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  • Author: admin
  • Date Posted: Feb 27, 2016
  • Category:
  • Address: Spring Rd, Wigan, Lancashire WN5 0JL, United Kingdom

Inner Workings

seven smart girls
smiled in unison.
“Largest food processing plant in Europe,”
Five said.
Seven, holding aloft rubber tubing
like a seatbelt safety demonstration,
and plastic glove-SMACKED it;
conjuring inner workings
beneath brushed metal casings.
We flowed gloriously down the corridor
listening to rattling tin on either side,
keeping an eye
on the hats of the girls.


Creative journey

I was thrilled with this postcode. It couldn’t have been a better match. My study background is in Modernist and Post-Modernist literature, and I’m fascinated by everyday surrealism and unusual spaces. Food factories tick those boxes for me.

Before I started writing, I imagined my piece might be mechanical; full of the metallic clunks and clatters of the factory. I also thought about the compact dynamism of William Carlos Williams’ poem The Great Figure as well as a wonderful avant-garde image of a factory by graphic designer S. Neil Fujita created for the cover of Modern Packaging Encyclopedia in 1961.

But a little research of the site led me to a newspaper clipping of 1960s tour guides, seven, dressed in identical uniforms, with a caption of “Seven Smart Girls.” The fresh-off-the-conveyor-belt, automaton vibe seemed a natural extension of the factory itself. Writing the piece flowed quite quickly from that discovery.


  1. Really enjoyed this piece. I am also fascinated by factories and used to visit quite a few with work – I was always impressed by the efficiency of the ‘line’. There are many fine lines and phrases in this piece – labelled, seven smart girls, flexed,bent. It has great flow – much like this particular factory floor I imagine and is ultimately really pleasing to read – made me smile!

  2. Fantastic sestude and explanation piece. One of the best yet. Thanks

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