In the late 70s, I was in a church hall, I was 17 years old, where Danny John-Jules, Chris Quinten of Coronation Street, and other people like Annie Ruddock of Amazulu all got together in what we called the Omnibus Centre.
I grew up in North Kensington and West London aka Shepherds Bush, I know the Grenfell Tower well.
In this decrepit church hall we changed and refurbished it into a performing arts centre, where people like Danny, Peter Francis, Kelvin Smith, Doreen McAnuff, myself and others in the local area could find a way of channelling our raw but undeniable talent.
We had principal dancers hired from the Royal Ballet, London Contemporary Dance Theatre, experienced actors who took classes to teach us the fundamentals of performing and the creative arts.
Many people like Danny John-Jules has gone on to be a success as seen in Strictly Come Dancing and the funky Cat in Red Dwarf.
Now my life would be very different had I not had an outlet like this when I was young. I also had a youth club, where I became so good at table tennis, that I represented West London in the UK championships, in addition to that, I also spent years in my local Martial Arts club, learning a soft style of Karate called Shotokai, a soft style of Shotokan, which focuses on nerve centres on the body, and there are many. I also did Wadokai a fast style of Karate, with some jujitsu elements thrown in.
I grew up with Linford Christie who lived around the corner, he told me that there where those in his school that could beat him in a race.. however Linford was the Olympic 100 metres Champion at the Barcelona Olympic Games.
I saw Linford dedicate himself daily to his gifts, while those who could beat him in his school, didn’t.
So what is the point that I am making here, recently, there has been a spike in violent crime across the UK, mainly with knives, conducted by teenagers against teenagers, and as a consequence, many young lives do not get the chance to explore and realise their undoubted and unique talents.
Being a teenager is driven with energy and enthusiasm, everything matters, but before we can become teenagers, we really have to learn right from wrong, and we all need to have positive role models, during our formative years, to set positive examples of behaviour. Particularly for young boys.
When I was thirteen, I got caught up with a handful of school friends who shop lifted, I was duly arrested, and when my parents visited the police station, my mother was in a flood of tears, which brought shame on me and my entire family.
Fortunately my standing at school bailed me out, and I’ve never stolen anything since; however one of my school friends who was arrested with me, is now dead, he didn’t reach his twenties.
He was a talent too!
What I want is this… if you’re a teenager carrying a knife or some other weapon either in self-defence, due to the environment you’re in or the people you’re hanging around with, or you’re actively looking to commit fatal harm. Please read this blog, I pray it will have a lasting indelible positive impression on you, or Just leave a comment for me.
Live n love always!