WORDS OF THE WEEK

Few programmes have won such an enthusiastic response as 'Spoonface Steinberg', a Radio Four drama about a terminally ill child. The hour- long monologue, performed by 10-year-old Becky Simpson, left, is to be repeated less than one month after its initial broadcast. Here is an extract
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In the olden days - when they wrote the songs and the operas and that it mattered how you died - when the singers singed and went about - and they sang like beautiful birds and they fell over and everything it was when they died that mattered - that's what people went for - that's what Doctor Bernstein says - they went to see how the woman would die - and she was all quavery and beautiful and everyone holded their breath - and there she was in the special light with her boobs and everything - and everyone would be looking and they would cry and in their hearts they would weep for the poor lady - the poor poor lady who dies so well.

I was never right ever since I was born - this means that I do very bad writing and that I can't speak proper and that I am backwards and that I am a special child - but why is a mystery for what they have not got an answer - but Mam said when I was born it was at a dark night and it was raining and thundering and all the cats and dogs and things were under the tables - and the wind was screeching round - and everything was quite horrible - but I didn't mind because I was just little and I was in the hospital and Mam kissed me and when she looked at my face she noticed that it was round - and everyone came and looked at my face - and they laughed and said I was Spoonface because when they looked at my face it was as round as a spoon and when you look into a spoon you see this face just like mine and that is how I came to be Spoonface Steinberg - because my other name is Steinberg - but I never even knew because I was just a little baby and all the stars and planets were moving inside of me and I was looking up and the world was as bright as colours and as shimmery as light and I was just a baby - and when you are a baby you have a soft head and that's what makes you backwards - sometimes when it is very late at night - when they think I am asleep Mam says to Dad that maybe it is his fault that I am not right - or the fact that on the day Dad came back when he was out with the floozie I did fall off the chair - Dad came back and it was quite late for our tea and I was sitting on the chair and Mam said that Dad was out with the floozie - and Dad says he was in the office doing the meeting - and Mam said she phoned the meeting and he was off with the office doing a floozie - and that this was one of his students - and she was going somewhere - off with the final straw - then there was all this crying and screaming and Dad went like a beetroot and Mam said that the student was just a baby and had big boobs and I fell over - it was like when you bump your head only worse - and then everything went white like lightning - and this was bad on account of my softness - and they were crying there with me and I was silent as a worm - and Dad told Mam he would not ever have another floozie if Mam would be nicer and Mam said she would be nicer and then it was that everything was all right - except I started going backwards - but I am not sure if this is to do with it or not - maybe it is maybe it is not - I think I was backwards before the fall - before Dad came back and everything - I think I was always backwards ever since I was born and there was all the thunder and that and I think ever since I was born that my brain was quite special - I think I have a special brain what is quite different in how it was and stuff - but nobody knows for sure - all the experts with all their computers and all the doctors who poke in your ear and look into your brain and all the people who do the quizzes and all questioners and suchlike none of them know for certain - they all said no one can know can ever know for certain - and that's what Dad says - he says there is only one thing for certain - nobody knows anything for certain - what is true I think - on account that he is a lecturer of philosophy - the thing is even now I am old I cannot read proper or to write and am very bad at games and that I cannot go to a proper school as I am not allowed on account of my brain - but I am quite a special little girl though - that's what Mrs Spud says - Mrs Spud does the cleaning - and she says that I am quite one of the special girls she has ever known and every time she comes she brings me a sweetie which is very nice for she has so many problems of her own - she says that everybody is different and that it is quite good indeed and that we should all be happy and that - for every person is a very special person and it is good to be different as if there was no difference we would all be the same - and we would be quite bored and get people mixed up - Mrs Spud told me not to worry about my brain because to be different is to be who you are - so I do not believe that I fell on my head - I do not believe that I was affected - or it was Dad's fault for the floozie or Mam's fault cos I was unattended - I believe that I was supposed to be backward - I believe it was all part of what he is supposed to be - and when I was born God came and touched me on my head - down he came and touched my soft spot and made me me.

'Spoonface Steinberg' will be repeated on Saturday 4 February, 2pm

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