At the Showies - Graham Morgan

Posted by See Me, 2 April 2019

Graham Morgan has previously spoken at our Human Rights, Equalities and Mental Health Event in December 2018. He has recently written a book called 'Start' and has kindly given us some extracts from it to share with you over the coming weeks. Graham has a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia, has an MBE for services to mental health, helped to create the Mental Health Care and Treatment Act and has been on a compulsory treatment order under the act for the last 9 years.


At the Showies - Graham Morgan

I cannot hear you! The music is beating its way to the clouds above. It is all around me. It is inside me. Inside my ears, filling them so I see your lips moving but I cannot understand what you are saying. We walk, hand in sweaty hand. Way, way above me, at the top of a pole running with throbbing lights, sit people waving their legs into space, waiting to turn and tumble round and round in the black night sky, wee stick insects, arms and legs flailing.

Everywhere there are the cries and screams of excited teenagers, whirling and twirling on garish poster girl, light-popping, music-shouting machines. We walk on the grass, hand in sweaty hand, watching, dodging the drunk people, the crowding people, looking at the hot dogs and the onions and the chips.

Saying to each other, ‘We don’t want to go on the dodgems!’

And both feeling a twinge of regret that we are so scaredy.

On the road home the ground is littered with plastic pint glasses from the Nairn Highland games, a man sways up the road talking loudly to himself. We kick the glasses down our street, giggle at our loutishness and slip inside my doorway to kiss and cuddle. Outside, the music pounds, lights flash in the sky, poles turn end over end with people at the extremities, octopus hands twist round and round and up and down with screaming people clutched in their bucket seats while, in the safety of my home, we talk and cuddle the night away.

In the morning it’s all packed up; the large articulated lorries are already away down the road, leaving patches of yellow grass; a few remnant caravans, vans and lorries remain. The huge dodgem ride has been packed into the length of a long trailer, the generators are being disconnected. People are walking their dogs. Beach visitors are parking their cars where the Aberdeen Angus stand was, buggies are being pushed where the zorbs and the houses of fun were, a scant few hours ago.

On the East beach, we walk with the wind flailing your hair all over your face. The sand rushes in plumes towards Forres. We walk, hand in sweaty hand. Your shoes fill with beach and we sit in the lee of a sand dune. You lay your head on my lap while I take pictures of the harbour light through the marram grass, listen to the sound of the waves, the rustle of the reeds, the cry of the seagulls. Sun strips rush across the beach, light up ships in the firth, pied wagtails flit between the dunes. I stroke your shoulders, look at your hair flickering in the breeze. Remember our kisses, our laughter, our desire, our conversation as the dawn broke.

Walking back, into the wind, the sand flicks into our eyes, you try to walk backwards and fail. At home we lie in bed and I listen to the sound of your breathing, the occasional twitch of your leg or your arm. The weight of your head on my chest. The feel of your hair on my cheek. I lie still, listening to the seagulls, trying not to wake you when I move to look at the bedside clock. I lie still and I think of the showies and of how we should have gone on the dodgems. I lie still and think I am becoming a teenager all over again, but this time with the fun mixed in.