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"Brendon Gallacher". Jackie Kay. Brendon Gallacher He was seven and I was six, my Brendon Gallacher. He was Irish and I was Scottish, my Brendon Gallacher. His father was in prison; he was a cat burglar. My father was communist party full-time worker.

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"Brendon Gallacher"

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Brendon gallacher

"Brendon Gallacher"

Jackie Kay


Brendon gallacher

Brendon Gallacher

He was seven and I was six, my Brendon Gallacher.

He was Irish and I was Scottish, my Brendon Gallacher.

His father was in prison; he was a cat burglar.

My father was communist party full-time worker.

He had six brothers and I had one, my Brendon Gallacher.

He would hold my hand and take me by the river

where we'd talk all about his family being poor.

He'd get his mum out of Glasgow when he got older.

A wee holiday some place nice. Some place far.

I'd tell my mum about my Brendon Gallacher.

How his mum drank and his daddy was a cat burglar.

And she'd say, 'why not have him round to dinner?'

No, no, I'd say he's got big holes in his trousers.

I like meeting him by the burn in the open air.

Then one day after we'd been friends for two years,

One day when it was pouring and I was indoors,

my mum says to me, 'I was talking to Mrs Moir

who lives next door to your Brendon Gallacher

Didn't you say his address was 24 Novar?

She says there are no Gallachers at 24 Novar

There never have been any Gallachers next door.'

And he died then, my Brendon Gallacher,

flat out on my bedroom floor, his spiky hair,

his impish grin, his funning flapping ear.

O Brendon. Oh my Brendon Gallacher.

Jackie Kay


Jackie kay the poet

Jackie Kay – The Poet


Her story

Her Story

  • Jackie Kay was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1961 to a Scottish mother and a Nigerian father.


Her story1

Her Story

  • She was adopted by a white couple at birth and was brought up in Glasgow.


Her story2

Her Story

  • She was very bright and studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and Stirling University where she read English.


Her writing

Her Writing

  • The experience of being adopted by and growing up within a white family inspired her first collection of poetry, The Adoption Papers (1991).


Her story3

Her Story

  • She has won many awards and has written books, poems and drama.


Her story4

Her Story

  • She left Scotland partly because of her feeling that she wanted a more accepting environment for her son, Matthew, who was born in 1988.


Her story5

Her Story

  • She moved to London and took various jobs including cleaning and hospital portering. Jackie Kay lives in Manchester


Brendon gallacher1

Brendon Gallacher

  • ‘Brendon Gallacher’ is about an imaginary childhood friend.

  • Her poems reflect her own life (autobiographical)


Brendon gallacher2

Brendon Gallacher

  • Jackie Kay may have had a fairly difficult childhood.

  • "Brendon Gallacher" shows us what it must be like to be very lonely as a child.


Brendon gallacher3

Brendon Gallacher

  • She creates a special imaginary friend and lies to her mother.


Brendon gallacher4

"Brendon Gallacher"

  • 'Brendon Gallacher' is set in the past tense. This is Jackie Kay looking back on the moment. This gives it a story like quality. The idea of a story is supported by the repeated use of 'one day' in the poem.


Brendon gallacher5

"Brendon Gallacher"

  • Every line of five five-line stanzas is cleverly rhymed on an r-sound.

  • This emphasises (accentuates) the Scottish accent.

  • The repetition of his name reminds us of a childhood rhyme or skipping game.


Brendon gallacher6

"Brendon Gallacher"

  • In “Brendon Gallacher” the language is simple and natural.


Brendon gallacher

The first stanza details the contrasting backgrounds of the poet and her imaginary friend. The use of the words she and I make the contrasts stand out.

Different ages

He was seven and I was six, my Brendon Gallacher.

He was Irish and I was Scottish, my Brendon Gallacher.

His father was in prison; he was a cat burglar.

My father was communist party full-time worker.

He had six brothers and I had one, my Brendon Gallacher.

Different nationalities

Different family sizes


Brendon gallacher

A sense of innocence and a need for physical contact

He appears to be in charge, he takes her

He would hold my hand and take me by the river

where we'd talk all about his family being poor.

He'd get his mum out of Glasgow when he got older.

A wee holiday some place nice. Some place far.

I'd tell my mum about my Brendon Gallacher.

A nice, thoughtful person

Liked to tell her mother, possibly shock her – could be to get attention.


Brendon gallacher

We see a young poet’s imagination developing as she makes up a detailed background for her imaginary friend. Even his parents have romantic lives as a “drunk” and a “cat burglar”. He seems to have a far more interesting life, she makes him sound exciting.

How his mum drank and his daddy was a cat burglar.

And she'd say, 'why not have him round to dinner?‘

No, no, I'd say he's got big holes in his trousers.

I like meeting him by the burn in the open air.

Then one day after we'd been friends for two years

Humorous – small problem compared to the others

Indicates the coming change in mood


Brendon gallacher

Links weather to change in mood

Repetition creates tension

One day when it was pouring and I was indoors,

my mum says to me, 'I was talking to Mrs Moir

who lives next door to your Brendon Gallacher

Didn't you say his address was 24 Novar?

She says there are no Gallachers at 24 Novar

He only exists for her


Brendon gallacher

He only exists in her imagination

There never have been any Gallachers next door.'

And he died then, my Brendon Gallacher,

flat out on my bedroom floor, his spiky hair,

his impish grin, his funny flapping ear.

O Brendon. Oh my Brendon Gallacher

Fond memories

He can’t exist any more because her mother has proved he doesn’t

mourning


Brendon gallacher7

"Brendon Gallacher"

The poem "Brendon Gallacher" has a melodramatic ending. The ending shows that not everything ends 'happily ever after' in reality.


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