Monday, November 21, 2005

Off Camera #1

Stepping into Curzon Street, from the left, I reimagined years gone by as a black and white photograph, sepia even, with me in the foreground, a trolleybus in the background making its slow rattle up St Ann’s Well Road, torn in the top left hand corner and badly creased at the bottom right - the actual photograph, that is. There’s me, school cap, satchel, blazer – I had a satchel then – waving and smiling, short trousers, a hint of sadness just behind the eyes. Plump, nicely plump, not fat, nondescript knees. Off frame, just out of reach, the touch from my mother’s hand, her fingers just in shot, obscuring the view of a tall brick chimney. Red brick, you can almost feel the glow. The pavement, lifted slightly by the outlying cobbled stones, the dust on the endless, crooked pavement, the kerb weathered down, far too close to the street and far too close to the people who walk there.

Here missus, some firewood for you! as it crashed down in the back yard, the dismantled debris from the old Player’s factory that blocked the sun from the back window where I’d sit and count the rain. We’ve got a gas fire! she shouted, my mother, we don’t need your wood you cheeky gets!

6 Comments:

Blogger Molly Bloom said...

Straight out of your kitchen sink and into my Postmodern nightmare world in London. Made me long for Derby nights in Men-only clubs and laughter at Bingo in Sheffield.

An epiphanic moment - where mom reaches out to child. I wonder if you wished you were even closer - note the notquitetouching hands.

Loved the ending - that Northern twang of angerhumour just squeezing out, like a bubble of fat from a pork pie.

6:29 PM  
Blogger Molly Bloom said...

Comments from Year 9 English lesson: Students' responses from a wide range of ability. Comments are transcribed from a video of the session.

'he uses the setting really well and shows what he actually felt'

'maybe he's putting on an act but if you uncover it, he's sad underneath'

'he is using descriptive language to show what the photo is like and the fact that the photo is creased could be how he was treated as a child - so maybe he was abused'

'the photograph could reflect the way that he was treated'

'memory is very important to this person'

'he said 'years gone by' so maybe he didn't have a good past and he's trying to block it out'

'he saw the picture of himself with the satchel and maybe he misses his school or the other students'

'it might be Victorian times because he's got a satchel'

'if he was remembering...it could have been his father or his grandfather'

'sometimes people lie with their eyes so the eyes show alot about this person'

'I think this is a closed up person who doesn't like to show their true feelings'

'when he uses 'red brick' it makes us think of warmth and home'

'his mum is very dear to him - do you think that she is dead?'

We wanted to know how old the boy is in the picture - 6, 10, 13?

'maybe he is drifting away from him mum'

'maybe she is encouraging him - push him forward in life'

'he hardly remembers her - because her fingers are just in shot'

'maybe she has passed away but he might be thinking about her'

'it could be a dream'

'it might be writing down everything that comes into your head like memories'

'it sounds like my mum'

'she's bossy, bit friendly, humourous'

'why has he used gets instead of gits?'

'maybe she doesn't get on with her neighbours'

'maybe she is ungrateful for the help'

'onomatopoeia where it says crash'

it hasn't got a capital letter because it's a run-on line'

'in the three paragraphs it tells you the three stages of his life'

'there is a lot of description in a short space of time'

'he knows what he wants but we don't sometimes know what he's thinking, so it's hard'

'we want to know what he's really thinking about his mum'

'the more you read it, the more you know'

'I've learnt about different styles of writing'

'I like the way he uses time'

'I found it hard the way it moved on quickly from the photo'

Written response in the style of...

'Her little button nose and rosy cheeks and little pink lips. I can remember the first time I held her: soft, sweet, calm. She starts to cry, I give her her dummy. She created a small area of relaxation. She closes her eyes and curls up in my arms. It just hits me straight out that the baby, that is in my arms, is my niece. I'm an aunt.'

'Can we get him to come and visit?'

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