Friday, 8 March 2013

Multi-culti

I'm at Bank Station desperately hoping that the High Barnet train will arrive before I collapse. I'm back in White City in ten hours' time and am now so exhausted that my legs are feeling fizzy.

Exhausted, but elated...

This morning started with a two-hour stint in Starbucks working on Four Colours and continued with a trip to the Adventure Playground Cafe which sits in the middle of the estate. The cafe is run by adults with learning disabilities who are training to be chefs. Each morning they cook their cake of the day (carrot and sultana today), which gets sold for 50p a slice, and two delicious vegetarian main meals, which cost just £2. I had a beautiful pizza and salad and loved every mouthful.

The cafe's regulars are a crowd of women and their children who must rank amongst the most multi-cultural group of friends I've ever meet. They represent every major religion baring Judaism and hail from all the world's continents baring Antarctica and Australasia. This is how life should be. This is how different groups of people learn to understand and respect one another.

We spent the afternoon in a series of increasingly bizarre cafes which culminated in a second visit to the Egyptian House: a little piece of Cairo in the heart of a concrete jungle. 

This evening saw trips to the bingo and to a youth club, where a group of girls playing basket ball sang Adele and Rhianna songs in my ear, whilst an extraordinarily strong stench of Ganga wafted underneath the door from a group of kids outside!

We took the Central Line to Bank and walked across a misty Southwark Bridge to a hidden bar where we watched one of our new estate friends performing the most beautiful poetry. The evening was a celebration of spoken word in the black community. There were six white people in a large appreciative audience and I have seldom heard such erudition coming from a group of performers. If anyone was searching for young, highly intelligent, motivated, beautiful black role models they would be foolish not to start with this crowd. One young poet called Lionheart caused the audience to gasp out loud with the wonderful line:

"She was so down to earth, she made the soil seem like clouds..."

I felt honoured to be there and deeply ashamed to have been surprised that an evening peppered with such extreme wit and intelligence could have been created and appreciated by the black community in this country.  

I left with a bitter sweet taste in my mouth. If such remarkable people exist, why does the British media not give them the platform they deserve? 

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