Regular readers of this blog may be deluded into thinking that all forms of inspiration for me come from business shenanigans.
One man who has always inspired me, and always believed in me, is Lemn Sissay.
Lemn was best man at our wedding. He was my soul mate throughout our twenties back when lager, kebabs and last night fights were a regular occurrence. We both grew up (sort of). Now he lives in the smoke continuing his career/calling as a truly inspirational and brilliant writer and performer.
Lemn was recently made an Honorary Doctor of Letters at Huddersfield University. Here’s Lemn alongside Theo Paphitis.
This is an extraordinary achievement, especially when you know what Lemn has been through to get to this elevated status in society.
He was fostered as a child and grew up as the only black person in Atherton, Lancashire, in the 1970s. He was dumped uncermoniously at the age of 11 by his foster parents, then put into a succession of children’s homes. When he found out his true identity as an Ethiopian called Lemn, he painted the Ethiopian flag on the ceiling of his room. This earned him 12 months in a detention centre.
He escaped to Manchester as a 17 year old and started performing the poetry that was ripping through his soul.
Soon after. he traced his true roots. His father was a pilot from Ethiopia and had died in 1973 in a plane crash. The BBC made a documentary about this called “Internal Flight”:
Even if you have no interest in poetry, you cannot be failed to be moved by Lemn’s work. Here he is doing some of his stuff:
I am so pleased that he is being recognised for his brilliance in this way. You deserve it all my friend.Thanks for everything.