When Bob Marley and Esther Anderson fell for each other she was the star of the time and he in ascendancy. Her previous beau was Marlon Brando. “Anderson studied drama at The Actors Studio in London and played roles in movies from Henry Levin’s Genghis khan to Sidney Poitier’s A Warm December. Esther helped to develop the then fledgling Jamaican music label Island Records from 1960’s” says the current edition of “Sunstorm” a stateside Cultural revue.
But when I sat with Esther at BFI some of the less obvious language stuck in mind. “Bob Marley was my first black boyfriend” she recalled “”he was my expression of rebellion”. Nothing is simple. The waiter at the BFI may see two black people in conversation but in Jamaica the gradients, the subtle shades of chocolate and latte blended from the grains of DNA are as clearly defined (and separated) as gradients of rock-stone on the cliff face.
While Esther recounted the story another phrase rose like mist on the blue mountains “Lemn, I cried living tears from my eyes” she said. Living tears. It's a month full of friends. They are sunstorms; Actors and Ambassadors, DJ’s, producers, filmmakers and commissioners… They range from a writer for Eastenders, that's you Sally Abbot, to fela kuti's official biographer, and you Carlos Moore. One new friend has worked for three American presidents and hasn't reached forty years of age.
The question is, what holds them together. What is there between them that attracts me? They are spirits from whom I learn to whom I listen with whom I talk. Most are old friends some of them new. Some are new friends whom feel like old friends and some are old friends whom give that excitable feeling of new friends. They are sunstorms scaring away the black dog. But how not to mention Norway. Right now my poem stands in an exhibition at Obrestrad Lighthouse Gallery that faces the North Sea? I woke to hear on the radio about the murder of those young people and I cried living tears from my eyes.