Long before there was kitchen sink there was upnorth. And long before we worried about which loo Transgender types should use there was the problem of mothers and their sons. And while I was at uni all the loveliest girls did English and they were mad for DH Lawrence. He got women’s sexuality after all.
He taught the girls doing English that it was rite and bloody marvellous to get a good miner or even his son throbbing and whats more not only should they also throb along but they should wear daisies in their pubic hair, and for this we boys doing History were more than grateful.
So I went to see the three plays made into one, Husbands and Sons by DHL at the National. Of course the miners are all uncouth, drunk louts. The mothers long before they had the vote are in charge. Its three plays melded into one. In one the husband spends so much time down the pub that he sees nothing wrong in bringing the ladies from The Ram back t’home . His wife has eyes for another but will she go.
In another the young marrieds are disturbed by the fact he has got another girls in the village in the family way. He says she was a better lay. She blames his mother for making him emotionally retarded, he feels that she favours his brother.
Oh God this is reading like a synopsis of Eastenders. And they say we Southerners have no sense of humour. But when the Glums meet Les Miserables you get Nottingham miners.
Then of course there is the DHL family itself. The boorish miner who is jealous of his wife’s preference for their bookish son. The mother is of course jealous of her son’s affections for a local lass.
Then there is , as there always has to be in tales of miners, the accident at t’pit.
Rumble and Roar off stage. Ooh Naw whats that noise. The women stand hands on hips looking into the distance. Like soldiers’ wives the women rally round. Corpses are cleaned. Wounded men are loved. It was for this life, this sense of community that in living memory the miners went on strike for a year.
DHL had long since git fed up with all this artthouplizzedmuther stuff and had pissed off to Mexico. Me, it was back to Putney. Not before in the Waterloo underpass a beggar got the better of me for £1.50 but when he started on his hard luck tale, I told him I didn’t mind giving the money but could he cut out the fucking lies about whatever. Am I turning into a miner? Mother.