Monday, 20 February 2012


Phil writes:

This group poem was made by intercutting conversations at the Salford Buddy Cafe about luck and chance, with information about dementia taken from a factsheet 'Am I at risk of developing dementia' (available to download from the Alzheimer's Society website). Conversations were noted and cut up with scissors; the lines were then arranged and edited by participants, particularly Dave and Shirley.

What strikes me loudest and deepest is the humour and complete lack of self-pity in these words.



who's got all the 7s? 77 Sunset Strip
77's me age
played cards here years
had some bad knocks
still got most of my marbles
age is the most significant risk factor
had a few sleeps since
open my eyes in the morning and
I've got another day

medical history

lucky? yes I am
only thing wrong with me is Alzheimers
depends where you're born
- how green the air is
that part of the brain died
and won't regenerate
you either fall off the dustbin that way
or not
if you don't laugh you'll cry
if you cry you might as well die


start with 7 of spades
follow on, remember
a bookies in the backyard
dom, crib, poker, family dates, birthdays
all the generations together
playing cards
grandma hid the bets under the pie crust
at number 7
middle of the road
don't stand there
never stand on a cracked slab


women are slightly more likely to develop
Alzheimers than men
vascular dementia on the other hand
seems to be more common in men
playing snakes and ladders for money
flirting the marbles
I like to converse
s'pose we're lucky
we play
the hand we deal

environment and lifestyle

a very clear inheritance
industry when you were young
affected your health
like a tramp on a kipper
"tha knows what I mean"
proper Lancashire
you can be a lucky person at the beginning yes
after that no
"where's tha bin?"
"in the yard, where's your's?"


if it comes it comes
if it doesn't it doesn't
sometimes a good day
sometimes a bad
watch out for the police
and private detectives
adopt a balanced diet for life
get regular blood
get more serious
playing for stakes
the stakes you're playing for are life

famous last words:
played for and got

group poem, edited by Dave and Shirley
Salford, February 2012

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 folk involved. Some of these pieces will be interviews, others creative work. We're trying to trace paths through the jargon and confusion, towards understanding. This project is in partnership with Age Concern Salford and Salford PCT.

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