The Bickerstaffe Record


About Me

The Bickerstaffe Record weblog is maintained, usually really badly, by me –  Paul Cotterill, the former Labour councillor for Bickerstaffe Ward, West Lancashire, England.  It seeks to bring local news to Bickerstaffe and West Lancashire residents, but keeps getting sidetracked by other stuff, for which I apologise.  It is the sister publication to the hard copy Bickerstaffe Record, which goes to all residents and should be done quarterly, but has slipped a bit over the last year, I’m sorry to say.

I was the (single) councillor for Bickerstaffe Ward from 2007-11.  In 2007 Labour won the ward for the first time ever, having increased the vote by around 600% since 1999.  The people who worked hard for that are proud of the achievement.

I tried to be a good councillor, what with being honoured to represent people and all.   That included doing the Bickerstaffe Record regularly, because people like to be told what’s going on.  In 2011, I stopped being a councillor.  Some thought that an odd decision, but there is a lot of other stuff to do.

I’m a 48 year old bloke with prematurely white hair and a slight paunch.   I am working class with middle class asiprations, or the other way round depending on what the argument’s about/when I’m droning on about Gramsci.

 I quite like the sound of my own voice, but am an indescribably bad public speaker following an unfortunate incident at a big hall in London somewhere in the 1980s, so I keep it to a minimum.

Aeons ago I trained as a nurse and worked in London, Switzerland and then for aid/development agencies in Bangladesh, India and Tanzania.  I came back to the UK in the mid 1990s and I now claim to know a couple of things about things like regeneration, community and social development, local finance initiatives and that kind of thing. 

For a living, I work in several places and never have quite enough time for any of them.  I’m doing one of the slowest ever PhDs and am getting to the point when I’m glad it’ll soon be over.

My favourite book of fiction by a very long way is Franz Kafka’s The Trial, because Franz got the hang of the human condition and wrote it down.  I like old Blues songs by Bessie Smith and her contemporaries because they do much the same thing as Franz to the hairs on the back of my neck, only in English and with music.  For example:

“No I don’t mind drowning, but the water is so cold/If I musty leave this good world, I wanna leave it brave and bold.”(Shipwreck Blues)

“‘Like a dog’ he said. It was as if he meant the shame of it to outlive him.” (The Trial)