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Wendy Young - disability arts online
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'Dancing, laughing, living, loving... / 22 April 2014

...and now I'm all alone in Bedsitland'.........feeling uninspired, I heard Soft Cell on the radio and was taken back to my own Bedsitland.  It was the early 80s and having lived in hotel accommodation with other chambermaids, waitresses, housekeepers, I took the plunge to get a job outside and had one week to run around London agencies and a Paddington Hotel my mate told me about (I was told no, because I was English!). 

I was very young and very naive and thought it was my duty to find my own place.  I looked at the smallest garret in Sussex Gardens with a frightening landlady (I did have a romantic notion of living in a garret, boiling a kettle on a Baby Belling but my dream was quelled forthwith!).  Finally, I found a bedsit in Queen's Park and it was only because the Welsh neighbour thought I was a nurse, I actually had a job in an establishment that was related to Midwives, and she seemed disappointed but was won over by the bloke who came with me.  How did you get such a nice boy?  Little did she know he'd just dragged me round London screaming at me that I was wasting his time - even though he'd promised to look with me, 'yer shudda tekken that Sussex Gardens place yer stupid ....'. 

Anyway, I have him to thank for helping me to get a roof over my head, for a while.  However, Bedsitland is a lonely place.  I drank a bottle of cider a night to help me sleep, I partied Fridays, sometimes at the Replicant where Nick the fishnetted DJ spun Psychadelic Furs, Siouxsie and the Sex Pistols, I would fall asleep and then come back to life about 3am and dance again.  As it closed at 6am I got the first tube home and was wakened more than once by tube staff and slept the rest off in bed until Saturday night when I'd do some other kind of drink induced dancing and laughing.

Sunday nights were spent in the laundrette with my Walkman radio, ready for work again Monday morning.  I look back half sad but half glad, I was not alone, as Marc Almond sang melodically

I think it's time to cook a meal
To fill the emptiness I feel
Spent my money going out
I've nothing I'm left without

and The Members cried anarchically, Solitary Confinement, you're so lonely!

Being stubborn, there was no way I'd admit how miserable I was, nice to let it out now!  This is a poem inspired by that time.

Living in a Bedsit

When the tele conked out
A 40 quid white plastic special
From a conman down Oxford Street
No picture in the end
Just sound
Lucky that me and Marie, we
Put the cash together
For a tiny Argos record player
Marie f’d off to Oz
So it was company for me
Spinning Mad World
Afore I went to the West End

There I am
The little mother
Cooking a Sunday dinner
‘cause mam’s in bed again, badly
My older sister would have opened a tinned steak and kidney pie and marrowfat peas
But I go all the way
I roast a joint and cut up taties
Now she’s the one baking and appearing so so
Married and the little wife

And I’m the one living on toast in a London bedsit