The week begins saying goodbye. Last Sunday Lebo Mashile and I went to my project manager’s house in Hackney and ate great food with great conversation. Afterwards we high tailed to Resonance FM in South London to be interviewed live. Lebo returns to South Africa to a storm of publicity surrounding a story that broke before she came to England two weeks ago. It’s been a fantastic two weeks we have spent together and I am honoured.
In the Lebo-less world on Monday Tuesday and Wednesday I lock myself in the apartment to learn The Rime of The Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It’s to be performed with music by Bellowhead directed by Jude Kelly at at The Queen Elizabeth hall in London on 27th 28th February, 1st march and 10th March. Learning lines is easy to put off but what is not done now in private becomes a public shame.
On Thursday I went into the Southbank and heard an astounding read through of a one person play by actor Lisa Dwan. I then met a TV company and director to discuss the next steps of a potent idea. On Friday I saw the near final edit of a documentary on yours truly called The Writers Room shot by Babycow productions about a year ago.
Friday night was the shift festival. I walk out onto the stage of The Queen
Elizabeth Hall at Southbank Centre to read What If to an audience of eight hundred or so. But first I watched Shlomo on stage – an incredible performer and musician – world class.What If my poem set to music filmed and exhibited at the Royal Academy G2K Contemporary Earth Exhibition , ends this weekend. But on Friday and Saturday evening it was projected on the side of The Royal Festival Hall.
Saturday and Sunday I spent rehearsing Why I Don’t Hate White People with theatre director of The National Theatre of Wales, John Mcgrath. The rehearsals of Why I Don’t Hate White People have found the play it never was whcih is the reatest news! . Afterwards on Sunday night I drove through darkness to a secret location in London - a friend’s house. She passed me a black briefcase…. I clicked the golden latches and they flicked upwards. I opened slowly, slowly opened the case and out poured a shaft of golden light. It bathed my face as I looked on in wonder. Through the liquid gold I saw a small thin square case with a man’s photograph on it Gil Scott Heron. I lifted out the pre release of his new album – “you can have it” said my friend “it’s yours”.