10am to 6.45pm: Gil Scott Heron On The Phone

So I leave Marble Arch for home at 10am and spend a precious three hours there until  1pm then  I travel for an hour on the bus, leaving the car at home cause driving would now be dangerous cause of lack of sleep. I arrive at my office in the Southbank  for  2pm. 

I must be on the 3.06pm (?) to Exeter near  the coast in Devon, (about three hours away) , to perform at The Northcott Theatre.   I get chance to do a little work, in my office which is a minute away from waterloo train station.  At 2.30pm my phone’s ringing. I pick it up  and hear a gravelly voice  “Lemn?”.  It’s Gil Scott Heron calling from New York.

I am meeting Mr Scott Heron next week in New York for a documentary I am presenting for BBC Radio 4.I don’t have heroes and I don’t put people on pedastals.   Pedastals are dangerous constructs. Why wwould you put a heero in a place that would be so easy to fall from. The greatness of a human being, an artist such as Gil Scott Heron can be measured and exalted and praised  in the acceptance of the person and  the artist for who they are. But if there is  an hero it is him.

He tells me some amazing things and asks me what I am doing at the moment. We speak of Stevie Wonder, talks of his latest project.  And tells me the hilarious story of the man who sent him a country and western version of his poem (written in the late sixties) of  Whitey
on The Moon..  Time is ticking by… and I sound like I must go because across thousands of miles Mr Scott heron says “you sound like you have to go Lemn”. In a moment we say goodbye and The Heron is gone – flown.  I look through the office window and a flock of seagulls swoops over Waterloo bridge…

In a daze I grab my bags and race to the station to go to exeter…..

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