Friday 20 January 2012

31 Days of Blogging - Day 20

Day 20 – Enya – Caribbean Blue

Decades come and decades go. The 1980’s was over and the 1990’s were upon us.

So much happened to me in the 1980’s that I thought it might be a difficult one to top. The 1990’s however, proved to be as big a rollercoaster ride as the 1980’s – but for wildly different reasons.

It started off calmly enough, a calm that is reflected in this wonderfully mellow song by Enya.

By now we had moved to a three bedroomed detached house in Altrincham and W was happy and content. Her life plan was coming together and she was climbing the social ladder to the level that she wanted – to match that of her parents.

From my relatively lofty position, I was staring down to the life that my mum had envisaged for me. I was having dinner parties with bankers and managers, people who made conversation about promotions and career paths and not about life in general.

One of our neighbours wanted a personalised number plate so that people didn’t know how old her car was. As far as she was concerned, she was with the movers and the shakers.

I felt kind of uncomfortable with that.

I was entertaining people who drank brandy and port and looked down on those who liked a beer. Was I punching above my weight?

I didn’t really feel comfortable with people who urged me to climb the corporate ladder and appeared to judge me based on my car and how old it was.

My friends made me happy and as long as I was happy I was fine; as long as I could do what I liked I was fine; as long as I was able to buy what I wanted, go out with my friends, play football with the lads and enjoy my home life, I was fine; as long as I could travel I was fine.

And I could do those things – but there was something slightly wrong. The differences between my working class upbringing and W’s rather lofty ambitions were beginning to cause cracks in our relationship.

Looking back, it was obvious that W’s plan and my plan were diverging.

At first I thought nothing of it and I succumbed to her desires, under the pretence that I was somehow becoming a better person by mixing in circles that W felt comfortable with. She wasn’t that keen on my closer friends – she was friendly enough but I sensed that she considered them to be holding me back a little.

We had a big house and I loved it – I was happy. But W wanted more – not just yet but the signs were there.

Hints like “the house is too small” – we had a brand new three bedroomed detached house! Why did we need another one? It was easily big enough for a family of four. I didn’t understand it.

But I did try – in the interests of harmony.

At the time Caribbean Blue was released, we had a wonderful holiday to Greece and I recall walking along a cliff face staring out at the brilliant blue sea with a fabulous cloudless sky reflecting the sun’s rays as it made its descent to the horizon – and Caribbean Blue was in my thoughts – it was like paradise. On this holiday we were fine – I forgot about our differences.

We were abroad and I was relaxed. I was travelling.

We dined, we drank we danced and we talked.

When we got home, though, I was disappointed – not just because our holiday had finished; it was because I was stepping back into W’s world, a world in which she was happy and didn’t care about how I felt.

I should have been happy too but the problem was that I was increasingly outside my comfort zone as all of W’s dreams were coming to fruition.

The first feelings of discontent were beginning to show and I fought them. I wanted everything to work and I was determined, at that time at least, to try to make them work.

I therefore put up with it – I succumbed and I played the doting husband despite the increasing number of arguments.

I fitted nicely into W’s plans and tried my best to keep her happy, despite the dinner parties and the fact that more and more of the things I wanted were being shelved in the name of peace and harmony.

The holiday in Greece and Caribbean Blue  remind me of a happy time with W – an oasis of calm and contentment – the calm before the storm, if you like – a time when, perhaps, the differences between our outlooks on life were tolerable.


Anonymous said...

I was just about to put some Enya on when I clicked on your blog. I've been reading every day and have been enjoying how you are linking the music with your life - A great "sound track of my life" project this is. But today's entry - so well written, I was just taken with it and had to tell you!

Elephant's Child said...

I did and do love Enya but there always seems to be an edge of melancholy to her work.
And it sounds as if you were going through a hard time then as well. Not only not fitting in, but not wanting to fit in the places you were being pushed.
This has been a very brave series, putting so much of yourself on display. Thank you.

Pandora Behr said...

That album always leaves me uncomfortable. It reminds me of a similar time, thinking everything was alright, when really, things were very wrong. It reminds me of awful jobs, equally awful men and a time when I knew there was much more out there, but I had no idea how to get it.

Enya still makes me uncomfortable.

Good post.


River said...

I never heard much of Enya, but what I heard I didn't like, so I never bothered to search for any more of her stuff.
It's sad how you and W were on different paths almost immediately after marrying, I'm thinking that was her plan from the very beginning, from her proposal onwards, and she just expected you to fall in with it.

Anji said...

That was a very frank post. Rob and I dropped out 27 years ago when we came to France. Some think that we were fools. We're happy.

As we moved away from the UK some of your recent music is new to me. Thanks for sharing it.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Grace and thanks,

It's fun but sometimes difficult with the darker moments.

But you can't ignore them can you?




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

I agree - but I quite like that. The album is very good too - it's the only one I have and listening to it recently made me consider checking out some of her other material too.

I almost ignored the not so good bits but as I said to Grace, these things help shape you - so you can't ignore them.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

Yes, I can empathise with that. For me, though, the album was a beacon at a time when I saw things starting to go wrong.

Listening to it puts me in a positive frame of mind.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi river,

You are, of course, right. I think the problem was that she couldn't see things from my perspective.

She does now.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Anji,

Its not beyond the realms of possiblity for Mrs PM and I to move to France. I love the country and Mrs PM speaks French.

I've had some great trips there - even to Paris (not the friendliest city in the world but one of the most beautiful).




Kath Lockett said...

It's a hopeful and optimistic song and yet your feelings are the opposite..... this makes me feel a bit teary reading this.

And THIS: 'One of our neighbours wanted a personalised number plate so that people didn’t know how old her car was. As far as she was concerned, she was with the movers and the shakers. ' HOW PATHETIC!!!!!!!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Kath,

Sorry about that :-(

I was hopeful - we seemed sometimes to get on OK - and that was where the hope was.

Re - the personalised number plate. When the person concerned told us what her thoughts were, I wanted to laugh and then leap onto my soapbox. I was much younger then though and just stared at her with an incredulous look on my face, trying to stifle a laugh.




Wally The Walrus said...

The number plate lady sounds a bit like Hyacinth Bucket (sorry... boo-kay).

Those years between 20 and 35 can be a bit tough, when you are trying to figure out what the games are and which ones you want to play.

Climbing is all very well, usually over the bloodied bodies of those around you. In the end though we all snuff it, so far better to do things that you like that get ahead because that meets somebody elses expectations.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Wally,

She was. She was, like me, a product of the working class but she wanted to embrace that life and become something that she wasn't. Good luck to her - but it just wasn't me. I am me and I don't want to be moulded to be the product of somebody else's desires. Never have done - never will.




drb said...

Hi Mr PM,
Can you please enlighten me on the definitions of Working Class, Middle Class.

I am not even sure which class I belong too. My great maternal grandpa had a gold mine but he was murdered by his wife to marry another man. My grandma, shortky after his father's death, at 15, was forced to marry a coolie who was a drunkard who was given a 2 ace land. My great paternal granddad had a huge rubber plantation and 3 mansions by the sea but he was murdered by the Japs in WII. My mum was a factory worker when she married a salesman (my dad). My dad started his own factory when I was born but almost bankrupted during the asia crisis. So am I a middle or working class?

The englishman who proposed (accompanied by 100 roses to my workplace) to me was a classmate of Lord Spencer, and dined with John Major at his parents'house, so is he a Middle class? I always felt very annoyed when he commented someone was rather 'common' and would start an argument.

I turned down his proposal and married a miner who became a plumber. So am I a working class? His last words were,"Well, if you think you can find someone better, be my guest."

The englishman visited Melb a couple of mths ago, after 12 years since the incident.

He walked into our house,"Nice place, did you do all this yourself?"

"Oh no, this place is rented. We couldn't afford to live in our own place. We rented our place, 5 places actually, out."

Eyebrows of englishman raised.

The nexi day, he said to me, "I am godsmacked!! Rob is nothing like I imagined!! He is a very nice guy!! He is educated, isn't he?"

"Yes, his grandfather and father were high school principal."

I don't understand the importance of climbing the social ladder although I love the show Keeping up Appearances. Besides the english accent, Hyacinth's predicament always cracked me up.

I am sure if I had married the Englishman, we would end up in a divorce.

SO SO SO glad that I met Rob less than a week before the proposal. It was love at first sight.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi drb,

Where do I start with that? What a comment.

Broadly speaking (and I mean BROADLY) the working classes are those who lower paid workers doing more less skilled jobs - for example my Dad worked in a factory manufacturing nuts and bolts.

Strictly speaking, by definition, I am now middle class - though the working class upbringing still sticks in my mind. I was brought up to appreciate value and make the most of what you had got - because relatively speaking it wasn't much.

W on the other hand had no concept of that - and wanted to better herself. While this is not a bad trait, she went about it in a different way from my way. My sister remarks to this day that she was amazed that we got married in the first place.

I believe that you can get along and live with somebody from a different "class" - I know people who are very happy together. I guess the thing you need to do it to live with each other rather than forcing your own ambitions on your partner.

I have other relationships fail from similar problems - for example, a former mate of mine was classed as "not ambitious enough" by his ex-wife - so she dumped him - but not before she had turned him into a tyrant at work.

In the end, you know whether you are happy or not and it really doesn't matter as long as you are happy.

And clearly you are with Rob - which is fabulous.




drb said...

Dear Mr PM,
Please excuse my more than usual bad grammar in my comment. I was so annoyed about this 'class' concept and wanted to tell my story to illustrate that people should neither be judged by their background, 'class', education nor occupation. It is radiculous to to that.

My mum ran away from home and worked in a factory after she found out that her family had forbade her boyfriend from seeing her and consficated all his letters to her. You would have guessed that he was a 'working class' - a policeman.

So, she brought us up not to judge others by their 'class' or jobs.

drb said...

BTW, only her younger sister (out of 11 siblings) was invited to my mum's wedding.

The family recounciled after we were born (and my dad became successful) and my maternal grandma aways told us,"When your dad first married your mum, he only had one pair of trousers which he had to wash and hang dry everynight so that he could wear it to work the next day."

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi drb,

I totally agree - as I said in an earlier post one of my mates when to private school and rubbed shoulders with future politicians - he was really posh. But we get on fabulously.

Mind you, I always try to get on with people anyway, no matter what their background is.

Also, we have two policemen in the family.

And it is a wonderful story BTW.