I wear two hats when I write this blog of mine. First and foremost, I manage a small charity in a small Scottish town called Dumfries. Ours is a front door that opens onto the darker corners of the crumbling world that is Britain 2015. We hand out 5000 emergency food parcels a year in a town that is home to 50,000 souls. Then, as you can see from all of the book covers above, I am also a thriller writer. If you enjoy the blog, you might just enjoy the books. The link below takes you to the whole library in the Kindle store. They can be had for a couple of quid each.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thoughts of Martin through a sleepless night

You know how it is when you are dead, dead tired. All day you think about what an absolute load of sleep you're going to get only to find that when the time comes you find yourself wide awake? Well, maybe not. In which case count yourself lucky. That was me last night.

This blog is obviously having a bad effect. As the insomnia kicked in, I got to thinking about different stuff to hunt out on Youtube to stick on a playlist. I'm 48 for Christ's sake! But maybe there are insomniac 48 year olds the world over who lie awake through the wee small hours thinking about stuff to stick on their playlists. Who the hell knows. Well, I started running lists of iconic, life changing stuff and it didn't take all that very long to get to Martin Luther King's 'I have a dream'. I guess this was the very first time in my life that somebody's words really rattled into my head. How old would I have been? Ten or eleven I guess. And all of a sudden there must have been this guy on our old rented black and white TV. Remember those days. 'Great service you get renting your colour set from Granada...' And I went from paying no attention whatsoever to being hooked like a snared trout. How many has that happened to? You can count that one by the billion.

Of course it has been a great year for mixed race couples like myself and Carol the world over. Martin started a ball rolling by daring to suggest that black kids and white kids might just hold hands one day and play together. Well some black kids and white kids grew up and got married and wound up having brown kids. And one of those brown kids just got made President and all of a sudden Mulato is the new black.

There have been lots of times when I have found Dr King's words rolling around my head. Watching the Clash at Rock against racism gigs back in the 70's whilst the dock wearing gangs of skinheads spat and snarled and seig heiled. Then a few years ago when we were on holiday in Gambia: looking out at this island out in the river. There was an old busted up white fort and a few dusty palm trees and it suddenly hit me that there was more than a passing chance that a relative of Carol and Dyonne and Courtney might well have passed through those gates a few hundred years ago. Then leaning on railings by Pier Head and looking out across the waters of the Mersey to Birkenhead and getting that nagging feeling of shame about where all the cash came from to build those big fancy buildings. Including the one with the two birds on it- the same birds that sit on the badge on the red shirt that my lads wear to go to the match. Just above where it says Carlsberg. Yeah, that one. Then hawking stuff we had imported from India around Universities in the early eighties and they all had a recently re-named Steve Biko building. Until finally a couple of years ago we climbed up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and looked down at the Reflecting Pool and thought this was the very place where it all happened. When I was three.

And then of course that never to be forgotten night last Novemeber when Barack lit up the world.

And so I gave up on the idea of sleep, trawled around Youtube, dug out the video at the top of the page and worked out how to post it. And it's posted. And I really like the music the guy has overlayed over the speech. And let's face it, these are words that you just can't get enough of. Well, I can't.

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