I am a camera (UG)

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Official UnderGuide Entry

I am a camera.

I see a camera.

And another.

And another, and another.

The television crews are jostling with each other to get the best shots. The railings around City Hall are lined with transit vans, each carrying a satellite dish on its roof. Reporters elbow their way though the crowd, each clutching a fuzzy mike emblazoned with the logo of their broadcasting station in one hand, and a battered old tape recorder tucked under the other arm.

A young couple and their child in a pram are huddled together. He wears a battered leather jacket and jeans. He is selling stickers that say 'no more killings'. She is pregnant. She is wearing a white knitted cardigan over a navy polka-dot frock, dressed for the mild spring weather. Eamon Malley has his microphone under her chin. She looks skywards as she ponders how best to answer his question. More cameras are overhead, mounted on tall gantries, and in the helicopters hanging like hawks above in the glowering grey sky, threatening rain. Beside her are a group of fire-fighters, burly men in heavy black jackets gaily trimmed with hi-viz yellow. They all wear identical expressions—chins jutted out in fierce determination, lips tightly clenched in a grim grimace, eyes ablaze with passion, but damp at the corners. To their left a middle aged woman holds above her head the front page of the local newspaper, spelling out her message.

Their message.

Our message.

Behind and around them the crowd is a rich mosaic of life, a juxtaposition of old and young, salaried and unemployed, watching and observed. A knot of schoolchildren stands next to a couple of shop workers in matching red polo shirts with the name of their employer embroidered on the chest. A pair of pensioners lean on their sticks, while a businessman in a pinstriped suit holds his hands respectfully if awkwardly in front of his stomach, almost as if in prayer. Further in the distance, brightly coloured trade union banners are held aloft, symbols and rallying points of the true meaning of their name: Unison.

The child in the buggy looks up to Mum and Dad. He is the epitome of innocence, all blond curls and trusting eyes. He cannot know the agonies and heartfelt wishes of all those adults towering above him, or the sympathies from the millions watching at the other end of the television cables and satellite signals. But doubtless he feels the tension and the controlled emotion, as the weary eyes of the world turn once again to Belfast.

The camera sees and transmits.

I see the camera.

I am a camera.

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