IN CONVERSATION :

Chief (In Street. Birmingham, West Midlands)

Chief speaks to me about life in Sparkhill, Birmingham, where he has lived 32 years.


TRANSCRIPT

JO: So, just say who you are and what we are doing and ….

C: well, they call me Chief …. I’m from Sparkhill .. at the moment, I am just working outside my house … building my car as you can see …

JO: and you said you do that for a living ….

C: I do that for a living …. as well as motorbikes … [ ] that’s what made me stop you … flag you down, so to speak ….

JO: you tinker with those too, yes?

C: yes … I tinker with bikes and cars ….

JO: and you are busy? They are keeping you busy locally?

C: Yes .. more or less … I mean … even now I have got a fuse in my hand … a car fuse by the way …

JO: I can confirm this is true … and how is life round here? How are conditions for people?

C: conditions in the local area [ ] ?

JO: yes

C: it’s fine … everyone keeps themselves to themselves …. yes, you get a few yobs but that’s later at nights and you can always deal with them … I mean that’ why I’ve got CCTV all over the gaff …

JO: .. so that’s around … if you don’t take care, yes … you can get yourself in trouble

C: well not really … I mean … if, like yourself .. you stand out like a sore thumb so to speak … in all respects of the word … people will just go about their business … yes they will look at you once or twice but they will carry on about their business ….

JO: so far, people have been quite friendly, I think, round here ….

C: yes … it’s just … I’ve been here the longest out of everybody here … I mean all these businesses are new … I’ve been living here all my life … I think 32 years now .. 32 years

JO: 32 …

C: same address ….

JO: has it changed much in that time?

C: No … apart from the road markings … that’s all … that used to be a two way … now it’s no entry …

JO: yes …. so small changes as far as you are concerned …..

C: small changes … yes … it’s just the people … council houses … and all that stuff … I mean

JO: what’s that? New council …

C: these are all new developments

JO: I mean … for council …

C: [ ] used to be a clothes factory … a garments factory …

JO: right ….

C: they knocked it down and built more houses at the back … so apart from that …

JO: and that’s … is that council housing?

C: These .. I think they are company houses

JO: meaning ….

C: meaning they are privately owned so the tenants don’t have a rent to buy property ….

JO: ok … so they’re just renting ….

C: they’re just renting …

JO: yes … I think a lot of people are unhappily renting … [ ]

C: [ ] … like I said … I’ve been here the longest ….

JO: well thanks for showing us your gaff Chief … what are we going to do about the bins situation? Is yours bad?

C: well … [ ] as you can see across the road there [ ]

JO: yes … I’ve noticed here and there .. there are some pretty nasty [ ]

C: it’s terrible because we’ve got a [ ] down the road so when you enter from there, the first thing you hit is the whiff of the bins …. so it’s terrible ….

JO: what’s going on?

C: it’s just a … a bin strike over pay, I think ….

JO: yes

C: that’s as far as I know …. I mean there was a group of local people … Asian people … who started collecting the bins … even though people were happy with them …

JO: yes … do you mean just like … what do you mean … as employees or just ..

C: yes .. I think they were employees because they had all the gaff on … they had the hi-vis and stuff … and they were on Facebook … and on the news as well … and [ ]

JO: so they stepped in to fill the breach or .. ?

C: they stepped in because I think the council were taking the piss … and so were the employees but …

JO: so you don’t have much sympathy for either side of the dispute?

C: [ ] I wouldn’t say I don’t have sympathy … I mean .. because it affects everybody not just us … so … I don’t think sympathy has got anything to do with it … it’s more the fact that it’s just inconvenient for everybody including the council … so they don’t see it that way …..

JO: I think the Chief Exec of the council has gone, hasn’t he, or something? [ ] Or the Leader of the Council … ?

C: I am not sure to be honest …. ’cause I don’t read too much into it ..

JO: Alright ….. Happy Afternoon … tinkering …

C: yes … I’ll carry on ….

JO: I’m going to probably just ride leisurely home to my mum and dad now … they’re just outside Birmingham … they’re in Much Wenlock … a village up in Shropshire … so … I’ll stay with them tonight …

C: that’s fine … like I said … I’ve got to carry on as I’m doing electrical work and I’ve got to get in between the breaks

JO: before it rains … alright … cheers …

C: it was lovely talking to you … what’s your name by the way?

JO: Jon

C: I’m Chief.

END