A dark tale from a leafy square.
This story was made on a five-day digital storytelling workshop for members of Watershed staff and local artists, led by Ruth Jacobs, Liz Milner and Beth Trimmer,
The course took place at Watershed during May 2005 and was supported by Bristol’s Museums, Galleries & Archives.
[Car horn sound]
Seems an awful long time ago. I was living in Victoria Square with what seemed to be a nice German man. I had a room, he had a room. He was away most of the day selling very expensive wines to very expensive people, and my girlfriend, Viv, was there with me. Well… well, in the first year we’d been lovers, and then we’d split up and she’d gone out with a Malcolm who was really the antithesis of what I was. He was in the Guards, he was very upper class. He was a “Hooray Henry” really and he rode a motorbike.
Well, Viv and I got back together and, in my second year, I was living in Victoria Square and, one night Malcolm turned up outside the flat on a very powerful motorbike, and he just kept roaring round and round the square.
I don’t know how he knew I was with her but, that night, he rode all the way home to Gloucestershire. In the dark, on a very dangerous bend he came off the bike and was killed and, ever since then, I’ve felt somehow… responsible, which is stupid. But that’s the way it is.
Oh, and the nice German man turned out to be a neo-fascist and I had John Silkin, the poet, staying one night and he came in and said “I won’t have a Jew in the flat.”. John Silkin was a very famous poet.
One day we went up to Oxford together in his car and he met my father, who was Jewish and, on the way back on the motorway he suddenly handed me the wheel and said “You drive.” I was in the passenger seat. He obviously knew my father was Jewish and, for two minutes, he sat back and let me steer the car… at seventy miles an hour.
Well, he knew I couldn’t drive – he didn’t seem to care. Well, I thought that gave some symmetry to the story.
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