Playgy is the name of a short autobiographical piece I’m working on. Below are the first three paragraphs to give you a flavour.
I’m not even sure how I should spell the word “Playgy” as I don’t think anyone ever wrote it down when we were young, back in the nineteen-sixties and early seventies when it was in regular use. Although Playgy was short for playground, the way it’s pronounced sounds like someone might have been suggesting that we kids were filled with the plague – that is, plaguey. But the idea of a sweet little play area dedicated to the delightful entertainment of children couldn’t have been further from the reality and according to my Mam’s ideas about the perils that existed for anyone actually playing there, the name plaguey may have been more fitting in her eyes.
The area of ground that the name Playgy referred to was once an old school that had been fire-bombed during the second world war and had stood as waste ground ever since the removal of the damaged buildings shortly afterwards. By the time I was allowed to play out on my own in the mid sixties the site had been standing derelict and empty for more than twenty years. Empty, that is, apart from the single large structure that stood on the north-west corner that we always called Tin Shed.
For some of the adults who’d lived through the war and then with the aftermath of the bombings, the waste ground was more often than not referred to as “bomb-buildings” (which I’m sure was a shortening of “bombed buildings”), as were many other sites around Hull – a city which was then still recovering from war damage and with plenty of scars to show for it. However, to the kids of my generation who lived in the area, this piece of ground was always called Playgy. And in spite of many changes to the area in the intervening years, it’s still a name that enables me to bring back many memories of a part of my life that was relatively care-free.