4. Kathy (Our Mam)
(From the archive of (edited) interview transcripts, The 34: 34 Years On)
SHANNON She didn’t wanna do it. We had to work really hard to get her to. “What? Me? A cleaner? They’ve got to be joking.” She went on and on about it being a joke. “No way. And it says in the letter I don’t have to, so I won’t. And it’s only addressed to Occipier so it’s not meant, is it? Can’t be.”
CASPAR A great big softie, our Mam. Me and Kath were only… what?
SHANNON I were fifteen. You must of been twelve. I remember her calling her sister, Vivienne. “Can you come round? Something really odd’s happened. We’ve had a letter. I can’t work out if it’s for real or not.”
CASPAR Auntie Viv. Fruitcake we called her.
SHANNON “Ring that number!” Viv says. “Go on, ring it!” Our Mam weren’t sure. It’d gone ten by the time they finished arguing bout it. Mam didn’t think it right to ring anyone after ten. But it said 24/7 on the letter.
CASPAR I would of. Used to call mates at school later than that. From me bedroom.
SHANNON She did in the end. Made an appointment. Then a few days later, two of them turned up at the door. Mam made us tidy everything up and they seemed posh when they talked, but Mam were quite cool about in the end.
CASPAR Don’t remember any of this.
SHANNON Not even the brown lad? Imtiaz. I remember him as if it were yesterday. Rather handsome, I thought, at the time. And he came back just before Christmas with a proper iPad thing for you which was all set up so’s you couldn’t watch porn!
CASPAR I must of chucked it in the bin then.
SHANNON She only did two, or were it three, of the parliment things. Weekends away, see. Dad were alright bout it at first, but I think he were jealous. She quite liked it, I think. Said it made her feel important. Then when it started on TV she watched a few bits. “That’s so-and-so. I know her. Oh look, it’s Bill! Such a nice bloke, he is. He’d be a better bleeding prime minster than the one we’ve got now. Ha ha.” And she wanted to go on that big march… when were it, four or five years later… but she took ill a week before. Auntie Viv went. I mighta done but I was working.
CASPAR Ah, I do remember that. Saw some of it on the box. How many was it?
SHANNON Three million or more, the paper said. Couldn’t have been. “I’m there with them, in spirit,” Mam said. Shame she won’t remember any of it herself. Not now. We’re off to see her tomorra, aren’t we, Casp?
SHANNON She’d be pleased bout us doing this interview. If she could understand.
CASPAR Aye. She would.
SHANNON Will that do?