“Quick Hide! It’s that Madonna Again”

It’s a molten sun.  Life is good and the world is waking.   At 8am I walk the length of  Bethnal Green Road where the market traders are setting out  stalls. Tarpaulin skin slides over skeletal frames  and goods are unloaded from vans. Of this part of day  the traders are quiet and work minded.  There’s not much banter between them.  The banter’s for later.  For now they’ll blow into their hands so not to waste warm breath.

I pass Brick Lane and arrive at Shoreditch House a private members club.  “let’s go to the roof” says Nikki Parrott in her bright orange and auburn scarf.   She is a good friend who I met some ten years ago (check time fact).  She’s the  producer of a film I starred in.  Later we made a short film   for Channel Four called The Elevator based on a poem of mine.  The two actors were Ashley  Walters and Gary Lewis.

Fast forward a few years on  to and here and now. We  are sat chatting in a large room on the sixth floor with astounding views over the city, floor to ceiling windows on all sides and in the centre a wood fire. The smell of woodsmoke is the  hint  of Christmas to come.  Outside the rooftop swimming pool steams gently  as a swimmer makes ripples to welcome in the day.   Where did it all go wrong.

 Nikki’s latest documentary film  Only When I Dance has just released in cinemas around the UK and has a Christmas day broadcast on Channel Four
before the alternative queens speech.  The film is featured in  Grazia today  and it’ll be a cover story in The Times on Saturday. Nice. So I take Niklki’s Grazia ‘cause Southbank Centre is going to have a Brazil festival and I want the artistic director to see this.

I arrive at Southbank centre for 10.30am and drop of the piece with Jude Kelly along with a report on the Lambeth based Brazillian young people I read for last week.   The two black hands clap together on the clock and it’s noon.  I meet  with Vicky Long at the offices  to talk about Collision,  a two week get together of artists from January 11th to 24th.

3pm arrives wrapped in a black coat with a wide brimmed hat.  Chris Waterman breezes in to The Riverside Rooms. He  makes light work of helping others.  He is researcher for Helena Kennedy QC and much more and  took me to lunch in parliament recently.  I want to return the favour.  We eat in Skylon overlooking the thames as darkness falls and the Christmas lights spark up. .

Chris has brought me an  original cartoon drawn by Jo Brand which I have bought for the NORCAP charity – how it came about is a long story.  It is a simple drawing of a house. Outside is a sign that says CHILDRENS HOME.  And through one of the windows is a speech bubble that says  “Quick hide! It’s that Madonna again.”  And so the day ends on a quiet bus ride home that navigates  through dark Christmas lit  london  like a knife through gravel.

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