Gwynedd County Council tape 5: interview for oral history project. Sample containing about 9316 words speech recorded in leisure context

2 speakers recorded by respondent number C370

PS2VT X m (No name, age unknown, historian, Interviewer) unspecified
PS2VU Ag2 m (Kenneth, age 30+, unemployed, Interviewee) unspecified

1 recordings

  1. Tape 103501 recorded on 1987. LocationGwynedd: Holyhead, Anglesey () Activity: Interview for oral history project Interview/reminiscences

Undivided text

(PS2VT) [1] Erm er Ken, could you er just give me an outline of what what happened?
[2] What's happened to you.
[3] What's sort of going on since the last time I interviewed you.
[4] Which was about [...]
Kenneth (PS2VU) [5] Er
(PS2VT) [6] is it two years ago now I think.
Kenneth (PS2VU) [7] Is it two years?
[8] Good Lord.
[9] Er that time we we was living in [...] Bay wasn't we?
(PS2VT) [10] That's right yes.
Kenneth (PS2VU) [11] Yeah.
[12] Erm we was living in the High Street I believe.
(PS2VT) [13] You were.
Kenneth (PS2VU) [14] Yeah that's right yeah. [...]
(PS2VT) [15] Quite a nice place actually.
Kenneth (PS2VU) [16] Er yeah.
[17] That was only a t a temporary temporary house.
[18] Er we managed eventually to get a a erm a flat off the council.
[19] We was in a two-bedroomed erm council flat but they were intended for old age pensioners like you know.
(PS2VT) [20] Right.
Kenneth (PS2VU) [21] So that again was temporary.
[22] Erm I think we was there about nine months.
[23] It wasn't a bad place but er a very small one you know.
[24] Erm from then we got a council house which is where the wife's living at the moment.
[25] Erm ... I think ... I think we'd have been there about nin No.
[26] About a year when we decided to split up.
[27] So consequently she's living in [...] Bay and I'm living on my own in up in Holyhead.
[28] I moved back to Holyhead and been living in a bedsit since June.
[29] [...] . Er and I got the job at the Centre in August.
[30] Erm ... went back into photography, that's basically all that's happened to me. [laugh]
(PS2VT) [31] Er did you s ... w w when er when I saw you when you were living in [...]
Kenneth (PS2VU) [32] Mhm.
(PS2VT) [33] Erm you gave a a very full account of the sort of pressures that erm you were under because you didn't have a job and you related it to the necessity of involving yourself in what you euphemistically called the black economy. [laugh]
Kenneth (PS2VU) [laugh]
(PS2VT) [34] Erm er you've you've indicated that er you've separated now from your wife.
Kenneth (PS2VU) [35] Yeah, that's right.
(PS2VT) [36] Erm do you think the fact that you didn't have a job, er contributed to that in any way?
Kenneth (PS2VU) [37] Er that's a hard question.
[38] Erm ... I don't think it did.
[39] I really don't think so.
[40] Because we're both level headed people and ... not having a job was obviously a big thing in our lives and I'd indicated to Anne that if we did move away, I would stand a much better chance of getting a job.
[41] But she preferred to stay up here with her family and her friends.
[42] So I then told her that if we were gonna stay here, the chances of me getting a job were very slim.
[43] So she'd have to face the prospect of me being on the dole for a long time.
[44] And she says she preferred that to to us having to move away.
[45] Erm, I took her at her word, I still looked for work, I didn't stop looking for work but I took it that she was happy enough me being on the dole if it meant that we could stay around [...] Bay or Anglesey.
[46] [cough] Erm we didn't have any major pr er the major problem was was money.
[47] That was the only that was the only problem associated with not having work.
[48] I kept myself very busy anyway erm in various erm hobbies that I had.
[49] So she was ne er I was never under her feet.
[50] I'm not the sort of guy that sits around the house like you know.
[51] So I was never under her feet or any of them sort of problems that a lot of people find.
[52] I find that friends of mine who are unemployed, their wives tend to th tend to think that they get under their feet a lot.
[53] They're never away from each other, erm whereas myself I was always out.
[54] And er I'd come up and stay with my brother in Holyhead about two or three times a week.
[55] Er overnight like you know, er when I was doing my work at the centre, the unemployed worker's centre.
[56] When I was involved in various projects I'd stay overnight so, I'd be out of the house at least six hours a day.
[57] So it was just like I was working really except very poor wages like you know.
[58] Erm ... I think the the biggest problem we had in our marriage, and the reason it broke up, is because er I'm a a mixer and I love to get involved.
[59] And Anne isn't.
[60] She's the sort of woman that likes to stop at home and watch soap operas and and gossip about this person, that person and the other person.
[61] With her friends like you know.
[62] Erm and when she was talking to me about different people, I'd never know who they was, [laugh] because I was never I was never that interested in [...] Bay to er to find out who they was or to remember she'd point out somebody and say that's so and so and then when she'd mention him a couple of days later I'd go, Who's that?
[63] You know?
[64] So I'd never get involved in the er in the gossipy side of [...] Bay life.
[65] Er consequently we couldn't talk about anything.
[66] She wasn't interested in my photography or er whatever I was involved in the centre.
[67] And I wasn't involved in the gossip in [...] Bay.
[68] We didn't stop talking like but the talk s just sort of stemmed around the house and the kids and it didn't go any further than that.
[69] Although I tried to get her interested in hobbies, she just wasn't interested so.
[70] And I put that down to the biggest contribution.
[71] Just a lack of interest ... [...] in each other or [...] .
(PS2VT) [72] You did express some er anxiety if I remember [...] when you spoke to me about erm not about not providing enough
Kenneth (PS2VU) [73] Mhm.
(PS2VT) [74] for the for the family.
[75] We were you ever under any sort of direct pressure to keep the money [...]
Kenneth (PS2VU) [cough]
(PS2VT) [76] keep it coming in for for whatever [...] ?
Kenneth (PS2VU) [77] Erm Th it seemed to fluctuate.
[78] There was pressure at times like er coming up to the start of a new season.
[79] Obviously there was new school clothes that was needed.
[80] Erm the mot pressure erm from that ... for that sort of stuff was was came form me.
[81] I felt I had to I When I went to school m my father couldn't afford very much and erm I remember starting the first term of first day of the term with shoes with a big split in it.
[82] And the headmaster taking me on stage and showing everybody what a bad example I was, because I had shoes like crocodiles.
[83] And that that made a big influence on me and I swore it'd never happen to my kids.
[84] So the the biggest pressure for that type of thing came from myself.
[85] I always made sure my daughter had new clothes to go to school with like you know.
[86] Not just [...] but in g in good order all the way through the year.
[87] So consequently at times there would be er periods of stress for myself, where I just had to get enough money to give my daughter some new clothes like you know.
[88] And then there'd be clothes for Anne.
[89] Anne liked to feel that er although she wasn't a teenager any more, that she was at least smartly dressed as well as the other women in [...] Bay like you know.
[90] Myself I never worried about I was one of the biggest scruffs you've ever seen in your life actually.
[91] Erm looking back on the photographs.
[92] That was taken in the last few years, er I j I I've never bothered about clothes in my entire life.
[93] What I look like.
[94] Since I since I left school and I was able to afford my own clothes and I [...] knew that erm a responsibility for my own clothing was on my my own shoulders, it has never bothered me since, for myself.
[95] but it always bothers me for other people like you know.
[96] Erm but no real stress.
[97] Once Anne had accepted the fact that I wasn't gonna work in the foreseeable future, and it was her choice that we stay, cos I gave her a clear choice, it was either move away where I could get work, or stay and suffer the wages of the dole like you know.
[98] And once she'd made the choice that she wanted to stay, no matter what the consequences were as far as money were concerned, well that was it.
[99] I didn't worry about that too much except just these periods when say a bill'd come in or clothes were needed, something like that.
(PS2VT) [100] How did you solve the problem then of er
Kenneth (PS2VU) [laugh]
(PS2VT) [101] of providing
Kenneth (PS2VU) [102] Erm ... a lot of it was working on the side.
[103] Er that is what you call the black economy yeah?
(PS2VT) [laugh]
Kenneth (PS2VU) [104] [laughing] Yeah. []
[105] Er when it was needed it wa it was always needed in a hurry.
[106] Although we had we had warning that erm obviously that you knew the kids were gonna start a new season in September, you'd start saving the money and a bill would come up.
[107] Something would come up, you'd need the money.
[108] Now I think I told you last time that er the whole time me and Anne had been together, we're not drinkers.
[109] It's very rare we go out.
[110] We both smoke but er I smoke roll your own cigarettes and I and half an ounce lasts me a week.
[111] So it's not a big expense like you know so that we weren't spending the money on ourselves, it's just needed in the house and needed for the kids like you know.
[112] Erm we didn't waste money in any way.
[113] But when it when a bill came up and it would take away the money that we'd saved for Kelly's new school uniform, so it always seemed to come in a rush and there was always something needed like you know.
[114] Like next week you had a week or whatever, and then I'd just go out and er ask me friends wh who's hiring whatever.
[115] I've done everything from working on a building site for a week and promising to bring me cards in and giving a false name, to er potato picking erm doing hay, anything.
[116] There's a lot of it around there's [...] people just A lot of people these days see ... the working on the side is a necessity.
[117] And it' not just the people who are on the dole but the employers too.
[118] The local farmers erm, building site contractors.
[119] They see it as a necessity.
[120] I was talking to a guy here now, erm who comes to the centre, about er two weeks ago.
[121] And he'd he'd been on the dole er I think two years, and he's just started up a a building site.
[122] [cough] [...] a contracting business, and he's done it by the skin of his teeth.
[123] But he's done it he's sold his he's mortgaged his house up to the hilt and everything.
[124] And he won't employ [laugh] he won't employ full time workers.
[125] He takes somebody and gives them the work on the side.
[126] And he doesn't pay them any less than he pays a qualified man.
[127] Than he would pay a qualified man.
[128] He just won't do it.
[129] He says the guys on the dole need need the work.
[130] He says, I'll give it to them.
(PS2VT) [131] I see.
Kenneth (PS2VU) [132] But he won't take anyone on full time for the simple fact that just takes one guy off the dole and and makes his life good.
[133] Whereas, taking him taking one guy a week for a week, is putting no-one in jeopardy and giving somebody a decent wage for a week.
[134] He says, I'd rather do that.
(PS2VT) [135] So when when you s use the word n necessary [...]
Kenneth (PS2VU) [136] Yeah.
(PS2VT) [137] you meant that they thought it was a good thing to do.
[138] Yes?
Kenneth (PS2VU) [139] Erm ... not a not a a good thing to do when I when I said necessary, ... without it a lot of people would er I don't know er aggravate I don't want to make it say more drastic than it is.
[140] But myself, I'd have had to send my daughter to school on m more than one occasion with a tatty uniform.
[141] And by working on the side wh which I say as very necessary to get her that uniform.
[142] It wouldn't have made any difference to my daughter's well being, but it made a hell of a difference to her erm her social standing.
[143] To the other kids.
[144] Wh which is a major thing.
[145] Th this impression that I got or er erm ... that incident at school, played such a big part in my life after that, I was mortally embarrassed for the rest of my school life.
[146] By that one thing.
[147] Everybody knew that incident.
[148] Everybody used to call me crocodile.
[149] And it stayed with me right until I left school.
[150] Even though I changed school halfway through.
[151] Erm our school was pulled down and three schools amalgamated into one big co comprehensive.
[152] And before the end of the first term everyone knew me as crocodile.
[153] Even the other two schools you know.
[154] So ... it's a thing that stayed with me for a long time.
[155] And that made a big difference to my life.
[156] Erm to my self respect and I just I was determined that it wasn't going to happen to my daughter, so in consequence I saw that working on the side to get to get the uniform so that she could go to school in a new uniform same as all the other kids as a necessity.
[157] Er it wasn't a a good thing it was just necessary.
[158] And a lot of people that I've spoken to who've had problems have turned to that alternative because they could see no other.
[159] If I'd have gone to the to the social services or er the D H S S and says to them, my daughter's got to have a new uniform to go to school with because her self respect is gonna suffer if she doesn't, they wouldn't have given be nothing.
[160] They'd have just turned round and says, Well we can't help that, I'm sorry.
[161] So I just went I knew I did the only thing that I knew I could do.
[162] And that's work on the side and hope to get away with it.
[163] And touch wood, I've never been caught. ...
(PS2VT) [164] You said that ... in the nature of things you've always needed the money almost as of yesterday.
Kenneth (PS2VU) [165] Yeah.
(PS2VT) [166] Erm so you have to get work fairly quickly.
Kenneth (PS2VU) [167] Yeah.
(PS2VT) [168] [...] When you er I mean you're in that er situation, how do you cope with the idea that you need the money, you need the job, but you've got to somehow sell yourself and get employed on the best terms?
Kenneth (PS2VU) [169] Yeah.
[170] Well obviously you compromise.
[171] Erm ... the most important thing was getting the money.
[172] So you didn't haggle.
[173] At all.
[174] If a guy I mean I've worked for farmers I I actually worked for a farmer once from seven o'clock in the morning till nine o'clock at night for five quid.
[175] And that wasn't the first day, that was eight days er eight days solid from Sunday to the Monday following Monday.
[176] And I worked for him for five pound a day because we needed the money.
[177] And there was nothing else going.
[178] And that guy took advantage.
[179] [laugh] He knew I needed the money and he knew he'd got me for for a he'd have got me up at six o'clock in the morning if he'd have needed me.
[180] No problem at all.
[181] I was actually living on his farm at the time.
[182] And he he used to get me up at seven o'clock, come to work for him.
[183] He used to get me up at six to go in work for seven.
[184] And if he'd have needed me at six he'd have got me up at five.
[185] He used to give me an hours warning and then we'd work through until it got dark out in the fields and then we'd go into the sheds and restack the hay or whatever he wanted to do.
[186] And he'd make sure he used me till about nine o'clock.
[187] He just knew he had cheap labour.
[188] I couldn't argue with that.
[189] There was nobody else to turn to.
[190] You know there was there was no other work going at that time.
[191] So I just put up with it, and worked it.
[192] And we got the money.
(PS2VT) [193] Was there ever a moment when you f when you were striking the [laughing] bargain [] if one could call it that,
Kenneth (PS2VU) [194] Mm.
(PS2VT) [195] when you when you knew that he'd got you by the short and curlies?
Kenneth (PS2VU) [196] Oh yeah.
[197] Definitely.
[198] All the time.
(PS2VT) [199] You knew that he knew that.
Kenneth (PS2VU) [200] Oh yeah [laugh] it was so obvious yeah.
[201] Erm ... [cough] this guy that I was working for h he's er he he was quite well known for it in the area.
[202] Erm ... that he w he he he knew that you needed the work.
[203] And consequently that's why he only p I mean I'm talking now about ... oh about four years ago.
[204] Which is erm No I'm talking less than four years ago, I'm talking three years ago maybe.
[205] And all the other farmers were paying the guys who were working for them on the side, ten pound a day, for working from nine o'clock in the morning till about five at night.
[206] And yet this guy was paying me f er half that for tw nearly twice as many hours, yeah.
[207] Erm he just knew it and he was well known for it.
[208] He he was the last resort of anybody I knew.
[209] But if they needed it, they knew they could always get work with him.
[210] The guy was taking on ten people at o he he had ten people working for him in one day.
[211] All at five pound a day.
[212] And all working long hours.
[213] I've never heard of anyone working the hours I worked but then again I was living there and that was my disadvantage.
[214] He could get me any time.
[215] And he knew I didn't have to be home for the kids or whatever, he knew my circumstances so well and he knew th exactly how much he could use me you know.
[216] And he wouldn't let me go at nine o'clock if he thought I hadn't have been knackered and ready to fall down you know.
[217] He'd have kept me there longer than that.
(PS2VT) [218] So in fact he knew that he was known as the last resort
Kenneth (PS2VU) [219] I'm I'm not so sure that he knew he was known as the last resort.
(PS2VT) [220] Ah.
Kenneth (PS2VU) [221] But he knew he was well known for knowing that he'd got you.
(PS2VT) [laugh]
Kenneth (PS2VU) [222] And when when you come to him, you were desperate for work.
[223] So he he probably did realize that he was he was the last resort, but I don't think he was the he was the type to actually think that out you know.
[224] He just saw you as cheap labour and that was the end of it.
[225] I don't think he actually thought about it.
[226] Otherwise he his conscience would have bothered him I think.
[227] He was a terrible guy.
(PS2VT) [228] Since I saw you last, has your has your girls gone to secondary school?
Kenneth (PS2VU) [229] No.
[230] She's still in er still in the small school.
(PS2VT) [231] Mhm.
[232] Erm Wh wh wh what other means did you use to ensure that there was this you know, the family circumstances were kept up to par?
Kenneth (PS2VU) [233] [cough] Erm well we sold things.
(PS2VT) [234] Did you?
Kenneth (PS2VU) [235] Yeah, we've had to sell things now and again.
[236] Another extreme last resort.
[237] And that was the extreme last resort.
[238] Erm oh God, she sold the wedding rings.
[239] But that was quite early in the marriage that was.
[240] Erm ... we've sold endless tape recorders and Hi Fi's.
[241] You name it, we've sold it.
[242] We've had to.
[243] And then we've basically the only two The only thing I haven't turned is crime.
[244] If you don't call working on the side as a crime which I don't.
[245] Erm I've never turned to stealing.
[246] it's been uppermost in my mind a few times but the ... I daresay I wouldn't go to prison the first time.
[247] But you'd to me you don't you don't turn to stealing to do it for a one off.
[248] If you're gonna turn to stealing, then from then on it's gonna be not the last resort any more, it's gonna be one of the first resorts because it pays so much quicker.
[249] And in in the circumstances I'm talking about where I would work on the side, then it's always gonna be erm turning to the quickest resort, rather than the last resort you know.
[250] So stealing being a quick resort, you'd I'd f I I know for a fact I'd find myself turning to it firstly and not lastly.
[251] Which is wrong and I'll end up in prison.
[252] And that's where I [laughing] don't want to be [] .
[253] And I've never wanted to be.
[254] Although I have been there myself.
[255] But not for stealing, for erm something else.
[256] So er I can't think of any other resorts I've turned to.
(PS2VT) [257] You
Kenneth (PS2VU) [258] No.
(PS2VT) [259] you you talk er you know, when you were saying that you'd erm you'd sold an endless succession of of things,wh wh when you bought things, er you know when when you were married,it was there always that element in it that it was here for a just [...]
Kenneth (PS2VU) [260] [laughing] A short while. []
(PS2VT) [261] a short while?
Kenneth (PS2VU) [262] That that used to be mentioned between us er er a few times, I can remember it being mentioned a few times.
[263] I wonder how long we'll have this one.
[264] [laugh] [laughing] Erm [] er ... I think it wasn't really a problem.
[265] Erm it it could have been a problem if we'd have both been so me materialistic that we wanted to keep everything we'd got hold of you know.
[266] But ... we knew that it was probably inevitable.
[267] But we knew that also that erm if it had to go, I t had to go.
[268] I if it was necessary then it would go, same as everything else.
[269] Everything else would go too.
[270] Erm but one thing I would say, is that erm ... we didn't go into long term erm debt to get things like three pieces and and bedroom suite and things like this.
[271] I suppose we could have pushed ourselves and got these things, but I think we both knew that erm if we did, we'd probably have to sell them halfway through paying for them.
[272] And end up the same circumstances we was now, er with out the stuff that we'd we were paying for for the next six months of the year.
[273] So this was mentioned in fact, I think at one stage.
[274] We had so many conversations about about economy and all this er can't really remember.
[275] I think it was mentioned once.
(PS2VT) [276] When er when the time came that you decided that er y you and your tape recorders whatever, had to part company, how do you how would you go about trying to get the best price for them?
Kenneth (PS2VU) [277] [laugh] [cough] .
[278] Erm I don't think it was it was that difficult actually.
[279] Er being on the dole and having friends who were long term on the dole, we tend to buy from each other a lot.
(PS2VT) [280] Ah.
Kenneth (PS2VU) [281] So all you'd do is you'd cast about for a friend, you'd decide on a price that you would accept and if it was a friend, if you had to sell it and you needed fifteen quid to buy a pair of shoes or whatever, erm and you'd like twenty, you'd turn to a mate and go, Have you got twenty quid? and he he'd say yes or no.
[282] If he says yes, then he's holding the tape recorder, if he said no, you'd say, Have you got fifteen?
[283] And er he'd maybe say yes and he'd get it for fifteen you know.
[284] But I've always had at least ten friends who are long term unemployed and we've always bought each other 's stuff.
[285] You know he I I've even bought m my own tap er no it was a wireless.
[286] I had erm an eight ba er eight band wireless which I bought for a hundred and twenty quid when I was working.
[287] Erm when I first came out the army.
[288] Paid a hundred and twenty pound for it.
[289] [cough] I sold it once when I was skint for fifty quid, that was before I was married.
[290] Erm and while I was married I bought it back for twenty and a few months later I sell it for ten pound.
(PS2VT) [laugh]
Kenneth (PS2VU) [291] [laughing] To the same guy that I'd bought it for twe er for twenty off. []
(PS2VT) [292] Mm.
Kenneth (PS2VU) [293] So you know.
[294] And he'd bought it off his friend who'd paid fifty for it.
[295] So I couldn't I couldn't charge him twenty cos he'd only charged me he'd only charged me twenty so I had to sell him back to him for a tenner you know.
[296] But er this hundred and twenty pound [laughing] radio [] was knocking away for a five quid in the end er I er I heard.
(PS2VT) [laugh]
Kenneth (PS2VU) [297] And it was an excell it was an excellent radio.
[298] It really was an excellent radio.
[299] That's just the way it goes you know. [cough]
(PS2VT) [300] So er ... there was er a market for [...] there was a market for all this?
Kenneth (PS2VU) [301] Yes definitely. [cough]
(PS2VT) [302] Amongst er really a a small group a relatively small group.
Kenneth (PS2VU) [303] Yeah, erm of course er some some you'd sold it to you might have other friends who you didn't have as friends.
(PS2VT) [304] Yeah.
Kenneth (PS2VU) [305] So it would slip out of the group.
(PS2VT) [306] Right.
Kenneth (PS2VU) [307] You know.
[308] Erm ... but like I say w er I'd have always had about ten friends who I would buy things off and they would buy things off me and they're all on the dole.
[309] It's very rare you you'll find actually somebody who's working who would who would buy these things off somebody unemployed because they'd expect too much off them.
[310] You know?
[311] Er like if I was selling somebody who was employed, I erm I had a radio, if I was willing to accept twenty pounds off a friend of mine who was unemployed, I'd expect thirty of a guy who was working.
[312] I wouldn't charge I I I'd try and get as much as I could off him cos he was working.
[313] And he'd know that and he m he probably wouldn't buy it off me.
[314] Because he knows that somebody else has has been offered it for twenty quid [...] .
[315] Or at least it will go for twenty quid in the end if he doesn't buy it.
[316] So he won't buy it.
[317] That's what I've always found anyway. [cough]
(PS2VT) [318] So when it came to ... er [...] I haven't really asked you whether you found the process of selling painful.
[319] But I just assumed that it was.
[320] Yeah?
Kenneth (PS2VU) [321] Not at all.
(PS2VT) [322] Wasn't it?
Kenneth (PS2VU) [323] Never never been that attached
(PS2VT) [324] No?
Kenneth (PS2VU) [325] to things materialistic, no.
(PS2VT) [326] Do you think the blow such as it was in s s selling something, was it would it have been softened because you s there was a you knew the people you were selling to.
[327] I mean if you had to take it along to a shop and [...]
Kenneth (PS2VU) [328] Erm ... that's fu it is it's a funny question that because I've never never liked selling to shops.
[329] I've always much preferred to sell it to friends.
[330] Erm so I suppose you could be right.
[331] I suppose you could be right and I was feeling an a er an actual blow but not something I've ever thought about or never put into words like you know.
[332] I've never actually thought about that.
[333] I couldn't really have done it.
[334] It's not something I would have considered.
[335] I've always I've always felt ... If I thought it was necessary then that's the end of it er as far as I know.
[336] Er I haven't realized any any feelings of erm you know er sadness over selling it or anything like that.
[337] It's always just been necessary and [sigh] there it goes you know.
[338] So you could be right I don't know.
[339] I don't really know.
(PS2VT) [340] Erm when you er had to stock up again [...] wh wh h h how would you do that?
[341] Where would they come from?
Kenneth (PS2VU) [342] Erm usually, new.
[343] We'd buy new.
[344] Even though we'd sold it for a ridiculously low.
[345] When we were flush again and we could afford something, you'd get it from a catalogue or whatever.
[346] Erm [...] we'd just buy new I suppose.
[347] But occasionally well not occasionally but quite often, at least once or twice a week, you'd hear of somebody who is in the thieving business, they'd got something for sale and you could get that quite cheap.
[348] And that was another source of stuff.
[349] Erm that might have been as well another reason for selling to friends, [...] erm because most of the stuff we bought anyway was new so that doesn't really come into it.
[350] But if it was hot, or semi hot, we used to sell it to friends anyway, we wouldn't sell it to a shop.
[351] Cos the same thing still apply because most of the stuff was new but we had [...] of hot stuff over the years like.
[352] Which is another [laugh] another for of necessity.
[353] Er as I see it.
[354] I'd never turn anyone in that turned to stealing.
[355] Unless of course, they stole from people I know didn't deserve it.
[356] Mostly shops and not as ... easy targets or not as deserving targets but just as targets.
[357] If they started pinching from old people and things like that [break in recording]
(PS2VT) [358] Erm were you under any er any any pressure to accept ... erm g g goods that had been acquired by indirect roots?
Kenneth (PS2VU) [359] Erm
(PS2VT) [...] [laugh]
Kenneth (PS2VU) [360] No.
(PS2VT) [361] You weren't at all?
Kenneth (PS2VU) [362] No.
(PS2VT) [363] I mean they there was a fact that they knew you were ... unemployed er or wasn't in any s You were yours yourself a target.
Kenneth (PS2VU) [364] Yeah.
[365] Erm I wasn't aware of it.
[366] I wasn't aware of it at all ever.
[367] I'd just be offered same as e most of my friends and other people that are une were offered.
(PS2VT) [368] Mhm.
Kenneth (PS2VU) [369] And you ei you had a chance to say yes or no.
[370] If you said no, that was the end of it.
[371] Erm ... the only thing I've I've never considered buying hot is camera gear.
[372] Er because the I say photography is er something I'm gonna ca continue with and if I start buying hot gear then I can't use my equipment where and when I'd want to.
[373] You have to be careful where you're taking it and all the rest of it.
[374] So er I've never considered that.
[375] I've found myself under pressure to say yes, when somebody's brought along a nice new spanking camera and er I just c couldn't accept it.
[376] But no-one's ever put me under pressure.
[377] Not that I'm aware of anyway.
(PS2VT) [378] [clears throat] You er last time I saw you, you were ... I didn't know whether you'd been starting up in er in photography but you had been [...] next door I think or [...] I'd seen a lot of your stuff.
Kenneth (PS2VU) [379] Yeah.
(PS2VT) [380] But you you you w you w you were getting into it and you had high hopes for developing your work.
Kenneth (PS2VU) [381] That's right yeah, I was also er doing a bit for a guy in [...] at the time.
[382] Erm ... things didn't work out that way because ... he found he was er could do cheaper himself.
[383] Well not so much cheaper cos I was most of the time I was doing it for nothing anyway.
[384] [laugh] Erm he got his own interest er and in the end he decided on all his own stuff like you know.
[385] I suppo I suppose it was cheaper in a way because erm he found himself in the shop a lot more, he couldn't afford the staff that he had, he had used to have two people working for him.
[386] He had to let one go so he was in the shop a lot himself.
[387] And there wasn't really enough work for two people.
[388] Erm so he set up the corner as a darkroom and started doing playing about with his with his own black and white printing.
[389] So er I fell off with that one.
[390] [cough] Erm I lost interest in photography f er after a while because the er ... the photography at the centre, there's always been ever since I joined, there's been six of us who had er a l a lasting thing with photography.
[391] There'd be other people come and had we'd show them round the darkroom and teach them how to print, how to take pictures, and as soon as they knew how to do that, they'd fall off and go away.
[392] And we st we tried to start up Well I tried to start up erm a sort of self help workshop where we all we got materials off the centre, they supplied the materials.
[393] We went out, we took photographs, we come back, we printed them up and we helped each other to learn more techniques and whatever.
[394] We all read books and passed on what we learnt to the others.
[395] There was only [laughing] two of us [] that showed any interest at all in that and that was the guy that was working here, he was running the photography and myself.
[396] The rest of them just e didn't put anything into it at all.
[397] And er I just lost interest all together and stopped doing it.
[398] I was I used to come up here every week anyway, cos I had friends here but erm I never er I didn't take pictures for months and months and months.
[399] So that really fell off.
[400] And it's only just just lately since I split with the wife er I took a couple of months to sort myself out.
[401] Cos although it was an amicable split, I still needed time to settle down and get used to the fact that I was on my own again.
[402] Erm [...] kids.
[403] And sor sort out which direction I was going.
[404] And after I got the job at the centre, erm that took up a lot of time for er a few weeks till I settled down.
[405] And then I r I realized that the job was only gonna last a year, cos it's only a year job, so the best thing I can do is to go ... all out for what I wanna do when I leave the centre.
[406] So I'm using every resource I can a at the centre to push my photography at the moment.
[407] Hoping that by August next year, something'll come of this photography and I can walk straight [...] into a maybe go to a college or if that isn't on the cards, into some sort of a technical lab or something.
[408] Something that'll keep me going in photography anyway.
[409] I don't think I'm good enough to set up on my own.
[410] I don't know what August will bring but I don't think so.
[411] But at the moment I'm really pushing on the er erm portrait photography cos I'm quite good at that.
[412] See what that com see what comes of that.
(PS2VT) [413] You s you you said that you're using every resource
Kenneth (PS2VU) [414] Mhm.
(PS2VT) [415] within the centre [...]
Kenneth (PS2VU) [416] How
(PS2VT) [...]
Kenneth (PS2VU) [417] Yeah.
[418] Yeah [...] .
[419] Erm what I'm doing basically is er putting on as many exhibitions as I can using the centre's name and making sure that I've got a good amount of my work in there, although I don't push anybody else out.
[420] They don't really contribute as much as they could, so that leaves me with an awful lot of space.
[421] So I push as much of my stuff over as I can.
[422] Erm ... I used the centre's resources like the phones and that for phoning round.
[423] Er the various exhibition places asking about that, and making sure they all know my name.
[424] I write them letters, I get people to send er like Photo Gallery in Cardiff, erm I rang them up, they were sending us stuff and it was addressed to a woman that used to be in the ph er activities officer about fou three years ago.
[425] Or even four years ago, four years ago.
[426] And nobody bothered changing it, because the stuff's still coming in anyway, nobody's changed the name.
[427] So I rang up and changed the name to my name so that sh sh the women who runs Photo Gallery in Cardiff, now knows that Ken runs the photography group in Holyhead, so she knows my name now.
[428] And she rang up here when when they offered us the space, she rang up here and asked for me.
[429] Which is a step in the right direction, she knows my name.
[430] So th that's that's the sort of thing I'm doing.
[431] And the place is used a lot erm like the local Trade's Council meet here, and I make sure that I open up for them.
[432] Cos they meet on an evening that we're not used.
[433] The centre's not used like next Wednesday, they're coming here.
[434] And I make sure that I'm here and I open up for them, and I make them a cup of tea.
[435] So the local Trade's Council all know me and I think they all like me as well, so.
[436] Anyway I can push myself forward with the local people and w an anybody with anything to do with photography.
[437] That's what I do.
[438] Using everything I can get.
[439] I've also I forgot to mention when you said i has anything happened to you?
[440] I also have done some work for the local papers as well.
[441] I was at one time er the ph printer Not the photographer but the printer for erm a free hand out paper called the Islander.
[442] I used to do all their printing for them for their photographers. [cough] .
(PS2VT) [443] [...] just needs to be erm [...] back again. ...
Kenneth (PS2VU) [444] Yeah I was doing their printing for them and er I've also taken a few shots for the Chronicle.
[445] And one or two for the Mail.
[446] Erm so that way as well like you know.
(PS2VT) [447] You said that erm Photo Gallery, is it in in in Cardiff,
Kenneth (PS2VU) [448] Yes [...]
(PS2VT) [449] had allocated you some space.
Kenneth (PS2VU) [450] That's right yeah.
[451] No
(PS2VT) [452] Is it a pr is it a prestigious
Kenneth (PS2VU) [453] Yeah it's very prestigious actually erm er a local photographer who was helping us to run the er the photography workshop we call it, not a class because we we we don't teach formally, we just work together and help each other out.
[454] Erm he is a very good landscape photographer e er in a same style as Ansell Adams who's his hero.
[455] [laugh] And he does very very good work.
[456] Excellent work.
[457] And he does twenty by sixteen prints you know, er which he tries to sell.
[458] He isn't selling very many, I don't know why.
[459] Erm ... he wrote to Photo Gallery and asked them for er an exhibition date and they gave him one in nineteen ninety.
[460] [laugh] So for them to actually come and ask for our work to be exhi er exhibited there, is excellent.
[461] But it's not just erm it's not just this unemployed worker's centre, they're asking ten they want ten unemployed worker's centres throughout Wales to contribute work.
[462] But what we're doing is making sure that ours is gonna be the best there like you know.
[463] That's what we're trying for anyway.
[464] Cos we haven't seen the rest yet.
[465] [laugh] But er that's what we're hoping for.
[466] But it's v er everybody's trying to get in there.
[467] Erm lots of new photographers exhibit there and lots of the old established photographers exhibit there.
[468] Er Fay Goodwin has just had one there.
(PS2VT) [469] Oh yes.
Kenneth (PS2VU) [470] So you know.
[471] And at the moment we're on the ninth of this month, I received a copy today they s they sent me some material, erm they've actually been given photographs by people like er Ansell Adams, Fay Goodwin, er David er [clicks fingers] Bailey.
(PS2VT) [laugh]
Kenneth (PS2VU) [472] Couldn't remember his name.
[473] Good God, he'd never forgive me.
[474] David Bailey er they've all given prints for them to sell to help the funds out at the ce at the er Photo Gallery.
[475] So that's how prestigious it is like you know there.
[476] Everybody uses it.
[477] And a lot of people go there to have a look.
[478] A lot of the photographers you know.
[479] So it's a it's a good place to be.
[480] No doubt about it.
(PS2VT) [481] So you've got the [...] er somehow the idea of a career has formed?
Kenneth (PS2VU) [482] [sigh] Yeah.
[483] Erm I wouldn't say it's an idea, I'd say it's a hope.
(PS2VT) [laugh]
Kenneth (PS2VU) [484] [laugh] A great hope.
[485] I'm hoping to do it.
[486] What I what I'd really hope for is to be able to do it without having to go to college and just do it by experience but that's I'd have to be awful awful good.
[487] Especially as I don't like colour and I only like black and white.
[488] I hate colour photography.
[489] Erm I don't just hate the thought of doing, I just I don't like colour photographs at all.
[490] They don't do anything for me at all.
[491] I I love the tonal range in black and white.
[492] [cough] So erm I'm hoping to be able to do it, just off what I can do,m my experience as it is like.
[493] Or what it will be by the time I've finished this job.
[494] But it's it's a it's a hard field to break into.
[495] it really is.
[496] And I think the most I'll get out of it, at least for a few years, is local portrait photography.
[497] It'll only be ... after I've m met a few people and photographed them well, that maybe my name will be start to be mentioned around [...] That is another reason for courting the Trade's Council and any other councillors that come in.
[498] And th any other bigwigs that come in.
[499] I er I court them a lot.
[500] And when when my technique has improved, because I I've as I said, I've just started getting back into po portrait photography, and I forgot a lot of what I learnt before.
[501] Now when that's improved enough, I'm gonna start asking these councillors and that if I can take their photograph.
[502] And when I've done a a spot on photograph for them, when somebody else is mentioning a photograph, you know, er to go up in the Town Hall or whatever, er they the local mayor has just had one done [laugh] by one of the guys in the workshop, and I know for a fact I could do one that's ten times better than that.
[503] But I haven't said so obviously.
[504] You don't do that sort of thing.
[505] Erm ... but I'm hoping that one day he'll see I know he's seen my work and I think I've got a sneaking suspicion that when he came in here he was gonna ask me to do it.
[506] Erm but he got he got sidetracked by this guy, and they were talking and he he mentioned a photograph, and he got in like you know.
[507] I w I wouldn't swear on that but I think that's what happened.
[508] Cos he was looking at me when he come in.
[509] And he was moving in my direction, although I didn't know he was coming in for a photograph.
[510] Erm and it was only afterwards reflecting on it I think he was coming to me.
[511] Er cos he had seen he had seen two or three of my prints.
[512] But he hasn't seen the rest.
[513] And I think that once I've taken e a few of the local bigwigs, then when they want a photograph taken, my name'll get mentioned somewhere along the line and they might come to me.
(PS2VT) [514] I you mentioned going to college or or rather not going to college.
Kenneth (PS2VU) [515] Mm.
(PS2VT) [516] Yeah?
[517] Erm is it something you want to avoid or so or not?
Kenneth (PS2VU) [518] Erm ... I'd re I'd really like the the experience and the knowledge that I could learn at college, but I'd like to take a short cut too.
[519] [laugh] I'd like to work in photography now instead of you know erm going to college and spending four years at college.
[520] I don't see it as a waste of time, but I see it as erm, as may be an as a a n a necessary delay.
[521] I do see it as a delay even though w I'm gonna learn and my technique'll improve a hundred percent.
[522] I'm just hoping that I could learn as I'm as I'm earning you know.
[523] Well not earning but learn as I'm actually working in photography like.
[524] I'd like to work with with er a good photographer, rather than go to college.
[525] I reckon I could learn a a lot more.
[526] I dislike I dislike the idea of learning in a in a formal class.
[527] I like the idea of learning on the job you know.
[528] That appeals to me a lot more.
[529] But it's hard to do. [laugh]
(PS2VT) [530] You s you you've indicat er you you've sort of g given [clears throat] an impression that er this er this ... the centre h depends if you want to get a lot out of it, you've really got to sort of work at it quite hard to er bring it up to anything together.
Kenneth (PS2VU) [531] I d didn't quite understand that.
[532] [laugh] [...] missed a word there.
(PS2VT) [533] In the sense that er you say that you had a camera club
Kenneth (PS2VU) [534] Yeah.
(PS2VT) [535] or [...]
Kenneth (PS2VU) [536] Aha.
(PS2VT) [537] Erm but it really depended, the persons who really got the stuff out of it was just two people in the end.
Kenneth (PS2VU) [538] That's true yeah, that's because the others weren't willing to to put in.
[539] The s working at the centre I I can tell you that one of the especially being the activities officer which is what I am, one of the biggest problems with the centre, is not being able to put things on, it's getting people to be interested in them.
[540] There's an awful lot of apathy in Holyhead.
[541] I used to say beforehand but I wasn't as totally convinced as I am now.
(PS2VT) [laugh]
Kenneth (PS2VU) [542] I am totally convinced that the people in Holyhead want you to put things on, pick them up at the door, drop them off, teach them how to do it er and drop them back again.
[543] And that's the only way they consider going.
[544] We've had to cancel five classes that we set up erm in November.
[545] Five different classes we had to cancel because nobody turned up.
[546] Er one of them I was running myself which is on on maintenance.
[547] Er which is a something that a lot of people mention to me.
[548] You know, er, Oh I wish I could learn how to change a p put on a plug properly.
[549] Or change a fuse or mend a chair.
[550] Whatever.
[551] So I've done all this, I'm quite a handyman in the house, so we talked about it at the cen at the centre here and we actually asked another guy to do it, who's erm sixty odd and he comes in here everyday er and he was willing to to start it or to run it.
[552] And we was gonna when we saw the interest, when the when it was proved there was enough people coming, we were gonna buy him the tools for that, to do the job properly.
[553] Erm, the buy who was gonna do it, unfortunately has eye trouble and er towards the beginning of the start, quite near to the start his er eye trouble picked up a lot more.
[554] And he he couldn't do it, he couldn't concentrate.
[555] So I took it over, no problem at all.
[556] And I was running it and the first week I got there, and one guy turned up.
[557] And he turned up because he turns up for everything.
[558] [laughing] No matter what it us you know [] .
[559] So ... I taught him how to change a fuse.
[560] It took me two hours to cha to teach him how to change a fuse an and erm w w wasn't only how to change a fuse but the correct fuse for the the correct appliance like you know.
[561] So I taught him that the first week, and the second week we went back and there was still only him, so it [laugh] I taught him how to rewire a plug how to do it properly and er went back a third week and he was s still the only one there, so we went through it again, see if he'd picked it up and he hadn't so.
[562] Now he can ch he can actually wire a plug properly.
[563] Which is a Godsend.
[564] Because the way he was [laughing] wiring them to start with, would have killed somebody in the end [] .
[565] So he got something out of it but he was the only one that ever turned up.
[566] And I went there four weeks.
[567] And nobody turned up for it.
[568] And yet eve er quite a lot of people had mentioned it and it was well advertised.
[569] [cough] One of my jobs here is to erm is to sell the centre in a sense.
[570] And we use newspapers, we don't use the television because we can't get on it.
[571] Er I actually make, whichever comes up, I make a poster for it, and I blitz the town with them.
[572] E there's hardly a shop ion Holyhead you can go into wh which hasn't got one of my posters in it, for something or other like you know.
[573] And usually for all of them.
[574] [laugh] Which is a lot of posters.
[575] Erm ... and just people just they just won't come.
[576] They just don't like to get involved in something which is ongoing for a few weeks you know.
[577] The main thing seems to be sport.
[578] The young guys will come for the sport, the young unemployed.
[579] Erm but if this trend continues, I can see them shooting down the activities side of this this place and just using it as an advice centre.
[580] Cos there's already a a s a sport's centre.
[581] And er [...] .
[582] And if we're doing the same thing, they're gonna s sooner of later they're gonna click and they're gonna say, Well you know, that's too much of a good thing like you know.
[583] Shut one of them down, it'll probably be us.
[584] [laugh] See it coming.
[585] It's a terrible place this.
(PS2VT) [586] You've erm [clears throat] you've you've indicated that er you you used the word a apathy.
[587] Is I mean i Do you think it the fact that there is it is an area of high unemployment has anything to do with it at all?
Kenneth (PS2VU) [588] Erm I really don't know.
[589] I couldn't say actually.
[590] It's [...] it's something I've obviously thought a lot about.
[591] Because my job depends on it.
[592] M My job depends on getting them in here.
[593] The more people I get in and get involved in classes, the better it's gonna look at the end of the year.
[594] Erm I've obviously though about it quite a lot and I can't figure out a reason for it.
[595] I can't say that it's high unemployment be I don't know, what's unemployment got to do with it.
[596] If they've got free time [...] .
(PS2VT) [597] Yeah.
Kenneth (PS2VU) [598] If people are gonna sit around the house while they're unemployed, they're probably the same people who sit around the house when they're on a Saturday and Sunday when they're working you know.
[599] They just don't do anything with a Saturday and Sunday.
[600] I've known loads of people who who are working full time, and they come home Friday and the go out Friday night, stand up at the bar, and drink twenty pints or whatever, ten pints.
[601] And they they they go home and they don't move out the house until Monday morning.
[602] [laugh] [...] terrible people.
[603] I don't know I just can't understand [...] what drives these people at all.
[604] I couldn't live an existence like that.
[605] I've got to get something out of life.
[606] You know besides the fact that I I wanna work when I'm when I'm not working, I still like to to get out the house and get involved in something.
[607] Otherwise you there's no point.
[608] I co I couldn't I couldn't go to work Monday and Friday, Monday to Friday and then spend all the weekend in the house and then just go to work Monday to Friday again, and do that week in and week out.
[609] There's no I I can't see what's in life for em at all.
[610] It's terrible.
[611] But that's seems to be what a lot of the people round here do.
[612] I know for a fact my my own brother, and I mentioned this before, the last interview.
[613] He spent seven years just sitting on his backside in the house.
[614] And he ruled his house with a rod of iron you know.
[615] Every decision that was made in the house was his, his wife had no say in it.
[616] Er he said what was gonna be cooked for tea, he said when there was a cup of tea made.
[617] His house was in his entire kingdom.
[618] And he didn't want anything else.
[619] For seven years he didn't want anything else.
[620] [cough] And then he moved to Holyhead.
[621] Erm and he started coming to this centre ... he he came to the centre once or twice with ... my other brother for some advice I think, welfare right advice.
[622] And then he bought a computer ... to use in the house, nowhere else like,s it was still his house was his kingdom.
[623] And he found he couldn't handle it.
[624] So hearing there was computer classes here, he started coming and he didn't like it and he stopped.
[625] And then after a couple of weeks he still couldn't get on with his computer, so he came back.
[626] And he stayed, and now he drops in here most days of the week and he practically runs the computer class in there.
[627] And he actually mixes with people which is something he's never done.
[628] [laugh] That guy has never mixed with people and yet now he just he mixes with everybody [...] .
[629] So this this centre has actually changed his life.
[630] And his attitude a hell of a lot.
[631] But like I say for seven years he just sat and didn't want to do nothing.
[632] And a lot of people are like that.
(PS2VT) [633] Has the has the centre in any sense ... erm ... political linkings?
Kenneth (PS2VU) [634] [cough] Erm [cough] ... again that's a hard question because I'm thoroughly non-political, absolutely non-political.
[635] Erm I know for a fact that Peter who who's the supervisor erm is a staunch Labourite and er union man, same as Geoff but neither of them push it.
[636] Er the centre's supposed to be totally non-political and if it ever got political, they'd close us down.
[637] The same as they did with the one in Bangor, they closed that down for being political.
[638] Er some of the comments [...] political I suppose yeah.
[639] But there's no erm there's no sort of political influence at all.
[640] That I can see.
[641] But me being me, I could miss it.
[642] Because it goes straight over my head anyway.
[643] If it was subtle.
[644] Unless it was out and out [...] screaming, Let's kill Thatcher, I wouldn't even notice it I don't think.
[645] [laugh] So you're asking the wrong person I'm afraid for that one.
[646] You you'd have to be very er very hard line for me to notice it.
(PS2VT) [...]
Kenneth (PS2VU) [647] Ah yes.
[648] Yeah I'll have to go.
(PS2VT) [649] Thank you very much Ken.
Kenneth (PS2VU) [650] Excellent.
(PS2VT) [...]
Kenneth (PS2VU) [651] Well I hope I've been of some help.
(PS2VT) [652] Yes you have indeed. [recording ends]