North vs South

As a friend on Facebook put the other day in a photo caption,  I am ‘a son of the North’. This will never change, I am and will always be a northerner.

The whole North Vs South thing… it is exasperating. I honestly wasn’t even that aware of it until I moved to uni where I was living on a corridor of 12 people, of which I was the only northerner. Ohhh the hilarity, I say things in a slightly different accent (that’s comedy gold right?). I’m still friends with all these people (I still live with one), its harmless fun. That said they still take particular pleasure in the way I say words like ‘phone’. If I’m brutally honest I’ve always liked being different. At school I was the kid with long hair, I got a lot of grief for it, but I couldn’t stand the thought of being like everyone else, just another sheep in the worlds most boring flock (how else do you get your teenage kicks maaaaan???).

After uni (I graduated in 2011) I was looking for employment. I always viewed myself having a good job (at the time this was everything) and I initially hoped that I would get involved with the BBC in media city in Manchester, but after applying to the handful of positions they actually advertised I eventually gave up. The only viable option open to me was to move down south to ‘the big smoke’.

So here I am two years on writing this post and I couldn’t be happier. The original plan was to work down here for a year get some experience and move straight back up north. Plans can change though. I haven’t given serious thought to moving back north in over a year. I think its great down here. London almost seems like a separate entity to the rest of the UK. I love London, I’m addicted to the pace, the people and much more.

However I often think to myself would I have moved down here if the same opportunities had been in Manchester? Probably not. This opens up the issue that London seems to get preferential treatment over the rest of the UK.  One simple example is: back in Bolton it costs me £2.80 to get a 10 minute bus to the centre of town. In London my daily commute of 50 mins on two different trains costs me just £1… Ridiculous really.

I am very obviously benefiting from this situation, this bias. Am I then part of the problem? Adding to the skew by abandoning the north west? I honestly believe I’m just trying to make the best of it. London is an awesome part of the world and opportunities down here are in abundance I’d be stupid not to move here surely, its just common sense isn’t it? If this is the case then why did I feel bad the other day when after talking to my friend about this topic? He immediately blurted out that as soon as he wants to start a family he will be moving back North as he doesn’t want southern kids, hes just down here out of necessity, hes a proud northerner who can’t wait to move back. He made me feel a little bad, I’m not shunning where I come from at all, I’m just making the best of it.

I believe there is a stereo type which says people are nicer up North, but I don’t know how much truth there is to it really. Everyone down here seems pretty nice to me… Plus I feel class is less of a bugbear for people down here. Up North there is a kind of over powering anti-snobbery. ‘Posh people’ are the scum of the earth (I get called a posh northerner all the time! Drives me mad!).

When I feel reflective my personal opinion is that it’s all, to a certain extent bullshit. Lines on a map shouldn’t have any say over how you live your life. I’m an individual, a citizen of the world, well until Martians pop up, then I’m a citizen of the galaxy baby!

Right, now that’s over, here’s country house by Blur:

I’m off out to buy a tweed jacket with absolutely no shame attached to said purchase (well… maybe a little shame),

Phil out!


Are you a Judgy Person?

Being judgemental is something I have always tried to avoid, my mantra has always been live and let live. However I can’t help but notice those damned judgy thoughts creeping in at times… It really grinds my gears. Who am I to comment on the way people decide to live their lives, what makes me some sort of morally impenetrable fortress??? The worrying thing is that its usually ignorance that causes these thoughts, a lack of understanding of their situation or no understanding of what they are going through. These thoughts are harmful.

For some crazy reason we all live by these ridiculous rules set down by society, that if we’re all honest, we know don’t lead to instant happiness. You must have a nice home, you must have a good job, you must have a partner, you must be slim, you must, you must, you must! I constantly berate myself over these ‘life goals’ and if I’m honest I judge other people on them as well.

To achieve one of these ‘goals’, I made (what was to me), the huge leap of moving to London. Whether this was right or wrong I really don’t know, at the time all I know is that I was obsessed with having a good job. I never wanted to move to London, the plan was when I’d finished my degree to live and work in Manchester. I would be living in a reasonably busy city and I would be comfortably close enough to my family back in Bolton. That was the plan, it was a good plan, ingenious in its simplicity. What actually happened was one of the most stressful and upsetting periods of my (obviously sheltered) life. I applied for 100s of jobs and more often than not never heard anything back. I ended up working in a phone shop just to have a bit money. To make things worse, a lot of my friends had finished the year before (I did a four year masters degree) and all of their achievements and adventures were pasted all over Facebook. I regularly partook in Facebook torture sessions. It was obvious I had to do something, so I decided to widen my job search and I started applying in London. Eventually (after a total of 6 months job searching) I did find a job I wanted, working as a audio engineer for a radio station in Waterloo on the south bank in London. 

When I’m in a reflective mood and I think back to two years ago (almost to the day) when I made the move down and the overriding theme that jumps to mind is of naivety. I didn’t do anything silly or anything, I’ve always been very sensible, I just question whether I made those decisions for the right reasons. It has been a crazy metamorphic period of my life, no different from many other peoples journeys I’m sure. However I’m now almost 100% certain that this idea of the ‘whole package’ is not healthy, I’m not saying don’t do anything, I personally don’t regret moving to London I absolutely love it now and I can’t see myself living anywhere else. What I am saying is rip up the rule book and make your own way. Be brave and do your own thing, naturally people are going to comment and it will upset you at times, but I honestly believe that the most interesting people are the ones who live life on their own terms

I’d be interested to know what other people think on this? Am I talking complete rubbish or am I bang on?