The Shell: Dedicated to Corinne Valentine Brammer 1963 to 2018

Corinne’s funeral, yesterday, reminded me: like her body the Whitworth and the artistic concept we are devising in this video are only a shell to house our stories.

Corinne’s funeral took me back to our stories and why. I sat in the crematorium hating that she was dead: a girl who played the violin as a kid; who was a real cool individual in her own right in the 1970s Reno; who had her demons and overcame them; who suffered long-term health problems as a result; who turned up at the excavation to give me that photo of her and the mum she adored; who now has to go on our memorial wall without telling her story. I thought we had time.

Corinne said’ probably no one will remember me.’ I remembered her well. So did ‘half caste,’ Sue Taylor. She turned up the same day. They hugged. They reminisced. I don’t remember talking to either of them in the Reno. Corinne was a friend of our Val’s and Shirelle. Girls who had it all: independence; no make up; so pretty; so stylish in their boyish clothes —the new flavour of gal. They stood on their own. Having their spliff and a laugh. I remember Corinne’s coolness and her fabulous loose hair.

Our Val. Shirelle below

Sue Taylor right 

And her photo, she pressed in my hand, now a changed woman. That life had took her and made her into. Her heart was still gentle. As you can tell I remembered her well. As selfish as it sounds as the curtains were closing on her coffin I wanted to scream no. I want your story before you are gone. I want to know who you are. What drove you to your problem? How did you get out? How glad you were to see your people. Still accepting you. No matter who you thought you were. Your sad eyes. Your sad little smile when people hugged you. Then the smile widened as the day progressed. We accepted each other then and we accepted each other now. No questions asked. How I wish I had taken your number.

 But you have given me a new gift. You reignited my quest.  Corinne’s funeral reminded me: like her body the Whitworth and the artistic concept we are devising in this video are only a shell to house our stories. Nigger’s Moll and its response across Facebook took me back to the original reason for telling them. 

I don’t want any one else to go to their grave without telling theirs.

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