My name really is Daren and yes, I really do come from Billericay, having grown up here, since my parents moved us out here from South London in 1970, when I was only three years old. It was very hard growing up in Billericay, which was a much smaller community than it is today; we were the first brown people to live in the area. It felt like being a spot on a domino. At infant school, I’d get asked “Were you born in the jungle?” or “Did you know Tarzan?”, but that teacher soon left. Years later, in a local boozer, I was approached by a gentleman whose hair was so short I wondered if he was undergoing chemotherapy. He threateningly told me to get out as it was a “white pub, whites only!”. I informed him that he might be confused, it was in fact The RED Lion, so did that mean it communists only? Maybe he should seek refuge in The White Hart across the road..???
But times change, horizons broaden and Billericay’s come a long way. Nearly fifty years on, today if you walk down the High Street, you can now see Indians, Chinese, Italians,Turkish, Thais…in fact, all kinds of restaurants!