Sunday London at four am under a blue blood sky a taxi furrows the city through the swaying flotsam and jetsam of the night before. Or not. A West African woman indifferent to dawn in a blue silk pencil dress stretched tight over her every curve stands outside The Pembury smoking a Marlboro. As the car sweeps past her cigarette smoke dances.
At the airport I buy the Observer and feel the spirit of Gil Scott Heron through an article written by his close and dear friend Jamie Byng. It’s the most heartfelt and true piece that I’ve read on Gil. Seven hours, two flights and two pastries later and I’m on the South Western coast of Norway facing the North Sea. There are a chain of Lighthouses here, six have been transformed and this one, Obrestad, is an art gallery and the launch of the exhibition is tonight.
The exhibition is titled What If? Were my eponymous film is projected on a screen in the attic room that houses a giant steel lung – The fog horn. The dark North Sea rages and it’s him. After the launch late in the night I receive a call from BBC World Service for a midnight interview – The question? What has Gil done for Africa? But from Kwesi the interviewer it feels more of a statement than a question. I realise as I give the interview that I am too tired. I am not in the mood to justify Gil's existance.