Tuesday, 27 March 2012

A bloody belter

arthur+martha is working at a 'Buddy Cafe' for people diagnosed with dementia - and their carers - in Salford. We're bringing together the stories of the many people involved. Some of these pieces are interviews, others creative work.  This project is in partnership with Age Concern Salford and Salford PCT. 


I don't like cards. We used to talk alot in the past. Not talk, converse. You sit there and chat: "We used to go here and there." One of them bloody things. Chat to that old fella over there, he's alright, he's bang on. I like to converse rather than silly bloody games. We're not bloody stupid, we know why we're here. What they've done to us!

I don't play cards. But I like it here, I've no qualms. I've still got me marbles, some of em. My darling looks after me, she thinks I'm bloody going daft I think. But I'm alright really, I understand the situation. Well what else can I do? I'm telling you as it is.

Born Anky Park, I've been all over. Did work for the milling people. Knocked about with people, I look around. I like to converse, tell you things, listen. I'm curious about the world. I loved the Mexicans best, but they got too Americanised. We was building a flour mill in Mexico. Went there 19 times I think. Went to Ireland 11 times. Stayed in digs, they wouldn't let us stay in the hotel cos the IRA kept blowing it up.

D'you know what a 'dingler' is? A derogatory term for someone who's really going down. Stupid. It's a word you would never use in this place. Even me and you've got a baddun here: I'm from Anky Park, Ankinson Street. "Stupid? You would have to talk about that." People treat you different here. But I'm alright. We're all getting older, what're you gonna do?

Lucky? Yes I am, the only thing wrong with me is Alzheimers. I can converse, but I've had some bad knocks. So what? I've got to bloody carry on, I wouldn't want to roll up and bloody die. I like to talk, but not rubbish. I'm glad things like this - you and me talking - are coming into here.

My wife gets uptight sometimes with me. I swear a lot, "For Chrissake!" But without her I'd be gone. She's a bloody belter that girl, honestly. She is the best, the best. We used to go out to the dancing, I really loved it. I really did. A good life, a good laugh.

Early days I can remember. Bellevue when I was eight, we'd go there on our own, with the other boys, the other kids. It wasn't a big deal, the freedom. For 2 and 6 you'd see the show. When I used to go there it was marvellous. There was two Bachelors I went with. Not THE Bachelors, they were arseholes. Have you played 'Alleys'? Marbles, flicking them? I was good at "flirting" the marbles. It's nice to remember sometimes, they're good memories.

Work, I was in charge. It was my bag. The work, it was up to me to do it, to make it go. I had to do it. Alot of people in the business went down cos of drinking too much, chasing girls. I'm not a big drinker. I like a drink but I won't be a piss artist. I was in charge.

I don't let people take me where they want to go. I'm still in charge. I couldn't put my coat on this morning and it upset me. We're all getting bloody older. I wish me head was better. You know I've got this Alzheimers?

I'll tell you a story, I thought it was funny. Posh pub. I was going in this pub, rushing to get me keks down cos I was bursting for a pee. Got hold of a roll of toilet paper, bloody thing fell down and I was trying to get me pants down and I got confused. Got out of the gents and I was trying to get out of this bloody big, big pub, lost. And she was going on, calling me. Couldn't find me way. And then I looked down. Embarrassing but what are you going to do? One of them things. You just can't get your underpants up some days.

Interview with Philip Davenport
February 2012

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