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  • Revista Speak Up Digital


269 - My Father and I

Wilbur Smith on a complicated relationship.

Speak Up features an interview with best-selling author Wilbur Smith. In this video out-take we asked him whether “love-hate” was an essential element in a father-son relationship:

Wilbur Smith (South African accent): I think it is, right absolutely, because I… you know, my Poppa was a Victorian father and he had the… some of the old philosophy like “Small boys should be seen and not heard” and “Spare the whip and spoil the child” and I, up to the age of 16, I thought that this man knew nothing about life and, you know, my feelings, and then, when I turned 20, I thought, “Hey, he actually has some pretty good ideas how things should be managed and how to avoid a situation and how to solve a situation and at the age of 40, I thought “This man’s a genius! You know, fantastic, he has life by the throat and I would like to… to be able to do the same thing, to control my destiny as he controlled his destiny.” So, what I’m saying is that my vision of my father changed over 40 years, from disliking him, avoiding his company because he always had some moral lecture to give me, or, if he didn’t have that, he’d give me a task to perform. And then, by the time I was 40 and 50, I used to love his company, I used to come back from wherever I was travelling around the world just to be with him for a couple of days and talk to him and, you know, get his view of the world, which I… which suited me well. (Wilbur Smith was talking to Mark Worden) For more on Wilbur Smith, visit: http://www.wilbursmithbooks.com/

269 - Sunday Bloody Sunday


Mark Worden (Standard British accent):

Speak Up features an interview with John Kelly, who is the education and outreach officer at the Museum of Free Derry in Northern Ireland. The Museum’s exhibits include a section on the tragic events of Bloody Sunday, on January 30th, 1972. On that day British troops opened fire on civil rights marchers. 14 people died, including John Kelly’s 17-year-old brother Michael. 37 years later, John Kelly describes what happened:

John Kelly (Northern Irish accent): The march was called by the Northern (Ireland) Civil Rights Association and it was an anti-internment march, it was banned, it was illegal. It wasn’t a legal march, but at the same time the march was being held inside our own area and I joined the march like thousands of other people that day, just simply to protest against internment. And I remember Michael actually trying to persuade my mother to allow him to go on the march, he was never on a march before in his life, he was totally non-political, and he was even being educated in Belfast and staying with a Protestant woman, which she was then and so on, and eventually my mother allowed him… allowed him to go on the march and I spoke to Michael before the march began and I told him to be careful and, if anything happened, to get offsides because he had no experience whatsoever about marches, about riots, or anything of the kind. So I left him and I joined up with my friends and he went with his friends on the march. So I walked with the march and I remember getting to William Street, where the march was actually blocked by the British army, the whole area was surrounded by barricades… army checkpoints, and eventually the march was turned into the Bogside, away from the true… how do you say, destination, which was the Guildhall. The Guidhall was the final destination of the march, but we were not allowed to get there, so they blocked us and we turned… the march was turned into Rossville Street, to go to Free Derry Corner, so that the speeches could take place. So I remember, you know, coming down William Street and turning into Rossville Street, but I do remember then that the… the riot that began and it was a small riot by those days, in comparison… in comparison to those days and I went over to have a look to see what was happening and I (got) bored with it, you know, so I decided to just go back into Rossville Street and go to Free Derry Corner, to listen to the speeches. As I was walking… towards Free Derry Corner, I met a guy I knew, who I worked with, and his name was Bernie McGuigan. Bernie was shot dead on Bloody Sunday, but I… and I spoke to him for a few minutes, at Chamberlain Street, as a matter of fact, and after speaking to him, we walked on and I was walking through the car park of the high flats when the shout came up that the Paras had moved into the area, and if you look at that photograph there, it more or less tells you where I was. You know, you had the high flats here to your left-hand side, you can see the Paratroopers in the background. And, like everybody else, I ran, you can see everybody else running there within the photograph. And I do distinctly remember, there was two gaps in the high flats, one to the right and one to the left, where people are actually streaming through, trying to get away. The right-hand one was jam-packed with people, so I went to the left and I got through the gap and, as I got through, I heard this shooting begin. So I… I dived for cover and I lay there for a while and all the shooting was going on around me and I didn’t know where it was going, I didn’t know where it was coming from, but I knew it was army fire. I knew that for a fact. And, after a while, I decided to get out of the area and I got up and ran across Rossville Street and, as I did, so I heard two bullets whizz past my head. And, apparently, if you hear the whizz of a bullet, the bullet is very, very close to you, so. So I got to the other side of the street and I took cover behind a house that was just being built, this area was being built at the time, more or less, and I stood there for a while and I… I met one of my brothers-in-law, and the two of us stood together, wondering what was happening. We still heard the shooting, we couldn’t see what was happening, but we did look across the street and we’d seen a crowd of people and we wondered what it was, what was happening there. So we decided to go back into the area again to see what… you know, what the crowd were doing and, as we stepped out, two bullets bunched in front of us, they fired at us from the Derry Walls, down into the Bogside. So we came back in and took cover again. After a minute or two, the shooting had completely finished, so we decided to go on, to see what the crowd were doing and, once we got there, we’d seen a dead body in the ground, and it was Gerry McKinney. Gerry, apparently, Gerry, when he was shot, was shot with his two hands in the air and the bullet went through one side and out the other side and when he fell, his two hands fell by his side, his two arms fell by his side, so people thought he had taken a heart attack, so they were trying to resuscitate him. So I was… me and the brother-in-law were actually standing watching this, when a call came from behind, that, and there was another brother-in-law, so there was two brothers-in-law, OK? And he shouted to me, “John, Michael’s been shot!” So I ran to the house where they were actually taking him from and we carried him to the ambulance and we placed him in the ambulance and I’m nearly sure that Rory McKinney and Joe Mahon were the other two in the ambulance, they were shot as well… we went back to the hospital and we took him into the casualty where he was declared dead on arrival and I remember the doctor saying to me, “I’m sorry, he’s dead” and I says, “Are you sure?” and he checked him again and he said, “Sorry, he’s dead.” He says: “What age is he?” And I says, “16,” but I’d forgot that he had just turned 17, so he’s just a young, 17-year-old boy. So, after that there, we had to get word back to my father back home, to get my father over to the hospital, so we phoned over, somehow or other, I can’t remember how, and eventually my father came over and we had to tell him that Michael was dead. And I remember him, once we told him, he slid down the wall, you know. So we pacified him and we had to go then into the mortuary, so that they could… my father could formally identify the body. So we went into the mortuary and… when we walked in there, I’ll never forget, there was there were about three or four bodies lying in the ground, there was three or four on trolleys, and a few more in the freezer units, you know, so we had to go through them individually, to find Michael, and there was blood everywhere, and so on… So we found Michael and Michael, my father, identified Michael and we left, but then, as we sat outside the hospital, we… someone offered us a lift home in the car and, as we sat outside the hospital, this was at about six o’clock at night time, about an hour-and-a-half after the shootings, an army… an army personnel carrier pulled up and they dragged three bodies out of it and these were three young boys who were shot at the barricade, young lads that were dead. So what they did was, after shooting them, they actually went to the barricade and picked the three of them up and put them into… they threw them into the back of the Saracen, but an hour-and-a-half later they decided to bring them to the hospital. My view is that they were making sure they were dead before they got… but I seen them pulling them… dragging them from the Saracens, by their hands and their legs, taking them into the hospital, bringing them out, and throwing them back out of the Saracen again and take them to the mortuary. So after that we went home and… and when we got home, my mother was still, hopefully… Michael… believing that Michael was still alive, but when we go there we had to tell her that Michael was dead. (John Kelly was talking to Kathleen Becker)

For more on the Museum of Free Derry, visit: http://www.museumoffreederry.org/

For a video of U2’s song Sunday Bloody Sunday,  which features footage of the events of January 30th, 1972, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFM7Ty1EEvs

270 - Harry Potter and the Ugly Modelling AG.


Speak Up features an interview with Marc French, who runs the Ugly Modelling Agency in London. The agency specialises in finding “ugly” people for advertising campaigns but, as Marc French explains, it is also doing plenty of work for the film industry:

Marc French (Standard English/London accent):
Harry Potter’s been a huge part of our sort of lives, really. I mean, we’ve worked on all the Harry Potter films and I hear it going on constantly and they’re always looking for different kinds of peoples (sic), from sort of giants, dwarfs to sexy girls, I mean, every kind of look you can think of, Harry Potter will pick them and they always come to us because ours are most unique. I think they tried to do some street casts and that before, but the people weren’t real and weren’t... they’re trying to be someone else and… and our people, if you book a giant, or like a dwarf, them guys are going to walk in a room and they’re comfortable with the way they are, they’re going to do a great job. So Harry Potter’s been a great film for us.
All of the Guy Ritchie films we worked on, all Lock, Stock and all that, every single one of them thugs was ours, I mean, all of the thugs come to us, they all think… ‘cause they all want to be in movies, and all these guys, they all come in and, you know, they’ve got these different lives, where they’re these big tough characters, we give them a job, they’re going off to a casting and they’re, you know, they’re petrified, they’re like little, shaking… we’ve had the toughest of men go up for castings, they say, “Oh, we’re so scared, I’m standing in front of a camera,” and, you know, and it’s incredible, it really is and they come in and they’re like babies, you know, they go outside and they’re bare-knuckled fighters and stuff, and then they come in here and they’re like little babies and they’re great because it really gives them a chance to be themselves and no-one’s looking at them thinking they’re a thug or whatever and they’re just being wonderful characters.
(Marc French was talking to Martin Simmonds. For more on the Ugly Agency, visit: http://www.ugly.org)

270 - Katty Kay


Speak Up features an interview with Katty Kay, the BBC’s Washington correspondent. She is also the co-author, with Claire Shipman, of the book, Womenomics: Write Your Own Rules for Success. We asked her about the book:

Katty Kay (Standard British accent):
The book talks about the power that women have in the workplace. We did research which showed that the more senior women a company employs, the more money they make. And we’re arguing in the book that a lot of women don’t realise how much value they have in the economy, how much influence they have in their companies, and that they can use… we think they can use that value and that influence to try to get more time, to work more flexibly, because a lot of women, professional women, find that, when they have children, it’s very difficult to do the 60-hour week careers that American life, and professional life, demands. And what we’re saying is, “Listen, you are very valuable to your company: you might not know that you are very valuable, but you are very valuable, you bring in money. Now you can go to your boss and say, ‘I need to work more flexibly. You want to keep me? You need to let me work in the way that I want to work.’” And actually, companies that have let women work more flexibly, find great results. So we argue that this is a very good time for women to be in the workforce, it’s a very powerful time for women to be in the workforce, and that they can change the way that they want to work.

(Katty Kay was talking to Lorenza Cerbini)

271 - Sax and the City


Speak Up features an interview with Stacy Dillard, a jazz saxophonist who is based in New York. In this out-take we asked him how jazz music was surviving during the current economic crisis:

Stacy Dillard (African American accent):
Well, I think in due time, we’ll start to feel the blow, but right… as of right now, things haven’t changed too much for… for musicians, unless you’re one to travel a lot, like to go overseas, like if you’re one of the cats that go overseas all the time, if that’s how you … if that’s how you make your money, like a lot of people, you know, they have a gig where three, four months out of the year they’re in Japan or something like that, or, you know, it may or may not affect them, or I’m not sure but, for me and the work that I do and because I’m so spread out, I’m not just in jazz, I… I work with, you know, all genres, because I love all the music, and if I only had to do jazz, I would go crazy, so it hasn’t yet to affect me, so to speak, and the people that I’m surrounded by more often, because we all do the same thing, and the fact that R&B and hip-hop artists still have large audiences, they’ll still sell… they’ll still sell out on a tour, you know, they’ll still make a lot of money, so you’re still able to… to work and the fact that you’re not going to make a boatload of money playing jazz in this city anyway, so it’s… you know, they’re not … it’s not… it’s not too much different because people still need to feel something real! So coming out to hear some live music is one of many things that you can do, if you need a… a break from what’s going on around you, like whether you’re at work and it’s stressful because of the economic crisis, come down to… to the club, unwind a little bit, listen to some music, refresh you a little bit. People are still going to do that because the economy hasn’t been hurt to the point where people can’t afford to do that. Because I’m sure the bars aren’t hurt either because it’s stressful, you know, a lot of people want to have a drink after work, you know, and they go home and relax, have a drink or listen to music or do both.
So on that it hasn’t… it hasn’t hurt yet, although I did have a tour in Italy, I was supposed… I’m supposed to be in Italy right now, it got canceled for economic reasons, but that’s… that’s the only blow I’ve taken and it’s… it’s not that bad because I’ve been able to fill in those dates anyway with some other work. So it’s OK; I would have loved to go!

(Stacy Dillard was talking to Lorenza Cerbini)
For more on Stacy Dillard, visit: http://www.stacydillard.com