Tony Wilson robbed my Rusk
The classes themselves were bollocks. You go if it’s your first child but after that you stay in and watch Corrie. With the first one you’re dead keen to find out everything about birth and babies. The classes tell you all sorts of stuff, how to breathe, what is the best type of birth. Breathing is a lot of panting and blowing and breathing-in slowly and breathing-out quickly. My role was to make out I was supportive and count to three. Breath in for three, breath out for three. ‘When will I know to come to the hospital?’ was a common question from the first time baby carrier. Those of you that have had children laugh.
Birth is very different from the antenatal class’s vision. Natural childbirth, which is basically sitting in a paddling pool without any drugs. The NHS loves this ’cause it saves a fortune. Before the labour began my partner, like many a virgin childbirth person, seriously considered a drug-free birth. We were told how it would benefit the newborn baby, how you are in greater control and how beautifully natural the birth will be.
Iron man races always make me laugh because they are the only people on earth who think that running for a million miles, crawling through mud, climbing the Himalayas barefoot and eating four upright pianos is actually tough. Give birth, let’s see how tough you are.
As the birth nears all rational behaviour slips into oblivion. The demand for tangerines became enormous. I would carry bags and bags of tangerines until the point of complete exhaustion. The bags of tangerines would be eaten with gusto, the floor becoming totally covered with tangerine peel, tangerine peel piling higher, becoming knee deep, slipping on tangerine peel, falling to the floor and suffocated by tangerine peel.
This would be replaced with a demand for Camomile Tea. It was easier to get the Black Death than to get Camomile Tea in the mid ’80s. We were lucky in Manchester because we had The 8th Day. Back then The 8th Day wasn’t a trendy lefty middle-class tesco express selling veggie food and biodegradable toilet cleaner. It was just down the way from where it is now, the shelves were lined with brown paper bags of wholemeal flour, lentils and dried chick peas. They also sold wholemeal bread that we used to throw at the filth at Agecroft. But they did sell Camomile Tea, which cost the equivalent of a morning’s wage.
Triumphantly carrying two cups of Camomile Tea, I wanted to try it too, my partner shrieks, take it away, take it away, the stink of it’s making me sick. She promptly throws up all over the tangerine peel, making a sea of tangerine peel and sick. Take it back or I’m gonna be sick again. I throw the bloody stuff out but that’s not good enough, it has to go back to the shop and I have to demand our money back. I get back in the car, drive round the corner, drop the tea bags in a garden and sit and wait for half an hour. Did they give you our money back? No. Why? ‘Cause we had opened the packet and used two of the tea bags. That’s fucking unreasonable, call themselves socialists, I’ll bloody shoot the lot of them when I’ve had this fucking kid.
You know when the day is here. The rolling around on the floor in excruciating pain, screaming, sweating and shouting Get me to the fucking hospital you fucking idiot is a big clue. The drive from Crumpsall to St Mary’s in a rusty dilapidated Fiat Uno made the Italian Job look like a traffic jam, plus the yells of It’s coming, it’s coming, oh fuck it’s coming, go faster you wanker, it’s killing me.
The antenatal classes also mentioned what would happen after the birth, breast feeding and weaning. We were told that rusks were the best thing for weaning a baby from milk to solid food.
Mix the rusk with a little warm milk and spoon feed your future monster. They even allowed us to try some rusk. Tony Wilson was very taken with the rusk. The nurse passed round a rusk for us to try, each person breaking off a tiny bit to chew on. When the rusk got to Tony he scoffed the lot, the bastard. Tony Wilson nicked my rusk.