Author Archives: Graeme McKerracher

Mark

dv2-june-15-s-butler-13Mark is a prison officer, who has been very supportive of Vox Liminis.  He did what we ask of all participants to do in a Vox Session – come into a new group, and try something you might never have done before. These ways of relating, thinking about our lives and the power of making ‘new things’ together cross (and often break down) all sorts of barriers and boundaries.

“I signed up for the Vox Liminis Distant Voices workshop at Castle Huntly in February 2016. I had never written any music before or indeed produced anything creative, but because they asked us to invite a family member to take part with us, I wanted to give it a go to spend some quality time with my teenage son, Michael. From the get go, the workshop was lighthearted and relaxed, Andrew inspired, nurtured and encouraged me throughout the first day and into the next, when the challenge “Write a song using no more than 30 words” was introduced.  We were encouraged to “take inspiration from a book title from the library in the Link Centre, and you’ve got 30 minutes in which to do it.” . This 30 minute song writing exercise produced a short memory laden tune that fills me with pride every time I hear it, whether that’s in the car on my commute or down visiting my mum. It reminds me of my son growing up and the times we spent together along the way. It reminds me of the precious time we have together and that we should make the most of it.”

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Reflections Of A Female Prisoner

dv2-june-15-s-butler-12Some heartfelt thoughts from a (very) recent Vox Sessions participant…

“Sometimes I’m not so good at vocalising things so I wrote something down that I wanted to read to you all.  Last night, I was thinking about how it’s important to me when people take the time and make an effort to spend time helping other people.  I’ve looked back and in the past when opportunities have been offered to me I haven’t taken the time to at least try and express my gratitude and appreciation.  But I was trying to write you all a letter that sort of says thank you but I couldn’t really get it out last night and then at lunchtime there I got some words down.

So, I’ve been wondering a lot recently, and in particular the past few days, why it’s important for individuals to touch another person’s life… is it to pass something on, to leave a legacy, an imprint, a history, or a memory.  What motivates people?  Why are people so important to other people?  Is it just a human condition, a need… because people can help other people to pull things out of each other and help them discover, or rediscover, and reignite things that were there all along but that were deeply suppressed and buried.

I’m not sure what, or if there any answers to these questions… maybe it just is as it is but I know it feels absolutely fantastic.  When you make a memory, however small or insignificant the experience may seem to other people, that amazing memory will live with you forever.  And that’s what this felt like for me.

I’ve been deeply touched by all of you in some way over the last few days. When you’re not consumed by substances you can realise a life beyond your wildest dreams and in the most unlikely of places, like in prison when you’re stripped back and laid bare, as my song says, when paths cross for whatever reason, you can find true contentment and happiness where dreams are limitless.  Thank you so much for opening my mind.”

 

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Kev Snr & Kev Jnr

kevsKev Snr was a participant on our first ‘outside’ Vox Session, held at The Briggait in summer 2015. Through Kev Snr we met Kev Jnr who is a member of KIN. They share a love of music, and have both connected with Vox in different ways. It’s been really amazing for Vox to engage with families like this. Here’s a piece they’ve written together for this campaign:

 

Inside Out 

Laying inside this prison wall, I need to make a call to my boy.

This place is incredible! So much to see, so much to do! The laughter and noise is heartwarming!

 

As he starts his Secondary School, I am on a prison rule.

The sun is shining and all my friends are here, what a wonderful day this is going to be.

 

I need to get this call to my boy, I don’t feel like a father at all.

I can’t wait to get home and tell my Mum and Dad about the days events! Wow, this burger is great!

 

How will he feel? What will he think? His super hero locked in the clink.

The sun is going down. It’ll be time to go home soon. Wait..is that my phone? Who could that be?

 

As each full moon passes behind this wall, all I can do is think of my boy.

“His battalion’s doing well!” I’ll tell them. They can’t know the reality. I will walk this wall alone.

 

Thirty-six moons have come and passed, I’m in his kitchen, waiting to grasp.

“Mum, I’m home! Where are you? Is there someone else here?”

Hiya Son…

Hiya Dad…

It’s good to be Outside In…

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kev

Dean & Angela

dv2-nov-16-a-downie-3Dean & Angela were part of In Tune earlier in the year. They came with their two children, one only 6 months old at the time of the project starting, the other the oldest in the group.  As with most sessions of In Tune, it’s amazing to watch as people get their heads round the project, what it is, what might be expected of them, and what they can get from it.

“I wasn’t too sure really. I hoped it’d kinda be a good visit and get to see the kids really.  It’s been excellent, it’s been superb. At first the boys didn’t really know much about it but it really is superb.” Dean

The family recognized that through the project both their sons were getting loads from being involved.

“The wee one’s started clapping as well for his first time because of one of the songs.              The third session he started to clap his hands and has came on so much. Our older son has football training and he usually trains twice a week and one is a Wednesday night, so we asked him what he wanted to do and he chose In Tune; he’s loved it!” Dean

“I thought he’d have chosen the football, and I did say to him it was fine if he chose the football, but he definitely wanted the music class!” Angela

“I’d never done singing and clapping with my sons before. It’s just the wee things; it’s been priceless to see him crawling about and clapping and stuff.  It’s great for me and them for the bond.” Dean

You can hear Dean & Angela chatting to Bryan Burnett on BBC Radio Scotland here:

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Colleen

colleenpicThe door you’ve entered through is Partick Station. I arrived in Glasgow through these doors.

I walked along Dumbarton Road to a friend of a friend’s ‘empty’. I didn’t know anyone. I had no reputation. No one had a reason to trust or need me. I knew that for me to stay here I would need friends. And if I had to resort to making Glaswegians draw straws for the role, so be it!

I don’t think I could do it again. While I loved the adventure of arriving unknown to a city, there were dark months. I learned that a large part of my identity and ‘feeling human’ is drawn from the relationships I have with others.

Now three years on, I feel very much that I belong to Glasgow.

I am involved in Vox Unbound on Tuesday nights. It’s a gathering of people who have connections with the criminal justice system. What I love are the conversations that open up around food and music. More often than not, these highlight our shared human experiences across very different situations.

I wrote ‘Partick Station’ with Andrew Howie at Unbound in response to a conversation about ‘place’. The song is an ‘ode of gratitude’ for people in Glasgow who welcome others into new places.

Click to hear wee practice studio version of it!

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