Posted by: docdenbow | September 22, 2012

Black Country Blues

One day I won’t have to go to Wolverhampton, Bilston, Dudley or the Black Country ever again. I find that each time that I do go I leave far less happy than when I arrived. I effectively cut my ties there back in 1980 when I moved to South Wales. Whilst it’s true to say I do feel a certain love and nostalgia for the place where I grew up, I am beginning to realize more and more that there is nothing for me there. My friends are long gone. None have made the slightest attempt to either seek me out or keep in touch. In point of fact that’s not strictly true. One did and he died, and the other who I am in touch with buggered off away from the Black Country shortly after I did.

When I was there last week, I got into my car and drove around places that meant a lot to me all those years ago. I found that one hour in the car very emotional and more than a little painful. I drove past the old homes of my two best friends, I drove past the old homes of old girlfriends and my ex fiancee. I felt like a ghost, I also felt very alone – an intruder impinging on memories that should be pleasant and sunny but for some reason are both painful, tinged with sadness and dark, so very dark.

You see as a teenager at school I was not popular or confident, in fact given that I was surrounded by 700 kids in Wolverhampton Municipal Grammar School I was very lonely. I spent a lot of time being envious of kids at school who had more freedom than me, seemed better socially adjusted and who were a damn sight more confident and more to the point had friends. Me, I basically had no friends, no social circle or whatever the hell you would call it. My parents seemed to suggested it my own fault. Hardly a way to make your kid outgoing. When I was about 14 I desperately wanted a guitar. That was deemed to be inappropriate, as was a denim jacket. These were the signs of delinquency apparently and the possession of a guitar and a denim jacket would turn a skinny 5 foot nothing kid with no confidence into a marauding yob, so I ended up with a melodica and isolated disappointment as denim jackets were “de rigeur” and the uniform of youth. Once again I didn’t fit in

I guess that’s why when I finally did get girlfriends then the relationships were pretty intense – they were all I had. Yes, as I got older I had a few mates but none were as important to me as my girlfriends.

So 35 years on from the Black Country days and where am I now? No further forward I’m sorry to say. No further forward. I think this is why over the last few weeks I’ve been feeling a bit down. I thought, like a prat, that getting my driving licence back would be some kind of panacea – who was I kidding? There’s no difference at all except I can get to the supermarket on my own now. Then going back to the Black Country for a few days made all these feelings of alienation become amplified and made me feel that I have achieved nothing in my life.

I’m nearly 54, I spent 16 years working in a record shop in a market because I basically didn’t have the balls to tell the little twat who paid my wages (ha!) where to stick his job, and now where am I? That’s right in that modern day “dark satanic mill” a call centre. There’s very little that I can do about that, I’m too old for anything else, too old to re train, too old full stop. I hate my life as it is at the moment. I want more than I’ve got, a lot more – but the sad thing is I know I can’t have the thing that I really really want.

I had it once but it’s now long gone.

See Ya Around




  1. The day you met me a new chapter began! I was born in 1978 and you left the black country in 1980. That makes me feel young and you, well, a little less young! But nothing is for nothing, and no life is worth nothing. So cheer up you misery guts! You’ve got one pal in the Black Country and he’s just as fed up and self aware and unsuccessful in his own head too. We need to discuss success and what it really means, cus I dunno what is success? All of us end up as worm food and we’ll all end up as star dust again. But we’ve gotta make the best of it. You are better than your job, we all are, its a means to an end. Forget it. Its the thing that you do that pays the bills and pays for you to do all of the other stuff you enjoy. PEACE! 🙂

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