh people who can speak Welsh also speak English, yet the rest of us have to make allowances for the chip on their shoulders. Same goes for Scots and Gaelic. Bah, humbug!

Paul McScotty- Muir said...

I think I know what you mean each areas you lived in (like myself) was "home" to you at a certain time in your life that was "you" then etc (if that makes sense) - I work in your home town and have for 22 years but when I retire, pack it in, get fired I doubt I will visit it that often despite having some truly wonderful memories because my overriding memory EK is of my Monday morning drive to work !!.

Paul McScotty- Muir said...

To be fair there are around 600,000 Welsh speakers in Wales (20% of the population) which is a fair amount , Scots Gaelic on the other hand only has 58,000 speakers so (no offence) if not a dead language its pretty much in a terminal condition - saying that I like to see the rail signs in Gaelic and English in Scotland but would love to see them in Scots though "Welcome tae the Ceety a Glesga.... ya bass" :) bah humbug indeed!

Colin I was in the North of Wales for a visit to Llandudno a few weeks ago (we were on holiday to Chester, but went over the border) what a stunning town and view - I saw all the Welsh signs and to be honest I would have been disappointed if I hadn't seen them as a tourist attraction (couldnt pronounce one word though)

Kid said...

It's difficult for me to convey in a coherent manner, McS, but what you say is certainly a part of it. The town is nowhere near as nice a place as it used to be in the '60s & '70s, but I doubt I could live anywhere else. I need to have the familiar around me, although it seems that quality is receding with each passing year, what with all the changes that are continually taking place.

As for those 600,000 Welsh speakers, I bet they all speak English, so it'd be cheaper just to print leaflets in one language. As for Glasgow signs, they'd be more likely to say "Welcome to Glasgow - now f*ck off ya b*ss!"

Colin Jones said...

Kid, almost all of those 600,000 do speak English - if people want to learn Welsh that's fine by me but in this time of austerity when councils have to cut services to save money it seems crazy to print leaflets in Welsh when everybody can speak English anyway. But now I shall say nos da to you (that's good night in Welsh).

Steve M said...

It's about keeping the Welsh heritage alive. SC4 has TV programmes in Welsh, or used to I don't know if it still does. No chip on their shoulder. It's about tradition and making sure the Welsh language does not die out. It's their country.

Kid said...

Yup, I'd agree with that, CJ. Makes complete sense to me.

******

It's about artificially keeping the Welsh heritage alive, SM. As CJ says, if people want to speak Welsh, fine, but don't inflict it on the rest of us at our expense. To insist that leaflets and signs have both languages on them when one is sufficient suggests a chip on the shoulder to me. Same goes for Gaelic.

Steve M said...

Inflict is perhaps too strong a terminology. No one is forced to go to Wales. They're keeping their cultural heritage alive within their own country and it's not hurting anyone. It's not as if they're forcing outsiders to learn it. The signs and menus and so on are bilingual. It's quite charming really. I'm sure you wouldn't prefer their language died out, replaced totatally by English?

Phil said...

A long time comic fan am I. Though born in Asia, the family moved to NYC when I was a baby. Moved to the UK and went to school in the UK for many years before moving back to the west coast. Spend several years in Australia then came back to Calif.
My home away from home I will always consider to be London.

Kid said...

To be honest, JM, they're hurting themselves. The cost of issuing every council pamphlet in two languages is hardly a wise use of public funds, in my estimation. Perhaps they could keep their cultural heritage alive in a less expensive way. If they want to talk Welsh to each other, that's fine. And if they want to write or email each other in Welsh, that's fine also. However, anything else is redundant. There's no need to have everything in two languages when everyone understands both - one would suffice. And you also have to remember - the Welsh need to be punished for Max Boyce.

******

We'll consider you an honorary Brit, Phil. What age were you when you moved to London from the States?

Steve M said...

What you are proposing would be to keep Welsh language behind closed doors theoretically, or between themselves. No. It's Wales. Let them be proud of their own language and let it be seen in public, not hidden away in preference to English.

Colin Jones said...

In response to Steve M, I don't think language is part of "cultural heritage", it's just a way in which we communicate with each other - it wouldn't bother me if we all spoke in Hindustani as long as we could all understand each other. Scotland dumped Gaelic long ago but Scottish cultural heritage didn't disappear. But in Wales far too much emphasis is placed on the language as an important part of the culture - if you go the National Eisteddfod they speak ONLY Welsh - imagine the Edinburgh Festival insisting that only Gaelic can be spoken !! And this is a major reason why the Welsh nationalist party, Plaid Cymru, finds it so difficult to make a breakthrough in South Wales - their insistence on using the Welsh language as a big part of their identity is unappealing to most Welsh people who can't speak Welsh.

Kid said...

Well, as language is the means by which people communicate, I think those who speak a particular language quite naturally keep it between themselves anyway. You seem to be suggesting that the Welsh language should be spread, and not just employed only by those who already speak it. However, I think CJ has answered your points more than adequately, SM. You're banging a drum that only a relatively few people are interested in marching to.

Steve M said...

No I wasn't suggesting Welsh language should be spread but it should be retained because it's the native language. If it's banned from forms, menus, shop fronts, road signs and so on and so forth there is the danger it may die out within a generation. England can't have everything it wants in other countries. Thanks for listening even though you disagree.

Kid said...

I don't think anyone was suggesting banning the Welsh language as such, merely pointing out the expense of artificially maintaining a higher public profile for it than is necessary based on, essentially, anti-English sentiment. As everybody presumably speaks English in Wales, the expense of printing council pamphlets in both languages is completely unnecessary, and doubles the cost of producing them. If the language would die out within a generation without the 'life-support' system which currently prolongs its existence, then that's just the way the cookie crumbles. However, if people want to speak Welsh, let 'em, but they shouldn't expect other Welsh people who don't share their views to foot the bill in accommodating their nationalistic sentiment.

Kid said...

We (that's me and you) get to read a lot of intelligent comments on this blog, but you should see some of the ones I tend not to publish. This is one I've made an exception for, from someone posing under the name of Max Boyce fan:

"Kid, with your experience you know full well that printing a leaflet in both languages wouldn't cost any more than just printing it in English. Once again you're manipulating the situation to have a go at minorities. Bigot."

Seems to me that you need more paper for two languages than you do for one, so that'll cost more. And government bodies and councils are notorious for paying over the odds for just about everything done 'out of house'. However, feel entirely free to manipulate the situation to have a go at me, rather than address the absurdity of printing the same things in two languages when it's completely unnecessary. Tit.

Just where do these idiots come from?

Phil said...

I was there from 7 to 17 so my son calls me half British lol.

Kid said...

The inevitable question, Phil - which half?

Paul McScotty- Muir said...

Being a government employee I checked for a Freedom of Information (Foi) request on this on the GOV.UK and Welsh gov websites to see what the cost are. The bilingual issue (ie printing 2 versions) is enshrined in law for Wales, and any Welsh or English language version must not cost any more than than the cost of a single language version to write and print, additionally the combined total print run (English and Welsh) should also be no more that one single language print run, so they wont for example print 1 million of each language version when only 1 million are required in total. Additionally when only one document is printed in both languages the Welsh language element should be no more that 25% of the content in order to keep cots down (in most cases these version cost no more than a single language version to print). In 2012/13 financial year(the last Foi on this) the translation service itself (the Welsh Language office which write the Welsh AND English versions) was less that £2.2 million that's for everything staff, rent buildings computers etc -to be fair that's pretty good. Saying that the thing that gets me on this subject is the need for an entire Welsh TV and Radio station on the license fee - especially for Scotland with so few Gaelic speakers (although BBC ALBA can be pretty good as long as it has sub titles - some cool nostalgia programmes and Scottish football games on it). Re " MAX BOYCE FAN" Mmmmmmm not 100% s/he was that into this subject maybe someone with an axe to grind in general againt you .

Kid said...

That's interesting, McScotty, but also slightly confusing. Why print a dual language version, but have only 25% content of one language? So it's 75% English and 25% Welsh? That just seems ridiculous to me. However, when you say that if two separate language editions are printed, one shouldn't cost more than the other, do you mean that if it costs £300 to print an English pamphlet, then a Welsh one shouldn't cost any more than that, or do you mean that it's a two for the price of one deal? And pamphlets with two languages surely require more paper, so even if there's a discount in operation, it seems to me that it'll cost more - even if it's only a slight percentage - than one language with less paper. Regardless, although I mentioned pamphlets, the main principle I was trying to highlight applies to everything. Street signs, internal council memorandums, etc., etc. As everything has to be written in two languages, that's more man hours involved and is bound to cost more in time and money in the long run, even if it's not a bank-breaker. And it's all so pointless, when Welsh speakers in Wales also speak English. I'm in 100% agreement with you about Welsh TV and Radio stations that licence payers foot the bill for - scandalous in my estimation.

As for 'Max Boyce fan' - yes, they're agenda was obvious, wasn't it? I suspect that it wasn't their first comment on the matter either.

Paul McScotty- Muir said...

The rule on the % is to highlight that English is the majority language so that takes priority when only one version will be published for value for money reasons - ie the Welsh element of 25 % will either summarise or concentrate on certain areas of the subject -
of course this situation is as you note based on the fact that probably all Welsh speakers speak English if they are happy to keep the Welsh element to 25% , so we go back to the start of this issue again etc etc.

Yes when 2 versions are required say 700 in English and 300 in Welsh then savings must be made so that the combined cost of printing both is the same as printing 1000 in one language - I assume as the country is split North and South (with the vast majority of Welsh speakers in the North) then there are specialist printers in the North geared up to Welsh language printing and savings are made that way - I know when I worked in the old Dept of Employment (in marketing) in the 1980s we got good deals on the cost of ethnic language versions of documents through specialist printers at very little additional costs (of course then printing in general cost a small fortune !!).

I can appreciate that for some (not me) that language defines them in a way that is very important and personal to them and their culture etc ad they want to keep it alive and relevant but I would think there are other ways to do this - I get the feelings it more a case of digging their feet in and "if the English get one version we get one" attitude

What's next translating Oor Wullie and the Broons into English....never!

Kid said...

Ah, I see. So, essentially, if 1,000 pamphlets or leaflets are required, there's a budget for 1,000 regardless of the division of languages. From that perspective, it's not costing any more, but as 300 Welsh pamphlets are being produced that are totally redundant in the real world, it's costing the taxpayer for 300 pamphlets that aren't really needed. Result - it costs more than needs to be spent, regardless of whether it's a relatively small amount or not. And small amounts add up to big ones over a period of time.

You've opened a can of worms with that Broons and Oor Wullie joke, McS. Someone might see it and get the idea, then demand in Parliament that Welsh speaking comic fans should be catered for by law. Jings! Crivens! Help ma bob!

Colin Jones said...

Kid, that's news to me about 75% English and 25% Welsh - as I mentioned earlier we#ve recently had a big change in our refuse/recycling collection and we had a booklet to explain it all, the booklet was in English for the first half and then the exact same thing printed in Welsh in the second half. Also I used to get my gas bill duplicated in Welsh but now only the page with the actual bill on is duplicated, the other pages and leaflets are in English. And at the time of the 2011 census you could phone up and request a census form in Welsh so they must have printed loads of forms in Welsh in case anybody asked for them as well as printing enough forms for everybody in English. All this doesn't pass without criticism though - I've heard language purists described as middle-class busybodies with no proper problems to worry about.

Kid said...

I thought democracy was what the majority wanted, CJ. If only 20% of the population in Wales actually speaks Welsh, I don't believe the other 80% should be obliged to indulge them. Let those who want to speak and write Welsh do so, but their obsession shouldn't have to be be indulged by everybody else. It's keeping the 'patient' artificially alive past the point of its natural span.

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