“Don’t Hang Up 2: Nightlines”

I stumbled upon this quite by accident while driving home last night and was so completely engaged, entranced and intrigued that I sat in my driveway for 15 minutes so that I could hear the entire documentary. Here’s the basic info from the Third Coast Festival Website:

BEST DOCUMENTARY: GOLD AWARD
Don’t Hang Up 2: Nightlines (UK)
by Mark Burman
with presenter Alan Dein and series researcher Anne Smith

Would you pick up a ringing payphone and share your life with a complete stranger? Alan Dein hopes so. Dialing into the deep night Dein encounters the lonely, the lost, the brave and the strange – from a security guard in the Florida Everglades to a Kiwi transsexual in pigtails and onto a vision of violent, teenage hell on a Margate (UK) seafront.

Don’t Hang Up 2: Nightlines first aired on BBC Radio 4.

Basically, this reporter calls random telephone booths throughout Europe, New Zealand, and the United States and engages whoever answers in conversation. It’s really amazing to see the stories of two “deviant” individuals (a surprisingly articulate 14 year old female thug/drunkard and a transsexual sex worker addicted to drugs) juxtaposed/intertwined with the thoughts of a veteran law enforcement officer of 20 years (who has a twin brother in the same line of work!).I’ve been burdened to pray for the 14 year old (though I’m sure she’s older now) since I heard this–she was so smart and had so much energy and passion…if only she could get help channeling it all into something less self destructive and violent! Her words keep running through my head: “When I think about all the bad things that have happened to me, I get SO ANGRY…I just start fighting and no one can stop me…”

An interesting comment by Alysha (the transsexual sex worker) was her description of her boyfriend who she was going to visit in prison:

Reporter: “What do you like most about him?”

Alysha: “His big muscles….so he can protect me!”(giggles)

Reporter: (chuckles) “Oh I see. What’s he in for, if I may ask??”

Alysha: “Assault, I think.”

The reporter asks Alysha (who, incidentally refers to herself as “it”) and the 14 year old about their dreams for the future or what they’d like to tell him if he were to call in, say, 5 years. The 14 year old (permanently kicked out of school, btw) wanted to have herself “sorted out” and have “a nice house and plenty of money.”

“Will you get those things, do you think?” asked the reporter.

“Not the way I’m going…if I keep going like this I know I’m just going to lose…everything…but I just can’t get myself sorted out”the 14 year old replied.

Alysha wanted to “be on the straight and narrow, out of the sex industry and off drugs”.

If you can find this documentary, you just might find it as life-changing and thought provoking as I did. It’s worth the search!

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1 Comment

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One response to ““Don’t Hang Up 2: Nightlines”

  1. I’m the founder of a site dedicated to phone box from all over the world. I’ve recently started this project up again. And have begun collecting payphone numbers. All numbers listed work and have been verified with a date. Also importantly all numbers are pair with a picture of the relevant payphone. I also received an arranged call from Alan to a phonebox on Portobello Road. Think it didn’t go to air as my words were very gumbled. Anyways, keeps you’re eyes on the site, I’ve got big and long term plans for it. Many thanks and do keep trying to make a call every now and then. Laters,… http://www.payphone.de.vu/

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