Scratch beneath the surface

Last weekend members of Entelechy’s elders performing company performed their nomadic street performance work BED on the streets of Brighton and Hove as part of the 2016 Brighton Festival. The work was commissioned by Without Walls, Brighton Festival and Winchester Hat Fair.

Entelechy Bed-10.jpg

Photograph Roswither Chesher

Saturday morning. George Street, Hove. Scratch beneath the surface and it’s there. Most everyone is walking up and down this pedestrianised seems to be living with one degree of separation from stories of loneliness and isolation: their own stories; those of an older relative; experiences that have been encountered in their family or working lives. Maybe that is why the simple act of placing two older women in their nightclothes on two beds abandoned on the public thoroughfare has caused such a complex outpouring of reflection and emotion:

“I work in customer services and we get people phoning in to pay a bill. They’ll want to chat but it’s difficult because you’ve got other people to deal with. They just want to have a chat. And those little five minute things are a little window where you are sharing a bit of compassion; an interest in things: that makes a difference to somebody. It really does. That’s the problem. The world’s so busy. And I think that is where a lot of the problem is.” 

Entelechy Bed-3.jpg

Photograph Roswither Chesher

“I’ve come across that at times. Loneliness. More so as I’ve got older. I mean I’m in my late sixties now and, yeah, you find that people ignore you. It’s horrible.”

“ ‘What is it?’ We asked a few people on the way up: ‘is it a strange art thing?’  I didn’t know and now I understand and I think its very good because there a lot of people who live with themselves alone and have nobody to see them or nobody cares. It is sad. Very, very sad. It caught my interest. It made me aware.”

“I live on my own. I’m on my own every night with these two dogs. And everyday. It’s bloody lonely you know. Nobody understands if they haven’t got family and I haven’t got family. It’s a brilliant idea doing this.My dogs keep me going. If it weren’t for them well I’d have jumped out of the window ages ago. That’s how things are. The loneliness is like you are in a goldfish bowl on your own. How would I describe the loneliness? To me personally I feel like I’m in a bubble in a goldfish bowl.”

“Some leaflets came through our door inviting us to partner lonely people in our communities on a one-on-one relationship basis. My partner wanted to do that but its just one of those things that got left to the bottom of the pile of paper work in the kitchen with the school forms. I think its really fantastic. It’s made my day. I found myself telling her about my twelve year old daughter’s birthday party and how I’m really pleased that she’s having it at home today after years of, you know, being too cool to have it at home. Its nice for women to speak to older women.”

“I’ve got a cat and her name is night club and she goes clubbing like me out and about late at night. I’ve been in care since I was eight years old. My mum died when I was ten years old. I’ve been looked after for a while but where I am its only a short stay. They should be doing something about care shouldn’t they?”

“In our block there was a chap, lived on his own. No one had seen him for a while, like the neighbours and that. The council came up and they smashed the door down. Went in there. Could find nothing. This went on for a year, the bills piling up. They found him finally slumped behind an armchair. He’d been dead for months.”

 

 

 

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2 Responses to Scratch beneath the surface

  1. tessietickle says:

    The lonely person with the dogs – did you get their contact details? I want to take them for a cup of tea and cake 🙂

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