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Brendon Gallacher, Jackie Kay

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by

Amina Navasudeen

on 28 February 2015

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Transcript of Brendon Gallacher, Jackie Kay

He was seven and I was six, my Brendon Gallacher.
He was Irish and I was Scottish, my Brendon Gallacher.
His father was in prison; he was a cat burglar.
My father was a communist party full-time worker.
He had six brothers and I had one, my Brendon Gallacher.

He would hold my hand and take me by the river
where we’d talk all about his family being poor.
He’d get his mum out of Glasgow when he got older.
A wee holiday some place nice. Some place far.
I’d tell my mum about my Brendon Gallacher.

How his mum drank and his daddy was a cat burglar.
And she’d say, ‘Why not have him round to dinner?’
No, no, I’d say, he’s got big holes in his trousers.
I like meeting him by the burn in the open air.
Then one day after we’d been friends two years,

One day when it was pouring and I was indoors,
My mum says to me, ‘I was talking to Mrs Moir
who lives next door to your Brendon Gallacher
Didn’t you say his address was 24 Novar?
She says there are no Gallachers at 24 Novar.

There never have been any Gallachers next door.’
And he died then, my Brendon Gallacher,
flat out on my bedroom floor, his spiky hair,
his impish grin, his funny, flapping ear.
Oh Brendon. Oh my Brendon Gallacher.

Brendon Gallacher (Jackie Kay)
Overview
The narrator tells the story of her childhood friend, the
eponymous
character, and describes his entire childhood.
When the narrator's mother - and the reader - discovers that Brendon Gallacher is imaginary, Brendon dies.
Scottish writer of mixed ethnicity.
born in Edinburgh in 1961 and adopted by a family from Glasgow, where she grew up
Her work has strong, simple images and she often uses
repetition
, associated with the theme of
loss
.
Music is a strong influence on the
rhythm
and style of Kay's work.
She often draws on her
childhood
and family situation in her writing (autobiographical) - she actually had an imaginary friend called Brendon Gallacher
definition: being the person after whom a literary work, film, etc, is named: the eponymous heroine in the film of Jane Eyre
past tense - personal memories - looking back on her childhood
dramatic life of criminal contrasts with her har-working father. description makes his background seem unbelievable
innocent image of their relationship
strong sense of place through regional Scottish dialect
Brendon was seven and poor - where would the children have met? -suggests that Brendon is fictitious
child-like language - reminds reader she's looking back to her past
repetition buys her time to think of an excuse - common feature when children lie. sort of like a stutter - common when you lie
freedom of imagination associated with being outdoors. air - breath it in - reflects how essential Brendon is to her life.
pathetic fallacy (weather represents what emotion is about to come)/foreshadowing something ominous
present tense - narrator relives the shock of admitting that Brendon doesn't exist
negation - unequivocal dialogue- emphasises his inexistence.
implies that she never accepted that he was imaginary
vividly imagined/ rich in detailed. at the start, details were factual (i.e. places they visited/about his family) but at the end, it's visual. more impact the death as he seems more real. nostalgic
alternate interpreation: is Brendon a dog? "flapping ear" - ties in with dad being a"cat burglar"
repetition - almost sounds like a refrain. possessive pronoun "my" - Brendon belongs to the narrator (literally too as she created him). could be infatuated with him. emphasises loss. "Oh Brendon" - impact is greater as losing th erefrain highlights the loss of Brendon. emotive "oh" adds to the feeling of lament.
structure/form/tone
5 quintains - regularity and non-complexity/simplicity highlights child-like nature
elegy - sad poem/song written on the death of someone. could be for the loss of the opportunity presented (able to escape her life) or loss of innocence
refrain "my Brendon Gallagher" is quite song-like and rhythmic
every line ends in a half or full rhyme with 'Gallacher' throughout the poem
tone: very nostalgic
Links to other poem
The Horse Whisperer:
looking back to the past and have a regretful tone
both narrators have a secret - Brendon Gallacher: illusion is over whereas Horse Whisperer keeps his
strong emotional bond - narrator and Brendon & Horse Whisperer and his horses
The Clown Punk
strong impression of a character - vivid visual descriptions
twist at the end of both poems, which end with the eponymous characters being somehow dismissed
Clown Punk is real and Brendon is imaginary
Full transcript