Author Asks Strangers To Share Their Stories For £1

By Londonist Last edited 108 months ago
Author Asks Strangers To Share Their Stories For £1

Next stop: love. Photo by shootingjaydred from the Londonist Flickr pool.

How many times have you looked at one of the thousands of people you might pass in any one day and wondered: what's their story? Michelle Thomas is finding out. Holding a sign saying "I will pay £1 for your story" she waits in pubs and on the streets in the capital, recording tales from people who are willing to talk to her. The recordings are transcribed verbatim, including accent, speech pattern and even the sudden changes in tack we make when speaking. It has the effect of giving the reader a deeper human connection with the subject.

It's hoped the collection will be made into a book, by crowdfunding publisher Unbound. You can read a selection of the stories here. To donate to the project being published, and read more stories, see the website.

Armed Robber

Ah-heh Ah-huh. Huh. This is very difficult actually when you, you know it's very strange erm. Well let's say there's a, there's a friend of mine who was er. A little bit down on his luck a good few years ago and needed to make some money in a. In a hurry and. Came up with a. Rather foolish scheme with another friend whereby they. Ended up. In fact committing an armed robbery. Anyway they go into they go running in. To the place they're gonna rob. Pulling down balaclavas as they go. Shotgun sawn off shotgun. But unfortunately this uhm. This friend. Pulled his balaclava down the wrong way 'round. So. Instead of running in there. Menacing. Various with the. Sawn off shotgun. Ran smack into a wall. Dropped the gun on the floor. By this time everybody in there was pissing themselves laughing. And er. We. We. Well he. He. Had to walk out in. Great shame. Never. Never did a. Another. Armed robbery since.

Hayley Maria Teodora

Hayley Maria Teodora. Teodora because it is a gift from God. And Hayley because it was her birth. Mum's choice and I. You know in order to uhm. Out of respect I kept it. And she's been adopted. And err. It's a very kind of err. Moving story. because. She erm. Was born prematurely. And erm. She was just two and a half kilos. And she had to be err resuscitated twice. And the third time I had to do it because she was already with me I started. Fostering her when she was six weeks old. And errm. but when I laid my eyes on her, I went to the hospital to see her for the first time, I just knew it was, was mine. And erm. I decided to adopt and adoption went through erm in June. So I've been legally err. Her mum. since. And she is. Just. A privilege. Absolutely a privilege to erm. To look after her. Absolute- she is a star. She's a survivor she's. Grateful to be alive. She is. Erm. Very content, very happy erm. What else can I say she's. She came to, a, a, already a family with two other kids I've got two teenagers. A dog, four cats. And yes. She absolutely, mmm. I don’t know I just feel as if. You know God works and it is God working in very mysterious ways and it's like. I can't have children any more. And err. I. You know, err, kind of err. She had to come through somebody else I think. That's, that's all but erm. And. Hayley has. A very. Mmm. Bubbly err. Personality. She has this kind of. Light around her that wherever she goes. She really enchants people.

The Russian's Fate in London

Yes. So well I I dunno the. London is. Quite a big city well what. Twelve millions of people or so. So I used to study at the college of Central London. And. He works at east of London. And once we met on. Tube. It was quite late like ten eleven o'clock so it was. Not busy. So that we were. On the same coach. So like me and him. I've been listening to some music and like watching some photos of my vacation from last year and he. Starts chipping in like. What, AH! I'm so, so happy but I'm like. I'm by myself right now. He starts speaking to me like, why you smiling like blahblahblahblahblah. So we had a. Very short chat like five minutes and then. We both. Left at the same stop. And never gave like each other phone or anything. And in about like. A week time or maybe. Five days. Completely different time completely different. Err line. Completely different. Train station I meet him again. Absolutely random. Person. But like second time in like. Whole year. And I'm like oh my god it's that guy. And I. And I forgot my phone. In my cab. So I'm like really bored and I'm like. Shall I speak to him. Maybe. It would be like. Some company. So since. Since that time we're together like three years. And we have a son. He's seven months old. I think they. Somebody gave us just like second chance. 'Cause I don't think. I was about to move from there place just in like about week time so if I didn't meet him that time. I would not have probably meet him again ever.

Last Updated 21 April 2015