Let me give you a quick rundown of where I’ve lived in my lifetime. I was born in Singapore, moved to South Wales at the age of 6, Suffolk at the age of 11, London at the age of 19, Dubai at the age of 23, spent a few months in Essex and finally Liverpool at the age of 24. I’m 25 now, and have moved more than some people do in their entire lifetimes.
My friends up here sigh when they hear someone ask me where I’m from as I run through the entire back catalogue of abodes. Often this is greeted with “Oh were you parents in the forces or something?”, to which I reply nope, but a lot of the moving around was due to my dads work.
I was never too conscious of what this meant for my ‘identity’ until I moved somewhere that shone with such a strong heritage. Sure, London has one of the greatest histories of an English city, but more and more that feeling is getting caught up and spat out as the city evolves, communities are broken up and profit trumps culture. Just look at the amount of great music venues shutting down recently. When Earls Court shut down a few years back to be turned into flats or whatever the fuck they’re doing with it, I sighed so hard it could have started a hurricane on the other side of the world. Dubai similarly seems to lack a developed culture often adopting elements from multiple countries to appease its high number of expat occupants.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Liverpool hasn’t got some of these issues but they’re nowhere near on the scale of other major cities. Liverpool does have a great community – a surprising community feel for those who’ve never been. There’s a real sense that people are proud to call Liverpool their home. Sure, the media paints scousers out to be thieving drunkards and hooligans, but the majority of them are pretty, as they would say, “SOUND”. You only have to look at the Sun’s coverage of the Hillsborough disaster and the Daily Mail’s reports on anything in the northwest to see an obvious, ill-informed bias.
I lack this sense of pride of my heritage. I can’t really be proud of anywhere as the place I’ve lived as the longest was for 8 or 9 years and that wasn’t even the place that I was born. You only have to hear my accent to realise it’s all kinds of messed up, compiled of little snippets picked up along the way. Born to a Birkenhead native father, a Mother from London and being raised on the other side of the world, it’s a miracle I’ve got an accent that anyone can fully understand. I personally thought in my teenage years that it was a generic southern accent. No one mentioned it until I moved up north and I had people asking me if I was Canadian, Australian or from one of those little islands off the British coast. If you are from one of those little islands I’d love to have a chat and see if there is any form of similarity.
I’m not going to sit here and complain fully about how moving about so much was detrimental to my upbringing, that’s for my therapist. It actually has some perks to it. As mentioned earlier I’ve moved around the world more than some people do in their entire lives. This means I’ve seen parts of Asia, parts of the Middle East, petted a kangaroo, come face to face with one of those big fuck off spiders they have in Australia so you know it’s been interesting.
It’s also made me far more accepting of other cultures and values. Having lived all around, forcing myself to adapt to different places. The idea of racism is just something I find so incredibly archaic and can’t believe still exists in the 21st century. Maybe it’s because I don’t have that identity that people feel gets threatened by modern day multiculturalism but honestly were things really that much better “Back in the day?”. I’m pretty sure the 80s were tough and 50s weren’t exactly too much better, you know, getting over that massive fucking war that happened in the previous decade arguably due to too much pride in an identity.
Through wanting to see the world and experience different places I’ve chosen to be nomadic, to move about, to pick up bits here and there in order to create my own identity. I think a fair point to bring up in conclusion is that if there are two things in life you can’t control it’s where you were born and the fact that one-day you’ll die but you can control everything that happens in between. Sorry to end on a bit of a depressing note but it is Monday after all.