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  • Interviews and Storytelling: Chris Greenman

    [TRACK 1]

    So what was the connections things about?

    It were just to do with um… like is there any activities around and like that to in Todd for anyone like used for um, say fourteen up to eighteen anything for them to do and is finding jobs and stuff like that really cause it was, for cause it were connections, were for job seekers allowance so I’m trying to find a job, and they just said do you want to come in for a an, there were about four of us, or it were all tape recorded and they were just asking questions, like is there anything to do for using Todd. Is it, how easy is it to get a job where can you find a job, where is the nearest place, right and stuff like that really so, we were there for about I think we were there for about an hour and a half doing that right.

    Well that’s part, some of those questions I’ll be asking but a bit later on, um the first thing really is, I do this with everybody is I ask your full name and where, and when you where born.

    Yeah, Christopher Michael Greenmen, I were born in Halifax General hospital.


    23 of the 6th 1989.

    Right, um where do you live?

    9 Aukim Road Todmorden.

    Have you always lived in Tod?

    No, I lived in Halifax when I were born for 3 years and I have lived in Wales for a, lived in Wales for a year and a half.

    Oh and ur, when did, when did you live in Wales?

    Ur when I was in year eight in high school, so I would have been about thirteen fourteen.

    Right, why did you move to Wales?

    Ur I used to have big rows like that with my mom so I went to live with my dad lived down there with his girlfriend, and I went to live with him, so cause my mom couldn’t handle me at home so I went to live with him, to like calm me down and I lived down there and then after a year and a half came back up and lived in Tod for a bit, still go down and visit, like visit old friends and stuff like that.

    Yeah, did you like it in Wales?

    Yeah, um I was there for my last four weeks there and my dad walked out on his girlfriend, and I didn’t want to stay there, so I ended up moving in with a mate, and like they adopted me into the family and I lived there for four weeks. And I like go down and visit them occasionally.

    That’s nice

    So it’s not to bad really I have a good time and that seeing old friends, yeah, and people like that.

    Where about in North Wales was it?


    Right, where’s that near, any where big?


    Right, near Rhyl, Right

    You, how did you, how did you compare that then with like Halifax and Toddbiden [ph], so how does it compare?

    Ur it’s a lot different cause it’s, it’s like country, it’s like a farmers town really it’s quite, it’s quite small it’s not much social about but there is if you know what I mean, like a small village, like a farmers village, you get tractors and trucks cattle trucks coming in and out and stuff like that, and I got, well I got brought up in country side so I used to work, work on a farm when I were really young with my mate and um I just, I just enjoyed it really it was in the country I had been brought up in the country it was enjoyable.

    Do you think you would like to kind of live that kind of life when you get older, would you think like to be a farm worker or farmer, or do anything like that work I the country side?

    It has been a thing yeah I mean, I’m in the building trade at the minute so, I’m following that through, and then, well I’ll see what happens when life comes along really, take it as it comes and see what happens I mean I won’t mind doing it yeah when I get a bit older into that sort of stuff when I’m buying on houses like that, when I get a bit older, and, so, so we will see what happens.

    So what kind of, you’re in the building trade, what kind of work do you do?

    Well, we do everything really, we do plastering, brick work, apart from plumbing and electrics we do flooring joinery everything really.

    Right, how long have you been doing that?

    Ur I did start when I was fourteen through work placement from Tod High, and I was there for just short of two years and I left, and then I started gain about six weeks ago, so I have been there for quite a while really.

    Do you like it?

    Yeah, very much.

    Is it like an apprenticeship, or…

    Not at the minute but I’m looking into it cause I don’t know but maybe college courses can start really, cause my boss, his brother is head of, well he’s part of brick work thing called in college, so I can get in through that but I just like I said don’t know when I can start, so I’m going to look into it more really right, cause there is a lot there that at college now, doing the brick work course and that guy comes like very other month or something and so I will talk with him and sort it out.

    Alright, how long would you have to do that course for?

    Um, I think it’s for, I did start it, but I quit the job I think it’s for about a year and a half two years, something like that. It’s a short course but it does get you qualifications and stuff like that.

    Right, right, see when um, cause so when you were three you moved from Halifax to Tod.


    What was it like in Todd when you were younger, what kind of house did you live in?

    I lived up Cornholme, which is just a bit well it’s not, it’s near Todd. I lived up there and ur well about two minute walk there was a park there and like I used to work on a farm, I used to go up there a lot and we used to do a lot of stuff up there like [inaud] season doing that the sheep, sheep sheering, collecting cattle for like taking them to the slaughter, and that doing that sort of stuff really.

    So what, when, how young were you when you started doing all that?

    I started going up when I was about four like getting in to it all, going up and seeing what it were like and I started enjoying it started driving tractors and driving cars up there as well cause they’ve got like a gravel track, and it’s private land, and we just used to drive about on that and go on mountain bikes and stuff, on the weekend.

    Whose farm was it?

    It’s a guy called John Dib, he’s, I used, I’ve known his son since I was three, since I moved over here, and we got along ever since we met each other we have always gone up there and he he rents out a land now, he doesn’t, he doesn’t have his own bit any more he rents them all out to people, so they can use it for there cattle and sheep, right, and that.

    Do you know what the farms called?

    Er, I can’t remember… I can’t remember what it’s called, it’s something to, it’s something to do with Wimbles, it’s got the name oh, Cold Cliff Wim Farm, aah right, that’s what, Cold Cliff Wim Farm I think cause it’s got all windmills on it yeah, on the land yeah.

    Right, so what kind of house did you live in, in Cornholme, what was it like?

    It was um, it was ur two bedroom house for a while, like ur just a, I can’t remember what you call it not detached when you got a full row of houses, like a terrace, yeah, like that, it, it was just a normal street with a main road at the end of it, it were two bedroom, and then we got it converted into a three bedroom, but we were, it were my grandma and granddad’s house they moved out so we could move in, they got a different house and then, we moved out of that one down to where we are now, and my grandma and granddad moved back into it.

    Right, right, so do you have any brothers or sisters?

    I have got one sister

    Is she older or younger?

    Younger, she’s fifteen

    Right, so does she still live at home?


    Do you get on with her then?

    Well, ye, you have your brother and sister fights, so yeah.

    Right, okay, umm… so what school did you go to?

    Er, I went to Cornholme Primary School for, for first bit and then after that I went to Todmorden High School till well, just year seven before I moved down to Wales, then I went to a high school down there.

    And when you came back, did you go back to Tod?

    Er, I went back to Todd High, it was half way through year nine and then I got my placement ur just in year ten I think, and half way through it I got sick of school I didn’t like it, I didn’t like going. I was on replacement three days a week and then two days of school, but I just decided I couldn’t be bothered with school anymore so I just went to work instead and then ur… they chucked me out of school, and they wouldn’t let me back in, and I went to year Acorn Centre for school, one day a week on a Wednesday, I worked Monday Tuesday Thursday Friday, and Acorn Centre on a Wednesday to do Maths and English.

    Right, what what didn’t you like about school?

    I don’t know what it was I just never liked going, yeah; I got on with everyone I just didn’t like the teachers, I didn’t, I just didn’t like school.

    Yeah, yeah well fair enough, can u remember any of your teachers?

    Yeah, a few of them.

    Yeah, who, who are they?

    Ur, they were my science teacher Mr Thornton, my maths teacher there, well I knew a fair few teachers that weren’t my teachers but I knew them, there were Miss Lehman, Mr Harewood, Miss Place… Mr Armstrong… Miss Lapish… Mr Ward, Mr Jerdon, Mr Cameron, there was a fair few.

    Yeah… did you, I mean did you like any of them or dislike any of them particularly?

    I liked Mr Harewood, cause he were, he were one of them relaxed teachers, he won’t let you do anything but he would to a certain extent, and ur he were a good teacher. I didn’t like Mr Thornton he was, he was just strict all the time, and you couldn’t do anything without getting chucked out of the lesson or something like that. There were, there were a few of them that were alright at times and sometimes they were a right pain really…you have them every day really different things. My form teacher, I didn’t like him at all. I always, I always, I always ended up getting kicked out of lessons and all so, that was one reason why I didn’t like school as well, cause I was always getting into trouble and getting kicked out of lessons and getting sent home so, I couldn’t be bothered with it any more.

    I mean, why were you getting sent out because, where you messing about or with your mates?

    I was just, just misbehaving really I just teachers I didn’t like them so I just used to do stuff that didn’t make them right happy really. [laughing]

    Right, did you have like a favourite subject, was there anything you did like about doing…

    No, not really no, never liked doing I did like PE but I didn’t because you never got to do what you wanted to do. It was just, the teacher always used to say look you doing this and I just couldn’t be bothered doing PE, right, I was never really into that sort of stuff at that time. So I just didn’t do any work a single lesson really, that I liked.

    Right, are you into sports now or anything like that?

    I play football on Sundays; I play like five sides with my mates on Sundays, and I, well I used to not so long ago, I used to like bang a car racing up on my mates farm, we just buy a cheap car and we race it about, trash it, and then get rid of it and get a new one and do it again really. Right, that were fun but he’s moved now so, we don’t really go up now unless he’s over in Tod.

    Right, right you were, you were saying earlier about you did this connections interview and they were asking you about things you could do in Tod for people your age. What is there for you to do in Todd for people your age?

    There isn’t much you can do really cause I mean see your kids like say fourteen year old and you’ve got a Astro Turf but, I mean they’ve closed all the parks off to do with flood defence so you can’t, there’s no football nets to play football and like that. And the Astro Turf fourteen year old kids you’ve got a book it, fourteen year old kids can’t get twenty six quid really to book it for themselves so, so it’s a bit hard really for them. But there’s nowt really even for people our age, there is no where to go, there’s nowt to do, no activities around like that youth clubs [bang] just not right good really.

    Have you been to it, is there one a youth club there?

    Yeah, I used to go to them but there never really interested.

    What did they do there?

    Just like um… My uncle used to work in one of them, doing music technology like doing, like doing on decks and stuff like that, downloading music and copying it and re mixing it and stuff like that really, but I soon got fed up with it, and just decided not to go anymore Right, so. But just people like my age just used, there’s’ nowt for you to do, there’s nowhere for you to go.

    If, if you had, if you could ask, tell people like you know people in authority…uh, what kind of things would you want them to try and provide then?

    Just more activities really more for people to do. More, places like what, to go, I don’t know, more football fields and help and re open the park and like put some football fields on the park, something like that. Right, so kids can go on there and other people can just go on there and play football, rugby, cricket whatever sports really. I mean they have got the park, and there’s, there’s like a dirt track that goes around and you can go on the side on your bike, on your push bike, it’s not really that big either, you don’t get enough excitement from it, be better if they like built a track around it, like it went all way round the woods and through the park and stuff, and they have got a skate park as well but , I mean not many people like skating but a few people do so.

    Have you ever tried skate boarding?

    Yeah, I was never any good at it so I just gave it up, right, I was never any good. I just kept falling off all the time.

    Oh, well I think um, I think most of them do until they… some how or other crack it really; you know it takes a long time doesn’t it.

    Yeah, I prefer mountain biking really, right, but I prefer to do that.

    Do you do BMXing at all?

    I used to, but I; I had a bike crash once on a bike, so I just gave it up after that. I just didn’t want to do it anymore, in case it happened again.

    Yeah, um… At home, what kind of things do you do at home then, I mean do you have like other games or toys or things like that, that you have?

    I have got a Play station; I play on Play Station a bit. Not, not that much really, it gets boring after a bit, and I like listening to my music and I read my magazines that I buy and listen to music, yeah, and stuff like that.

    What kind of games did you play on the play station?

    Like racing games, football games, shooting games, yeah, a variety really. Don’t put it in if I don’t like it and I won’t play it.

    Yeah, so what kind of music do you like?

    Oh, not, not many people like my kind of music, it’s like, it’s I don’t know if you have ever heard of MC, yeah, and dance music, I like a lot, I like Indie Rock and all, I like um…. I like some rock and roll.

    What kind of bands do you like?

    Er, Arctic Monkeys they’re alright, Kaiser Chiefs, Ordinary Boys, Jamie T, The Streets, they’re good, I like rap as well, like Fifty Cent and Eminem, Yeah, Doctor Dre, I like them as well. Right, and a fair few DJ’s as well, I like them, it’s something I want to do as well, is learn how to play the decks as well, oh right, do stuff like that.

    Is it; is it an expensive thing to do?

    Yeah, it is, yeah, it’s quite expensive.

    So, do you know anybody who’s got the equipment?

    Yeah, I do… I’ve not been up yet to his house though I don’t see him very often so, and I don’t have a number to contact him so, so I haven’t been up really, I don’t really really see him. But he has got all the equipment, and there used to be a lad that worked with us, but I didn’t know where he has gone. Yeah, he’s, he’s he left at the time, I don’t know if he’s got it.

    In the Acorn Centre, um… could you go to them and ask them to buy some in and a group of you can go in and maybe try it.

    To be honest though I don’t get along with many people in Tod like so, Right so if I ended up having to going to one of them some of them would end up happening, and it won’t turn out very nice really.

    Right, right, so why don’t you get on with them, what’s that about?

    I don’t know they just, like I walk, I walk through the centre and then they just like, they either, they either getting drugged up or drinked up yeah, and just picking fights and then, I’m not into that sort of stuff anymore, I have, I have been there done it, got the T-shirt, yeah, it’s not my sort of thing growing out of it really. Yeah, I can’t be bothered with it, yeah.

    Right… um, what kind of things do you do then like as, in in your family like your mom and your sister and that and, and even with your dad, is like on birthday’s and Christmas and … on holidays what kind of things do you like to do on those sort of the days?

    Ur… Christmas sometimes we go up to my grandma’s house which is my dad’s dad, ur my dad’s mom and dad and ur sometimes we go up there for Christmas with my dad’s brothers as well, they go up there and sometimes we have it at home. It all depends really what’s happening where we having it, and if there is enough room.

    What kind of things do you do for Christmas then, I mean?

    I’m, I’m not really, I’m not really a big fan of Christmas so, it’s not my kind of thing, you just usually have your dinner and have a couple of drinks chit chat and then go home, right, it’s like messing with the stuff that you got… really.

    Is it, what are the birthdays, are they similar?

    Er… not really, you see, you see really on my birthdays now, I just me and my mates get a few beers in and like sort of a party thing, playing music and playing on computer and have a few beers, nowt special.

    Nice, nice…um… do, what, I’m thinking about what’s Tod like as a, as a place to live cause I don’t know it all that well really, I mean what’s it like?

    Um, I’m not a big fan of the place really but, like they say move out you come back. And that’s what I’ve done I’ve moved and I’ve lived somewhere else and I’ve come back, but all my family lives in Todd so, well around Todd that’s the other reason why I live in Todd cause all my family, most of my mates are in Todd, people I’ve grown up with, live in Todd, so that’s the only reason why I’ve not moved. If they weren’t in Todd, I’d be living in Wales now so, if I didn’t have that much family and friends in Todd then, yeah, well I’d be out, yeah.

    Ur, but as a place what’s it like as a place, I mean is it like, is it an easy place to get work then, I mean is that a good thing?

    No, it’s not, it’s not, I tried, I couldn’t, I couldn’t get a job for six months I had to get a job in Mytholmroyd, that was the closest place I could find one, there’s just, they’re knocking all the mills down and building new houses, town houses and they just closing every place down now really there’s ESSO Garage closes um, Mun’s Mill that’s closed down been knocked down and they been building houses on there, and ur there’s a factory just near Lidl, that’s been closed down, it’s not been knocked down but it’s been closed down. Just knocking everywhere down, so you can’t get a job anywhere yeah, and building houses everywhere now.

    But I mean in the building trade, wouldn’t that be good for you?

    Er, it is and it isn’t. I see you get a fair few jobs, but I don’t know really.

    Do you not like the fact that it’s changing then?

    Well I mean I’ve got a job now, but for other people that need to get jobs it’s difficult for them. I mean I’m sorted now, I’ve got myself a job I’ve finally cracked it and it’s just difficult for other people who are looking for work when, I say you’ve got kids leaving school soon it’s in May, June so they will be looking for jobs and there’s just nowhere to go in Tod really to get a job.

    Yeah, right so, is it hard for people, are you saying that people like your age that it’s really hard to find work?

    Yeah, yeah people who have just left school or have just got in to college and stuff, I mean some people go to college for after school or some people stay in sixth form. Yeah, and or some people just leave [inaud] as soon as they can, and then they go out there looking for work and they just can’t find it, it in Todd, they have to go to Halifax, Mytholmroyd, Hebden Bridge, Rochdale, Burnley, they have to travel to get to where they need to go, they need to travel a far distance by relying on buses and trains yeah, every day to get them to where they need to go.

    Right, what are the people in Tod like then, I mean are there a lot of, like characters, are there people unusual kind of people there or are they just, what …?

    Er… we’ve got your different places really, there’s like, there’s all youths, all the like fifteen, sixteen, seventeen year olds, they all have there places where they hang out, and then you’ve got, you’ve got all the people which live in different bits, and you’ve got the Asians which have there certain bit where they live it’s just all, it’s mixed up everywhere really, there’s a fair few different characters, you got your youths, you’ve got the older generation, you’ve got people like mid thirties and that, and there’s a few, you get the youths all hanging around the market and that, people walking past but, they get a bit, they all getting, they all getting pissed and that, people walking past, not like I want to walk past there, just in case something is said.

    What do you think of older people then, I mean people you know who are older than yourself, whether they are thirty or, fifty or eighty or whatever, what do you think of older people?

    Er… I do tend to think that cause where I live on the avenue where I lived there is a fair few old people that live on there when I was younger fourteen fifteen we always used to play football on the street and they’d always come out moaning at us and stuff like that so I just, I never really got along with people of that age, cause they always used to moan at me you know playing football and used to get the police and stuff like that, I just couldn’t be bothered with it anymore so, ur I don’t know really, it’s hard to say.

    Do you think they have like different values than than you, sort of thing?

    Well, I don’t know… I don’t know really.

    Um, has it, has Tod… changed then a lot from when you were say when you were eight or nine or ten to what you are now, has it changed a lot?

    Yeah, it has er… everywhere is getting knocked down, and houses has been, people have changed, things have changed around, people are moving in , people are moving out, people from all over the place are moving in to Tod, people are moving from Todd and out.

    Is that a good thing or a bad thing or?

    Er, I suppose it brings, like a new generation into Todd it brings different people, different characters into Todd like, where just behind the high school they’ve just built a load of big houses, and they, and they worth, I think the last time I saw one, one were going for ur.. half a million so it brings like a fair rich generation into Todd as well, and that I think they are just trying to change it make it more… like a communal place really where more people are coming in from say I don’t know say Manchester, London and all that area, from all around, yeah, UK really, brings different people from everywhere, right, but then again loosing jobs for other people though, cause they knocking factories down to build new houses.

    Yeah, Yeah… right, do you…, do you know any um… like old sayings, or you probably don’t know any old sayings, I’m thinking about young sayings, the kind of language that you use, do young people use a different sort of language than, you know someone my age say?

    We use a lot of like slang and, there’s a like say I’m talking to nowt but if I was talking to my mates there’d be a lot of slang there’d be swearing in it, and stuff like that really different ages use different language, like certain words you’d shorten it yourself and pronounce it a different way, than what other people would so, it’s yeah it’s different. See you’d be talking to someone like say I met someone like yourself on the street or something like that I wouldn’t talk like I’d talk to my mates, I’d change it, yeah, you talk to your mates different to what you would to other people really.

    Yeah…where does that slang come from then, I mean does it come from?

    I don’t know it just, it just, I think it’s through like when you texting on your phone you, you tend to shorten words, you don’t spell it fully, you don’t use proper English, you just spell, you just shorten it like say, I don’t know say you put text back ur no, say you put wouldn’t, you’d put w.u.d.n.t, you wouldn’t fully spell you’d spell, yeah, it in slang shorten it you’d take some letters out.

    Yeah, so you talk like that as well then?

    Yeah that’s, you pronounce words differently and all, yeah, you don’t say it fully you pronounce it different.

    Can you give me an example?

    Er, I don’t know really it’s hard, unless you talking to your mates, yeah, I say I do, I do swear to much when I’m with my mates I do, most in every sentence has got a swear word in it like, I just can’t help it, it just comes out, ur I don’t know it’s hard when you not with your mates…er I don’t know I just can’t.

    Is it, is it do you think it’s because, because you are with your mates and everyone does it you do it, that you do it, that’s that’s why you use that kind, those sort of words, you swear a lot and because everybody does it, and you have to do that like to fit in, or is it just, is it just normal?

    It’s just, who, where you hang around and who you hang around with really it’s you kind of just brings it out of ya you don’t, you don’t make yourself do it, you just start doing it, yeah, like my sister goes to school in Rochdale, she she started talking like they do over there she’s kind of picking up words from over there like they do right, cause she goes over there, when I lived down Wales, I started picking up that accent as well, I started pronouncing words different than what I did when I lived in Todd, yeah, so you just, it brings it out of ya you don’t force it out, it brings it out of you, yeah, when you talking. and you hanging, when you hanging with them for so long you just start, you act different, you talk different and everything like that.

    Yeah, yeah, so you were saying earlier that you don’t get on with a lot of people, um do you think that’s because you like growing up and there’s staying the same, or what is it you think?

    I used to be, I used to be like a what they call a chav these days, I, I used to be like that when yeah, I was 14, 15, and but when you like that and you dress like that you’d judged different, people judge you differently they think, they think you’re a mug, yeah, they think you’re gonna well do something bad, or something like that so I changed, I changed from that not so, well just half way through about being sixteen, I thought I can’t be bothered with this anymore with a baseball cap and a hood up and trackies and at, so I couldn’t be bothered with it so, I just decided to dress differently and it’s kind of worked in my favour really.

    How, how has it worked in your favour?

    You get, when you like say walk into a shop or something like that, you don’t think people are always staring at you all the time thinking what’s he going to do next is he going to take something and put it in his pocket, or is he gonna come up and start threatening me or shouting and bawling and stuff like that really, yeah, and like say, I don’t know say you walk into a pub as well you, you don’t get told to turn around and walk out the door straight away you can go in and socialize and stuff like that, you don’t walk in get judged and get told to get out.

    Yeah, so it’s, it’s a bit like getting a bit of respect back, yeah, isn’t it? And just from the clothes you wear, yeah, that’s it really. Right it’s interesting yeah I know [laugh]. So did this, was this something you just decided for yourself or did someone like say to you?

    I just decided for myself cause I was sick of getting judged that way, yeah, sick if getting judged as being a thug, mmm, so , mmm, I just thought I can’t be bothered I will change now, I will change the way I dress and act, really.

    Your mates are, are they like that as well, are they still like dress like chavs or are they different?

    Some are still and some aren’t, some of have kind of gone the same direction really and some haven’t, some have stayed the same act the same.

    Do you think it’s something that you pass through at a certain age?

    I don’t know, cause my mate he’s, he’s nineteen, he’s nineteen and I’m seventeen and ur I did it like before he did so, I don’t know if it’s to do with the age, yeah, or whether you just get sick of it after a while or so, or you realize what, what’s exactly happening, yeah, you realize what, how you getting judged and stuff like that.

    How did you get into it in the first place wearing hoodies and all the rest?

    When I moved back to Tod, yeah, actually yeah, when I came back to Tod I just started as they call it a rebel really, I rebelled against everything, yeah, started doing stuff that I shouldn’t have done and wish I never did do mm, and get into trouble and all, and then all of a sudden this as they call it a chav style came along, yeah, it just, it just clicked on and I thought yeah I like that and I’ll start wearing it, and then after a while I just got fed up with it, right, so that’s just, that’s really how I started wearing it.

    Do you kind of er, the style that you wear now I mean I know you’re in your work clothes, yeah, now but I mean when, when you go out with your mates and you get dressed up have you got a particular style, do you call yourself anything?

    I just call it casual me really, I just casual wear, jeans T-shirt and I like say a normal, like a coat or a jacket, a normal jacket not like a Adidas tracksuit jacket, yeah, like that, that’s it, I don’t know like a Fred Perry cut Timberland coat or something like that, not a tracksuit jacket, yeah, trainers as well, certain types of trainers which you go into a shop and you’ve got like your chav trainers and your casual trainers.

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Wild Rose Heritage and Arts is a community group which takes it's name from the area in which we are located - the valley ("den") of the wild rose ("Heb") -  Hebden Bridge which is in Calderdale, West Yorkshire.

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