Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Today was my mother's birthday. She'd have been 85. This music video was the first one she worked on.

I dropped her off at the extras gathering point at 6am and went back home for a nap before going to work; she didn't call me to come get her till 1am the following morning. And she was covered in dust and sand but thrilled. I think she slept for two days to get over it. But then she went on to do so many other music videos, I've lost track.

What's funny is, she liked "Mr. Nas". She thought he was a very nice young man, and she was really upset when someone "accidentally" threw a real rock at him instead of the fake ones, during the crucifixion march. I can't find her mixed in with that crowd, but you can see her in the lower right corner at 3:58 and 4:51, a little old lady with a headdress yelling up at Nas.

She got to know more about Rap than any of her grandkids, and loved to startle young people she met by talking about "Mr. Eminem" and "Mr. Puff Daddy," and what their lyrics really meant.

Of course, what she really liked about the videos was meeting the other people who worked on them. Not just the actors but the crew. Because she never made better than minimum wage, and the hours were long and hard. But she felt like her own person when she was on the set, like she was Gwen and just someone's mom or grandmother.

She didn't stop till she started having trouble walking and fell a couple of times. Too bad she couldn't keep doing it till the day she died.

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