Yesterday I worked at Core Arts – a community arts and mental health charity in Homerton, Hackney. The organisation started bottom up – director Paul Monks was working in his studio one day, when mental health patients from the nearby psychiatric hospital wanted to join in….
At Core, no questions are asked about members mental state, however there is an coordinator who deals with members’ medical details, but community arts practitioners aren’t informed. I like it that way, if a member wants to talk about what’s going on then that’s up to them.
Members can opt to participate in creative arts activities, apply to work there or volunteer. I recall when I first visited Core Arts when observing a music session I was unable to distinguish between who were members and tutors….
I have been covering the songwriting class and have had loads of fun! I encouraged a member called “B” (confidentiality), a friendly guy with caramel skin and lil dreads – (who was very shy) to write a song; he said he was better at art…
We decided to write a song about gun and knife crime. I had a lovely time discussing potential factors as to why it has arisen and potential solutions. Please excuse the dodgy singing, I am a keys player not a vocalist, but “B” would only sing if I did. He has a lovely voice!
What I loved about the session was that “B” would seem to be filled with a surge of creative energy, jumped up when the music started and improvised some excellent lyrics. I was his scribe. Here is our sketch and these are the words we have written so far:
Gun and de knife
Gun and de knife taking away the youth’s life,
Causing families a whole heap of strife,
Copper and the lead, killing one another dead,
Time to use your head.
In de past, It started with the belt and the buckle,
Families only knew had to use them knuckles,
Social workers said it was brutality,
I say it’s just dubious morality,
Yeah, respect is free,
But the cost of giving it meks the man feel meek
The government’s doing (SFA) nothing at all,
Then they wonder why the youths dem fall.
Now the youths dem have got to stand and see,
Discipline, reality, empowerment are free,
Now it’s time to stop with the aggression,
Ban the bullet, raise the price, stop gun possession!
Look to the future, it’s yours for the take,
Every other f*&*kers on the make.