A SMALL ISLAND

Image from the net credited to the Financial Times.

FRIDAY 19th JUNE 2020 ~ BLOG POST

A SMALL ISLAND 

by John Yeo

  We watched a performance of ‘A Small Island,’ screened by the National Theatre. This is a play based on a novel by Andrea Levy, who sadly passed away from Cancer before she was able to see it. 

   This play is based on the Windrush scandal. A reflection of the time when many people from Jamaica in the West Indies arrived in England as citizens. Many of these people had earned their citizenship by fighting for their colonial Mother country of England during the Second World War. Jamaica was a colony of the British Empire and this gave these people the right to take up citizenship in Britain. 

 The play focussed on a few unfortunate people who had arrived in England from their homes in Jamaica to live and work. 

 The play started in the West Indies by highlighting the shortage of employment and the frequent hurricanes and tropical storms that afflict Jamaica. England became something of a paradise, where jobs and houses were freely available and the expectations of these people’s dreams were clearly evident.

 Some had dreams of taking up professional careers or joining the forces when they reached England. 

 The play focused partly on one couple. The man Gilbert, joined the Air Force and had plans to study to become a lawyer. The scene when he was interviewed for his career was illuminating as he was promised a high position. This never materialised as he was immediately placed in a menial position as a driver. The first example of the huge letdown most of these people would experience. 

  A young light skinned, half caste lady, named Hortense, wanted to go to England but single young women were discouraged from applying and she was at her wits end. The only way she could get accepted was to go through a marriage ceremony with her friend Gilbert who would then send for her as his wife. Hortense was a teacher and she planned to continue her teaching profession in England.

   Meanwhile Gilbert had settled in England and after he had left the Air Force, he desperately tried to get a job. He had little success, due to the overt racism of the times. He was subjected to some terrible racial abuse during his employment and was attacked at his place of work. 

  He tried everywhere to secure some comfortable accommodation to rent but once again ingrained racism reared its ugly head with landlords refusing to let their properties to black people. He finally managed to rent a shabby one-roomed bedsit from a landlady named, Queenie, who desperately needed the income from a few rooms in her house and she was happy to accept black and coloured people. 

   Eventually Gilbert sent for Hortense, who arrived and was shocked to discover the living conditions in the bedsit. 

 The racism and the trials and tribulations this couple went through were harrowing to say the least. This story is riddled with some obnoxious scenes of the horrible challenges facing black people in England during this period.

 Queenie, the landlady gives birth to a black child, the result of a liaison with a former tenant. Meanwhile her husband had unexpectedly returned from a forces posting in India and is revealed to be an extreme racist. He demands that Gilbert and Hortense get out of his house immediately.

 Gilbert and Hortense find somewhere else to live and the play finishes with Queenie, the landlady, begging them to take her black child with them as she believed this would be the only way her child could ever expect to be accepted into British society.

 I was vaguely aware of the so-called Windrush scandal, when thousands of black people arrived in England looking for a better life. This eye-opening play revealed the shocking depths of racism that was ingrained throughout society at that period in time. I’m sure there are residues of these cruel, unfortunate, unforgivable attitudes running through all strands of our society still. I think by screening this play the National Theatre has done a powerful service to the Black Lives Matter campaign.

Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

THE LAST WISH

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

I decided to resurrect and improve the following piece of Flash Fiction I wrote last year. A friend was wondering about what would one wish for in the event of miraculously having access to three wishes with no strings attached, within 200 words. I just had to make this interesting, with a little unexpected twist at the end. Word count is the most interesting way I know of slimming down a piece of writing to the bare bones.

THE LAST WISH


by John Yeo

‘Well Roger, your three wishes have almost completely expired Two of them have already been used. You are extremely wealthy and ageless, you will live as long as the world turns around the sun. I understand you have a special request for your third and final desire. What would you like?’

‘Yes Master, I have given much thought to my final request, and I ask for a companion to share eternity with, I will get lonely on my own and I would love a special friend to share my life with.

‘That is possible Roger, do you have anyone in mind?’
‘I want to be with that Angel on the pedestal in the park, I would like a pair of wings just like hers. We could be happily together for eternity.’
‘Are you absolutely sure this is what you wish for, to be with your Angel Roger? I can make this final wish come true for you.’
‘Yes please Master,’
Then with a wave of the magic wand Roger was turned to stone.

(174 WORDS )

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

Daily Prompt on WordPress ~ 10th JANUARY 2016 ~ THE INDIGESTIBLE RETURN

Modern Families

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Image © Copyright John and Margaret

Daily prompt on WordPress ~ Sunday 10th January 2015

Modern Families

If one of your late ancestors were to come back from the dead and join you for dinner, what things about your family would this person find the most shocking?

THE INDIGESTIBLE RETURN

by John Yeo

    I would imagine if my Great-Great-Grandmother was resurrected and came to dinner, she would be shocked at the speed with which the food was prepared. The quality and the quantity of the food that was presented and the cleanliness and the labour-saving gadgets. Granny would be amazed at the way the children were continually buried in their iPhones and electronic gadgets, she would be shocked at the lack of table manners and polite conversation. Most of all, I think the adorable Granny would be devastated, to see a television beaming programmes during the meal and the level of violence portrayed in front of the children. She may even arrive in time to share a TV dinner and be amazed to see the family not sitting around the dinner table.

    The venerable old lady would probably die another death for a second time, if she discovered the levels of degeneration society had sunk to, through viewing certain social media sites and pages.

 

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.