Archive for the History Category


Posted in Arts, Black British Literature, Black History, Books, british dialect, Community, Culture, Education, Fiction, History, Literature, Newsletter, Publications, Short Story, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2018 by


© 2002 Norman Samuda Smith.


‘A moment of patience in a moment of anger saves you a hundred moments of regret…’

Judess is featured in Britannia’s Children – Volume II – A Collection of Short Stories by Norman Samuda Smith

Buy your copy @



          “Hello David?”

          “Yes hello Mrs Malcolm, yuh a’right?”

          “Yes dear, I’m fine t’ank you. Yuh good?”

          “Yes I’m good. What can I do for you Mrs M?”

          “Yuh speak to Judy yet?”

          “No, I just come in from work, she s’pose to be comin’ round later.”

          “Well, I don’t t’ink yuh gwine see her t’day yuh nuh.”

          “Why? What’s happened?”

          “Nothing happen. So yuh nuh talk to her?”


          “Ok, I’ll leave it for her to tell yuh den. I’ll get her to phone yuh when I speak to her.”

          “Ok Mrs M.”

          “I will call yuh back later after she talk to yuh, ok?”

          “A’right cool.”

          “Bye f’now.”


          ‘Something’s up…’ David thought glaring at the receiver before he placed it in its cradle. He drifted from the living room into the kitchen where he saw an envelope leaning against the fruit bowl on the table. He sat down, picked it up and read, ‘To David,’ before he ripped it open and unfolded the letter enclosed…

          Dear David,

I’m sorry; I know you were expecting me to come around this evening with the three months instalments I owe you for the loan. Please don’t think badly of me, I’m not running away, but I’ve been given an opportunity I haven’t had in over four years. I’ve been fed up of living from hand to mouth, scraping the bottom of the barrel, robbing Peter to pay Paul, so when Dennis offered an all-expense paid two weeks holiday to the Canary Islands, I couldn’t resist. Please don’t be mad, I’ll talk to you when I get back.

          Love you – Judy

          ‘Who d’raas is Dennis?!’ David cussed screwing up the note and flinging it across the kitchen. His relationship with Judy had started to get shaky about six months ago, he sensed it but chose to ignore the warnings and soldiered on. He had been the perfect gentleman, not once did he push the physical side of their relationship beyond the token goodnight kiss, because Judy continually said she wasn’t ready cos she had just come out of an abusive relationship; he respected her wishes. Such restraint was saintly he thought, most man would of run to the hills, and yet without warning Judy was about to board a plane with Dennis – a stranger. Once they reach the Canary Isles and sekkle in, Judy might allow him to do the deed to her in their hotel room. The thought sent rage through him that shook his body.

          ‘Who d’raas is Dennis? What has dis bwoy got that I haven’t? – ‘Is there something lacking in me, or is there some strange mystique that attract Judy to him?’ Whatever it was, there had to be something that explained Judy’s behaviour. The truth of the matter, which deep down he knew, Judy was cool sharing his bed, doing the kissing and cuddling ting, sleeping with him; but terrified, maybe disgusted of the prospect of them engaging in intercourse and the mingling of their bodies, exhibiting their full nakedness, bathing in the flesh of another and drowning in the sea of spiritual emotions – ‘Yeh man sticky sweaty lust we never had, we wasn’t right,’ David thought. ‘I should have trusted my instincts.’ – Yet despite his senses telling him different, the prospect of life without Judy’s companionship right now was agonising. He mistakenly took it for granted that she was the one and most likely would always be by his side, and now, that false hope left his dreams crushed.

          David sighed deeply and glared at the crumpled note he had dashed across the kitchen, he considered reading it again to confirm that what he read was genuine, but what was the point? – This was real, he had to accept it, and he needed a shower. His mom always said, ‘Water is de cleansing soul of life…’ and once under the spray of water he could wash away the confusion of self-guilt, the pain, the disappointment, the anger; figure out how to move on and learn how to be single again after four years of being with Judy.

          The phone began to ring before he had the chance to enter his bedroom and step out of his work clothes. David didn’t want to answer it; in fact he didn’t want to speak to anybody at all, but his higher-self told him to pick up the receiver, the call might be important.


          “Hello David it’s me…”

His heart skipped a beat when he heard Judy’s voice and his mind was immediately tossed into a confusion mix up, should he hang up, cuss her or just be calm? His dad’s favourite saying was, ‘There’s a time to be humble and a time to fuss and cuss…’ and remembering that quote, he realised there were more important issues to deal with right yah now, rather than pacifying his ego by being disrespectful.

          “Wha appm Judy, where are you?” David asked after taking a breath.

          “I’m at the airport.”

          “Which one?”


          “Oh, ok.”

          “Are you alright?”

          “Yeh man, me cool,” he lied.

          “Oh, I was gonna say you sound calm. I thought you’d be vex wid me.”

          “I kinna am, but there’s nothin’ I can do ‘bout it now. So where’s the money to pay the loan, yuh spend it?”

          “No, it’s in the bank; I’ll give it to you when I get back.”

          “Dat’s no good to me Judy. Payment is due inna couple of days. What am I s’pose to tell dem?

          “Just tell ‘em that you’re a bit short and you’ll sort ‘em out in a couple of weeks.”

          “As simple as dat huh? – Ok.”

          “I’ll make it up to you when I get back babes, I promise.”


          “Gotta go, they’re callin’ us to board the plane; I left my car round the back at yours, the keys are in y’bedroom and the key to my flat, so could yah look after it and make sure my flat’s ok?”

          “Yeh, yeh no problem.”

          “Thank you babes, you’re a star, see you inna couple of weeks, bye!”

          “Aaahhh…!” David screamed as he slammed down the receiver. He filled the air with curses as he entered his bedroom. There, sprawled out on the bedside cabinet, were the keys for her car and her flat. He stepped out of his work clothes and into the shower where the gush of water saturated his body. It was true what his mother said; ‘Water is de cleansing soul of life…’ Her words made him smile for the first time that evening. He knew what he was gonna do.

          He pulled up outside Judy’s flat in her silver coloured Ford Mondeo. This was the last favour he was gonna do for her. He let himself into her flat, checked every room making sure all the wall plugs and electrical appliances were switched off. In the corner of her living room a CD rack stood beside the black Aiwa hi-fi system, he strolled over to it and collected all the CD’s that were his, throwing them into a plastic bag. Then he disconnected the speakers, unplugged the main body of the hi-fi from the wall. In two trips to the car, he placed them on the back seat and drove home. By the time he finished setting up the Hi-Fi in his living room, his phone began to ring. David strolled over and picked up the receiver expecting to hear Judy’s mom’s voice.


          “Hi David.” Maureen, Judy’s elder sister sounded solemn.

          “Oh, wha appm Maureen, yuh good?”

          “Yeh, I’m fine thanks, more importantly, how are you?”

          “I’m good yuh know Maureen.”

          “Yuh sure?”

          “Well, I’m a bit battered, but I’ll survive.”

          “Aww, mom was so embarrassed what Judy do to you, she ask me to phone you ‘n’ check in.”

          “Thank you, and no need for her to be shame; she nuh do nuttn wrong.”

          “Well we’re all embarrassed; friends don’t do that to each other y’know.”

          “Well, dat’s not all she’s done Maureen, trust me.”

          “Oh my god, what else she do? Don’t hide nuttn David, tell me…”

          “Are yuh sittin’ down?”

          “Yes I am…”

          “Well let me reveal a few tings bout yuh sister…”

          Surprisingly to David, during the days while Judy was away sunning it up with Dennis in the Canaries, he slept well, reported into work on time, and completed the briefs that were set; the only thing was when he reached home; he had too much time to think about Judy. She was like forbidden fruit, almost sterile, like being placed on a page of an ancient photo album that could be viewed but not touched. He had finally admitted to himself that their relationship was done, there was no going back. He was just a prop, something to dangle from her arm when they went out socially, and in secret, she used her prettiness to flirt with other men to get what she wanted. He had been used, he knew it, and her sister Maureen confirmed it in their many telephone conversations. Yet Judy was like no other woman he had met before, stunning, regal, always stared at when they were out together and continually given verbal accolades by both men and women, but that was the thing, she just had the looks that masked what was really inside.

          David’s trail of thought was interrupted by a knock on the door; he took a deep breath and strolled through the hallway to open it. Judy stood smiling, her pearling white teeth shone amidst the background of her sun-kissed skin.

          “Hi-yah babes, did yuh miss me?” She motioned to enter, arms spread wide as though she was expecting to walk into David’s welcoming hug. David took a step back and blocked her way in. Immediately, her smile dissolved into a frown.

          “What’s wrong?”

          “You are wrong; we are wrong!” David chuckled sarcastically.

          “I had to take a break and nothing happened between me and Dennis if that’s what you’re thinkin’.”

          “I really don’t care what happened between you and Dennis to be honest. Oh, by the way, here’s the key to yuh yard.”

          “What about the car key?”

          “The car is mine. You ain’t paid nuttn toward the loan payment. Yuh always makin’ excuses dat yuh bruk, so step away from me door.”

          “How am I gonna get home?”

          “I call a taxi fe yuh.” David dipped into his pocket and slapped a ten-pound note in her hand. “It should be here in five minutes, you can wait outside fe it; and another ting, I take the stereo from yuh yard, keep the three instalments yuh was gonna give me before yuh run off wid Dennis; yuh sister sort me out to pay off de loan. So you ‘n’ me is done.”

          “Yuh told me mom and sister bout the loan?”

          “Yep, and Maureen send me a cheque to pay it off one time.”

          “You bastard!” Judy swung a kick at him, David stepped back to avoid her foot connecting with his ‘crown jewels.’

          “Don’t do dat Judess!”

He gently pushed her away from his doorway.

          “Judess? – Why yuh callin’ me that?”

          “You figure it out, yuh not stupid! Yuh taxi a wait fe yuh – Bye.” David slammed the door in her face and leaned against it pumping his fists. “YESSS!”


*All rights reserved.  No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the writer Norman Samuda-Smith.*



Posted in Articles, Arts, Black British Literature, Black History, Books, british dialect, Community, Culture, Education, Fiction, History, Literature, News, Newsletter, Publications, Short Story, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2018 by


A Collection of Short Stories that grapple with the issues of depression, love, hope and remembrance of departed ones is now published!! 

More details where to buy the book click on the link below


Posted in Articles, Arts, Black British Literature, Black History, Books, Community, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, History, Literature, News, Newsletter, Poem, Poems, Publications, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 17, 2017 by

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Read the new Breaking Ground: Celebrating Writers of Colour booklet

SPEAKING VOLUMES has begun the next chapter of the Breaking Ground project with the launch of a new booklet celebrating writers of colour. We hope that the booklet will be a valuable resource both at home and overseas, demonstrating the wide and varied literature of the UK whilst raising the profile and giving a platform to 200 contemporary British BAME authors.

Read the brochure in full by clicking on the link below


Posted in Articles, Arts, Black British Literature, Black History, Books, Community, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Fiction, History, Literature, Music, News, Newsletter, Poem, Poems, Publications, Reggae, Short Story, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2016 by

300x300-512x512+55+47_11234323Norman Samuda Smith is a talented Author and former playwright. He is the first black British born novelist to be published in the UK, what an accolade to have under your belt. He has achieved so much and is so understated, but has done a plethora of work in which opened the doors through his writing of what it was like growing up as a black person in the UK.


In 2013, Norman self-published three of his books, Britannia’s Children, Freedom Street, and in celebration of its 30th Anniversary, his ground-breaking novel Bad Friday; which was first published in 1982 and republished in 1985. In a rare appearance, we at Sounds Beautiful Radio hosted a two part thoughtful and personal interview with him by our very own presenter ‘Westfield John’. It was a pleasure having Norman come into the studio for this interview. So sit back and listen to the full account of his surprising stories.

Listen to part 1 of the interview here…

Listen to part 2 of the interview here…







Posted in Articles, Arts, Black British Literature, Black History, Books, Community, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Fiction, History, Literature, Music, News, Newsletter, Publications, Reggae, Short Story, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 19, 2015 by

Bad Friday (Front Cover)

Bad Friday by Norman Samuda Smith

Rating: 5 of 5 stars

What the readers are saying about it…

‘When Norman Samuda Smith wrote Bad Friday, he became our first Black British born Novelist – he became a pioneer who spoke for a generation whose voice had yet to be heard in the long narrative form. Norman Samuda Smith and Bad Friday were born and made in Britain, where he put pen to paper.’

James Pogson (Writer) February 2013


‘I read Bad Friday before I met Norman and felt it was good then: a novel about school leavers set in inner-city Small Heath Birmingham (UK) among the Afro-Caribbean community in the 1970s. It uses the dialogue of the community skilfully to tell an affecting story. What’s amazing (to me) about it is the author’s youth when he wrote it – He was only 17, and in his early twenties when it was first published, but he shows a mastery of narrative…’

Alan Beard (Author); January, 2001


‘Around 16 years ago, when I was starting to write my first novel, I was eager to find past examples, or ‘blueprints’, which would provide inspiration for what I was about to do. Although I found many noteworthy stories from across the African Diaspora, I was looking for something set in Britain. And then I was gifted Bad Friday – a novel I have to this day. It was instrumental in letting me know that what I envisioned was achievable, and that a rich, Black British AND working class literary culture had been realised by others before me. It was liberating to read, and I’m heartened to know this book will be made available for others. It’s a long unsung milestone, and I hope that, with this reprint, that will change.’

Courttia Newland (Author/Screenwriter/Playwright) October 2013


‘Excellent book!!! The final paragraph on the back cover gives definition to the struggles we faced in our youth. There are very few credible books that speak to an almost forgotten group – Black British people growing up in the 1970s. Great context and real characters who make this a page turning read.’

Winifred V. Williams (A satisfied reader – Washington D.C) November 2015


‘Norman wrote Bad Friday when he was only 17. The book has a great depth to it from innocence to the harsh realities of life. The characters are all well-defined, a mixture of emotions; joy, sorrow, dreams, love and the escape through music via ‘Sound Systems’ – Norman has a real talent.’

John Miller (A satisfied reader – Birmingham, UK) December 2015


Read what they said about Bad Friday back in the day here…


 ISBN: 9781784071110  –  Total Pages: 237  Published: 29 October 2013





Watch the Bad Friday book trailer here…



Posted in Articles, Arts, Black British Literature, Black History, Books, Community, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Fiction, History, Literature, Music, News, Newsletter, Poem, Poems, Publications, Reggae, Short Story, Television, Theatre, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2015 by

The aftermath of the German bombing blitz of Birmingham 1940


Former Son of Small Heath now Hollywood actor David Harewood travels back to his native Birmingham, UK to look at his city’s Blitz story. During the second world war, Birmingham’s factories were crucial to war production, and although the city was heavily bombed, much of the destruction was kept secret. David uncovers this story and talks to victims of the Blitz. He also goes up in a small plane to recreate the German bombing raids – from the sky he is able to see that the house where he grew up in on Oldknow Road in Small Heath, was sandwiched between two major targets. Watch the episode here…

Check out the article published November 2012 here on PANTHER NEWSLETTERTRIBUTE TO THE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF SMALL HEATH here…


Posted in Arts, Black History, Books, Community, Culture, Education, Fiction, History, Literature, Newsletter, Publications, Short Story, Writing with tags , , on May 31, 2011 by


© 2010 Bryanna Jones

(From Yeadon, Pennsylvania)


I believe I found my freedom through dance.  The way you twist, turn, and stretch your body is like you’re a big open book.  Showing what you have been through and what you’re about to go through is all shown through movement.  Dance to me is a way to get out of this drug infused, violence-filled, confined world.  For me, I always had something to tell people but my way of telling is through dance.

This belief became a reality at a very young age; it was in Disney World where my family would travel to almost every year.  Until this one year, the dancers in the Disney Parade needed some kids to come to the street to learn a dance.  I ran my little legs out there and learned the dance.  Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum taught it to me.  Just that little dance made me feel like I was a superstar in front of millions of fans.

When I returned to the room I could not stop dancing.  My feet and arms kept on moving and never stopped until my mom asked a life-changing question.

“Do you want to go to dance school?” She asked me with a pinch of frustration in her voice.

“Yes I do, can I,”  I asked jumping up and down.

I never thought that an 8-word question could make me feel like I won a million dollars.  When I returned home later that week my mom signed me up at a dance company.  I went to dance every Saturday in my pink ballet slippers, pink stockings, pink tutu, pink bodysuit, and a pink sweater.  I took ballet, jazz, and tap.  Then something inside of my tiny body told me that this was like a home away from home for me.  Everyone there was passionate about the same thing I was passionate about.

As I got older I began to realize all of my worries went away.  Then when someone put me on stage I was going to show the world me.  When I was on stage, I was free my body would do things I did not even practice and when you’re free that is what‘s supposed to happen.  Freedom is supposed to make you feel removed from this drug infused, violence-filled, confined world.  When I dance a portal to another world opens and I dance right into that portal.


 *All rights reserved.  No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the writer Bryanna Jones.*



Posted in Arts, Black British Literature, Black History, Books, british dialect, Community, Culture, Education, Fiction, History, Literature, Newsletter, Publications, Short Story, Writing with tags , , , on March 31, 2011 by


Micah’s Letter

© 2011 Norman Samuda-Smith

The Football Match is featured in Britannia’s Children – A Collection of Short Stories by Norman Samuda Smith

Buy your copy @


Number: WG8668 – Name: Micah Green


Winson Green Road


Wha gwaan Dad.

I got yah script and thanks for saying that yah don’t judge me but yah will always love me unconditionally.  Believe me dad, that means a lot.

Well dad its official, I’ll be on lock down for a year.  They say I’ll be out in six months as long as I don’t get inna no fuss nor fight.  So I’m gonna keep my head down, be humble, control my temper and I’ll be out soon.

I’m sharing a cell with an older black geezer; he’s four years older than you.  He’s been locked down for just over a year now and has got another two years to go maybe less he says, he’s ok and is a very intelligent man.  A couple of days ago we was reasoning during lights out, about an argument he had with his woman.  He said he knew what was gonna happen and he should have got out of the relationship earlier, nuff of his family and friends warn him same way, but because he loves his children, he didn’t wanna become a weekend daddy.  His woman was always nagging about everyting; she was never satisfied with what they got, yah know de ting dad, money, material things, the whole nine yards.   One day he snapped when she try to block him from leaving the house during one big argument.  So he saw red and box her down and couldn’t stop.  It was only cos his children was screaming, the mist cleared and he realised what he was doing.  He called the police and they lock him up.  He said sitting in a two by four makes you reflect, and all that thinking made him realise when people say love is blind, they assume seh dat blindness is always between a man and a woman; but yah can be blinded by yah love for yah children.  That’s where he was, he stayed because of them.  Now he recognises if he had left his woman when he start seeing the signs years ago, it would’ve been better for him, her and the children.  Bwoy, ah so it go sometimes, nuh true dad?

I told him about yah and the advice yah tried to give me everytime.  He said I should’ve listened to yah, that I don’t realise how lucky I am to have a father like you who’s there, who cares and is willing to listen and talk.  I’ve been sitting and reflecting on what yah tried to say to me and yah was always right dad.  Whatever yah talked to me about, woman, friends, family, everything about life, yah was always right; but the majority of the time, I was hard of hearing.  As Granny always say to me nuff time: “Bwoy yuh too hard ears!”  I thought I knew it all, silly me.  I just gotta be calmer in the future, think a problem or situation through and act on it constructively and positively.  Yah see dad, whenever yah say or write me a script, yah sound like a messenger from God.  I wouldn’t change yah for the world, I’m sorry about all the bad things I said to yah; and like yah said in yah last script, yah hope I learn from my mistakes.  I think I have.

I hope yah ok though dad.  Don’t worry too much about me, I’m ok, I’m not in a crazy wing full up with murderers and ting, most of the mans dem in the wing are cool.

Well me ah go sign off now, I’ll sort out a day for yah to come and visit, so I’ll see yah soon.  I know mom is still vex and disapointed with me, cos she hasn’t answered any of my scripts.  Say hello to her for me and that I love her.

Til we see each other, take care of yahself dad and mom too –  Love always

Yah son – Micah


*All rights reserved.  No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the writer Norman Samuda-Smith.*



Posted in Arts, Black British Literature, Black History, Books, british dialect, Community, Culture, Education, Fiction, History, Literature, Newsletter, Publications, Short Story, Writing with tags , , , on February 28, 2011 by



© 2011 Norman Samuda-Smith

Respect is featured in Britannia’s Children – A Collection of Short Stories by Norman Samuda Smith

Buy your copy @


Tony rolls onto his stomach and is spread-eagled across his bed.  It didn’t feel as though he had a good night’s sleep, more like he’d just finished playing two hard fought basketball games in succession and lost.  He rolls onto his back and tries to get up, but fatigue weighs him down and prevents every twisted sinew and all his aching limbs from moving.  What makes things worse is the splitting headache hammering between his eyes and spreading to the back of his head. The heat from the radiator doesn’t help matters; it slowly sucks the oxygen out of his bedroom.

The pirate radio station operating from the flat next door is in full swing, giving it large.  The drum and bass penetrates his bedroom wall as the MC’s verse their concrete jungle psalms, free-styling with anger, joy and passion – wailing – “Wheel and come again selecta!” – Ecstatic when a wicked lyric is thrown down.  Then there is the knocking, banging and stamping from the neighbours above and below him; their way of complaining about the up-tempo rumpus that’s going on.  Tony stretches and grabs the spare pillow and covers his head; trying to smother the noise…

             “I should complain ‘bout dis…” he moans.

The inter-com in the hallway begins to buzz.  It buzzes again, continually for what seems like forever.  Forgetting his aches and pains, Tony springs out of bed drags on his nearby track suit trousers and heads for the receiver to cuss the individual who is causing the disturbance…

             “Hello…HELLO!”  –  No answer, he places the receiver back in its cradle, cussing while doing so.  In the bathroom he gazes into the mirror, the whites of his eyes are red.  He groans when he leans forward to wash his face and brush his teeth.  In the kitchen, he switches on the kettle.  While the water boils, he stares out the window of his high-rise block ten floors down and spots four children repeatedly slide up and down a huge puddle which is frozen solid in the middle of the car park; they’re having big fun.  Around and about them are the frosty residential rooftops, the frosty back and front gardens and the frost-covered parked cars in the surrounding streets, beyond that a clear view of the dual-carriage way.  His eyes follow it north as it spirals to join the motorway.  He sees the landscape of eight districts of Birmingham to the point where the horizon kisses the clear blue sky.  The sun is shining gloriously through the firmament and the frost lay as thick as snow on the rooftop of the tool making factory across the road.  Tony takes a sup from his cup of tea, which internally makes him feel better.

His road and the surrounding streets are almost void of cars on what is usually a bustling part of town.  Tony gives thanks to God and Sunday for this near stillness; cos only on this day does the roaring traffic which leaps out of the dual-carriage way and into his flat every day stop.  There is a knock at the door.  Tony steals a quick glance at the clock hanging on the kitchen wall which reads 10.30am.  Jehovah’s witnesses usually come sniffing around about this time and the idea of reasoning with them right now doesn’t appeal to him.  They bang the door this time and a voice shouts through his letterbox…

             “Yow! Open de door nuh blood!”

            “Definitely not Jehovah’s witnesses.”  Tony is vex when he peers through the spy-hole and scrutinizes seven black youths loafing around, donned in their baseball caps and hoods.  They pound the door again.  Tony hauls the door open…


            “Yeh, sorry t’disturb yuh big man, but me and d’mans dem jus’ come t’do our gig in dah studio – Y’get me?”

            “What?” fury almost chokes Tony.

            “Dah radio station star. We come t’do our gig.”

            “Which door do you usually knock when yuh do yuh radio gig yout’ man?”

The yout’ points to the next-door flat where the music was coming from.

            “So why yuh knockin’ my raas door?”

There is no answer from the yout’, his friends stand around with their hands in their pockets and their shoulders slouched forward, all of them waddling from side to side like restless Penguins…

            “Look, get one ting straight right,” Tony’s eyes convey the fury within him, “…don’t knock me door again, seen? And stop ringin’ de inter-com.  Yuh overstand?”  

            “Cha, no need t’gwaan like dat big man.  Like I said me and d’mans…”

Tony slams the door in the yout’s face.  In the kitchen he prepares the traditional Sunday rice and peas, roast chicken, baked potatoes and vegetables.  When his children come round later, they will eat, drink and be merry, he smiles at the thought of that.  While the kidney beans simmer, he makes his way to the bathroom, to have that long awaited soak in the bath; the phone which suddenly starts ringing diverts his route.

            “Ah shit what now? – Hello.”

            “Hello yuhself.  Where’s Michael?”

            “What yuh mean where’s Michael Marcia?  He’s at your yard enit?”

            “No he’s not.  His bed wasn’t slept in last night.”

            “Well perhaps he stop over at one of him friend yard or suppm.”

            “Just check yuh spare room and see if him in deh please.”

            “A’right, hol’ on…”

Tony drifts down the hallway with the phone in his hand and enters the spare room to see that Michael is curled up and sleeping peacefully on the bunk bed…

            “Yeh, he’s here…” Tony confirms in a whisper rolling his eyes.

            “Yuh see?  And I bet yuh don’t even know what time he come in last night, do you?”

            “Don’t start now Marcia…” Tony’s voice is courteous but patronising.

            “What yuh mean don’t start now Tony?  He’s only fifteen and him out til all hours!  I blame you fe dis!”


            “Yes you!  Yuh too laid back man.  Yuh don’t phone him and ask him wha gwaan in him life.  Some father you are!” she spits out her words contemptuously.

            “Oh, it’s like dat now is it?”

            “Yeh whatever or however yuh wanna take it bredrin!  When he wake, talk to him right, coz he too facety toward me…”

            “Oh really?

            “Yes really!  You tell him from me dat he better change him ways and attitude. Him too rude!  If he carry on like dis me gwine t’row him out!”

            “Yuh wouldn’t do dat.  Would you?”

            “Yes I would…and he can live wid you when I do.  So talk to him right, man to man! – Bye!”

 The dialling tone buzzes in Tony’s ear.  He glares at the receiver before placing it on its cradle and then retreats to the bathroom mumbling under his breath…

 Read PART TWO of RESPECT here… 


*All rights reserved.  No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the writer Norman Samuda-Smith.*



Posted in Arts, Black British Literature, Black History, Books, british dialect, Community, Culture, Education, Fiction, History, Literature, Newsletter, Publications, Short Story, Writing with tags , , on January 31, 2011 by


 © 1982, 2011 Norman Samuda Smith

Woman is featured in Britannia’s Children – A Collection of Short Stories by Norman Samuda Smith

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The front-room was a mess, empty glasses were scattered about.  Most of the cake, all the curry goat and rice and fried fish were devoured and the paper plates lay about on the table which earlier was beautifully decorated.  Her family and long time friends had gathered to celebrate her sixtieth year and her husband Samuel along with their sons David and Paul collaborated to manifest the festivity.  The last of the party guests were leaving while Ivey stood in the front-room gazing at her birthday cards.  She could hear their muffled voices and their ripples of laughter in the hallway, as they cracked jokes with Samuel at the front door.  Ivey drifted over to the fire-place and picked up David and Paul’s card:

 ‘To the best mom in the world.  Of that we have no doubt.

May all those sweet and meaningful dreams come true.

We love you.

David and Paul xx.’

Ivey smiled as she began to read a few more and didn’t notice Samuel when he crept into the front room.  He stretched and yawned loudly.

                “They gone,” he said, “…Yuh comin to bed?  We’ll clean up dis mess t’morrow,” he was now massaging her shoulders.

                 “…Mmm, dat feel good,” Ivey sighed, “…I’ll be up in a minute.”

                 “You alright?”

                 “Yes, yes, I’m fine sweetheart.  You gwaan up, I soon come.” Ivey patted his hand.

                 “Alright, good night then.”

                 “Good night Samuel.”

As Ivey continued to read more of her birthday cards, her youngest son Paul entered the room munching on a large piece of her birthday cake.

               “Ahh, mom!” he said surprised, “…I thought you gone to bed.”

                “No, I’m still awake as you can see.  The cake nice don’t it?” Ivey’s tone had a hint of sarcasm.

Paul chuckled, “Yeh man, it sweet,” his chuckling stopped immediately when he glanced at Ivey’s frown speculatively, “…you alright mom?”

                 “Yes, yes, me alright, why?”

                 “Nuttn.  Is just that yuh look miles away.”

                 “Oh, I was just thinkin of de party.”

                 “It was a cool party enit mom?”

                 “Yes it was very moving Paul, and I thank unnu for dat.”

                 “No problem mom.  You deserve it.”

                 “So who do all de cookin?  Yuh Auntie Florence?”

                 “Nah man, Dad did.  I never know he can cook.”

                 “Well now you know it wasn’t me all de time who cook yuh dinner.”

Paul smiled and sat across the room facing her, munching and swallowing last bits of his cake.  He licked the icing from his fingers then rose to his feet.

                 “Well mom, that’s me done, I’m gonna turn in now.”

                 “Ok darlin’.  Before yuh go up, play dat record again fe me nuh.”

                 “Which record?” Paul’s eyes swept over his mom’s face through his furrowed brows.  Ignoring his examination Ivey replied, “Yuh know, dat one about de woman.”

                 “Oh yeh!  Now?”

                 “Yes, now.  I want to hear it.”  Ivey watched his eyes widen with concern.

                 “Ok.”  Paul drifted over to the stereo, his gaze returned to her again, before he searched through his selection of vinyl’s eventually finding the twelve inch she requested.  He turned on the stereo and placed the record on the deck, then placed the arm on the spinning disc and set the volume to a reasonable level.  The crackling of the record’s surface hissed through the tannoy speakers.

                 “Night Mom.” Paul sauntered over to her, leaned forward and kissed Ivey’s forehead.

                 “Good night darlin’ and thank you.”

Ivey sat back in the sofa, sighed and listened again to the fullness of the lyrics…

‘Woman staring into space

She’s wondering where her life has gone

Dreaming of the land she once came from,

so far away across the sea;

home sweet home

Getting old now

Got to be moving on

Ain’t getting’ any younger

Got to go home

To rest her soul in peace in love

And the memories

Of when she was young…’

…Ivey originally came here to be a nurse or study to be a Mid-Wife.  Every time she was within touching distance of knowledge, life got in the way and she was side-tracked.  She finally settled and got her first job as piece-worker in a big clothing factory.  Although she had the talent to sew and make clothes, she hated it but had to love it for the money’s sake.  She was earning £3.00 a week in the old currency of Pounds, Shillings and Pence, out of that she had to pay her rent, buy her food and put a few pennies aside for the gas and electric meter.  So she hardly had any money left to spend on herself.  Even so, she always managed to send money back home to her parents to help them and pay back, bit by bit, her passage here to ‘England’s Streets’.  She lived in one room with three other West Indian women.  One was from Nevis, one from Barbados, the other from Trinidad, she was from Jamaica.  It was bad living she recalls, they had to share one bathroom with four other West Indian women who lived in another room down the hallway of the same house.  They got in each other’s way when they wanted to use the kitchen, but they were good times…

               “…We was all in our late teens to early twenties then and bwoy, de man dem would chase we like crazy!”  Her eyes had a burning faraway look in them, gazing into a vacant space, staying there.  Almost wishing that, in that spot, those days were back, there!

Samuel, the man in her life came forward:  “…I have no intention of goin out on a date with you,” she told him in her ‘speaky-spokey’ cheeky way, but she fancied him really.  He was persistent, that kind of chat didn’t discourage his advances at all.  Nevis, Barbados and Trinidad found their men too, Ivey got married, so did they.

A month after her fourth wedding anniversary, Ivey gave birth to David, who favoured her in every way.  She and Samuel moved from one room into a house, they bought a car, more money was coming in, not a lot, but they were getting by.  Then Paul was born seventeen months later.  Paul’s pregnancy was a difficult one.  Ivey was continuously sick; she was always in and out of hospital with complications.  Her labour wasn’t any better; it was bad, seventeen hours.

               “…Get ready for the caesarean!” the doctor said.

               “No, don’t cut me!  He have to born natural like me first one!”

With one final effort from Ivey, Paul was born natural.  She and Samuel mutually decided after that wicked experience, they would have no more children.  Six months after the birth of Paul, Ivey heard the tragic news that her parents died back home within days of each other.  She was so weak, she didn’t have the strength go to Jamaica to witness them being buried.  With a mixture of bitterness and love, Ivey strove through the hard times.  She grabbed her chance to become a Mid-Wife and worked hard to see that her sons grew up happy and they did.

Ivey is a grandmother now.  She couldn’t believe it when it happened, it was so quick.  Once her little baby David, now he and his wife to be Sharon are mother and father to baby Luke.  In the church at the christening, she knelt and prayed asking God to allow grandson Luke to grow wise and strong and for his parents to guide him in the right way with wisdom, love and understanding.  Then as the congregation strolled down the aisle to where Luke’s head was dipped into holy water, she rivets her eyes on a woman.

               “Kiss me neck! Is Nevis!”

They felt like shouting and jumping for joy, but being in church they saved it until the service was over.  When they were outside, they ran to each other like two crazy wild horses, embracing.  Bitterness was cancelled out, only love remained.  Forty five years had flashed by, now Nevis and she were sharing a grandson.  How strange is destiny, how strange…?

…The record came to an end.  Ivey hoisted herself from the sofa and drifted across the room to switch off the stereo.  She nodded her head and smiled…

               “…Is about time me and Samuel book a holiday,” she whispered, “…and go to Jamaica to visit we family.  Forty years is too long.  Is time we go.”


*All rights reserved.  No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the writer Norman Samuda-Smith.*


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