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16 October 2014

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A Night at the Dog & Duck

By Rhiannon Morgan
June 2003, Cardiff
A digital story from Capture Wales

Sealing a friendship

Rhiannon and her friends spent a lot of time on the stairs at a Cardiff nightclub, not realising back then that this would seal their friendship for life.

This digital story discusses adult issues which some people might find offensive..

"It usually started with a few drinks at Sarah's house. Crowded in her bedroom we'd swap jewellery, try on clothes and giggle in the mirror as we slapped on make-up and back-combed each other's hair.

Her parents got used to us running up and down the stairs, stealing vodka from the drinks cabinet and blasting obscenities as part of our charged-up bonding ritual.

Arm in arm and singing we'd head for the bus stop. I'd count money in my shoe and hand over a few sweaty coins to a driver who'd stare back in disbelief. Arriving at the 'Dog and Duck', the bouncers would wink at us, meaning we could by-pass the queue and walk straight in.

There, in that building, we enacted the highlights of our teenage years; smoking joints in flooded toilets, discovering men, wickedly two-timing them and stumbling across people having sex on the fag-ashed carpet beneath the stairs. In fact we spent most of our time on those steep stairs. It was better than the bar or the dance floor. Teasing passers-by, watching bouncers breaking up fights and the old guy who said he stuffed birds for a living!

One of us would go missing over the course of the night, usually found slumped over a toilet. We'd flock around in support, gathering her hair, offering water and reassuring words.

With a bit of lipstick and powder to the nose, we'd dust each other down and prop each other ready to face the world outside. Then after a burger and a pee in a doorway, we'd go our separate ways not knowing that in sharing these adolescent nights out, we were sealing a friendship - for life."

Please tell us about yourself.
My background is in the fast-paced world of journalism. These days I take a more measured approach dedicating my time to writing, photography, travel and enjoying the simple things in life. I am a Welsh-learner and deeply care about Wales. I am an only child but growing up I found a network of close friends who became my extended family. Together we shared the ups and downs of a rich and unsophisticated adolescence in Wales.

Why did you choose to base your story on your extended family?
They have greatly shaped my life and inspired me to write this story - it tells the tale of a teenage night out. During the night a group of girls begin to discover an adult world. It shows how events and experiences bind people together and form part of a history which consolidates their friendship. Despite the comic overtones, there is an underlying message - it is a tribute to friendship and to friends everywhere who support each other through the highs and lows of life.

What was the most rewarding aspect of the workshop?
It is difficult to say what was the most rewarding part of the workshop. It was magic from beginning to end! I found every aspect deeply engaging from writing the scripts, working with the digital story team, learning new computer skills and meeting other storytellers. I had a great time.

Your comments

"This story reminds me of hundreds of similar nights out that I've had with my friends over the last ten years. I'm a bit younger than Rhiannon, but it just goes to show, things never change - maybe the hairstyles get sleeker and the Thunderbird cider is replaced by trendy bottled beers and alcopops! Like Rhiannon, the nights out I've shared have cemented friendships that I hope will continue and grow when me and my friends have kids of our own. " Rhian, Barry, Sept 2007.

"I thought that was great! Very honest about youth nowadays! but also the message about friendship i thought it was brill, the way it was portrayed. quite humourous too! thumbs up!" Sarah, South Wales, Sept 2007.

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