So firstly, many thanks to those of you who contacted me with your suggestions from my last post. There are no prizes, but if there were they would go to the teacher who said "According to Scroobius Pip, 'Thou shalt not think having a blog makes you a journalist'." Well played my friend, wise words being spoken.
The untimely death of Smiley Culture has got many folks asking whether we will ever know the true story of what happened on March 15th when the police raided his house. The family campaign is calling a march to Scotland Yard on Saturday April 16th.
Over on the 'History is made at night' blog you can view the videos for Smiley's two biggest tunes plus a quote from Paul Gilroy about 'Cockney Translation', a portion of which I quote below,
"The record suggested that these elements could be reconciled without jeapordising affiliation to the history of the black diaspora... The record contains a veiled but none the less visible statement that the rising generation of blacks, gathering in the darkened dance-halls, were gradually finding a means to acknowledge their relationship to England and Englishness. They were beginning to discover a means to position themselves relative to this society and to create a sense of belonging which could transcend 'racial'/ethnic, local and class-based particularities and redefine England/Britain as a truly plural community. They were able to express their reluctant affiliation to it in the same breath as their ties to the African diaspora." ( Paul Gilroy, There Ain't No Black in the Union Jack, 1987)
I remember seeing Smiley perform 'Police Officer' on TV in the early eighties. A few years later Derek B, the first UK Hip-Hop MC to get into the pop charts, was telling the very same story of being stopped by the police only to be let-off due to his mic-skills on his 'Good Groove.' But then a good story deserves repeating doesn't it?
In fact I'd go further than that. As Gilroy seems to be suggesting, a good story can capture how people view something, and affect how they view it. As student teachers we explored Barbara Hardy's notion of 'Narrative as a Primary Act of Mind.' If stories are fundamental to how we view the world, we need to be thinking about the range of stories we have in the classroom... and in our own heads.