Under The Sink is a memory among many that I have about growing up as a teenager. It took place in a council house that was far too small for us in Park South, Swindon, where most of the neighbours either despised us or envied us (or both).
With the exception of a couple of nineties examples (Mike Leigh, Monica Lewinsky et al), I’ve remained as authentic to the time in question as possible (Status Quo, Carl Douglas et al).
This also includes writing in such a way as to accentuate Ma’s patois i.e. ‘tell dat Irish baaaaaaaastard,’ ‘mit Francis Rossi,’ ‘start kryink.’
There really is three years between my sister Lucy and myself, I’ve always called Ma ‘Ma,’ yet for some reason, Mum to various authorities in England i.e. school, the police etc.
In a world where people are still killing each other in the name of whatever – and without wanting to sound too Des O’Connor/obsequious/saccharine (tick where applicable) – it remains highly appropriate to laugh.
Or indeed, to at least try and laugh.
And it remains highly appropriate to make others feel the same.
So I suppose if there’s one (underlying) quality that I’d like to convey throughout the piece, it’s humour (and its validity).
I’ve tried to maintain an assemblence of continuity i.e. the use of French words (a la carte, sans, un, deux trois etc), the mentioning of starving soup (throughout), the initial introduction of the Flinstones followed by Barney Rubble, the fact that I spell Ma’s use of the word bastard the same on both occasions (the letter ‘a’ is used eight times in each) and of course, the rather liberal sprinkling of the word fuck (in its various connotations).
I feel that the eccentricity/stupidity/urgency of Under The Sink wouldn’t breath naturally if swearing were omitted; the situation (in itself) is chaotic and mad and not without sadness.
The subject matter is domestic warfare, and would therefore not benefit were it to fall within the parameters of fluffy English aka Cliff Richard and the ideology of Songs of Praise for instance. Certain aspects of the piece need to be accentuated and swearing does this. What’s more, the particular genre of music in question is often underlined by the word ‘fuck’ anyway – whether positively or negatively.
Personally, I feel the word itself is nigh part of the English language – if and when used correctly, even to the extent of using it within wordplay – which more often than not, expresses an emotion or opinion far more expressively than an entire paragraph of explanation and evaluation i.e. Lefuckinwinsky.
So far as audience is concerned – I’d like to think that the age and gender and political persuasion are of no real consequence.
All that’s essentially required from the reader(s) is – for want of a perhaps more eloquent term – lust for life. They’ve hopefully read a few books and banged a few drums and shed a few tears of joy and sorrow and forgiveness and sympathy and allegiance and ran to the top of the Eiffel Tower in the rain and embraced all of the above (and all of the below) in an everlasting kiss – only to discover that all of it means nothing and none of it means everything.