A crowd of terraced houses with pasty pink faces turned their backs on me and I became a jigsaw piece in the wrong box. Cos' I didn't say "reet" quite as often as I should; cos' I didn't play football on a desolate field at weekends. From the school's yard to that street on Walshy reverberating voices reminded: "You're not a proper Geordie yee! You're too posh! Living with your Ma with her degree, sittin in your room reading!" As if we weren't living on this bonfire housing estate. As if we had a car or owned a first hand telly not passed down from retiring family. "And anyways you weren't even born in Newcastle, you were born in South Shields that means you're a sand dancer!" A whisper of the oceans breeze twisting across the sand dunes invisible is what it made me. It's fair to say the kids on the estate were hard to get on with. At the bus stop the colour of its sour piss reek one asked what kind of dog I had, a castaway mongrel, and here's me in my dirty blue fleece the rubber zip half chewed off. I mumbled some answer while he burst my lip, the blood sticking in thick clots in my hands like acrylic paint. He hid behind his older brother so I couldn't fight back and laughed. My Mam phoned the police not for the last time: glitter of broken glass under car tires; potato in exhaust pipe. This was a tale between two cities: Hebburn is a limbo. Told I was too bookish to be a Geordie, too poor to be a toff; a sort of non-person pickled cryogenically in speech and geography but what of the venerable Bede? Retreating from grey wasteland of childhood, spent evenings alone on some land round the back; the place that used to be flats till' the council detonated explosives. Trees and wild grass covered it now like the post apocalypse. Pieces of rubble there were King Arthur's stone. My Swiss army knife a sword titanium, mind projecting imagination over every unconstrained organism. I singled myself out in the end- became a proper cliché goth. Got an ankle length trench coat too long with Christmas money off my Grandma, sometimes cousin's nail polish black. It was a really bad look for me that, considering by this point I was also pretty fat: I looked like a jacket potato decorated by Marilyn Manson in art class. And I still remember the time I got eggs thrown at me by radgies in The Newie. The sun baking the whites milky on my hot cowhide like sliced eyeballs gazing back accusingly. Y'know these kind of moments infect your identity. And how was I supposed to know back then these kids weren't an authority on being a Geordie? Or that some of them were actually from Sunderland (whatever that means). I decided that if being a Geordie meant changing the way I spoke, if it was a certain haircut or a type of clothes, if it meant pretending I was someone else then I was withdrawing this application for Geordieness. I was deporting myself from Geordieland.