Highlights of The Year - January to May.
I make this blog for my memory. In not having family most of my life and very little contact in the remainder I realised a primary function of family, context, is something missing. Context is relative and relativity a factor of memory: ever heard the memory trick in how to recall your pin number by unconnected images. I am often advised by the well meaning not to assume that families are great when in fact I don’t. I just value memory is all.
But why make it public? Imagine never having a private life. Imagine your entire childhood being a matter of public record and most of your adult life being an exercise in proving what happened to you in your childhood by making public record of your existence through documentary. To say that I make public my private life is to assume that I ever had a private life in the first place. I didn’t. I am honoured that anyone should read it.
2009 began with a run of Why I Don’t Hate White People at Hammersmith Lyric, written while artist in resident at Southbank centre. It was the last play directed by John McGrath before he became Artistic Director of the National Theatre of Wales.
Then a week in Vancouver in February of four poets of four continents for The Cultural Olympiad with live music by the Ferreras orchestra. The audience broke into spontaneous applause on hearing I was artist in residence at Southbank centre. Shortly afterwards I visited New York to interview Gil Scott Heron for a BBC radio documentary called Pieces of a Man. It broadcastto the nation the news that The Heron was back.
Then a short hop over to Sweden for a reading where I met Janine Van Rooy, known as Blaq Pearl, the sister of South Africa’s Mr Devious. In May I read in Cape Town, at The Badalisha Poetry festival who put together the best surprise birthday celebration I’ve ever had. It was at an Ethiopian restaurant called Addis in Cape: I visited Janine’s home in Mitchells Plain to hear her incredible story from her own lips.
Also broadcast to the nation on BBC five documentaries on The Watford Gap Service Station in recognition of its fiftieth anniversary. In the documentary is proof that great stories are in everyday people going places. I am the subject of an half hour documentary by Babycow productions which remains unfinished. Bernadine Evaristo’s blonde roots is released to acclaim in America and Kwame Dawes wins a Pulitzer prize. Meanwhile kind hearted Jonathan Barker leaves the British Council.