Cleo free-write: “Bakery Blues”

22 Jan

Okay so I just wrote this… It is a free write if ever I saw one, so excuse its pell-mell <always wanted to use the word pell-mell so clearly jumped at the opportunity. Ta


1am? 3am? Hopefully 11pm so time is still in the boundaries before the next day.

So long as I don’t turn to my right, slip an un-cottoned arm out of bed and have my eyes met with 4:45am – the time I rise on Sundays, Mondays and all the other days they call me in, for work.

I am a baker, and bakeries open for the early breakfaster. The pretentious Nottingham Student, tripping over their laces, dropping baggies of MDMA on our shop floor sometimes.

The elderly lady who’s name I don’t learn, but reminds me of my grandmother who I know barely sleeps anymore. Up at the crack of dawn for a Danish Maple and Pecan Plait, and a Scotch Morning Roll. It’s routine. And that’s what customer service means. No stimulation for the brain…a continuum of drawl and monotony

So my un-cottoned arm swipes for my phone. Phone lights up before I pick it up and the sound is gross to my ears. Something like… *does impression of alarm* 


And this is how my Sundays begin. So I imagine all the other bakers waking for their 6am shift. Poor little gits. But it gives me some kind of solace to revel in…

Safely in the bakery now. After that horrific 2 mile walk across the forest, through hyson green, past some creepy block of flats, a couple of guys who tell me “you wana give me one round the back love?,” and the comforting dog walker who makes me feel safe.

In the bakery now… and I take note of the brown paper ‘A’ ‘B’ & ’C’ bread bags – applied magnetically to the oven’s side. A’s are the smallest, for the batons and ciabatta’s. and C’s are the largest for this cumbersome looking “pave” thing and hulking sourdough boulle. I don’t often use the B’s because I like my breads looking pretty neat, and can squeeze most of my breads into the others.

I guess the bread bags kind of remind me of women’s breasts. And that my B’s are more than adequate. I mentally and solitarily digress continuously in my little oven; this is kind of how it goes in a bakery. Constantly alone until…

“I’m gona get two chocolate croissants like the big dog that I am,” chortles through the wicker baskets like crap out of my arsehole on a particularly bad day of IBS.

Guess I am no longer in my space of serenity. But of “excuse me?! Excuse me?! Excuse me?!”

“Do you know where I can find the eggs?”

“Give me warm croissants.”


“you best bin wearin gloves.” <<<< THIS GUY! I want to delete from existence, fully clad in apron, oven sleeves, and previous employee foundation-stained bakery hat.

The saliva in my mouth flocks itself back down my throat, swallowing what I want to say and politely regurgitates

“It’s against store policy to wear gloves good sir. One carries more germs that way. Rest assured I am doing all that I can to guarantee my cleanliness.”

I want to slap myself in the face for that pretence.

4 Responses to “Cleo free-write: “Bakery Blues””

  1. MouthyPoets January 22, 2015 at 8:19 pm #

    great free write/first draft…
    I like the bits of speech in there from the guys on the walk to work – there’s something about the filth coming out of their mouths and the seeming purity of a baker! I had a kind of flash image of that scene from Perfume where the guy is following the girl who sells plums and sniffs the air around her. I like the security of the dog walker – the crassness of the students – I like the comparison of the paper bags to your breasts – is there a way to carry on this comparison?
    Is there something in the people who notice the baker and the ones who don’t?
    Is there something in how you are clothed/unclothed in bed and how you are clothed at work? Like the foundation stained hat eeeuw… like the thing about gloves being less hygienic than hands.

    • MouthyPoets January 22, 2015 at 8:19 pm #

      that was Anne by the way – sorry hadn’t logged on as me 🙂

  2. lauradedicoat January 24, 2015 at 11:37 am #

    Hey cleo
    I really love the images you have packed in her. Doesn’t feel too crowded though. I feel like the first couple of paragraphs were the only sentences that seemed like a free write the rest was a more solid draft. The first bits for me, felt like you were trying hard to explain how early you get up, but actually the description of your unsettling early morning walk to work did a better job of that.
    Also really liked the use of speech. Might be a chance to play with exaggerated versions of what you actually hear artwork and use it in the performance. Your tour piece proves you are a boss at embodying character so can’t wait to see you play around with that. Unless you want to remain yourself as the baker and get other mouthies today those part giving you a chance to react. Like they keep coming and you just keep talking to the audience ?? … I’m not sure how helpful that was lol My point being really love the very real characters that came through in speech and description 🙂

  3. holtian2014 January 24, 2015 at 3:09 pm #

    Hi Chuck, you read this 2 me over the fone and asked for my thoughts, i responded mostly to the dark humour and told you I LOL but there’s much more here; so here ‘s an appraisal of the written version. I agree with much of what’s been said about the imagery and voice, which is potent and potentially empowering in the contrast to what we are obliged to encounter in the other voices and how they are symbolised, particularly the engendered/embodied power relationships, the everyday matter of factual grind of oppression and contempt, fear and loathing in notts forest, in contrast her voice remains full of courage and life affirming humour thereby redeeming us with its tenderness, the breast image for example, the grandmother, the comforting dog walker also effectively contrasts with big dog i am and the shit, and the way she manages the manager, I would also consider giving it the immediacy of the present tense throughout, even as you try to recoup your stolen time in the opening, My eyes meet with 4 45, I rise…. maybe you could consider that (nice play on rise by the way) maybe editing some of the opening time and giving the journey time more, plus I wonder about this idea of ovens and baking which brings more sinister images to mind but maybe that’s a step too far into the darkness? Do you remember dumping the manager into the paper crusher or something in the prose piece you wrote?

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