This isn’t a tribute to Hamilton, although that is an astonishing piece of work. Wonderful. No, this is about the privilege of telling a story and singing songs inspired by that story in the room where the action takes place, at the Belle Tout lighthouse. The video is below, have a watch. Can I tell you why?
When I started out writing The Light Keeper a long time ago, I was living in a new town by the sea, trying to get used to it all and looking for friends. I walked the landscape around Belle Tout, Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters with an open mind and heart, looking for a way to respond to it as I had the landscape of the Dingle peninsula in County Kerry for the book Hungry for Home. I was hungry for home when we came to live here; hungry for a place to settle, raise kids and belong. The Belle Tout lighthouse intrigued me, standing as it did on the edge of a four hundred foot drop, suspended between the sky above and the rocks and the sea far below. I always wondered what it would be like at the very top. So what a joy to be able to go up into the Lantern Room of the Belle Tout and tell stories and sing songs from The Light Keeper, which opens and closes with scenes in that very room.
The views are breathtaking, genuinely, as you will see during this performance filmed by Neil MacInnes. The song is Come Away, written by myself and David Perry, who is on guitar and vocals, with Bruce Pont and Phoene Cave also singing. Thank you to David Shaw, the Belle Tout lighthouse owner, for making it possible and for the manager Ian Noall for hosting us. Enjoy.