Michael and Helen
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A bag. A school bag from Cheltenham Ladies College, in Cheltenham. I don’t know if they still use them actually, but it’s from the 70s and 80s and it belonged to a woman. Helen Gregory.
Because it’s emotive. It’s got character as well.
I was given it. I think I have a bit of a habit of borrowing objects off people, so I borrowed it and I kept it...well I just borrowed it and it ended up she said I could just have it, so that’s how I ended up with...I don’t know if I own it, do you know what I mean? It’s not mine, I just have it. I think I’ve got it, but I think if her brother or any of the family asked me for it they could have it. It’s not mine really, I’ve just got it. And I have a bit of a thing about owning things in any case because I don’t think you can own anything. I think you just have them for a while, but I actually...no, I don’t own this object. What I do is, I know I have it in my possession for a period of time and I don’t know how long that will be. But that’s it, I don’t own it.
It’s not like the person in any way, because she was quite glam. She’d take me shopping; she used to dress me up, it was quite amusing, ‘wear pink loafers, you’ll look great’...pink socks, pink shirt and chinos as well...when it was actually really cool to wear chinos. But yeah, she would dress me up, it was really quite amusing.
I didn’t know I would still have it, because I didn’t know... because she was never going to die. Because you’re never going to die at that age, you know...you think you’re going to live forever.
A happy memory I have of this person...her singing, her laugh was the dirtiest laugh and it was brilliant, like a cackle. She was really short, must have been...five foot four, four foot...she was diddy, really diddy. Five foot two. She was really small, but her laugh was hilarious, very funny, very fun, very voluptuous.
So memories...lying in bed, getting sun stroke...God that was a nightmare man...and yeah, her funeral. I mean it’s not a happy memory but it’s a memory and in a way it was a really good ‘do’. I suppose the memory from the funeral is that thing of how much people really loved her, you know what I mean?
How she died I don’t understand. How someone could... it’s not even about her age, it’s that someone got shot...by bandits (that was the headline). And out on an island outside Hong Kong and you just kind of go...I, I can’t comprehend that. Do you know what I mean? How do you comprehend the bandits...shot by bandits. And so far away...and in a way so far detached from the world that we all knew.
I think she was very...well people really loved her. And she had one eye as well, a glass eye, which was always amusing. It was a really big thing when she took it out. She’d to take it out and wash it. She would swill it round her mouth and stuff and put it back in. I was the first person who had ever seen her eye, which was a really big thing, do you know what I mean? Because I wasn’t part of the family. I was like, a fella that she really liked. It was just really amazing, and she kind of just went, “ I’ll show you”. It was just like an oval thing, it was very sophisticated thing with magnets so it would spin around.
But how she went was just incomprehensible. 25 years old, shot by bandits. It’s like something out of a weird film.
She made smoking drugs quite posh, do you know what I mean? It wasn’t seedy and it wasn’t kind of naughty, it was quite a posh thing.
When we first went to college she went, ‘oh are, are you from the north?’ and I just went, ‘oh fuck off will ya.’ That was my opening line to the woman; I’d just had enough of it. I was surrounded by people going, ‘oh is it like Coronation Street?’ and I’d only been there fucking 6 hours, do you know what I mean? And I just went, ‘oh fuck off will ya’ and I walked away... and anyway we ended up getting together for quite a long time.
There was just something so alive about her. All her paintings were really alive and you’d just go, ‘fucking hell man’...you know we’re all gonna go...but not Helen. I know a lot of people who’ve died, Ellie, but I never understand...never that. I don’t think I’ll ever get that or understand how...how she died. I will never comprehend. People die, but how this person died, for whatever...yeah, that’s terrible.
She was very young and adventurous...and just her parents were beautiful. Her mum was gorgeous. So lots of things...and I think it was all in the bag.
It’s the bag that’s there, that I can see. Kind of...you consider... you have a reflection of her, you can see it being on the person you once knew and that’s it.
I think it’s a lovely thing.