8th April


A voice came from the radio, then another, and another. Rich, old, rough. Regional voices: sounds made by working people of the not so long ago, from places broken and crushed, covered over and landscaped, or just left to rust and rot. Like voices from the early days of wireless, without the scratch and crackle. Men remembering, not the Thirties or the War, but the war of thirty years ago. Blink and you’re back there. Like yesterday.

‘She was a fighter, I’ll give her that. She fought for her class. I don’t blame her for it. She was against us and we were against her. When you pull on your boots and go down a stinking pit on a cold, dark, winter’s morning, you go with other men and there’s comradeship in that, solidarity. That’s what we were, a community, and she attacked us. What could we do but fight back? It was our lives.’

‘It’s a mistake to make a monster of her. There are people holding street parties – I saw it on the telly. Most of that lot weren’t born, it’s just an excuse. I won’t dance on her grave but I’ll raise a glass to her going. If she was a monster does that mean the monster is slain? They’d have you believe it. Do you think when the tabloids print BEAST across the face of a child molester it’ll never happen again? It’s human nature, like it or not. She may be dead but what she stood for’s alive and well.’

‘You had to take sides. That was how it was. And nothing has changed, whatever anyone tells you. The only thing that’s changed is all the politicians have gone over to the other side. All educated together, all sound the same, all with the same policies. Who represents people like us in that place today? Nobody I can see. Nobody I hear.’

They were there for a few minutes, those voices, then they were gone. And the tales they told were true, but truer still were the sounds they made in the telling. You don’t hear them any more. You just don’t hear them. It was like listening to ghosts.

Reader: Jimmy Hutchison
Fiddle: Aidan O'Rourke
Piano: Kit Downes
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