Persons of Colour

For Christmas last year all my kids (Kids!? The youngest is only 37-bless him) got a DNA kit. Soon the results will come in and they should to a man and women be able to claim the mantle, POC or Persons of Colour.

Probably more important to me than them, when they open that envelope they will see a positive connection to the West of Africa. For me, (I don’t really want to speak for them, but I know I’m safe in the assumption) it was a tremendous moment that few will understand and indeed some will even wonder what all the fuss is about. But to finally have proof (my blood) and as it were, an identity, put simply a place to originate from with a history, (dark as it may be) was a very important moment in my life. It filled up an empty chasm that existed since the day I realised that even my school couldn’t be bothered to tell me who I was.

However, all wasn’t lost. Thanks to a life-long curiosity brought on by a lack of answers and  things I’d prefer to push into that dingy little room at the back of my mind, I had done my research some time ago, so was not wandering around uselessly in the dark. Thanks to the wonders of the modern age and the best birthday gift I have ever had from Rosie here it was, my ‘history’ in (wait for it), black and white. The icing on the cake.

For me definitely, and I hope for my offspring the DNA was a positive move but there are what I like to call, consequences.

First of all, there will be some Black people who will say that me and my kids aren’t Black enough. And to call ourselves People of Colour is a stretch of the imagination. To them I would offer a hearty F O and say that (in my case) and whether they like it or not, I am just a Brother who was taken a little further away than they were and the sooner they accept that the sooner we can join together and fight the scourge of racism.

And secondly, there will (always) be the dyed in the wool racists who won’t change for nobody. Unfortunately, we can’t ship them out on a reverse Windrush, (where would you send them?) And it wouldn’t be right to shoot them, so I guess it’s best that they are continually fought off and confronted with reality…ergo…

We are here and we ain’t going away anytime soon. Get used to it.

Those were the days

those were the days

I was thinking the other day about the times before we became European. Those were the days.

Or, as I like to call them, the bad old days (yes, I’m a Remainer) before we became Europeans. Sadly, I think we have conveniently forgotten the trials of tribulations of the dark society that we were then and the grim days we lived in.

The streets of Stratford upon Avon (not London) were very different before we became European. Before European sophistication set in,

I seem to remember that our pavements were knee-deep in (white) dog poop.  In those days if you saw someone picking up dog shit and putting it into a black bag,  you were more likely to call Social Services than thank them for being good citizens.

Then there was the strong unpleasant scent of the unwashed Englishman.

Remember, before Europe and the invention of the shower, there was the stoic ‘one bath a week’ Englishman. I knew him well.

Friday night bath. Out on the piss and the rest of the weekend to lie in his own sweat and stale beer/cigarette smoke until work on Monday. Eeee…them were the days.

There was litter everywhere.

You couldn’t walk down High Street without becoming entangled in the discarded week-old copy of the Stratford upon Avon Herald, flying through the air enveloping everything in its path.

In those dark days the Herald was huge (easily 6ft x6ft). An airborne copy was without doubt a danger to life and limb. I know people who were near suffocated to near death by the local paper just going to the shops. We don’t talk about it much but there were those who were simply swept away, never to be seen again, God rest their souls.

Sophistication.

If you were labelled sophisticated before we became European, it meant that you had dined in the local ‘foreign’ restaurant at least once (Wimpey’s didn’t count).

Always hidden away down a side street you could tell it was ‘foreign’ because it had what was once a brightly coloured canopy. Years of the British weather had put paid to any gaiety it might have represented years ago. There was always a rain-stained menu and plastic flowers In the window alongside faded nets. Strangely, the flowers were always in a water-filled vase?

The restaurant kept odd opening hours. But no matter. It was where you went for family celebrations like anniversaries, birthday parties. With entertainment that included shouting insults at the swarthy waiters (because no-way would they understand you), followed by the traditional and intentional mispronouncing of the menu which the elders of the family (uncles, fathers) usually undertook in an effort to prove their seniority and knowledge of other cultures. The truth was they really had no idea what it was they were ordering. Especially the wine. If it wasn’t Blue Nun, they were lost.

As for the pubs.

If you got home at 11.00 you called it a lock-in. The beer really was warm and the lager (if they had any) was too cold.  Whatever you drank, it gave you a headache.

So, here we are,  Brexit is according to our lunatic Prime Minister, done and dusted.

And I have no choice but accept the decision made by a British people who appear to yearn for a return to pockets full of dirty copper coins, handkerchiefs, vests, Y-Fronts and toilet paper abrasive enough to take a layer of skin off your good old British arse.

Last one to leave, turn out the lights.

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