Thursday, June 05, 2008


#1: A cluttered room with an unmade bed in one corner, book shelves stuffed with cups, boxes, magazines and newspapers, the occasional book. A bulky old TV weightily sat on a stack of three: VCR, DVD, Sky. An occasional table with a pint glass three-quarters full of whisky. A floral sofa, shiny with dirt at the usual places of contact. Sitting on the sofa, the corpse of a hyper-inflated, naked man, his head angled to the left, his eyes and mouth closed, the lower surfaces of his body marbled with post-mortem staining, the remote control in his right hand partially subsumed by the rolling tympanic volume of his abdomen. A technician holding a clipboard and prescription sheet with one hand, pen in the other. A paramedic pulling back a grey net curtain and reaching through to open a window. A housing warden with a mobile phone to one ear, checking his watch.

#2: A gaunt man in a light blue windcheater and silver glasses, propped up against a low wall in the street, his bald head glazed by the sun. He is smiling bravely at the technician kneeling beside him, holding his wrist. There is a paramedic standing next to a line of three young women, all with their arms folded, looking down at the man like the chorus in some new, street adaptation of a classic Greek play.

#3: The strip-lit lobby of a dark block of flats. The lift is open, and four people are striding out: a technician with a baby in his arms, a woman in a light pink tracksuit and a paramedic carrying a red response bag and a cylinder of oxygen. The baby is wearing an unbuttoned white sleep suit; its arms and legs thrown out to the side and its head tipped back in the classic falling posture of the startled newborn.

#4: A silver saloon car outside a pub, its hazards on and all its doors open, no one there. An ambulance alongside it, headlights wig-wagging and blue lights sparkling, the back door open and the step down. Four men in blue football shirts walking into the pub, passing behind the vehicles. The second one is slapping or pushing the first one on the shoulder, but neither have turned to look inside the ambulance. The third one has his hands in his pockets, looking at the tarmac. The last and youngest one has his face turned to the dark interior of the ambulance; the compulsion to know holds his expression like a mask.


cogidubnus said...

Brilliant little sketches Spence, but be fair and stop can't leave us like this...we now NEED to know more!

loveinvienna said...

I agree with C - excellent sketches. I'm still slightly in awe of your memory for detail!
Liv xxx

Spence Kennedy said...

Thanks C! FYI - I've no idea why the guy died at home, but he did have a few chronic illnesses / could've been any one of about 3. The guy collapsed in the street had recently changed his meds, plus it was a hot day... The baby in the tower block was extremely poorly / not breathing for itself very well. The team at hospital suspected some form of sepsis. The empty car outside the pub was to another baby, this time with febrile convulsions.

LiV - some things I'm good at remembering (especially when I know I'm going to be using them later), but other things I'm awful. For example, I've got 6 brothers and sisters, and still couldn't tell you when all of their birthdays are (although that could be that unconsciously I'm deliberately forgetting them so I don't have to fork out). I did remember sister 3's the other day, though. I bet she fainted when she saw the package. In fact, haven't heard anything from her, so I'd better check she's okay. xx

cogidubnus said...

I know exactly what you mean...I have the kind of job where I have to carry hundreds of facts for a few days, use them, then drop them in favour of the next lot....and after ** years and five kids I still can't remember whether my good lady's birthday is the 13th or 18th of April...have to double check every year...perhaps that's psychological though!

loveinvienna said...

She could still be on the floor in a dead faint do you mean?! ;O) I think you can be forgiven for getting birthdays wrong if you're one of 7 children. Add into that nieces, nephews, cousins, not to mention grandparents and great Uncles and Aunts... I have a small family but even then my memory is really very poor... which reminds me, my best friend from school turned 20 last weekend :o| whoops.
Liv xxx