Transcript of @Jezc’s hour on the Plinth.

Where / is indicated this means the next speaker speaks over the lines of the previous speaker.

Trafalgar Square, 10pm. Jez, wearing a grey flat cap, granite grey t shirt and blues jeans, is slowly lowered into view on a green cherry picker with him is a man in a red t shirt wearing a radio on his belt. A woman dressed in the body of an Orang-outang costume stands in the middle of the plinth gently leaning on a golf club with a backpack slung over her shoulder. There is a metal pole embedded in the surface of the plinth. In the distance we can hear the final chime of Big Ben.

Jez: How can I follow that?

Woman (with her back to us): Don’t worry. (after a short pause we hear Jez laugh) I’m so hot.

Jez (as he takes a photo of her, laughing): I’m glad about that.

The man in the red t shirt opens the gates of the green cherry picker as the woman gestures to the pole.

Woman: Do you want your pole?

The man in the red t shirt gestures for the woman to step onto the cherry picker, she moves on.

Jez: You might as well leave it there, if it’s there I’ll, yeah, yeah. (To Woman) I can’t follow that though.

Woman: Oh don’t worry.

Jez (to the man in the red t shirt walking onto the plinth): Cheers. Thank you very much.

We hear a man cheer from the crowd just off as the man in the red shirt closes the gates to the cherry picker. The Woman places the head of the Orang-outang costume on. The cherry picker starts to reverse. There’s a smattering of applause and whoops as Jez places a dwarf sized chair just in front of the metal pole. He throws his coat onto the floor as he gestures behind him to the Woman and speaks to the crowd:

Jez: I can’t follow that. He puts his bag on top of the coat. Me legs are wobbly. Jez makes several “whao” noise as he sits. Right. He looks at the crowd who have come to expect some kind of gift from him. I’ve got nothing for you. The crowd make a feeble disappointed noise which Jez mimics. Oh, what? He gestures in front of him. I’m going to talk to the/ cameras.

Man: Do a jump/.

Jez: Do a jump? Er, I might do. Jez fiddles with his iphone. I might just jump actually. This revelation provokes cheers from the crowd. You’ve got to catch me. Yea- jump in the net. Don’t tempt me, I’m telling you.

Another Man (inaudible at first):  Sing a song. Louder: Sing a song.

Jez: Sing a song? Which song?

Another man makes a suggestion which can’t be understood.

Jez: Which song do you want? Jez is clearly confused by not hearing the suggestion, the brightness of the lights and the height. I can’t hear you. Gimme a song. Whilst he waits for a suggestion he can hear Jez uses his iphone to take a photo and puts it into his right pocket. What song did you want? I was going to… talk… I was going to stick to what I was going to do. To another man: It is pretty boring, yeah, I have to be honest. But if you can see my legs going now, you wouldn’t be too bad.

In the background we can hear the regular beep-beep-beep of a lorry reversing.

Hello everyone watching on the web, it is I, Jez C from Birmingham. Er, the lights are brighter than I thought. You can see I haven’t prepared anything. I had a couple of ideas… there’s the family down there. Hello. He waves. There’s quite a crowd, obviously who, er, He chuckles There was a gorilla hitting golf balls with pennies in and I’ve, er, come up with a wooden chair that doesn’t do anything. And, errr, I think people are quite, er, quite disappointed really that I’m not doing anything. So I’m going to carry on and do what i said I was going to do and that is: move back a bit. He pushes his glasses up the bridge of his nose gently. It’s not too bad actually, if I jumped off there, I’d be alright.

So anyway, I’m just going to steady myself here, I’m getting a bit, er, /well.

Yet another man: Louder.

Jez: I was going to say, I’m going to quieten down as I’m getting a bit dizzy now. This is a struggle with heights.

Man 4: Inaudible

Jez: You what? He ignores man 4 and speaks more to himself than the crowd. I’m trying to steady myself. To the crowd: This is going to be very boring for people down there.

Woman 1: You alright mate?

Jez: Errr… no. But if I look this way and don’t do anything. And look ahead, I should be alright. My legs are a bit wobbly.

Woman 1: You’ll be ok. It’s not very high up. From the crowd there starts a slow hand clap which slowly speeds up over the next section.

Jez: It’s not very high, no but it’s er… sorry? I’m going to talk about me and me Mum. I’m gonna talk about music. The clapping dies off. Me Mum is a fantastic woman and the idea, I’m going to share some recollections and reminices. I’m forty in a couple of weeks time so I was going to use this time just to, er, reflect really. And say all the things I should say to my Mum that I don’t say. And my sisters and my wife and my kids. So.. who are down there. He points. That’s my wife and kids, I should say, not me Mum. So if I keep talking then I find I don’t get dizzy, do this for an hour.

As I said, my name is Jez, I’m from Birmingham. 40 in a couple of weeks time. I want to spend this period of time up on the plinth… Plinths are normally reserved for heros, you know, statues are a way, a visual representation of people we consider to be heros. So it’s a bit of a cheesy link but, er, my hero is my Mum. Bernadette Collins is her name. To someone just in front of the plinth My Mum. She’s back at home in Birmingham. I’m not sure if she’s, er, watching this or even aware of how to get it but I wanted to just talk about what’s she’s done for me and for our family.

She’s one of nine children, there’s my Aunty Jemma, my Mum and this is where I forget them, Albert, Rita, Mary, erm Trevor, Patsy and a few have passed on. She came from Ireland in the 50’s and she’s worked and worked and worked to better herself, not in terms of material wealth but in terms of intellectual wealth and cultural wealth where she’s got to the point now where she has a great understanding of the world and I think she’s put that into me. I’m talking more quietly now as there’s loads of people screaming and shouting and I’ve lost the thread of what I was going to say, it is a bit higher than I thought. But, when I was younger my Mum and Dad parted, when I was 8 and that was 1977 ’78 which was quite an unusual thing to do at that period in time, there weren’t many single parent families. She had me and my sister Hattie. It was tough financially and economically and this is really high. She worked as hard as she could to look after us. I remember she was Irish, Irish Catholic, and when she most needed the church to help her and look after her, the church let her down. I couldn’t believe at that moment in time when she needed someone that they could do that, a real hard blow for her. She perservered and met a fantastic person called Roger who really helped and looked after my Mum in the most amazing way, really encouraged her to go to university, to take education and to better herself. Again, not to material wealth but through cultural and intellectual wealth and he was very proud of that. My Mum had a brilliant sister called Alice with Roger, so there was me, Mum and Roger. I was about 16 when Roger got ill, I didn’t understand what was going on, I thought I could look after the family. As a young lad I thought I was looking after the family, I was probably taken aback when Roger came. Roger was great and fantastic for us.

Roger got ill and unfortunately passed away. He was a real good bloke for my Mum. What I really regret and should have said years ago and I’m saying now is, I didn’t understand what was going on at the time in the way I should have done and I should have been there for you and Hattie and Alice. If I look back on it as I get older I realise I was a bit selfish… To man in crowd: Why am I here? To Camera: Hold on Mum.

To man: I’m here, I was gonna, er, I love Antony Gormley’s work, he’s a sculptor who’s ideas this is. Sorry? He pauses. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of a living piece of art. There are only two and a half thousand people being selected for this and to be part is fantastic, if you don’t know Gormley’s work you should check it out. One of my favourites is from my home town, in Birmingham and it’s called the Iron Man, it’s not one of his better known pieces but it should be. It was one of his early pieces that I became aware of. So I’m here to do that and what I’m doing on here tonight is I’m talking about, I’m 40 in a few weeks time, I’m taking an hour out to relax in a world we don’t often get the time to look back and be by ourselves, although he chuckles, I’m not really by myself and to reflect and to talk about things that matter to me. And I’m also here to make sure I look that way he gestures at the National Gallery and not that way he gestures behind himself because if I look that way I get very dizzy. How I’m going to get off here, I’m not quite sure, so that’s why I’m here really and I’m just talking about the influence my mother has had on me and to tell the things I don’t often say enough to her. So, I don’t know if you can hear me down there, I’m not quite sure but that’s what I’m doing.

To his Mum: And as I was saying, I obviously didn’t realise the severity of Roger’s illness and I wish I had and I wish I could have done more to support you. You’ve been an absolute constant and I wasn’t ignoring your text the other night when we met for lunch the other day, and me Mum sent me a text saying “You’re such a secure unit and family” I didn’t respond because I didn’t want to give an inkling of really what I was going to do or give away…

Jez’s son, Sonny, calls up from the crowd.

Sonny: Da-ad?

Jez: Yes mate?

Sonny: Daddy?

Jez: Yes mate?

Sonny: inaudible.

Jez: I’m not looking up, I’m looking straight mate, my legs are a bit wobbly at the moment and I think I’m going to have to crawl off this plinth.

Another man: Inaudible.

Jez: You what mate? You want a..?

Another man: Inaudible.

Jez: How’s your head for heights? Mine’s bad. My legs are bad, I tell you and they get you to talk for ages in there. Very dry. I’m quite glad it’s dark, if I have to be honest. I wish these lights would go off. But it’s good, good in a way. I hope the hour goes quickly, I might have to put my headphones on in a bit and listen to music to completely lose myself. It’s not that high down there, I know that, my head tells me I could just jump off there and hang down and I’d be fine. But I’m struggling to get through this and there’s a certain sense of vertigo going on. It’s a battle to be able to do it and keep talking. Apologies for being boring.

Jennie, it’s a good job I didn’t have the camera.

Jennie shouts something reassuring from the crowd.

Jez: So am I. Apart from the golfing…

One of Jez’s kids shouts I love you from the crowd.

Jez: I love you mate, I love you. I love you too. I love you, Scout. It’s all very good… I’ve got to keep my head up as my legs are going ten to the dozen. If I look that way (Jez gestures away from the National Gallery towards Canada House.)  its not too bad either. What was I saying? What I’ve said to my mum goes to my sisters, Cassie and Alice. I take for granted what you’ve gone through. I think about Matty and Laura and what they’ve been through and because you’re my sister it just should be natural. I probably don’t tell you enough that I just can’t probably comprehend how you feel. I love you to bits. I’m always there for you, you’ve only got to ring whenever you need something, I’m so proud that you’re in Vietnam and you’re having a good time. It’s great that you’re doing it, I didn’t think you would, I have to be honest, I didn’t think you would but I’m really proud of you for doing it and any time you need me I’ll be there. I’m a cranky old bugger sometimes with work and that sort of rubbish and kids and it’s never meant, you know, you just have to ring and where ever you are I’ll be there. You’re just fabulous anyway. Hattie, for those of you that don’t know, is the golden one, she’s fabulous.

To watch Jez’s time on the plinth go to:

This entry was posted in Arts, Birmingham, event, news, things that make me cry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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