Welcome to The Red Opera

The website about the work of Paul Hoffman

Salesian College

salesian-dormitory-1

The main Salesian dormitory known,in The Left Hand of God and in real life as The Barn.  It slept about eighty people.

salesian-dormitory-2

Inside the  Barn. This doesn’t really give a sense of the immense size of the place as the photo is taken from half way down the dormitory and foreshortens the width considerably.

2Boxers

These two lovelies, both about fifteen, might persuade the sceptics about the physically intimidating nature of some teenagers. Compared to two of my friends in particular they look rather sweet. Though a couple of years before my time they were apparently taught boxing by a priest nicknamed ‘Killer’

Cowley Salesian

The ambulacrum or ambo where we sheltered from the weather. There were almost no inside spaces to go during the day as the dormitories were locked.

Salesian Refectory

This is the Refectory or ‘ref’ where the boys ate their terrible food. The eagle-eyed may notice that the tables are carefully laid and with tablecloths and that this hardly speaks of the privation I’ve complained about. This photo was taken before it became a school when it was a house of studies  for priests only.

Note that we ate our meals under a lifesized image of a man being tortured to death. The notion of The Hanged Redeemer – a character whose obvious good nature was simply ignored bythe Redeemers – is an example of the strange-making I write about in the Essays section. By changing the method of execution I wanted to try and make it clear what an odd image of Jesus it was: he is not someone whose philosphy is dominated by death and suffering as central aspects of living the good life. What would he have thought about the point of making children eat their meals under an image of such horror?