(cont..) As I hang the Ozwald Boeteng Kate whispers “always dress well darling. You never know what'll happen? If I die I want the doctor at hospital to fancy the corpse”. We step into the brand new as yet unopened BBC building. Mark Thompson, The BBC's Director General explains to Kate that the newsroom which we swish past in the glass elevator will be the biggest in the world. So this is where the World Service will emigrate from Bush House. We reach the seventh floor and arrive at the ceremony for the launch of Winning Words. Words of poets are painted on the walls and windows.
Winning Words is a campaign to get poetry out there, in public. It begins at The Olympics and radiates throughout the country. I am the first poet to be commissioned and to complete commission for The Olympics 2012. It came directly from Sarah Weir of ODA. Kate and I enter the room. There’s a hundred or so people here, policy makers and politicians, mayor’s and heads of things… Ed Vasey the culture minister's here, Ade Adepitan. Naomi Russell introduces me onto stage and I deliver the speech for which I had been allocated fifteen long minutes.
After warming the crowd I'm followed by television sports presenter Clare Balding an avid supporter of art as part of the Olympics and then Mark Thompson the Director General of BBC and then William Sieghart the brains and heart behind this entire operation. That's what workers (and artists) in this industry need, brains and heart. One without the other just won't do.