Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pessimists: Dying for a Good Kicking

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pessimists: Dying for a Good Kicking

Article excerpt

Byline: By Bob Cuffe

Last week we explored the concept of Definitely Yorkshire, and asked what would Definitely North-East mean.

A recent description was given of a typical Teessider, as "loyal, hardworking and innately pessimistic." Spot on. I think the pessimism drifted in from Yorkshire. It started as hostile unpleasantness in the South-East, turning into pleasant dopiness in the Midlands, before clagging up into sour pessimism in Yorkshire.

Teesside overwhelmingly rejected the Regional Assembly. Our default position is No. We're probably delighted with the outcome of No, which is exactly what we had before. And the last 30 years have been kind to Teesside ( so More Of The Same is just what we need.

The South-East, which has envied our progress, must be shaking in its boots. I don't think Teesside singularly owns pessimism. I think it's the most common thread across the entire region.

A bloke I know personifies Teesside. He uses phrases that, over a sustained period, make you want to hurt him. If he ever fell down in my presence, I fear my bestial urges would take over, and I would brutalise him.

If you ask him how he is, his reply is: "Can't complain."

This, for Pessimism Incorporated, is as good as it gets. He can't complain. Though he'd like to. And he probably will. I don't think it's ever entered his head to say: "I'm fine."

He's a well-educated man, so is probably well aware that his, and everyone else's biological status, is that he's actually slowly dying. I must suggest this as his automatic response, rather than his unnecessarily upbeat: "Can't complain."

He could, with complete factual justification state: "Slowly dying."

Somewhat unusually for the area, he doesn't like sport, of any kind. This helps his sunless disposition, as sport can, on rare occasions, give rise to joy. Sunderland fans celebrating the home win. The final Premier League table, likewise, lifts the Tyneside spirits no end, as does the thought of Teesside watching The Bill. A sporting moment can be a gift that just doesn't stop giving. In the Red Corner, Kieron, In The Blue, Lee. …

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