I've finally got time to watch Grayson Perry versus my Skem. I'm from Skem, it was a overspill-from-Liverpool town in the 70s that never got the resources it was promised, it's isolated and working class and I am proud of being from there. For one it means that once I left I was made-up with anything - dead impressed by Asda, thought Wigan was like Las Vegas - but also because it's a place where people who have not had a fair roll of the dice just get on with it, we get on with it with humour and working class coping. We had nothing growing up, we lived off sausages from the factory next door to the one my Dad worked in and we didn't half have a laugh. We could make a funfair out of a chair, some play dough and a sock, lick a slug for a laugh and get a Dad who's been in work all day to do a forward roll and mark him out of ten for it.
I love Grayson Perry in a way but I've got myself worked up before I even watch this programme. Imagining him approaching a gang of lads in a park in Diggy, the way he presents himself can be seen as a piss-take of all the pressures on Skem lads, they are not allowed to be Grayson Perry. I would have loved him when I was 14, but that's different, I was the weird little wordy girl with the rainbow hair, I was allowed to be Grayson Perry. I wasn't gonna get head kicked in for it.
Sp he's going to be talking about - Class and Masculinity, two things that wind me up no end. The pressure put on men breaks my heart in two - watching Our Mike (my brother) negotiate the world of Being-A-Lad-On-A-Council-Estate when he was clever and not hard; watching my Dad go from big hard Dad-shaped man with big Dad smiling sense of humour to a beaten down worker, to sick, disabled and dying - the expectations of men pervades all of it so thoroughly and when you throw being poor into the mix it's a demeaning pressure cooker. I'm certain the stress of my dad's work killed him.
I totally understand why scallies looted Foot Locker in the riots, when you're humiliated because of your lack of status in society, and trainers represent status then of course you want them, especially in Manchester where you have the worlds of rich and poor so close to each other (Look at what you could have won! (if you had been born to different parents)), at least in Skem there's no rich people (there's not really a class system, there's just people with slightly nicer shoes).
I hope Grayson Perry understands the working class Flippancy Defence (you get what i mean right? we are flippant about everything because it makes life easier when life is shit, plus it's just part of working class culture, and piss-taking is crucial as is slagging everything off.) and isn't in ANY WAY at all patronising. It winds me up when people are shocked at say, like, someone never having been to London or abroad or skiiing or read certain books or whatever. I hope he understands the subtext of scallies.
As an adult I've surrounded myself with substitute Dads and Our-Mike's just to, you know, continue the frigging heartbreak.
Right, come'ead Perry, game on, just don't be a dickhead eh?
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