Last month I led my first Death Writing session of 2015. Participants of different backgrounds, ages and experiences came together to discuss their relationship with memory, write about significant objects and places, and compose poems for people they’d lost. One of the attendees, the lovely Jodie Kay Ashdown, has kindly posted the piece she wrote on the evening which I’d love to share.
Please find below her blog post about the evening, originally posted via The works, whims and whiles of Jodie: Death Writing – Grief and Memory. Enjoy!
“Death Writing – Grief and Memory
This is a piece that I wrote in a grief writing session headed by Christina Thatcher at the Made Gallery in Roath. It came out somewhat unexpectedly as I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about before I went.
This is about someone I went to school with – those who know will know.
We’d get a half on the bus into town in our baggy jeans, band hoodies and spiked belts. Queuing up outside, we’d check surreptitiously which bouncers were on that night hoping it wouldn’t be Martin, the notorious ID-er. False birthdays and their accompanying fabricated star signs at the ready, we’d organise ourselves with the tallest and oldest-looking at the front and back with the others on their tiptoes in between. We’d try to look nonchalant.
Once downstairs, everyone from school would be there, the entire sixth form and some high-shooting year elevens. Herded into that subterranean place of pseudo-punk, suspicious drips and free toast, we’d gather at the bar downing our watered-down vodka and cokes and waiting for the music to improve (to something deemed acceptable by the group to like) so we could rush en-masse down to the dancefloor.
On Wednesdays, your favourite, the night was called Take Warning, run by some cooler, older guys with dreads from a couple of years above. We’d pile onto the dance floor, hold our hands up when they unleashed the foam machine and jostle each other to the tunes of Rancid, The Dead Kennedys, Less than Jake and The Offspring (early albums only). Exhausted after a rousing bout of ‘Bob’ by NOFX or Catch 22’s ‘Keasbey Nights’, we’d trip to the bar. The spent foam mixture, beer, sweat and spit soaked up to the knees of our jeans, the way the snow did on the day of your funeral.
We were young, untouchable, our GCSE’s behind us and the world yet to come. We were going to be rock stars, we were going to make it big, we were going to be friends forever. You were part of it, part of us. United by a dubious taste in music, hidden yet infected piercings, and a questionable fashion sense which resulted in almost total social exclusion.
We were the underage drinkers, smokers, stoners, metalheads, moshers and acid-takers.
And we were perfect.
This one’s for you: