This blog covers the past 15 days of a total of 280 days since my installation as Chancellor at University of Manchester. These are the highlights. I will shape my blogs in this way until the first year ends. This blog is not full of official commitments in my role as chancellor but I am using the installation to mark time. So let’s begin. On July 8th I visited the prison where Oscar Wilde was jailed for two years.
where I heard Richard Mcann. I would walk barefoot through glass to hear him speak again. He was in care too. The next morning On Sunday 10th July I receive NESTA recognition as one of fifty new radicals. It’s announced in The Observer Newspaper.
and that night I read poems at The Kinara festival in Nelson in deepest Lancashire
I interviewed Bob Marley’s photographer Dennis Morris for a BBC radio documentary I’m making .
On 12th July I found myself front page news in The Leading Daily Danish Newspaper. I still haven’t got a translation but my friend Katrine says it reads well.
It happened via a genuinely inspiring conversation with a Danish journalist who interviewed me in a walk and talk between my hotel and University of Manchester.
On 13th I interviewed Chris Salewicz at Battersea Park where Marley played football for my Bob Marley programme for BBC Radio 4 .
Then to New Broadcasting House to record The World Wakes, a new poem on Graphene for The Arts Show on BBC radio 2
On 14th I finished a commissioned poem for the founder of Glimmer of Hope then I traveled to Cobham in Surrey to inspire & be inspried at a conference on children’s services.
That evening of 14th BBC Radio 3 broadcast ‘World Wakes’ on The Arts show presented by Jonathan Ross. On 15th July a young woman says hello at Shoreditch House. A year ago this was her tweet. It’s my favourite.
Still 15th July I travel to The Southwell poetry festival in Nottingham. Sold out. Beautiful.
On 17th July at 5am I wake and present the paper review on BBC Breakfast.
Then I have breakfast with my friend Dave Haslam wearing the T-Shirt which is now available to you. Click here.
And then still on 17th I travel to Wirral to perform at Festival of Firsts. I wake 5am on 18th.
A highlight of my 15 days was at my book signing after this reading. A blind man stood in the queue. He has practiced Buddhism for many many years. He asked if he could read me his eight line poem. Here is an extract of what “Blind Al” read to me
“The truth of the matter is
(And it’s plain as day to me)
I have more vision now
Than when I could see”
And travel from Wirral to The Royal Albert Hall for rehearsals. Here I am with Ten Pieces anchor Naomi Wilkinson. I’ll explain later on what this is about .
Tuesday 19th I leave London for Manchester to give students their degrees. This makes me extremely proud.
Wed 20th is taken up with some incredibe meetings at UNiversity of Manchester including Professor Danielle George who scanned my head for a 3 d printer. They will be making a Robot violinist with my head. This was voted above other heads at The Cockroft Rutherford Lecture. This is just one scan of many
I meet some incredible graduates ofcourse
and then at 6pm I attend the Alumni Association welcome event. An event in my name held at The glorious Manchester Museum. I speak with gratitude to the alumni and a sense of responsibility exemplified by the work I have done today.
21st at dawn I travel from Manchester back to The Royal Albert Hall for more rehearsals. I over heard the seasoned presenter Naomi Wilkinson say of her work in Chidrens TV “it’s like I’ve won the lottery.” Then there was a pause and she said “And I’ve been doing it for seventeen years”. This is me at rehearsals trying to fight off tiredness
On 22nd rehearsals again from 10am until 1pm. Dion Dublin is here!! He’s co-presenting.. This is a favourite picture of Dion Dublin making me feel like a star
And this one he took of the entire team with all the dancers. It’s a great pic cause it catches the vibe entirely.
After this rehearsal finished at 1pm I I left for Manchester for the press launch of Graphene – Adventures in Wonderland at The Museum of Science and Industry. This is part of the film at the exhibition which features my poem The World Wakes
And later I read The World Wakes at the launch then off to my beloved Malmaison
I am sorry I coud not attend the meal at The Museum. I returned to my beloved Malmaison hotel woke at 5am and by 9am I’m back at The Royal Albert Hall. By 11am The audience are in and the first of two proms begins The Cameras are on.
Tomorrow we’ll be at the proms again. It will broadcast live on iplayer at 4.30pm on JULY 24TH. Thanks. That’s been my last 15 days. And I love it. I absolutely love it. Most of all I love rehearsals because it offers the opportunity to be better. Go figure.