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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Saturday, February 26, 2005
    Trouble at t'mill
     
    Charles Nevin's book is amusingly and self-knowingly bigoted, especially against Yorkshire folk who are characterised as humourless in comparison to the jollity of us Lancastrians. Well, consider Dodd, Kay, Askey, Coogan, Morecambe, Wood in relation to, erm, Titchmarsh, Whiteley, Boycott, er, Scargill - see what he means?

    I also like his silly theory that the further East you get within Lancashire (ie, the nearer you get towards Yorkshire), the less whimsical, romantic, carefree you get. Consider Liverpool, Blackpool in relation to Manchester, Oldham - see what he means?

    There are more sober streams to this book too. Today's reading made transpennine connections with yesterday's blog theme. Reflecting on King Cotton - the rise and demise of the mill towns, the demographic and cultural changes of recent times, race tensions in the likes of Oldham, Blackburn. And the less-headlined class tensions, the ever-widening inequalities which are Capital's continuum from the days the mills went up, and earlier.

    The whimsical Scouser in me, I guess, can't help but want to find some wisdom in the silliness to redeem the deadly serious. And Nevin helps me in that quest by interviewing a BNP councillor in Darwen who was actually all the way from Haslingden and had spent 'only about 15 years in Darwen.'

    'You have to be in Darwen 20 years before you're accepted as a proper Darwener,' he said. I don't think he appreciated the irony. I didn't until I thought about it later.