Tears For Mr Ploppy

 

When I was a boy my mum used to take me and my sister Alison to Manchester City Centre, about seven miles away. This was a rarity for she owned and ran a shop and had little time away from the counter.

 

What big treat it was to board a bus and not only go upstairs but claim the front seat. I remember me or my friend Ste finding a Camels cigarette pack – Camels were American. Clint Eastwood, Kojak and Starsky and Hutch were American, too – had the cigarette-packet-owner met them?

 

Three instances remain in my mind and all were set at Piccadilly Gardens at the centre of the shopping area: I saw a…

 

(1) tramp retrieve and eat a packet of chips that had been thrown in a bin.

(2) man dressed in women’s clothing stood on the edge of a department store with hundreds of people looking up (we were ushered away quickly.)

(3) man crying in some toilets.

 

This painting relates to number (3). I was about nine years old and my mum waited outside the small toilets near some telephone boxes on Piccadilly Gardens. At the urinals I could hear a man crying audibly in one of the cubicles. There was no attempt to stifle the sobs. I told my mum and I don’t think she knew what to do. I suppose she asked he if was okay but I just can’t remember. I was a little anxious myself – I’d never heard a grown man cry before. Women in cowboy films cried when their man got shot in front of them.

 

Back in the toilets I peeped under the gap below the door. There was a man sat on the toilet crying. His eyes widened like plates when he saw me. I can remember he was wearing red-check socks. I assume my mum pulled me away and we disappeared into the shops as I can’t remember any other details. The man was black, I remember that. I didn’t know any black men and he reminded me of Shaft from the television series called…erShaft. I was too young to stay up to watch Shaft but I knew who he was a cool dude.

 

This painting was finished before I knew it and now hangs on my bedroom wall (I doubt anyone would want it on their wall.)

 

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Not sure what I’m watching here….probably Juggernaut Jugs, something like that…

 

Plan view…

 

 

 

Adding undercrackers and socks…

 

 

The painting not hangs on my bedroom wall. View from my bed night and morning…