IN CONVERSATION : LUCY, HOLLY, AND SARAH IN FENWICK, CANTERBURY

 

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Amy, Lucy, Holly, and Sarah on the shop floor in Fenwick, Canterbury.

 

AUDIO Coming soon

Lucy, Holly, Sarah and I discuss accents, housing and social conditions in Canterbury and beyond, and how to achieve change.


TRANSCRIPT

JO: It’s about what you know and what you think …

H: I’m a bit too [ ] ….

S: … a bit too Essex

H: Do you know what I mean?

JO: Do you mind? My mother is an Essex girl.

S: Is she?

H: All my family are from Essex. That’s why I’ve got like a twang. Yes … No …

JO: Yes, mine comes out when I shout or get upset or something …

All: yes

JO: … you can hear it.

H: Yes. It’s like my friends say about me .. it’s like “shut up” … [ ] … “shut up” …

JO: so, what are we going to hear? We are going to hear Kentish accents, yes?

L: Yes.

JO: You said Gravesend.

L: Gravesend, yes.

S: I have a bit of a mix of an accent ’cause I was born in Canterbury but my family are all from up North … so …

JO: how far?

S: people always say to me …

JO: What’s ‘up North’ mean?

S: my Grandad … like Stoke … Stoke-on-Trent …

JO: that’s not ‘up North’ ….

S: well … ish … Midlands …

L: I think we’ve both done remarkably well … where I come from Gravesend … [ ] people … don’t have the nicest accent …

H: [ ]

S: posher voices …

L: come on Holly … get your voice in …

S: No … I do have a bit of a mix .. like … sometimes .. the same as you .. like every now and again people say “why are you talking like that?” or they say “where are you from?”

L: she says “castle”

S: ’cause I say “a” …. like everything is “castle” and “bath” and “grass” and things like that

L: … “Bath”

H: Is it a video or is it just [ ] …

JO: No, it’s just audio … it’s for a podcast ….

H: I’ll do the audio …

L: Come on then ..

S: Come on Hols …

JO: There you are … everyone has warmed up now … I would also run away from a video, I think … so, I asked you all … I’ve established that you’re all kind of from round here

All: Yes

JO: and I asked you “how much has it changed?” Has it changed? Has it changed for the better?

S: I think …

L: in some aspects, yes …

S: it’s busier … it’s definitely busier … I mean it’s always been a busy city anyway … there are lots of tourists and students everywhere and things … it’s always been a very busy city … but I think … this is not just in Canterbury, but in general … they haven’t allowed the roads any bigger for the amount of cars

L: yes, that’s definitely true

S: ’cause the traffic in Canterbury is horrendous … it doesn’t matter what day, what time of day

L: if one road snarls up, they all snarl up … I think …

S: yes

H: I’ve lived here 5 years now. I do love Canterbury though. It’s a nice place.

S: There’s a lot going on …

H: I think it’s always busy … there’s always like the hustle and bustle ’cause I think it’s like a city, isn’t it ? So … yes it’s not quiet, which is good.

JO: yes

L: Yes, I think it’s slightly overdeveloped though in some parts … do you not think?

H: Yes .. I think … yes.

L: I think there’s a fine balance between retaining the character of a cathedral city ….

JO: yes

L: and like overdeveloping with luxury penthouse apartments to the point where local people

H: too expensive

L: … can’t afford to get a house … So, if I want to move out, I can’t move out into Canterbury. I have to go into surrounding villages and areas … [ ]

JO: so you’re commuting in … do people commute in by car? Is that the main .. is that the reason the traffic …

L: car, train, bus …

H: I live in the high street so I am quite lucky … like …

JO: so you can just walk to work, yes?

H: Yes. So, I’ve got a house .. literally about ten minutes down there … but I’ve been quite lucky ….

L: I think so.

H: yes … a good deal on my house … like my landlord is brilliant but other people that live in my complex pay like £1,200 a month, for like a two bedroom house.

L: The rent is crazy.

H: yes, it’s very expensive …

JO: And you said, I think, there is a lot of building going on …

L: there is

JO: by the way, it’s been the same all round the country …

All: yes

JO: I’ve been really struck by how similar conditions seem to be everywhere .. you see the same thing

L: same thing, yes

JO: but you said “yes they are building a lot but not necessarily …”

L: not necessarily the houses that people need …

H: not to the open market, I don’t think … I think it’s like a niche market … it’s like people that have got money .. people that can afford … [ ]

L: [ ]

S: A lot of people, I think, as well .. they .. you know .. they might be from London … they work in London and they have this house

L: yes … we call it ‘DFLs’ … down from London

S: yes

L: especially in Whitstable … you see them a lot

JO: that’s very funny … I first heard that in the West Country …

L: did you?

JO: I live and work in Bath normally and I heard that when I went into Somerset …

L: in Whitstable [ ] like that

JO: from a farmer …

L: yes, it’s crazy

H: I think as well, because people do commute to London … like my brother commutes to London and a lot of people don’t want to live in London because it is very … it’s a very big place … it’s quite lonely and it’s not really nice … it’s like my brother commutes to London from here but to afford house prices and pay for travel, it’s just … it’s just too much for people to do

L: you’re just getting outpriced, aren’t you? Locals can’t afford to get a house because they’re being outpriced … live in London, work in London, earn lots of money ….

JO: but you’ve got to live somewhere …

L: yes

H: exactly …

JO: so you’re paying a landlord …

H: yes, exactly … but I’ve got a really good deal on my place so I’m quite lucky .. and she wants people that are long term … like she wants people who will look after the property and [ ] … but not many landlords are like that I can tell you, are they?

L: I’m really struggling to try and find a place …

JO: I must admit .. not my favourite category of person … you’ll hear, if you listen to the content that I am hopefully going to be able to organise, we’re in a dreadful mess .. and it’s the same … all the problems that you’re talking about, including homelessness … everywhere … I don’t think I’ve been to a single place in the country, including Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, all over England … homeless people begging everywhere …

H: I think when I spoke to my Mum, she said to me .. it was quite relevant and hit the nail on the head .. she said .. back [ ] when [ ] … my nan was younger .. mortgages were being handed out, everything was sort of like on the up .. you know .. people were getting mortgages, it was easier to buy .. things were reasonably priced. Now people are working every hour under the sun and getting paid half the wages so people are really struggling … you know … we’ve got poverty in a country we shouldn’t [ ] well … poverty in … so that’s where the issues are …

JO: part of my project is to … so, yes it is bad at the moment … but I’m also a bit buoyed by what I’ve bumped into around the country …

All: yes

JO: I think people are waking up a bit ..

All: yes … they are

JO: flexing their muscles a little bit

All: yes

JO: what do you think? Are you hopeful that we can make things better or are you resigned to …

H: I think we can make things better …

L: I think we can

H: I think as a collective consciousness … I think like .. you know … we can kind of … people do wake up to it … and people aren’t … you know … sort of plodding along and asleep … [ ] ok this is actually going on in our world and we need to address these issues … then I think, yes we can make a change … but I think it shouldn’t be done with any sort of like anger or …you know … riots or protests …

L: yes … come from a place of love

H: it should be done with a peaceful movement and things like that …

JO: intelligent, organised [ ]

H: yes … that’s how it should be … ’cause that’s all it is at the moment : hate … it’s like hate crimes, terrorism …

L: I think it starts … at the very foundation of it all is breaking down the stigma … even if it’s as simple as walking down the street, you see a homeless person … somebody might not want to give to that person ’cause they’ll automatically go “it’s their own fault they’re on the street .. they’re drinking … they do drugs … and that’s quite often not the case at all … They could be, you know, an ex-veteran … served in the services, come back and got nothing .. and .. through no fault of their own … and once you start to break that down … I think we are getting better .. as you see like younger generations influencing things, people look at things with a more empathetic approach, I think ….

JO: you think the young are having a positive effect …

L: definitely … I think … give it 20 years, and I think a lot will have changed for the better …

JO: I don’t think you’ve got 20 years …

L: I don’t …

JO: I think we’re in an emergency situation

L: I don’t have … yes, well … that’s true ..

JO: I won’t keep you any more … all of you have been really generous in talking to me in the middle of a working day … although it’s not terrifically busy, is it? Is it normally this quiet on a Tuesday morning? ‘Cause I’d say this is like a .. what’s this … upper middle market sort of store?

L: yes .. it ebbs and flows … you get the odd [ ] sort of … the mums on their days off when their husbands are out at work … [ ]

JO: is that like the bulk of the custom … from that sort of group, yes?

L: yes …

JO: yes, ok … great …. is this like the poshest department store in Canterbury?

S: I’d say so. There’s not really that many department stores … so you’ve still got Masons which is quite a smaller …

H: it’s very small

S: it’s a bit more .. trying to say the right word … it’s a bit more old fashioned I would say ..

L: yes … older clientele

S: it’s definitely got a different …

JO: classic …

S: yes … a bit more classic …. that’s what …. and you’ve got a Debenhams … that’s down the other end of the town so I’d say it’s a little bit busier up here because you’ve got the bus station and there’s a lot more traffic up this end, I would say … but yes … this is like probably the best and biggest

JO: I’ll wrap up now because …

S: that’s ok

JO: … I don’t want to get you all into trouble …

S: that’s alright …

JO: but we were just saying that maybe there’s a sense that people are beginning to put their foot down a bit … and I think that there’s a worry that it might go the wrong way and become … you know .. a bit nasty … but actually there’s also a hope that …

H: I think it will and I think people are sick of getting paid next to nothing for working all the hours under the sun.

L: yes

H: I think … with our NHS and all our sort of government funding and things … I think it’s all just very wrong

L: yes

H: how it’s all done … I think there will be a change but there will only be a change if people sort of come together

L: wake up and listen

H: with a collective consciousness …

JO: so what does that mean? I agree totally right, but what does it mean? Part of what I’m trying to do is identify what powers people have … ’cause a lot of people think “what can I do?”. Actually, you’re quite powerful if you …

H: I mean one person can make a massive difference … it’s like a ripple effect, isn’t it? If you do something nice for someone and … you kind of … you have that kind of movement .. rather than all this sort of anger .. but going and taking to the streets with riots and protests I don’t think is going to get us anywhere … I think going about it a whole, completely different way and actually fighting in a sort of calm way that we do want better pay, we do want better sort of things … you know … our generation especially, and our children. I think the world has got worse.

JO: So, how are you going to make that happen?

L: I think you need to be .. you need to keep yourself aware … I think if the government have their way, we’d be like mushrooms : they’d keep us in the dark

H: yes

L: and just occasionally shovel some shit on us …

H: yes, we would

JO: occasionally?

S: don’t put that in your book

All: [ ]

JO: that’s exactly what I am looking for …

S: [ ]

L: if you are keeping yourself intelligent, up to date with what’s going on in the world, you’ll have a far greater impact than what you actually realise …

S: and making sure everyone’s voted as well … that’s the thing, isn’t it?

H: Even signing those … I always sign those movements as well that you get on Facebook …

JO: what … like the petitions

H: petitions, yes … it’s like, for instance, when we had like the sea …. when there was that sea and the pollution and stuff and there were this many like signatures .. I always make sure …

L: then it gets debated …

H: then it gets brought up with the government and it actually gets taken seriously so I always make sure I try and do things like that ….

L: I think in that sense social media is a really …

H: [ ]

L: [ ] acts as a catalyst for things to happen ..

H: Yes I do.

S: Especially in this modern world, isn’t it? I think … when people talk about it on the news, I don’t think people …. I do … but I know there’s a lot of people …. a lot of my friends who don’t watch the news …. and they go home [ ] and there’s always a reason why they don’t but I think with this world that we live in, which is a modern world, I think the best thing is to get people involved on things like Facebook and social media because that’s what people are on and that’s the world that we live in now. So that’s how we get people [ ]

H: I think the sad thing is … I think the way it will go … I think it will go nasty …. I think people are beginning to become more aware … they are beginning to wake up and there’s a lot more bad things happening around the world … and I think people then ..you know … just sort of take matters into their own hands …. and that’s when it gets scary …

L: Do you not think though people are becoming like almost numb to things happening … like terror attacks, for example

S: we have them so often

L: you have them so often, people just go “God … Have you heard there’s been another attack?”

H: sort of acceptance

L: there’s another attack … . [ ]

S: there’s another … yes

JO: it’s normalisation, yes?

S: it’s not shocking any more, is it?

JO: it’s amazing how we can adapt, isn’t it?

S: yes, definitely …

L: [ ] it shouldn’t happen

S: yes

JO: yes, there are things we shouldn’t adapt to …

S: yes, exactly …

H: … but then I do blame our government and I do think everything that the country sort of [ ] everything that happened … I do believe it’s government and I do believe it is very wrong to have a group of people … select people … that have had all this higher education … they are from these amazing backgrounds that are actually determining the future of our civilisation because … who are they really?

JO: well… to quote … I am provoking you a bit here … to quote my union … my ex-union President at university … a splendid fellow by the name of Hedley Bashforth … who’s not half as posh as that sounds …

S: yes .. I was going to say [ ]

JO: hope you don’t mind me saying that Hedley … he says the only reason it goes on and this works in a micro way but also at the macro level … is ’cause we let them …

All: yes .. that’s so true … that’s right

JO: so stop letting them

All: yes .. it’s right … that’s so true …

JO: so we need to figure out what that means …

All: how [ ]

JO: you haven’t mentioned electoral …

H: [ ] there’s more of us

JO: that’s true, isn’t it?

H: there’s more of us than there is them

JO: way more

H: so why are we actually accepting it?

JO: but you haven’t mentioned electoral politics at all … that’s interesting .. I actually – for the first time ever in my life – went to parliament yesterday and saw them in the House of Commons

H: really

JO: and you didn’t mention that …

H: to be honest with you … do you mean like in terms of voting and things like that?

JO: yes

H: you see, I actually …I didn’t [ ]

JO: we’ve been talking 12 minutes and you haven’t mentioned it …

L: Did you vote?

S: I did

JO: I didn’t lead you …

H: I done my first vote …

JO: I was trying to see whether it was …

L: no

H: I’ll be honest with you … I done my first vote about two years ago

L: my God

H: … and the reason I did that and I have this argument with people on a daily basis … is because people go “yes .. you’ve got to vote to make changes” and yes this person is going to come into power … every person I’ve seen who comes into power is not actually the person who makes the decisions … there’s a higher government above him that actually pulls the strings and these are just puppets … like Donald Trump … they’re just puppets …

that are for the media … you know … for show … but do you think they actually go “ok, well this is the decision we’re going to do and that’s going to happen” … It’s not .. and I know that for a fact so .. when people say “why don’t you vote?” I go “because it’s not even them … it’s a higher government that actually makes all the decisions” … you’ve got

like the Rothschilds and the banks all around the world … they’re the people that make the elite that make all the decisions so sometimes your vote doesn’t count and sometimes it does go [ ] … so when people do ask me why don’t I vote, that’s my response.

JO: It’s a question we need to come to an agreement on … so partly, I hope, as a result of all these sorts of conversations … ’cause I can put them all out there for people … and I’m also going to try and make my own mind up ’cause I’ve got to make a big decision about what I

do with my life … I’m at a little bit of a turning point … I want to come up with like a list of

these are the powers which it seems to me work … in combination …

All: yes

JO: like don’t just do this … it’s this plus this plus this …

All: yes .. that’s the thing

JO: I do think there’s some truth …. I won’t do it now but you’ll hear as I discuss it in the project … I do think there’s some truth to what you say but I also suspect … certainly not all politicians are the same … you know … if you pick out …

All: [ ] … you can’t always brush people off with the same brush [ ]

JO: and if the likes of us get into those positions, different things happen …

All: yes

JO: that’s not to say that they aren’t then engaged in a horrible fight with the likes of Rupert Murdoch and kind of forces you’re talking about, yes ….

All: yes …

JO: so, I think it’s that plus other stuff and I’m trying to work out what it is by talking to enough people and reading the literature

H: it’s definitely good to get a collection of like thoughts and opinions because then you kind of know what’s going on … what everyone’s thought process is about it all … so …

JO: I still think most of … most of our hearts are in the right place …

All: yes

JO: that’s my impression, walking around the country …

S: I think so …

JO: Good.

H: It’s interesting.

JO: Thanks very much.


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