A couple of weeks ago, I sat down at the North West Film Archive pods looking for some inspiration. The first thing I watched was a clip, about a minute and a half long, of a woman called Jelly d’Aranyi playing with a little girl outside Holly Royde House in Withington. This is what I made of it.

Jelly d’Aranyi

Violins.
Fur.
Nine and a half.
The film is silent.

November 1928.

Well it’s like I’ve always said you just can’t trust not one of

This child at the window was only visible once they watched the film back, in a stiff white coat and white hood with binoculars covering her eyes.

never would have guessed if she hadn’t said that big house

Jelly d’Aranyi descends the steps with a girl; that fur cape slaps her sides and swallows her hand; a maid runs down the steps behind her and flees past the edge of the frame

 – and that big house as well –

They shouldn’t be out in this weather.

Violins.

Fur.

Nine and a half.

The film is silent.

The thing is about those shows is they don’t show you real life do they, hadn’t seen her for 53 years and I could have gone without because you know what she’s a right bitch.

Standing close by she snatches herself away from the child, she waves and she runs a bit, she looks at the camera and I don’t think she knows how to

get rid of you all over again.”

play with a child

Should have had me on.

is this what you want?

I abandoned her for a reason.

If it gets too much, finally, you can always go inside.

You know that, don’t you?

Don’t you?

Violins.
Fur.
Nine and a half.
The film is silent.

Bryony Bates is the winner of the Young Enigma Allan Horsfall Prize for LGBT+ Young Writers in Greater Manchester. This is a piece she has written for us.

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