He was crying out really loud now, partly affected, professional pain, but most of it real. His language echoed all over the ground.

The scrum broke up with the ref blowing his nut off on the whistle. 'I saw that! I saw that!' he shouted, urged on to violent mimes of justice by the crowd's tremendous booing. They were all on their feet demonstrating and screaming.

David Storey, This Sporting Life, Longmans, Green & Co. Ltd., London, 1960, p. 34.

PLACE: Lancashire, England

TIME: 1950

CIRCUMSTANCE: Describing a foul in a Rugby League match.



For a while Stokeley's the only sign of life, then I'm plunged into the blackness of the cutting itself, with the grid cables singing and sighing over my head, and the clopping of my own footsteps...

The lights of the town slowly come into view. Down the valley the panting of a goods engine breaks up the silence. And I break open another bottle.

I drop the carrier as I climb over the wall of the goods yard and smash one of the two last bottles. Both the damn dolls stink of beer. I wipe them down on my handkerchief. Ian's train rattles all right in its cardboard box. I pick up the carrier and scramble down to the short cut across the yard.

The lines cross and curve in every direction. From down the track comes the slow heaving pant of the goods hauling up the valley. The noise echoes, and sounds closer, in the ground mist seeping from the valley bottoms. It's some place I've never been in before. My foot touches a rail and immediately I'm aware of a slow vibration. I have to stop. The sleepers stretch both ways.

I hear a slight whispering behind me, and turning round see this big yellow watery eye. 'What the hell're you doing?' I ask it. It hisses, then suddenly jars and spurts towards me. For a second the thing shoots away, grumbling and trembles and quakes. It shudders. Below the watery eye come two bursts of steam;

David Storey, This Sporting Life, Longman's, Green & Co. Ltd., London, 1960, p. 131, chap. 5.

PLACE: Lancashire, England

TIME: 1950



There's the noise of cattle somewhere the other side of the yard. I hear voices and see lamps swinging. Ahead, brakes jar on a wagon, then stutter as a line of low black shapes slide past, rocking and clinking like complaining pigs in procession. ...A man walks past, swinging a lamp, and not seeing me. But he stops when he hears me make a clumsy dash over the last lines and scramble down through the ashes, over the wall, and into the street.

David Storey, This Sporting Life, Longmans, Green & Co. Ltd., London, 1960, p. 132.

PLACE: Lancashire, England

TIME: 1950



(a machine shop)

It was empty and dead, the lumps of metal lying about the machines like carcasses after a battle.

It came to life with a low vibration of the main loom, then the whine and shudder as the machines started and belts slipped over the loom, and the floor trembled. Men filtered into the place, their voices, their feet, their blue overalls. A line of sparks curved out as the metal screamed under the grinder, the hiss of hot metal in water. The overhead crane chattered, clanked, groaned; and slowly eased itself forward in a rumble down the shop. The far comer suddenly took fire with a blue light, trembling and sparking as the welders moved their flames over the steel.

David Storey, This Sporting Life, Longmans, Green & Co., Ltd., London, 1960, p. 238.

PLACE: Lancashire, England

TIME: 1950