Outery (Salt of the Earth)
I stand at the bar. It’s a Wetherspoon’s, but all the old pubs hev gone. What can yiz do?
Remember the Bowes? Doon the cellar bar on a Sat’day night and one of yer pals was on the drums and the lead guitarist had an audition for the Young Bucks but didn’t get to play on Backfield In Motion that got to number 18 in the charts in ‘78. Thiz none of the old pubs left, not even the posh ones. I took Kaz Brown to the Berni Inn for steak an’ chips one Friday night and I asks the waitress what’s the soupatheday and she sez Heinz and I pays for the meal ‘cos that’s what ye did then but I didn’t care why shoulda I had a job at the Rollin’ Mills up on Whessoe Road.
The Bowes is called Alforno now. Davy Johnson sez that means in the oven in Italian or summat. I divvent think it sells proper beer just ones with funny names and wine, like, so I divvent go in it.
I’m at Wetherspoon’s waitin’ for Davy, it’s my birthday and I’m 56. Davy said wuh should go out ‘cos his Dad was dead at 55 and at least we live longer than wuz parents which is a laugh because Davy hasn’t seen his dad since we were at Gurney Pease Primary school in Miss Beveridge’s class in short trousers and sandshoes. But Davy’s my best pal and we got apprenticed at the Rollin’ Mills on the same day in 1977 after wuh left Longfield School with some CSEs.
Thu’ve got about 10 massive tellies all ower the walls in Wetherspoon’s. It’s great for the footy. I don’t come in if thiz rugby on or owt. The place is full of people I divvent nah, not from the town most of ‘em. The kind of people who vote labour and eat the kind of food thiz hev on those stupit telly programmes that thiz put celebrities on when people stop watching thum. Ah watched Sam Allardyce rescue Sunderland in here if I could vote for him to be Prime Minister I would, yer nah.
Our toon had a football team in the football league once but thiz moved outa town to the big stadium next the railway tracks and went bust and now the old stadium is fallin’ down but some developers own it and they’ll build houses on it when HSR2 reaches this far north if it ever does. Nobody I nah’ll ever live in thum, that’s a fact.
All the tellies are showin’ the news. Ye cannit hear the sound, but I nah what thiz are sayin’. Most of the people bein’ interviewed are cryin’ about the referendum. Especially them that are Labour politicians. Don’t make me laugh, Labour? Hartlepool’s MP for ages was Peter Mandelson! Thiz shoulda hung him and not the monkey. I was down the Jobseekers today. Next week I’m at EE, off Yarm Road. That’s where I wuz for my first job after gettin’ laid off from the Rollin’ Mills. EE was called Hutchinson Telecom then. I got laid off from them after thiz changed the name to Orange. That was the last skilled job I had, if yiz can believe it. Next week’s not skilled work or nowt. Thiz want us on a Customer Service Line. I’ve got tuh take it, mind, even though it’s temporary cover for someone on the sick and I hevent a clue what to do. Take it or thiz no benefits. In the summer I’ll go out and pick taters or summat like I hev for the last five years. Mostly Lithuanians now, although they wuz Poles before. Thiz work hard, like, though it’s not a lot of money. You hear stories aboot gang masters but thiz not much of that up here, yer nah.
I voted oot. Not over immigration. Davey’s dad wuz from Trinidad and mah grandad and grandma came from Cork. I nah loads uv people that moan about immigrants and that. I’m not even bothered aboot Brussels, I divvent even nah where that is, if yiz want to nah. I know places like our toon get sacks full uv money from over there, but what do thiz spend it on? Nowt useful as far as I can tell. So I voted out because it wuz the opposite uv what thiz seemed to want… all them people in Westminster that talk aboot the working class and the salt of the earth and all that bollocks. Most uv thum never had a job in thiz lives and the way thiz talk aboot us - ‘ignorant’, ‘prejudiced’ and what all else. Well I nah somethin’ - if yiz put salt in the earth bugger aal grows in it.