Inspired by Ricky Gervais
I have not been idle. I have been doing a series on Trans -activists behind the scenes in the Civil Service and I have started another series based on the work of Dr Ann Lawrence. However, this is not going to be about that…
Working class culture is another country. We do things differently here. Gervais captured it brilliantly in supernatural. If anyone needs validation it’s those of us from working class culture. Not validation for something we are not , but for what we are. If you have not watched it you must do. There’s a section where he explains the difference between what hugging means for the middle classes and what the working class equivalent is…
Working class validation
My dad would have turned 100 on the 21st of May this year. Of course we did the facebook thing of posting pictures of him, as a young man, and lamenting his passing. Younger sister had previously taken the piss out of this because when’s the cut off? Are we only allowed to record his “if he had lived age” based on the oldest person living at the time? Or the person who made it to the oldest age? Jeanne Calman made it to 122 and, incidentally, only gave up smoking at 103! So maybe we have to give up remembering his “could have been” age in 2042. All. assuming we make it to that age.
Ricky Gervais does a riff about meeting his Uncle at his Dad’s funeral and his Uncle turning up. They don’t hug but his brother looks at his elderly Uncle and at the graveside turns to him and wonders if it it is worth him going home. There are no hugs but this is the working class equivalent.
My dad used to work in a crematorium and he had two anecdotes about his time there.
The first was about the two way communication system which allowed the staff to play music at key points in the ceremony. In order to know when to introduce the musical interludes there was a facility for switching between self-mute and amplify at the appropriate time. In one funeral there was an elderly mourner with a barking cough. At this point my Dad’s co-worker said to my Dad “By heck, it’s hardly worth thatbugger going ‘o’me”. A comment they inadvertently broadcasted to all the mourners. 😂
The second was about the pork pies they would sometimes enjoy at lunchtime. Dad’s co-worker would fetch them and one day, by way of a thank you, my Dad said “By heck you must fair run back with these pies”. (They are always warm). The modest pie fetcher responded with “Oh, I always make sure to warm them up” . This was pre-microwave days so you can guess how he did this. My dad still ate the pie.
A more recent experience which is still one of my fondest memories was after my diagnosis with three brain tumours. This was six months after the death of my sister who survived only 13 months after the same diagnosis. For her they turned out to be secondary brain metastes and the primary site was her lungs. With this memory fresh in my mind I flirted with the idea of an exit strategy, via Dignitas. When my sister found out this cost fifteen grand she offered to do it for three.
My second favourite comment was from a friends husband. When my friend relayed the news and added that “Tish always felt she would die young” , quick as a flash he replied “She’s left it a bit late hasn't she” . Ouch. 😂.
All of which is to say do watch Supernatural and also After Life. Despite all the accusations of his inhumanity I actually find him keenly observant and kind, especially about working class culture.
p.s. I am not dying. Turns out, the brain tumours were actually brain lesions and I have a much less bad thing I don’t name. It’s something I live with, it is not my “identity”. Mainly in remission for eight years. I consider myself very lucky.