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Fathers

Paul and Barry are two fathers who live in the ex-colliery town of Seaham, on the Durham coast. They are friends. In different ways, their relationships with their children have been affected by both the opportunities and the difficulties presented by unemployment. Over a two year period, they allowed Peter Fryer and Graeme Rigby to work alongside them and their families to develop this documentation of their lives.

Paul
“I can only speak of Seaham, because it’s what I know. The unemployment causes dads to be in the houses more, so they care for the children more. It’s as simple as that. I was married for six years and I was the one at home and me ex-wife was the one who worked. She could get a job and I couldn’t. I liked looking after me kids. I liked trundling them all down to the shop. I hate the nightmare of going round the supermarket with the three kids picking everything off the shelves and all that, but I actually liked looking after me kids, which loads of blokes, they say they like doing it, but when it actually comes to changing the nappy in the middle of the supermarket, looking for somewhere to change somebody, then they find it a bit of a pain.”

Barry

“Sundays are different with school being the next day. All the kids have to be in for half seven and it’s bath night for them all. It’s all religious stuff on the telly, so the kids aren’t really hooked to that. It can be off. They’re washed and it’s pyjamas on straight away. Sundays are nice. It’s, like, cuddling up on the settee, make sure the homework’s done for school. “Oh I forgot this...” and the cookery recipe will come out or something daft like that. With our Callum, it’s always the big PE panic. It’s different to Friday and Saturday nights. They go to bed earlier. You’ve got a captive audience and they have too. It goes both ways. They look forward to it.”