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The Comedy of Errors

A Canadian In New Basford Says Goodbye

1 October 12 words: Rob Curforth
illustrations: Rob White

Rob Cutforth says goodbye in his final column for LeftLion. Now, for God’s sake, someone stop him before he lets the cat out of the bag...

It’s difficult to know how to write a final column. Do I wax nostalgic about the past, highlighting the bits people seemed to like? Do I pretend that the crap columns didn’t happen? Or do I just write the same smarmy BS I’ve written for the past five years? 

Waxing might make the most sense, but it doesn’t make for an interesting read. Who wants to read a thousand words on how amazing I am? It would’ve been easier to write this had LeftLion told me to get lost; writing whilst cranky comes so much easier to me, and certainly makes for a better column.

Unfortunately for you, dear reader, it’s been quite a lot of fun writing for this magazine, so there is danger of this being the most boring column I’ve ever written. So perhaps I’ll start with a confession, and that confession is this: I am a complete fraud.

The truth is, I don’t actually live in Nottingham and haven’t done for some time. Is that a gasp I hear? Well, it’s even worse than that; I have never actually set foot in New Basford. When I did live in Nottingham, I lived in Sherwood; but we thought ‘Rob from Sherwood’ as too Hoody. The Editor tells me now he was looking for a play on words with An Englishman In New York. He also tells me that no-one has ever got that massively tenuous pun, its rubbishness has bothered him for years, and he cringes like a poisoned rat whenever he sees it in the magazine.

Hell, after living in the UK for six years and receiving my British citizenship, I can scarcely call myself Canadian anymore. To be honest, it would have been more accurate to call this column ‘A Guy Who Used To Be Canadian Who Lived Relatively Near To New Basford At Some Point In The Past”, but I suppose that doesn’t have the same zip. The acronym ‘AGWUTBCWLRNTNBASPITP’ certainly isn’t as snappy. 

The strange thing is, I don’t even feel a bit guilty about my deception. Perhaps it is because I am vain and love seeing my name in print at all costs, maybe it’s simply because I have no integrity whatsoever. Whatever the reason, I do hope you’re not too angry with me. 

Let me explain. Regular readers will remember my ‘Broken Britain’ column, where I talked about my wife and I being made redundant. The alternate title for that column could have been ‘Why I Effed Off To Manchester’. I could have gotten away with saying that back then, too, as it pre-dates LeftLion’s war on the F word. (I hope they will allow me this one sweary transgression, seeing as it is my last column and all. Oh, they haven’t. Sigh).

The guilt (or lack of as it happens) of writing about Nottingham from afar is not the reason for this column’s end; the reason I’ve decided to call it a day is that I have simply run out of things to complain about. The Viccy Centre chavs, the queues, the crap builders, the Council House Goths... they all don’t seem so bad any more, now that I live in Manchester. When you hear about local people celebrating the return of the Stone Roses to Heaton Park by urinating into their mates’ cupped hands, so they can throw it over innocent bystanders, the Goose Fair scrotes no longer seem so bad. When you can’t go into the town centre because an army of Salford scallies are burning it down, it puts the Notts equivalent - being made to listen to Professor Green spouting unintelligible kack at full volume on the bus - into perspective. Compared to Manchester, Nottingham feels like the most civilised place in the world.

Perhaps there are one or two of you out there who will miss this little ranty column, and to you I can only apologise. Apologise, and remind you that Leftlion will likely have no problem filling the maple leaf-shaped hole with somebody else’s words; despite what the mainstream media says, Nottingham is full of talented and creative people, and really is a great place to live and
write about. Manchester, on the other hand, doesn’t have the same lovely self-deprecating sense of humour, and I am yet to find Manchester versions of places like the Peacock or the Malt Cross. And there is certainly no local paper to compare with this one.

I still return to Nottingham every couple of months, as my house is still constantly falling apart, and I have a mate or two here that still require visits (the needy gits). So if you see me looking petrified in Hooters with Owen, or splitting an absinthe with my Gothic plumber in the Pit and Pendulum, munching faggots at the Beer festival or doing it large at the Heavy Metal
karaoke, feel free to come by and say hello. Just don’t get too close, you filthy, Nottinghamian animal.

Goodbye, ta duckehs, and thanks for everything.

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