I cycle from Hackney to Tottenham Court Road and at 8.40am meet Becky Shaw who is Southbank centre’s artist in residence liason. We step in to the extremely comfortable private club One Alfred Place. I am here to read at 9am for the press launch of The Slow Down London campaign. I understand I shall be reading at 9am and have already cut a morning meeting short (I had one at 8am) to be here for 9am. At approximately 8.50pm inside the club a tall tanned gentlemen steps over to shake my hand. It’s the best selling author Carl Honore .
I sit outside the press conference and wait for my 9am. An hour later and I am still waiting. Carl whom earlie reminded me of to keep to time has gone way over time. Slow Down I tell myself It’s only time. At 10am towards the end of the press conference I am called – the finale. I read my poem and leave immediately. It was part of the plan that I would rush off. But I actually needed to rush off. It’s all strangely perfect.
Within thirty minutes i’m at my office on the riverside and receive a flurry of emails
on my iphone from a production company. My BBC documentary Pieces of A Man has some fantastic previews. It’s pick of the day in The Guardian, “an excellent
portrait.” By 11.30am I am in the southbank centre listening to the show go out to the nation and across the world. I’m listening with head of Contemporary Arts at Southbank
centre Gillain Moore.
(It must be the radio because the sound quality of Gil Scott Heron’s voice is terrible, as if the interview was in a toilet. I shall listen to it on different speakers later.)
Later on and after a good meeting with Gillian my very good friend the artist Whitney
McVeigh provides an honourable gift of one of her paintings, one of her headz series . I am so proud to hold one of her pieces in my office at The Southbank. I begin the search for a framer to mount this beautiful piece of work You can see it here. Tomorrow Whitney will be at the press launch of Saatchi Online.
At 3pm I do a phone interview with The Manchester Evening News. Some ten or so years ago I wrote an eight hundred word weekly column for them which is a fine record and reminder of my time there. The Manchester Evening News is an historically vital newspaper in britain it is the birthplace of The Guardian which in its earliest form was called The Manchester Guardian.
It’s an intense working day but the weather is beautiful and the southbank is shining. The
London evening Standard is out today and features myself and Vannesa Feltz as ambassadors for The Antony Gormley 4th Plinth in Trafalgar square. I bike home
and stop off for a coffee at La Bouche on broadway market. At 7pm I see Carl
Honore on BBC TV helping Londoners to slow down in a short snappy witty erudite
and perfectly timed authored piece to camera. Nice.