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A Tiny Seed

January 21, 2014

I’m meant to get a lay in on a Sunday morning. I do go back to bed after the support worker arrives but the conversation from downstairs is so gripping, I find it impossible to go back to sleep. The plan is that the support worker does Steven’s bath and breakfast. Then I run through the Sunday script with Steven, confirming the running order of the day and then return to bed. Steven then watches the introduction to Match Of The Day – he’s not bothered about the football but he likes to know who’s on the panel. Then, they listen to a C90 compilation tape that Steven and I prepared the afternoon before.

It is the interaction during the tape that is so distracting. Nick, the support worker, is the same age as Steven but he has very little musical knowledge prior to 1990 – his musical tastes only stretch to drum and bass. This is a genre Steven has never really got into – The Proclaimers not including much drum and bass in their back catalogue. This disparity in their musical experience is what makes their conversation so fascinating.

For those of you who may wish to act out the following vignettes at your next theatre workshop. I’ve included some performance notes to help with your characterisation:

Steven: Earnest, delighted to have someone interested in him but slightly bemused that he knows more than his carer.
Nick: Eager to engage but keenly aware that he’s having an intense learning experience.

This is how Sunday’s conversation went:

Track One:
Nick: “Who is this Steve?”
Steven: “Wheatus – Teenage Dirtbag”
Nick – “When was this Steve?”
Steven: “When Steven Neary was in David Watson’s class. Class 1. Steven Neary sang Wheatus in act of worship on Thursday afternoon”.

Track Two:
Nick: “Who is this Steve?”
Steven: “Sparks – This Town Aint Big Enough”
Nick: “When was this Steve?”
Steven: “Long time. Massive long time”
Nick: “Where was Steven Neary?”
Steven: “Steven Neary was not here yet. Steven Neary was a tiny seed”.

Track Three:
Nick: “Who is this Steve?”
Steven: “The Beautiful South – 36D”
Nick: “When was this Steve?”
Steven: “Steven Neary was in Scunthorpe. Steven Neary was eating four bourbon biscuits”.
(The song continues)
Steven: “Nick – no ladies in 36D”
Nick: “No ladies in 36D?”
Steven: “Just the men. Brianna Corrigan’s left. Jacqui Abbott’s not here yet”.
Nick: “So, just the men?”.
Steven: “And Chook from Muriel’s Wedding.”

Track Four:
Nick: “I know this one Steve – It’s Coolio”
Steven: “No. It’s Coolio featuring LV”.
Nick: “When was this Steve?”
Steven: “It was Steven Neary’s first Christmas in Hillingdon. Steven Neary was in Maggie Tesei’s class. Had Coolio and LV on Christmas Top of The Pops with Jack Dee and Bjork”
Nick: “Was Jack Dee the host?”
Steven: “Jack Dee was talking – and now for a marvellous musical montage starting with Coolio and LV”

And so it went on. Nick was taught about the sort of chocolates that Cilla Black eats (Ferrero Rocher); How Gary Barlow came to have jelly up his bum and why Benny Anderson won’t shave his beard off.

Would you sleep?


From → Social Care

  1. Emily permalink

    I had my little boy singing a Dora song to me at 3am this morning…in SPANISH!!! They are rays of sunshine on a gloomy day :-).

  2. duncfmac permalink

    Ha,ha,ha loved this. Steven certainly knows his music!

  3. Weary Mother permalink

    I know totally what you feel. When my son was about nine and his speech disability and his other disabilities and life in general just seemed to much to bear, I was washing up at the open kitchen window. We had just returned from a difficult holiday in the far North of Scotland. I heard my son who I did not know was sitting outside and under the open window, say very clearly (to me) to his little, younger non disabled friend, ‘Jonathan, in Scotland the sky at night is blue (long pause) and with more emphasis AND PINK, and pause, even more emphasis AND ORANGE and PURPLE and YEEELLOOOW.

    I cried, for I had not noticed that sky, and I cried with joy for this sense of wonder and beauty in him, and I cried for I did not know that he could.. And I cried out loud for this gift to me, of his wanting to share the beauty of it with his friend. It felt like a miracle.

  4. Sally permalink

    What moved me? How pleased Steven was to have someone interested. My son’s best and most treasured carers have been like Nick-encouraging and interested. My son lights up and is only too happy to explain and comment-and I learn things I have been perhaps too busy or too upset to notice, or too aware that I “should” be encouraging him to talk about something more mainstream etc etc.
    Its lovely when they talk about things they noticed ages ago, perhaps at times when you were in despair wondering if they were getting anything out of an experience at all.

  5. Meg permalink

    Wondrous stuff Mark. No I wouldn’t miss this either. Thanks for sharing


  6. lisa permalink

    This guy is ACE .

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