And dark and true and tender is the North*
Despite being a Graun-reading, socially liberal ‘bit-of-a-leftie’ I chuckled at Management’s recent despairing exhortation:
“Do you always have to be an unreconstructed 1970s northern male?”
Me? A wannabe Gene Hunt?
Gene Hunt: I think you’ve forgotten who you’re talking to.
Sam Tyler: An overweight, over-the-hill, nicotine-stained, borderline-alcoholic homophobe with a superiority complex and an unhealthy obsession with male bonding?
Gene Hunt: You make that sound like a bad thing.
Really? I think not! But not quite renaissance man either, although I have had a bit of a soft spot for Longfella’s poetry ever since he performed his 2013 poem ‘This is the Place‘ at last year’s vigil in remembrance of the Manchester Arena bombing.
In fact, Longfella (aka Tony Walsh and now surely the de facto northern laureate having gently nudged Roger McGough aside) has written more generally in praise of the north in his poem ‘Up ‘ere‘ and there is nothing of the unreconstructed northern male about it (actually, the poem is explicitly about the north-west). In it, he writes in a rather overblown way:
“… and some things run right through us just like sticks of Blackpool rock;
Courage, kindness, humour, hope.
Sometimes … it’s all we’ve got.“
I suppose that’s the price of his declamatory style and can be forgiven, but now, be honest, does an unreconstructed 1970s northern male quote Tennyson and Tony Walsh in his blog posts? Nay, missus! Nay, nay and thrice nay! So, now that’s out of the way, any chance of a brew, luv?
* The Princess: O Swallow, Tennyson