dilluns, 2 de maig del 2011


The Yorkshire ripper was from Bradford. The prostitutes who came down to London on the train on 'cheap-day return' tickets were from bradford. At a time when de game of soccer was threatened by so many troubles, Bradford seemed to have troubles of the most extreme kind. Days after the deaths in Brussels at the Heysel stadium, forty-seven Bradford football supporters were killed in one of the worst fires in the history of the sport. Eighteen months later, there was yet another fire, and a match stopped because of crowd violence.

It was everything I imagined a Bradford working-class community would be like, except that there was one difference. Everyone I'd seen since I arrived was Pakistani. I had yet to see a white face.

That evening, Jane –the friend I was staying with– and I decided to go put. we walked down the hill and into the centre of the town. It looked like many other town centres in Britain. The subways under the rundabouts stank of urine; graffiti defaced them and lakes of rainwater gathered at the bottom of the stairs. There was a massive shopping centre with unnatural lighting; some kids were rollerskating through it, pursued by three pink-faced security guards in paramilitary outfits. The shops were also the same: Rymans, Smiths, Dixons, the National Westminster Bank. I hadn't become accustomed to Bradford and found myself making simple comparisons with London. The clothes people wore were shabby and old; they looked as if they'd been bought in jumble sales or second-hand shops. And their faces had an unhealthy aspect: some were malnourished.

As we crossed the city, I could see that some parts looked old-fashioned. They reminded me of my English grandfather and the Britain of my childhood: pigeon keeping, greyhound racing, roast beef eating and pianos in pubs. Outside the centre, there were shops you'd rarely see in London now: drapers, ironmongers, fish and chip shops that still used newspaper wrappers, barber's shops with photographs in the window of men with Everly Brothers haircuts. And here, among all this, I also saw the Islamic Library and the Ambala Sweet Centre where you could buy spices: dhaniya, haldi, garam masala, and dhal and ladies' fingers. There wew Asian video shops where you could buy tapes of songs of Master SAjjad, Nayyara, Alamgir, Nazeen and M. Ali Shahaiky.

Hanif Kureishi, Granta. Bradford.