I’ve always been a little hesitant about sharing where I live (my parents have always been ridiculously but understandably anal about internet safety), so I’m not going to go into too much detail about my area or where exactly I’m located, as in my part of town because, y’know, that’s a bit too personal for here.
I’m from a small-ish city in the North East of England called Sunderland, which is okay for the most part. I do go through phases where I just think “I hate it here, and nearly all of the people here” (there was a big far-right anti-Muslim protest in the city park last month and that definitely made me hate it here), but it’s not too bad.
There’s not too much to say about Sunderland because it’s not too interesting on the surface. That is until you learn that Jabberwocky and The Walrus and the Carpenter were written here. Well, near here but Lewis Carroll was a frequent visitor and there’s a book that documents his time spent in the area. Oh, and there was a big disaster in a theatre that isn’t here anymore (it was destroyed by a bomb in the 40s) that is the reason why emergency exit doors have push bars. But nobody really knows about that because sport is a thing.
Yes, my town is one of those towns where sports dominates absolutely everything. And our team isn’t even that good. Seriously, the last time they won the FA cup was in the 70s. My first (and so far only) job was in the football stadium and I hated it so fucking much. Trust me, drunk football fans who want chips or a pie are the absolute worst people to serve. Especially if they have children with them.
Here’s some random facts about Sunderland:
- Our sister city is Washington DC
- George Washington’s family originally came from a part of the city called… you guessed it, Washington. His ancestral home is there and there’s tons of lavenders. And by tons I mean that they’re in every single room and they grow out in the garden.
- Terry Deary, who writes the Horrible Histories series is from here
- Emeli Sandé was born here, but then moved to Scotland as a baby
- The main part of the city used to be dedicated to shipbuilding, and the further out you go there are more coalmining villages (like the one where I live in)
If I had to pick one stand out thing about the people from here (we get called Mackems because we mack (make) the ships, and other people tack (take) them) it has to be the accent. The mackem accent is gloriously horrendous to the point that it’s beautiful. If you’re not British then this’ll probably go straight over your head, but a lot of people from outside of the North East have a hard time telling the Mackem accent from the Geordie accent (Geordies come from Newcastle, which is where Sting and Jimmy Nail are from, and also more things happen there. A lot more goes on there, especially for arty and bookish people), but it is totally different. Trust me. The little things make all the differences. I couldn’t find a video to illustrate my point, but it’s wonderfully awful.