Damian Barr (2013) Maggie & Me
Posted by celticman on Sat, 18 May 2019
I enjoyed this memoir. It reminded me a bit of Kerry Hudson, Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-cream Float Before He Stole My Ma. Only it wasn’t Tony Hogan that stole Damian Leighton Barr’s mum but Logan the plumber. Glen is one of those taciturn men that does twelve-hour shifts in the Craig (Ravenscraig Steelwork) and says things like ‘make your bed and lie in it’. He makes good money and they are one of the first in the street to own a colour telly. But the colour telly is in 25 Ardgour Drive, Carfin, with their Da.
‘It’s the 12th of October 1984. I am just eight years old. Me and my mum are stuck to the BBC Nine O’Clock News in the strange new flat.
…Flat 1, 1 Magdalene Drive, Carfin.
My wee sister, Teenie, has cried herself to sleep in my mum’s lap. Our old life is crammed in the cardboard boxes bursting all around us.’
Mum is pregnant with Logan’s child. Make your bed and lie in it. Or use terms like *Spoiler a middle-class convention to alert the unwary reader to what-the-fuck?
Spoiler, Maggie Thatcher survives the Grand Hotel and Brighton Bombers. “‘Shit disnae burn, Maggie won’t,’ says my mum.”
Spoiler, Logan disnae burn either, but he really should.
Spoiler, Damian is gay, or even homosexual. In the working class community around the Craig that’s a worse offence than making your bed and lying in it. Or being a smart-arse, both of which are true of Master Barr.
Damian Leighton Barr I admire your wit and wisdom. Margaret Hilda Thatcher I hate you with a passion as hot as the ovens of the Craig that you cooled. Making 85 000 miners unemployed was a masterstroke. Fossil fuels are killing the planet, but, of course,
‘There are individual men and women and there are families…There is no such thing as society’. Margaret Thatcher, 23rd September 1987.
Spoiler, aye there is. They fuck you up, your mum and dad. So do working-class communities. So does society You’ll find it here in this memoir. Now fuck off and read it. Or don't. I don't really gie a fuck.