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Culture

A Swansea Scrapbook

If you haven't been watching Swansea Love Story, our documentary about two Welsh junkies at the epicenter of Britain's endless heroin problem, you should start now.
15 February 2010, 12:21pmUpdated on 10 January 2013, 2:39pm

If you haven't been watching Swansea Love Story, our documentary about two Welsh junkies at the epicenter of Britain's endless heroin problem, you should start now. We're up to part four now, but you can watch them all here. Meanwhile, here are some pictures Andy Capper took during the filming to keep you company. Take it away, guy.

This is from our first visit to Swansea. It’s just behind the town hall on the beach. That’s Leo Leigh filming Kristian and Lee walking Lee’s dog. They’d taken us around the prison and to where the old Swansea City football ground, where they’d both spent a lot of their time. Both of them were big Swansea fans. Lee admitted to being in the kid’s version of the Swansea Jacks football violence gang. While we were shooting them on the beach Kristian kept puking up and then going: “It’s all right boys,” in this weird camp voice. The shots were (black) comedy gold but didn’t make the cut in the end.

Tattoos are big in Swansea. Lee’s got a bunch of Swansea City ones. All the bouncers in town have huge tribals on their arms. They also have weird punk feather cuts and fake tans and it all combines to make them look like characters from Tekken.

This is Andrew’s bike. He’s the guy who shoots up behind the bins with Amy and Cornelius in Part One. He’s in his late 20s but he rides a bike that looks like it’s for a 10-year-old. We’d see him riding through town at 100 mph on this all the time, usually high as a kite. When not riding the bike he’d usually be running somewhere or trying to blag money off us.

This is Leo shooting the alleyway scene. We’d just met Amy and Cornelius down the road at a church/drop-in center run by a biker gang. Amy’s feet were bleeding because the night before somebody had smashed a bottle of beer on her. It was 9:15 in the morning and as they were cooking up behind a wooden board there were lots of people walking past them on their way to work.

These are cute little pots that you're given to cook up your drugs in. We shot these while interviewing John Frith at SANDS, the Swansea Drug Agency. He said that they were different colors so people don’t mix up their drugs for somebody else’s. “You tend to be a bit… forgetful, when you’re doing things like that” he said.

This is a family portrait that you can actually see being shot at the end of the scene in the flat. We all ended up pretty friendly after being there for a while but the first five minutes felt really sketchy. I love how Libby (left) and Cornelius look on this photo. They love their dad, Sean, even though they seemed a bit scared of him.

This was after we filmed the Welsh Defence League riot in the city center. It was written outside a Chinese Restaurant. I should point out here that, on the whole, people in Swansea weren’t that racist. We just happened to come across a microcosm of BNP scumbags that were.

After all the sad things we’d seen and heard during our visit there, this visit to the Dunvant Male Voice Choir rehearsal was incredibly moving. Their voices combine to make this overwhelmingly powerful sound. I asked them if they had anything that sounded like a lullaby and they sang us “Si Ei Lwli Mabi”, which means “Hush My Little Baby” in English. As soon as they started singing it I knew we’d found the perfect soundtrack to the film. The feel of the song prompted me to use the intro to “Rated X” by Spiritualized and “Airlock” by Sian Alice Group to accompany it. I’ve always loved Spiritualized so it was a real thrill to do a collaboration of sorts with Jason. We also used the choir singing an old show tune called “Tell My Father.” I have to admit that I had to fight hard not to completely lose it while they were singing it. Leo looked over at me while he was filming to see if I thought it sounded all right and I hoped I disguised the fact that I was about to fall to my knees and start bawling like a baby.

This is the last time we saw Amy, Cornelius, and Sean. The other kid there claimed to be related to the Collins and kept bugging us for money. Sean had just bought Cornelius that shirt and he seemed very happy with it. Both him and Amy were completely out of their minds at this point. We did a lot of hugging and saying goodbye and wishing well just after this. I hope they are doing OK. I heard they are still stuck in the same old routine.

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