This blog is for all writers, published or not, that want to connect with other writers and who want to improve their craft.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

"My Life with Kate Bush" by Riaz Ali


In 1980, when I was nine years old, my father popped out for a pint of milk. Six months later he came back with another wife. There was an uncomfortable atmosphere in the living room. My mum didn’t like it one bit.
“So, you’ve been to India then,” she said.
“For milk, Abba?” I said.
I called my father ‘Abba’. This is the Aramaic name for father which, as he was a Muslim, was what he wished my sister and I call him. It wasn’t, as I thought in later years, because he was a huge fan of the Swedish pop group that went by the same name. The picture of Fernando in the hallway was just a coincidence.
Abba cleared his throat and said, rather gravely, “This is your second mum.”
I thought about this.
“Where’s the milk?” I said.
“I know it’s difficult,” he said, “but we can work around it.”
“You went all the way to India for milk,” I continued, tears forming in my eyes, “and came back with another wife? What sort of weird shops do they have over there?”

I didn’t say that of course. I wasn’t a witty nine-year-old. I was an over-sensitive boy who wanted stability, security and love. What I really got were a couple of mothers, a divorce and heaps of introspection. My saving grace was watching Rentaghost on television and an Amstrad computer I received for my thirteenth birthday.
And Kate Bush.

I was born and raised in Cwmbran in South Wales. It’s a sleepy mining town, notable for its complete absence of miners.
And mines.
Come to think of it, there are no quarries either or coal seams or girls in black pointy hats and red shawls handing out daffodils. Maybe I should just drop this romanticising of an idyllic Welsh town and tell you the truth.
Cwmbran is best known for its valves. We are known throughout the world for our impressive valve making abilities. The biggest employer in Cwmbran made car valves back in the 1950s. It’s where my mother’s father worked and where Abba was to become employed for a short while. Abba was an immigrant, travelling here from Bangladesh in 1967, the summer of love. The ship docked at Newport, just five miles west of Cwmbran. Instead of seeing the world, or at least, travelling to London to search for streets paved with gold like Dick Whittington, he managed to walk the five miles to Cwmbran and promptly got a job at Saunder’s Valves, a large factory on the outskirts of town specializing in the manufacture of valves. Bamp (my mother’s father) was a line supervisor in those days and he would oversee the assembly of the valves as they rolled off the rubber track.

If you enjoyed this excerpt of "My Life with Kate Bush" by Riaz Ali, check it out here!

No comments:

Post a Comment