Verse Person Singular.

Here are a selection of recordings from TV radio and online which string together my singular internal journey in lieu of family.

I have used publicity on my artistic endeavours  to direct attention to my story.   I have done this  since leaving the care system at eighteen.  My sole mission was to find witnesses to the  institutionalised destruction of a child. And then to find my family. And then to seek redress.  But I could only do this when I left the care system at eighteen.  I had no family. I had no choice.

1989 Manchester  interview with Tony Wilson.

https://youtu.be/EnmGRR0sZu8

Family is a group of people each taking film of the events of each others  lives. Over a lifetime they argue  about whose clips to use in the final version. In lieu of that I have used any publicity to direct attention, to document,  my story .

1995 Manchester and Ethiopia

https://youtu.be/KvwFcrKbvWY

But there was documentary evidence. There were  eighteen years of files written about me from birth locked away somewhere.  I found out they were being held by a company called The Iron Mountain.  

2010  BBC Radio 4 Child of The State. 

https://soundcloud.com/user-539732291/child-of-the-state-bbc-radio-in-search-of-files

Too many of us are made invisible.  Too many of us are  the sole witness to the  institutionalised attatchment disorder of the care system.  

2012 London The Houses of Parliament:

https://www.ted.com/talks/lemn_sissay_a_child_of_the_state?language=en

2014 The Houses of Parliament

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uwj5XKzOadM

Finally  I received my files in the post from The Government  in 2015

On seeing my files and the systemic destruction of my childhood at the hands of the government I decided to take them to court.  This singular determined and personal journey between 1985 and 2015 was revealed on Desert Island Discs in 2015.

https://soundcloud.com/user-539732291/desert-island-discs

One of the greatest gifts  in my life is my reunification with Ethiopia.  Like Ethiopia I was never colonised. Like Ethiopia I was occupied but I fought back and won.  Like Ethiopia I am fiercely independant.  This is a live show for The BBC radio 4 in Ethiopia in 2015.  It's called Lemn Sissay's Homecoming.

https://soundcloud.com/user-539732291/lemn-sissays-homecoming-ep1-addis

I returned to England where the  legal process was up and running.  As part of it  I had to submit to  a gruelling pyschologists report.  So I decided to hear The Report for the first time on stage at The Royal Court in London 2017.   Thi sis a first in theatre and psychology.

https://youtu.be/yKmM3Hw48BY

I won the case this year.   The government settled out of court and apologised.  Shortly afterwards  I  was at Byron Bay Literature Festival in Australia speaking to Richard Fidler live on stage.  It was broadcast in  Australia on  ABC in 2018.  

[mixcloud https://www.mixcloud.com/conversationswithrichardfidler/how-lemn-sissay-found-his-voice/ width=100% height=120 hide_cover=1]

How do you prove you have noone when there's noone to prove it to.  We are all witnesses.  We are all documentary makers in the films of our own lives.   Only for most of us the film is private.  May it always be so for you and may there never be a reason for it to be otherwise.  Family is a set of disputed memories between one group of people over a lifetime. 

photo Slater King/Channel 4 Nov 28th 2018

The day I felt most invisible when I left care was Christmas Day. So I have done something about it.  You can find out about that by clicking here.    Thanks for reading watching and hearing me.

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