Sunday, 24 April 2016

In praise of Rugeley, Staffordshire

In 1981 Mrs Steve was at a dinner / dance. They were all the rage as Soft Cell’s Tainted Love topped the charts. Mrs Steve and her sister grew up in Rugeley, Staffordshire. More of the dinner / dance in a moment...

Raised by Wolves - Channel 4
First though: Rugeley isn't well known. The town probably doesn't see the producers of property programmes turn up and do up people's houses. There was always Dr Palmer (no relation), the Rugeley poisoner. Or, as Wikipedia describes him: ‘William Palmer (murderer)’. Anyway, he was hanged and it sort of put Rugeley on the map; in 1856. It's been pretty sleepy ever since. 

So, we were watching the comedy 'Raised by Wolves' recently; set it Wolverhampton, the single Mum goes out on a less-than-glamourous date and, on her return, says rather ironically: 'He took me to Tesco in Rugeley - and back'. I know the shop well.

These days Rugeley hosts a massive Amazon depot; across the road from a soon-to-be-abandoned power station. A sort of old days / new days snapshot of modern Britain. Mrs Steve freely admits that, in the 1980s, until her sister's husband turned up and started to take them to clubs and gigs in Birmingham and Stoke, her social life was pretty mundane; it was either house parties, the social club at the power station or a conference suite at a nearby hotel. Edgy stuff.

Back to the dinner / dance, thirty-five years ago. This hotel’s function room had to have a shiny parkay floor.  It was mandatory. Or should have been. It was the eighties, after all. At a sixth form party in the function room, in front of her peers, Mrs Steve's sister went to the loo and returned to the table, only to turn on a heel and go arse over tit on the heavily-polished floor. Everyone laughed. The entire sixth form. 

Then Mrs Steve went to the loo and, on her return, did exactly the same thing. Arse. Over. Tit. Everyone laughed. Again. It’s the sort of déjà vu development that sisters don’t ever want repeated. They were forever remembered as the sprawling sozzled sisters. But they weren’t drunk. They were just unable to negotiate that slippery floor in heels.  

It's the sort of scene that could have ended up on Raised by Wolves. 

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