Me Mam. Me Dad. Me.
Several years ago, I visited a project supported by Comic Relief in the West Country. I met a young boy. He looked normal enough. Short cropped hair, jeans, T-shirt. But he hardly said a word. I discovered there was a good reason for this. He lived in a house where his mother suffered domestic violence.
The boy left a big impression on me. I wondered what he’d witnessed, and what he could possibly do about the terrible abuse his mother was experiencing. That boy became the inspiration for Me Mam. Me Dad. Me.
I knew I’d chosen a difficult subject matter, but I also knew that the story didn’t need to dwell on the darker sides of human nature. It could be about something much more potent than anger- love. The love of a son for his mam. A mam’s love for her son. A dad’s love for his boy.
To tell the story I needed a character who was warm, funny, caring. Step forward fourteen-year old Geordie lad, Danny. To make Danny jump off the page I turned the clock back to my own childhood, growing up on a council estate on Tyneside - the kids at school who never took life seriously, the mystery that was girls, playing football until it was too dark to see the ball. But there was something else that Tyneside gave me, the distinctive Geordie voice for Danny to tell his tale.
I want you to see what Danny sees. Feel what he feels. And understand the path that he takes to try and save his mam. But above all, I want you to know that, despite what has happened, and as Danny himself discovers, there is always love. There is always hope.
Malcolm Duffy. April, 2018.