When I left England a little over five years ago, I had determined that it had failed me. To my mind,it had never supported my ambitions or elevated me from my humble provincial origins, and I sensed pretty early on, the hopelessness of it ever being a foundation for me to build my life on.
Moreover, I scoffed at my hometown of Liverpool ever being a cultural epicenter for the arts, railing that it had traded for too long on the currency of four moptops who fucked off and changed the world, and having scraped that particular barrel for all its worth, could only ever again procure scum from its depths.
Never would it be anything more than a bitter catchphrase of low life's and lowly living, a Harry Enfield caricature of gobby yobs in trackies, a Boys from the Blackstuff cliche of dossers, thieves and sociopaths. Whilst the city would ever bare the psychological scars of little Jamie Bulger's death, at the hands of two of its 11 year old sons.
Returning for ten days then, was something of a revelation. Of course I could have been seeing it all through the ghastly fog of jetlag, which I tried in vain to rectify with sleeping pills at night, and the high fructose diet of triple redbulls by day, but it appears to be very much a city reinvigorated by futurist architecture and glossy American style malls, and a vigor for the new.
But if there is a life there for me, then lest we forget why I was there to begin with-the prodigal son and all that, to the bosom of my family go I. And what a wonderful, delightful in all its complexity gallery of relatives I have. We are all getting older, and I don't think I ever realised how much I missed them, how much I took them for granted, until I was with them again.
And of course, I am a doting Grandfather.
Oh little Quinn, all the wonder and glorious travails of life ahead in those little, curious blue eyes. All furrowed brow, peach complexion and sweet little grunts. He is the most beautiful and precious thing.
So much crammed in such a short time, ten hundred snapshots of English idyll, fish and chips and tea and scones.Crumbling Roman walls in Chester, ostentious guilded Pre Raphaelites in Port Sunlight, misty Mersey drizzle, Dali at the Tate.
Now I'm back,having burned the candle both ends, and endured a fourteen hour delay in Philadelphia, I am suffering a serious bout of the flu. I slept eleven hours last night, and my head feels like its full of cement, but I am glad to be 'home'-for I feel I can call it that now.