This particular blog is dedicated to anyone who grew up thinking they were a bit of a loser, geek, in the unpopular crowd etc.
It also kind of ties in with my last post, as working at The Railway has really made me realise the kind of town Southend could be if there were just a few more cool people living in it. And by cool, I mean.... you know, unusual.
I forgot to add this to my last post but when I was in Brighton a gay bloke in a bar complimented me on my dress. When I explained it was just an all-in-one from Primark with a skirt from Miss Selfridge over the top of it, he was like:
"What's Miss Selfridge? Like... Selfridges?"
"No.... it's a high-street shop, like Topshop, for girls"
"Never heard of it, is it like a junior version of Selfridges then?"
"No... no... it's got nothing to do with... it's just a shop. A separate shop"
"Where did you say you lived again?"
"Southend... in Essex..."
"Oh. Oh dear".
That just says it all really. With a little help from our TOWIE friends, we're a united county of fucking pikeys.
The Railway is like a little beacon of hope for anyone in Southend who isn't afraid of weird. Anyone who couldn't care less about mis-matched furniture, alternative music and some extremely odd characters. The reason I started this post is because I wonder how many of our regular customers were labelled a nerd, freak, bookworm, old-fashioned, whatever, at school. My guess is, most of them.
It's just interesting - and really annoying - how, when you're at school, everyone is the enemy. Without asking if you want to play, you're forced into the most ridiculously competitive game of who can impress the most, who's the most outspoken, who's got the richest parents. Maybe not all schools, but definitely mine. I - along with pretty much everybody who turned out to be a genuine friend - was picked on for every aspect of my character at school, some time or another. For having long hair, for not wearing make-up, for reading books, for being vegetarian, for liking old music, for having a dad who was in a band, for not bitching about other girls, for not smoking, for being in the school musical.
Isn't it ALSO interesting that ALL of these fucking things are now considered commendable characteristics (alliteration high-score!!!) and traits? Oh, you like The Kinks, do you? Since when, because you certainly had no idea who they were when you were going through my ipod back in 2003, laughing your head off. Your favourite artist was 50 Cent if I remember correctly, you loser.
Same applies for books, films, artists, clothes, cars, jobs, anything. Wearing your shirt with all the buttons done up was a hangable offence if you were 'popular', now you wear nothing but Fred Perrys and Ben Shermans. And having 'Wuthering Heights' sticking out of your schoolbag was enough to get you sniggered at for a month, now its in your 'favourite books' column on facebook. And back then, when you were all drinking WKD and sharing a spliff outside ALDI on a saturday night, I was busy being a kid, reading Jacqueline Wilson books and watching The Simpsons. Now that we're adults, I've got a really cool place to hang out and work at on the weekends, while you're desperately trying to find something to shove up your nose that you haven't become desensitised to yet, in someone's crackden of a flat somewhere in Westcliff.
Even though it's hard to go through at the time, it's almost worth being picked on for being genuinely different and feeling proud to grow up having stayed that way, rather than being a sheep all your life and jumping on the Ed Sheeran bandwagon. Just saying.