Monday, November 19, 2007

Back to Black

Emily and Gareth are taking me to see Amy Winehouse in Blackpool tomorrow. Given all the recent publicity - fans booing her in Birmingham etc - I'm a bit nervous about it. And then I had to tell my mother.

"Oh no! I can't think of anything worse!" was her cheery reply. That's because, never having heard Amy sing, my mother just thinks of her as a Very Naughty Girl and a Bad Thing.

Sadly, my mother's response to anything new is now "Oh, no!"

If I have to travel anywhere, for work or for pleasure, her immediate response is "Oh, no. All that way! Oh, what a shame. Can't you tell them you can't do it?"

"But, Mum, I want to go."

"Yes, but there's rain forecast. You don't want to be driving in rain." (For "rain" read "snow" or "sunshine" or "any other kind of weather").

I find it heartbreakingly sad, for until she had a stroke at the age of 68 - sixteen years ago - my mother was a go-ahead adventurer in many ways: though, admittedly, she never thought that I should be one too, because she wanted me to be safe from all harm.

I know she can't help it: but knowing that doesn't help me to deal with it. Whenever I tell her anything that I'm about to do - which, let's face it, this week involves a trip to Blackpool, and then later a roleplay in Steeton, near Keighley, so it's hardly a one-woman trek to the North Pole - the reaction is "Oh, no!" or something very like it.

I think I've written about it before. The reason I've come back to it is because it's so hard to deal with. The Communist always used to react more positively - he was always over-protective too, but at least he could accept that I might have a nice time when I got there.

My mother, on the other hand, now divides any new experience into tiny segments each meriting their own gasp of horror. Amy Winehouse - gasp! In Blackpool! - it'll be full of chavs with knives! Across the M62 - - aaargh! At the Empress Ballroom - - oh, it'll be too big, too crowded! And you're coming back the same night - - oh no, you can't do that - -

I find it hard to tell her anything now: perhaps it would be kinder not to. But then, she lives next door, I see her several times a day: I'd feel bad if I just went off to Blackpool and didn't tell her.

It's exhausting, it's dispiriting, it's not her fault, and it wears me down. Oh, yes.


Blogger John said...

go on - tell her you're going to the North Pole

9:37 pm  
Blogger Malc said...

I've got one of those too. When I visit her, the first thing she says is: "the journey must have been really awful." She's quite disappointed when I tell her the M5 was clear and there were several good things on Radio 4 to keep me amused on the way

Imagine the conversation when I told her I was giving up a 25-year career in newspapers to become a pig farmer on the Orkneys.

1:51 pm  

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