Back in the ’80’s, when I was studying for a degree in psychology at the citadel of learning that was North East London Polytechnic, I filled my long summer holidays working as a nursing assistant at St Andrews psychiatric hospital in Northampton.
Whilst milling about with my colleagues there, I was surprised by their reactions when I told them I was from Corby.
Corby, as I’m sure I’ve bored you with before, is a medium sized town in north Northamptonshire populated by Scots from central and west Scotland who’d moved there to work at the steelworks…an industry that promised work for them, their sons and their son’s sons.
An industry that was sadly whisked away from the town in the late 70’s/ early ’80’s for a whole bunch of reasons – leaving these horny handed sons of toil unemployed.
It was a hard time for everyone in Corby.
Back at my colleagues – they eyed me with a mixture of awe, fear and mistrust.
Corby, being different from any other town in Northamptonshire, seemed to generate rumours of violence, scary streets and Scottish hard men.
It was difficult to argue against – I’d say Corby wasn’t dangerous and they’d come back with, ‘Well, you would say that – you’re a Scottish hard man…’
So, there we were, years later, at Corby’s top international venue, The Zombie Hut, when Peter Murphy, the lead singer from the ’70’s and 80’s pop combo, Bauhaus, came onto the stage and announced, ‘I’m not scared of you!’
It might have taken him years to deliver this rapier like repost, but this was his response to the heinous rumour that he and the other Bauhaus boys were afraid to enter my scary Scottish hometown back in the day.
After a couple of hours blasting out his version of post punk gothic rock, Pete Murphy had reduced these fearsome Scots into something akin to teenage girls at a One Direction concert.
‘He touched me!’
‘He signed my record!’
‘This was the best gig ever!’
simpered the Scottish Psycho’s…
Isn’t it amazing what you can discover about folk when you don’t give in to rumour, hearsay and prejudice?
Walk a mile