Friday, 28 November 2014

SISTER

JANET

Janet died on 12th October 1996. She was beautiful. She was only eight years old when our father died. My mother was originally a dancer but, after my father's death, she retrained as a hairdresser and got a job at Clifford's Hair Salon in Fetter Lane and so Janet had to look after us when we got home from school and give us tea and put us to bed. We got on very well and often I would chat to her on Sunday mornings when she put on her make up, "Sunday Morning Talks" we called them. I used to listen to Pick of the Pops on the radio and write out the Hit Parade for her. I think I was jealous of her boyfriends because one day, when she was with some guy on a punt on the river in Oxford, I gave her the Hit Parade but she brushed me away very curtly and I was so cross that I screwed up the paper and threw it into the water. I guess that I was being an embarrassing, irritating little shit.

I loved her so much. In the two years before she died, I saw more of her than I would otherwise have done; it was like packing ten years in so, from that point of view, it was a good time. When she died, I experienced depths of emotion that I have never felt before or since. In a peculiar way, I enjoyed it - the "beautiful pain" I call it.

This is a film I made about her fifteen years after her death - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDxR_TQ7Xpw&list=UUnwlP_pdsLN81xU6MClevxg