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|Bitterne Parker: Tony Keall|
|Sunday, 06 July 2014 00:00|
The Qs & the As
What’s your link with Bitterne Park?
We moved over from St Denys about six years ago in search of an extra bedroom. When Helen, my wife, first suggested moving to Bitterne Park I immediately replied: “I have never lived on that side of the water and I don’t intend to start now.” As it came out of my mouth, I thought, “where on Earth did that come from?”
What’s your earliest memory of the area?
I grew up in Highfield, so remember days out at Riverside as a child, feeding the ducks and wondering whether the trains would be running. When I was older, I had a school friend who lived on Cobden Avenue, so I used to spend quite a bit of time over this way then.
How could it (the area – or indeed your memories) be better?
I was gutted to leave St Denys and the sense of community we found there and was delighted to find the same feeling here. I like the village aspect of the Triangle, but it would be great if we could transplant something like the Talking Heads over this side.
Tell us something we probably didn’t know already about Bitterne Park
We moved to Bitterne Park just before my Nan died. When we told her where we were living she told me about when she was a girl and would come over to pick strawberries in the fields.
‘Southampton could do with
What’s good about the wider city?
I like the size of Southampton: big enough to feel you’re not under scrutiny, but small enough to feel connected to the place and the people.
Southampton: points for improvement?
It could do with a healthy dose of civic pride, from the both the council and the people. If you go to places like Bristol, they have a certain swagger about them; Southampton mostly feels a bit apologetic. The city needs to be a bit more daring, have a bit more edge and take some chances!
What’s your passion in life?
Apart from my wife Helen and our children, I love to party! Whether it’s at a festival, or a gig, an all-night rave, an over 30s indie disco down at The Hill or an afternoon barbecue with family and friends, I love socialising and laughing.
How do you put bread on your table?
I manage mental health supported accommodation for the Society of St James, a local charity working with vulnerable and marginalised people who may be homeless, have drug and alcohol problems or have mental health issues.
What has your career taught you?
There are people all around us dealing with the consequences of negative life experiences, whether that is abuse, trauma, loss or just plain bad decision making. They are doing the best they can and some people just aren’t coping. Behind every tabloid label (junkie, alcoholic, nutter) there is a real person who has frequently been damaged by things that were beyond their control.
What really gets your goat?
The ease by which you can manipulate people by telling them the same lies over and over again, especially when it comes to blaming immigrants or the poor.
How do you relax?
Watching a box set, listening to music and, at the moment, slaughtering Nazis by the thousand in Wolfenstein!
What’s your favourite dish?
I love Mexican and Indian food, but if pushed will go for a Thai green curry.
Which is your favourite pub?
There is a part of my heart that will always belong to the Joiners. I practically grew up there, had some of the best nights of my life and met some of my oldest friends there.
What do you listen to?
I still have a soft spot for old punk/post punk music, but I am increasingly jaded with modern guitar based music as it’s so rare to find something that sounds new (honourable mention for Southampton’s Radioactive Bones!). I mostly listen to electronic dance music, especially progressive techno, psy-breaks and psybient!
Can you recommend a really good read?
I loved Irvine Welsh’s Skagboys. Not always a barrel of laughs, but strangely fun to spend time in the company of Renton and the gang again.
What’s a great day out?
Bimbling about in the sun, whether at a country park, in the New Forest or a house and garden; especially if there’s a bit of history involved.
Tell us a secret
The largest part of an atom is empty space. Therefore, everything is composed of mostly nothing.
Tell us a joke
How many surrealists does it take to change a lightbulb?
Thanks so much for taking part!
Tune in next time when another Bitterne Parker answers our searching questions. But before then, do you know a Bitterne Parker we really should feature? If so, please nominate them by emailing us using the contact form, and we'll do our best. No promises, mind.