This Bernard Hare guy annoys me, not because he's speaking any untruth, no, he's annoying me because he's the one speaking at all, he takes a very Yorkshire centric view of mining, and I don't want that to spread too far, yes mining was big in Yorkshire, but the Nottinghamshire coal field was the biggest, people should remember that. And kids, such as myself, came to the same conclusion he does, but without the need for any dramatic life lesson.
My father was a miner, and later Coal Preparation Plant Foreman, I saw the miners strikes, I saw the hard shifts and the wage quickly spent on mortgage, rates and bringing up two lads...
I saw it... I lived it... I grew up on an estate, which at the time was rough and ready, but at least friendly, an estate famous now for the number of shootings which occur on it, two murders having happened on the very street I grew up on, one in a garden I myself have stood in and played.
The down fall of that society was written on the walls in the late 1980's, along with the rest of this nations heavy industry of any note, Coal, Gas, Steel, Telecomms... All used to be "British", now they're only British in name, if at all...
So I had myself an education, I read, and tried to write and festered over papers and hoarded stationary as an ends to a means, as an attempt to keep myself on the upper side of those papers, rather than the darker side of a coal face, not that I had the option, as by the time I came to working age all the jobs were either low paid and menial, or they had no career progression path.
So, here I sit, it's been over twenty years since the pit my Father worked at shut, I've been working all that time, and I've had this same job I work now for twelve... I'm a computer programmer...
And I made damn sure I was, rather than end up in the social economic bracket this guy seems to have fallen out of through the angelic guidance of his father, rather than his own realisation.
This is what this tale tells me, not of his fathers lesson, but that a now educated man who can apply himself and must have some sort of empathy, even as a child needed leading by the nose, that lack of insight by that child... "Why does my Dad go off on one after he's had a few drinks"... You didn't ever think it was to unwind or even to try and relate to his own kids? So you had something in common, even if it was his playing a silly, outrageous, game.
At ten, I was aware of the lack of money, the struggle to heat the house, the lack of food, Mum skipping a meal or two, Christmas being a single gift of utmost practical requirement (a bottle of Matey Bubble bath) and nothing more.
It just strikes me reading it, that us Nottinghamshire coal kids, of which there were more, more pits and more kids; we had an insight into a better life we wanted sooner... Your child ambitions were set at your pavement level and never looked higher, before your Dad's dramatic psychological shoving out the groove.