For five years of my life it’s fair to say that I lived in a fairly sketchy neighborhood. Birkenhead in the North West of England isn’t widely known for being an international centre of culture and education. It’s the kind of place you wouldn’t have any reason or desire to visit unless you either lived there or knew someone who did. However, somehow I ended up becoming a resident of the town just across the Mersey from it’s more famous neighbour, Liverpool. I’m not really sure how it came to be that I spent nearly seven years of my life in Birkenhead, but somehow I did.
In those seven years I saw things I just wouldn’t believe true unless I had witnessed them with my own eyes. I could write story after story that would shock, amuse and disgust you. Stories like the one of when some friends and I witnessed an object come crashing through a Birkenhead pub window followed by several people crashing out of the doors into the street embroiled in a fist fight over the fact that someone had insulted a ‘charming’ young Birkenhead residents dead mother.
Then there’s the time I was walking home late one night and a man was walking toward me as naked as the day he was born. Some way down the road a similarly naked woman was screaming and shouting obscenities at him. With all his bits and pieces swinging in the night air the ‘Gentlemen’ made his way down the road toward me as if this was how he always went out. What do you do in that situation? Two naked people are making a spectacle of themselves and short of going massively out of my way, there simply was no way of avoiding them.
I tried to act like I hadn’t noticed the ‘domestic dispute’ and the fact that the parties involved were butt naked! But as the man came down the road toward me I happened to make eye contact with him to which he shouted at me
“What the fuck are you looking at!”.
I could understand this mans desire to put as much distance between him and the terrible woman screaming at him as he walked down the road. But I think in his position I would have at least collected my clothes before I decided to take leave of her company. But then that’s Birkenhead for you, it has its own set of rules and reasons and for the people who live there, they seem to work in a bizarre messed up kind of way… [Click here to continue reading this article at 'Meanwhile']