|It is fair to say there has been an explosion of interest in my Roots of Reggae project of late. Photo: jovike / Flickr
It was Harold Wilson who said ‘a week is a long time in politics’. That was before Twitter, Facebook and this blog you’re reading (or at least skimming out of a mistaken sense of obligation), however. And so with it approaching nearly two weeks since I last blogged, I think it’s more fitting to reach for James Todd Smith (aka LL Cool J)’s memorable lyric, ‘Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years‘.
Now that I’ve publicly aired the shame I feel for not having taken the time to blog, I suppose I ought to at least explain what’s been happening to me when I’ve been busy making other plans. So as not to strat too far from structural convention, I’ll break these up into three themes: paid work; personal projects; and my so-called life.
As briefly mentioned last time, I was pleased to pick up some freelance project management work from my old full-time employers, thinkpublic. The project I have been working on is still under wraps so unfortunately I can’t say loads about it here. What I can say, however, is that is has been great to be working again with old colleagues and gaining more in-depth of a new policy area for me. I’ve written a blog post for thinkpublic about this work and will include a link to this once it has been published.
Running alongside this work for thinkpublic have been a number of other positive developments on the work front. Last week I was offered the chance to become an Associate of an ethically-driven consultancy firm. I am very pleased about this as it should allow me to apply the ways of working I enhanced at thinkpublic within a more political/policy-focused environment. I also had the chance to attend a European conference on Social Franchising on behalf of an Associate of thinkpublic. Not only was this a chance to learn more about an increasingly talked-about subject, it also led to some new introductions which should hopefully produce opportunities to get involved in other projects.Again, watch this space for more on how these things develop.
As things have picked up on the work front I have made a conscious effort not to let my commitments to outside projects fall by the wayside. Most significantly, the momentum for my reggae and dub-centred community project is gathering apace. The project now has a name: Roots of Reggae, as well as its own Twitter handle (@RootsofReggae) and blog (Roots of Reggae blog). The Ritzy cinema in Brixton are kindly supporting the project. I also have a date and venue for the FREE launch event, which will take place at the Ritzy Brixton on Saturday 3rd December, 3-7 pm. I have even secured a live dub performance from East Dulwich’s finest Sly & Reggie, no less. You can find out more and sign up to attend via Facebook at: Roots of Reggae FREE launch.
|Jules and Katie manning The Amazings’ stall on Chatsworth Road Market
Besides my work on Roots of Reggae, I’ve also continued to help out on The Amazings, the East London-based social enterprise that helps people who are about to retire or have retired create amazing experiences with the skills, knowledge and passion they’ve picked up throughout their life. It was through this connection that I found myself last Sunday morning on the newly re-activated Chatsworth Road Market, where we managed to sell two tickets and harvested a good number of sign-ups for the service’s newsletter. As with Roots of Reggae, I’ve found working on The Amazings to be a really rewarding experience, even when faced with less than amazing early morning weekend starts.
My so-called life
|That Viking sure was funky. The Band Plays On at Brockley Market
Although the past couple of weeks have been very exciting and rewarding, I have sometimes found it challenging to adjust to flexible and often home-based working. When I working full-time for thinkpublic there would be a clear distinction between work and home-life, give or take the odd early start or late-night deadline. Now the line between work and home is less sharp and I find myself working on my laptop when really I should be having some switch-off time. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve still made time for the finer things in life, such as seeing a friend perform in the musical Bye Bye Birdie (oh yes) and even a trip to the new Brockley Market, but over the next few weeks I want to make sure I find the time to relax and enjoy life, whether that’s in Forest Hill or the wider world.
Sarah and I are off to Newcastle this weekend for a friend’s a wedding. After that, I’ll be briefly back in London before heading up to Middlesbrough as part of my work for thinkpublic. With a bit of luck I’ll have the chance to write a blog next week and, who knows, I’ll maybe even throw in a picture of the famous Transporter Bridge.
A Soundtrack to celebrate Roots of Reggae getting a confirmed date
To celebrate the progress I’ve made on my Roots of Reggae project I thought I would share with you an upbeat selection of tunes.
Jimmy Cliff – Wonderful World, Beautiful People.
Sure, it’s at the very poppy end of pop-reggae but who cares? A song when things in life are going well.
U Roy & Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry – Double Six.
Ignore the iffy visuals and enjoy the nicely mellow toasting by U Roy over a surprisingly modern sounding synth line. Electro-pop reggae, anyone?
Wayne Smith – Under Mi Sleng Teng
This song is arguably the first all-digital dancehall track. Produced by Prince Jammy, it pretty much revolutionised Jamaican music. I normally stick to 70s roots material but this song is just so catchy you can’t resist. If you like this song you should check out the Tighten-Up Crew’s gig this Friday in Finsbury Park: Tighten-Up Crew gig.