Roddy, head bowed and breathing hard, stands between the shafts of the milk cart he’s just pulled up the steep hill to the top of Cambridge Street; he’s caught in a sudden pool of early morning light glistening on the tarmac, damp from overnight rain. Seagulls whirl, screeching with laughter. The milkman climbs down from his seat and sets the bottles gently on the front step of Ivanhoe. Hearing a scream from the upstairs window he thinks, That’ll be Maggie’s new baby.
It was 1967 and I was a young man on Hessle Road in Hull taking photographs. I wanted to be a photographer as great as Bert Hardy or Tony Ray-Jones. I was at ease as I moved amongst the crowds of Saturday shoppers. I wasn’t hiding what I was doing and revelling in the alchemy of being seen and unseen, taken for granted, and as uninteresting as a road sign.
It is the evening of June 7th 1983. Archie and his wife, Rosy, are watching a Conservative Party Election Broadcast on their twenty-two inch PYE television in the front room of their council house on Orchard Park Estate in Hull.
As I approach my sixtieth birthday it’s time to commit to paper the extraordinary events I experienced in 1960 when I was ten. I find it hard not to think it was all make-believe; even my own wife and grown-up children think it was a coping mechanism in the face of trauma.