I'm back from the briefest of brief sojourns in the north and, as is so often the way, the wedding wasn't as horrific as it could have been. Don't get me wrong, it was still pretty bad, but in a fairly banal way. And I was only questioned about my intentions regarding marriage and babies four times – and then by close relatives who I'd feel bad taking the piss out of. Though I spent most of the time hanging out with my parents and some of my Dad's cousins from Redcar who're pretty cool people, so there weren't many opportunities for such questions to arise.
The main thing to be taken from the weekend was how much I hate being back in Yorkshire. It was only sitting on the train, waiting to pull out of Leeds, that I realised how tense I'd been. I feel trapped when I'm there, horribly claustrophobic. We are so very different, and the worst thing is that I don't think they realise. For them, the world is very small. You're born, you get an average education, you get married have kids buy a semi-detached house work 9-5 in a job you're indifferent to two weeks in Majorca each year Saturdays shopping Sundays washing the car and Friday nights drinking to pass out. Let me make myself clear: there is nothing wrong with this. What is wrong, is when people spend their lives thinking that's all there is. They cannot comprehend my life, what I do with my time and how I can possibly be happy 'down there'. It is alien to them. When my Aunt brays that it's high time I got myself into the big white frock, I know the question is a cover for wanting to know when I will abandon my strange ways and return to what she considers normal, something she understands. Unfortunately for her the idea of living that life fills me with cold, suffocating terror. And so none of us know how to talk to each other any more, our conversations are a bit awkward and stilted; it saddens them that they hardly recognise the little girl they watched grow up and they look at me and want me to return to their comfort zone. And that makes me want to flee.
A batch of indiscriminate anecdotes for you now.
Watching the Grand Prix toda, discussing the several new races in the Middle East. "Do they stop halfway round and get on their knees, 'praise be to Allah! Praise be to Allah!'" [impression in an Indian accent]
At breakfast in the hotel, my Dad and I go up to give our room numbers to a staff member with a big book. He turns to my Dad: "oh-ho, this is expensive for you isn't it? Both rooms under your name?" Me: "Actually, they're in my name." He looks very confused.
I've never been to a wedding in the south where the DJ is given a mic. It always seems to happen in the north and they're all wannabe local radio jocks. "We're playing you songs back to back!" Well, yeah. It's a party, you're not breaking off for adverts or a phone-in, are you?
When did Stealers Wheel Stuck in the Middle With You become the thing to play at weddings? There were two wedding parties in the hotel last night, both played it. Surely the ear-savaging connotations make this track utterly inappropriate now?!
So many men around Leeds have the same look: overweight, bald or shaven-headed, goatee, gold hoop earring (greening tattoos optional). Have never been able to work out the inspiration behind this.