Singing In The Room Where It Happens

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?

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They Are Us

The people risking their lives to cross the Channel in small boats are not aliens, invaders, migrants or some other lesser category of human to be dismissed. They are us.

I’m posting this in honour of Rasoul Iran-Nejad, Shiva Mohammad Panahi, Anita and Armin, who died out there. Kids and their parents. I didn’t know them, but earlier this year I had the privilege of meeting and listening to a number of young teenagers who have made the same crossing. One of them, Akoy, comes from the same town as the family that died. This is his story.

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Oh Babs. Thank you

Babs has gone. A light’s gone out. So much will be said and written about Barbara Windsor, I just want to tell you about a moment when I met her and she made me laugh so loud I’m laughing still. It was in a dressing room for EastEnders. I’d been interviewing June Brown about her magnificent solo episode in which she talked to her husband Jim via a tape machine, all alone. June was being grumpy. Then this happened:

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Love Is Stronger Than Hate

As you grow, Sarah you will be challenged by the world. You will make mistakes and feel like a failure. You will feel sad and lonely. Have faith, my darling. Never give up. Trust in the Lord, but trust in yourself. You are enough. You have all that you need inside you. Remember that, above all.

Jasmine’s letter to her daughter Sarah in The Light Keeper, Chapter Forty Nine

Life is strange here at the moment, down on the edge of things. We’ve been used to it being so quiet, but as the lockdown has begun to ease there have suddenly been a lot more people around. I get it, you can drive anywhere now and why wouldn’t you make a break for the seaside, to let your shoulders drop? Those of us who don’t want to be among the crowds have to keep out of the way at weekends, when cars are parked all along the verges like some kind of mad silent festival. We go walking in the early morning or the late evening. That’s okay though, it’s our privilege. Everyone is welcome here, the Downs belong to all and who doesn’t need a bit of space at the moment? The world is in flames. Well, it feels like that, doesn’t it?

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