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Thursday 14th December 2006

I had a fun and lively gig in Sheffield last night and stayed overnight in the Novotel hotel, where they considerately start doing their maintainance work at 8.30am. The twats.
But it was a momentous day for me as my next gig was in the small Yorkshire town of Pocklington where I was born, spent the first four years of my life and experienced many of the events that make up my earliest memories. It's not a place I have been back to in over thirty years, but it is my birth-place and I was excited about going back. I wondered what other memories would be dug up from walking those streets where I took my first ever steps. Would it unlock repressed reminisences of parental abuse, enabling me to finally explain why I am such an arsehole and also mean I can write a book about it and make millions?
It felt like it would be a homecoming and I hoped that I would do a great gig and be carried from the gig on the shoulders of my townfolk and perhaps made mayor of Pocklington. Would they be proud of their comedic son with his tales of wanting to marry Maxine Carr and have consenting intercourse with the stigmata of Jesus?
There was some trepidation on my part as I drove into town. What memories and emotions would come flooding back?
As I headed into the town centre nothing was ringing any bells. I caught sight of the church tower and for a moment or two fancied that it was a familiar sight. The unusual blue clock face made me catch my breath. Was this the shadow of a ghost of a memory? Or had I just so convinced myself of the significance of this return that I was just imagining things?
And aside from this slight jolt nothing else in the town centre was familiar to me at all. I don't suppose I would have been that interested in shops and architecture when I was four. And my world would have revolved around my own home and my own selfishness and my morbid interest (it seems) in injured animals.
It was slightly anti-climactic. It was a pretty enough town, but mote hadn't fallen from my eyes and that I had no proof of aggressive and abusive parents and all my faults can only be blamed on myself. My parents are bastards for not abusing me.
I got a text from a friend who I had told about being back home and they said, "Personally I don't think unless you've smoked your first ciggie, had your stomach pumped due to underage drinking and been in love with your best friend's mum you can technically call it your 'home' town."
I think that's probably right. I have always thought of myself as being as much from Pocklington as I am from Cheddar, but the truth is that all my formative moments took place in Somerset. Though it was nice to be home and although I will always love Yorkshire, I am only a Yorkshireman in the sense that I jumped out of my mother there (I literally jumped). There was nothing magical about coming back here. It was fun to sit in a coffee shop and hear the Alan Bennett style conversations that the old ladies were having about recent operations, but no revelations and no Road to Damascus moment.
I had really wanted the townsfolk to like my stuff though, but it was a long night of comedy and I was pretty tired and I didn't give of my best. I think it went better than I thought, but it was not the triumph that I had been hoping for. I tried to ascertain if there was anyone in the room who might have been at nursery school with me, but no-one came forward. It was a slightly underwhleming show, not bad by any means, but the audience were tired and a bit easily shocked. I realised I was more likely to be chased out of town with people with pitchforks and burning brands, rather than have to take on any mayoral duties.
As I drove home though I was philosophical about this. Pocklington will always be important to me, but Cheddar is my home town.
Of course the fact that I died on my arse the last time I was there is irrelevant.

My latest blog for the New Statesman can be read by clicking here

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