Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Family business #22. (1973).

The Long Lost Sister was, I think, the first person I encountered who would express what could loosely be called a social conscience. I mostly remember it from comments she made.
She retold a story about the diminutive black weightlifter Precious McKenzie, who featured regularly on TV's Record Breakers at the time. McKenzie rang a bed and breakfast to book a room. Inferring from his surname that he was Scottish (and white) the landlady duly took the booking. When he turned up the landlady refused to honour the booking, claiming it was a misunderstanding and she'd 'thought he was Scottish'. The Long Lost Sister was critical of the racism of the landlady.
She also commented on TV programmes of the time like 'Edna the Inebriate Woman' about a street-homeless alcoholic, and 'Gale Is Dead', a documentary about a young woman who'd died of a heroin overdose. In each case she expressed empathy for these people.
Nobody else I knew talked about that kind of thing, in that way. In some small way, it was an influence on my thinking, an early clue to the importance of a sense of affiliation with others.

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