This is not me.
This is not a picture of me launching my book at T-Junction Poetry Festival.
It can’t be me.
I don’t recognize him.
I am not meant to be a poet.
I am supposed to be a studio-bound musician,
a businessman, a crime writer,
college lecturer, careers adviser,
anything but a poet.
How did I get here?
Somebody said to me after the gig that I’d appeared out of nowhere.
Another, who had known me in another guise, said he didn’t know I had it in me.
The responses aren’t surprising after I tell you I didn’t get into spoken word until I was 50.
It’s not my fault. Blame my family. More specifically – my son.
He was ill for six months. Glandular fever that turned into tonsilitis. He’s studying medicine and powered through the first year fuelled by antibiotics to keep the debilitation at bay.
To cut a long story short, he ended up in hospital 5 times over the summer. I looked after him whilst his mum and sister went to Spain on holiday.
Seeing my son looking so frail, got me thinking about mortality and what I was up to at his age.
I wrote Original Soundtrack as a book he could learn from in case anything happened to me.
I didn’t set out to make it funny or sad. It is what it is –
A 2-week stream of consciousness that linked together identity and music on the page. How I got from being a black teenager to a proud black father and what I learned along the way.
Performing it live has turned it into a different beast.
People laugh at ‘Black Mafiosa’ and ‘I Know You’ has started many conversations and brought tears to some peoples eyes.
And then I realized that all the other things that I’ve been doing – the careers advising, the crime writing – have all been about the same thing.
Getting my message, my view of life, across to people –
and what better way is there
than reading poems to an audience.