Inside Stories, Episode 11 [HMP Featherstone, October 2019]
“Impetuous and brash, unashamedly daring / Emotionally crippled, vaguely uncaring
Indecision, obsession, complexity of mind, / Callous, uncouth, cold & uncompromising …”
“Any awkwardness didn’t last long, as ‘Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow’ by Fleetwood Mac and today, us, went off like a rocket and we finished with a mighty “Don’t Stop!” reminiscent of the Charge of the Light Brigade. Wow!”
“In the exercise yard I am one of the very few, maybe even the only one, who looks upwards. I look at the sky. It is the closest to freedom I can attain. I once loved walking in the countryside, on the downs, by the coast, over fields and meadows; in Rye Hill I don’t have that luxury but I have the sky, which I appreciated always and do so even more now.”
“Four house martins greeted each other as they swooped in shallow circles around and above where I stood in the exercise yard. It seemed this was their first encounter since arriving back from Africa, where they had spent the winter. I in turn greeted them having watched them arrive last year – just after I myself had first come to Rye Hill.”
“It is theirs and it matters. It is a piece of life inside that they want to be successful. Their faces are alive as they imagine ways in which it might flourish. Just as much as the singing that follows, these few minutes are an indication of the way Beating Time works through these men, fuelling them with confidence and a sense of purpose”
“Sean, our compere, opened proceedings bang on 9am, with a loudly hailed welcome to us all. He introduced Grace, our very own LGBT choir member, who related to all assembled in a voice, soft and quiet, but audible and serious, her experiences realising she (then a ‘he’) was different. All listened intently and at the end a genuine and enthusiastic round of applause was generously received by her.”
“Behind the obvious farce and wasted expense of these circumstances is the realisation that for some reconviction becomes an expectation – something fixed – a vision of their future that holds them in a vice and stops them moving on with their lives. In a perverse reversal of purpose, prison can serve as a refuge from the fundamental challenge of actually living.”
“Let it out, let it out / Take it day by day by day / Let it out, let it out / Take it day by day by day
Every song’s got a memory / Of someone who’s dear to me / Singing makes me happy
Keeps me away from the pain / Locked up in jail / I’ll soon be home again.”
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