Lockdown

Our lockdown behaviour has been extraordinary. I’ve been weirdly stopping and smelling flowers wherever I am. Is that bizarre? Is that too weird? I’ve been noticing things like the fact that the dawn chorus has been really, really loud.

It’s almost like they’ve brought Def Leppard’s amps and mixing desk and they’re playing it for maximum impact. I remember Ted Nugent doing a tour once, and they said that when he did outdoor gigs, it was so loud that birds were exploding when they flew past. So this is the birds’ revenge.

Everything is just greener and more beautiful and louder and more extraordinary. And that’s to be celebrated.

Of course, I’ve been affected by the Black Lives Matter events in recent months. It’s important to stay tuned now. I did come out on Saturday Night Live with this, but I am in fact a black person and I have been black all of my life and I intend to be black until my death.

Things that are connected with the black community, my family and my friends affect me, too. And the fact of the matter is, I was incredibly moved by recent events and I’ve made I made a song about this called “The Cops Don’t Know.”

The wonderful Sam Chegini has made a video of it. I wrote the song with Jakko Jakszyk, who is lead guitarist of King Crimson. It’s about Trayvon and Brandon and George, and it’s how I feel about it all. You can watch it here:

Apart from that, my colleagues and I in the diversity lobby group and at the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Diversity Research at Birmingham City University are formulating solutions-based ideas to do with the levelling of the playing field in our society and asking questions about how we create a more inclusive society, not just in broadcast media, but across the board.

How do we do that? What are the thought processes that lead to sustainable change? These are the questions that occupy my mind in the dead of night.