I was reminded of Sutton Coldfield by this chap –
who wants to sell copies of his book!!
Well, feck it, why not, isn’t that what digital marketing is for?!
Sutton Coldfield – England – the Midlands – a place where millionaire football players are sacrosanct and taxi drivers take the long way! I’ll explain…
My buddy Paul got married around 2001 or 2002 – I’m not sure when as I did a lot of drinking and drugging back then. Yup, I know, not a sensible way to be but I’m out of that behavioural cycle now – yup, I got more education and feedback! I even learned about Bloom’s Taxonomy on the way – but that’s another tale.
So here goes – my experience in Sutton Coldfield – later renamed as “Sutton Cold Feel” (by me and Sean) – the place really is a bit odd. Oh, and Sean is my buddy from school years, and Paul’s buddy, and we’re still buddies to this day….usually!
Preparation for My Mates Wedding
At midnight on Friday I was in my flat in Cardiff – I put the clothes I was going to wear for the wedding into the washing machine. Half an hour later I realised the machine had broken down.
This was around 1 am – so, stoned and pished as I was – I took the clothes, put them in the bath to finish off the washing process and tried to iron them dry.
This took till around 4 am – then I slept as the clothes dried on various radiators around the flat.
I awoke at 6 am and dressed – wet trousers, wet shirt, wet jacket – and got a taxi to the train station – outside of which I smoked a wee spliff, just to keep me going, you understand!?
I got on the train and couldn’t smoke for 4 hours – until I got to Tamworth Train Station – in the lovely, leafy, English Midlands – only it’s not so lovely and leafy in Tamworth as it is in Sutton Coldfield. They have a shop there in Tamworth which sells banjos for 6 fingered people – actually they don’t, but it’s a good idea for a start-up business!
The first thing I did when I got off the train was to sit on a bench to light up a legal smoke – as you do.
Within seconds I was joined by some fella around 50 years of age who asked me if I was aware that an “R 150” (or some such) had just passed through the station. It turned out he was a Trainspotter – I really was not in the humour for a ‘chat with a twat’ so I took a few more drags of my cigarette and explained to him I had to meet a friend. I was nice, wished him luck and all that jazz but still had to tear myself away from his convo about rare trains! Fair play to him for having a hobby – or should that be ‘Fare’ play! I just had to go, so I killed the half smoked cigarette with a recently polished shoe and headed away.
Off I go to the canteen down the way – still inside the station complex – complex is too strong a word really, ‘attitude’ would be a better one. Anyhoo, I got a table and put my bag down and approached the counter to order my breakfast.
I still did not know exactly where St John’s Church was – this is the place my mate Paul was getting married in – so I figured it would make sense to order my food from the lady, indulge in some small talk and then ask for directions to St John’s Church.
Simple plan, but Jaysus, was I not planning on simple people!
There were two ladies behind the food counter – one was aged around 40 and the other was around 18.
I ordered a fry up with chips – I can still remember being half starved, even now – and then I asked where St John’s Church–the wedding venue was.
“Ow, now (she meant to say ‘oh’ but her accent wouldn’t allow that)”,
“Ow now, Oi wouldn’t now that” she said.
“Oh right, I said….” and left it for a few seconds, as you do. “Could I speak to your colleague over there?” I asked, indicating her younger colleague.
“Ow”, she said, “Whoi do you want to talk to err?”
“Oh, I was wondering if she might know where the church is – could you ask her?” I responded, all polite as you’d expect. And then came the ‘sledge hammer’ moment – read on, it’s worth it just for this bit…
“Ow now, shoi wouldn’t now where it is” she said.
“Well” I said, “how can you be so sure?” I asked, all polite and stuff. “How can you be sure she wouldn’t know where the church is?
“Ow now, shoi wouldn’t now that” said the 40 year old lady.
“She’s me daughter” she said – and that response left me flummoxed!
“OK”, I said, “thanks” and I sat down, bewildered!
Who owned the family brain – was it busy – how the fuck can you say you know another person’s brain.
Sean turned up about 20 minutes later – I told him the story and to this day I have a feeling he thinks I made it up. I wish I was that creative!
We left the Tamworth Train Station and jumped in a Taxi and headed for the hotel we had booked in Sutton Cold Feel – we found out later that the taxi driver had taken the piss and charged us £20 for a £5 fare – but such is life.
Perhaps the likes of meself and Sean didn’t fit in with the idea of ‘Sutton Coldfield’ that the natives had of their own selves. Perhaps Sutton Cold Feel people are a bit nuts – I came away from the place with the idea that the people in Sutton just lived in a bubble – I reckon the train, for them, is a bit like a communication tool and also a bit invasive, like the internet, and they don’t like that potentiality of questioning…but I could be wrong – ish!
Anyhoo, that’s the end of Tamworth/Sutton Part One – more japes and hilarity in Part Two, no doubt!