Label: MCA Records (Canada) - MCA-5253 • Format: Vinyl LP, Album • Country: Canada • Genre: Funk / Soul • Style: Funk
Next month Channel 4 will show Fallout by Roy Williamsthe screen version of his critically acclaimed stage play. Beautifully directed by Ian Rickson, Fallout is the enthralling story of the murder of a Take A Long Last Look - Lenny Williams - Taking Chances boy, Kwame, and the consequences that befall the four boys involved in the killing, the two girls connected Sleigh Ride - Bing Crosby - Christmas With Bing Crosby it and the police officers investigating the case.
I play one of the police officers, DS Joe Stephens, who is returning for the first time to the estate where he grew up to help in the investigation. He identifies greatly with the victim. Like Joe, Kwame had ambitions outside the confines and dictates of his estate and his background. Joe takes Kwame's death very personally, as if the killers had murdered Joe's younger self.
This leads him to pursue the suspects with a zeal that alarms his colleagues, and to bend the rules to breaking point. First and foremost, as it was on stage, Fallout is a wonderfully written, engrossing and entertaining story about belonging, escape, revenge and love. It is also a story that attempts to make sense of the seemingly senseless killing of a year-old boy, stabbed to death for his trainers.
The issue of knife and gun crime among the young is firmly on the agenda at the moment, and rightly so. Since we premiered Roy's play at the Royal Court Theatre in London in some teenagers have been shot or stabbed to death by other teenagers or young adults, and that may be a conservative estimate.
Twenty-six teenagers were shot or stabbed in London alone in So far this year more than have been attacked using knives. The number of dead is already at 13 and likely to rise. Much has been written on the subject of this seeming spike in teen-on-teen violence over the past year or so. Columnists, commentators, politicians, child psychologists, law-makers, police officers, religious and community leaders, bereaved parents, gang members and ex-teenage killers have all expressed their opinions, apportioned blame and offered solutions.
I myself was intent on writing a comparison between the war in Iraq and Afghanistan with the so-called 'war on street crime' announced by Boris Johnson, and others before him, and the relative collateral damage and loss of young lives. It was to be an investigation into whether the best response to our young people killing our young people is to declare war on them.
But as I sat down to complete the article, to add some statistics to bolster my argument and to clarify my misgivings as to whether Boris had an exit strategy for his war, I read of the death of Robert Knox. Robert, 18, was allegedly stabbed to death by a year-old who was carrying two knives. So I scrolled up Take A Long Last Look - Lenny Williams - Taking Chances article to change '13 [dead] and likely to rise' to 14 and likely to As I did so I wondered how many more times I would have to scroll up and change that number before the article was printed.
Would I have to change 16 to 17 Take A Long Last Look - Lenny Williams - Taking Chances 18 and 19 and so on, and would it still be 'likely to rise'? Suddenly the article I'd thought would be an interesting and insightful take on the subject became little more than another voice added to the collective hand-wringing and navel-gazing that seems to have characterised the response to this issue.
It is all well intentioned and absolutely necessary if we are to find solutions. The problem is that we are so very adept at exploring our own deficiencies but so very slow to improve on them or to learn from them. Like a huge tanker turning degrees, it takes for ever for our sentiment to be made into decisive action.
In the meantime, should the current trend continue, a teenager or two will be stabbed, possibly killed, every week for the rest of this year, like last, by someone no older than themselves. So instead I have written an open letter to the knife-carriers, to the murderers-in-waiting and their potential victims.
I don't know how many of them might be Observer readers, but in this www. Since this article was written, two more teenagers have been killed in London, bringing the total to My name is Lennie James. I am a year-old father of three. I grew up in south-west London. I was brought up by a single mother. I was orphaned at 10, lived in a kids' home until I was 15 and was then fostered.
I tell you this not to claim any special knowledge of how you've grown, but to explain how I have, and from where I draw my understanding. I want to talk to you about the knife you're carrying in your belt or pocket or shoe. The one you got from Oda Bucuriei / Difficult To Cure - Iris (16) - Digital Athenaeum (DVD) mum's kitchen or ordered online or robbed out of the camping shop.
The knife you tell yourself you carry for protection, because you never know who else has got one. I want to talk to you about what that knife will do for you. If you carry it, the chances are you will be called on to use Take A Long Last Look - Lenny Williams - Taking Chances. It is a deadly weapon, so if you use it the Take A Long Last Look - Lenny Williams - Taking Chances are you will kill with it.
So after you've killed with it, after you've seen how little force it takes for sharpened steel to puncture flesh. After your mates have run away from the boy you've left bleeding. When you're looking for somewhere to dash the blade, and lighter fluid to burn your clothes.
When your blood is burning in your veins and your heart is beating out of your chest to where you want to puke or cry, but can't coz you're toughing it out for your boyz. When you are bang smack in the middle of 'Did you see that! Blame the boy you just left for dead. Blame him for not believing you when you told him you were a bigger man than him.
Blame him for not backing down when you made your chest broad, bounced into him and told him about your knife and how you would use it.
Blame him for calling you on and making you prove yourself. Tell yourself if he had just freed up his phone or not cut his eyes at you like he did, he wouldn't be choking on his blood and crying Call Me (I Got Yo Number) - Teena Marie - Greatest Hits his mum.
Then blame your mum. When the police are banging down her door looking for you, or she hears the whispers behind the 'wall of silence', tell her it's all her fault for being worthless. Cuss her out for having kids when she was nothing but a kid herself, or for picking some drug or some man over you again and again. Even if she only had you and devoted herself to you, even if she is a great mum, blame her anyway. Blame her for not being around more to make sure you took the chances she was out working her fingers to the bone to give you.
When you're done with her, blame the man she picked to make you with. Blame him for being less than half the man he should have been. When he comes to bail you out and starts running you down for the terrible thing you've done, tell him straight: 'I did what I did coz you didn't do what you should have done.
Even if he nurtured you as best he could, blame him for the generation of men he comes from. The one that allowed an adolescent definition of manhood to become so dominant. The one Take A Long Last Look - Lenny Williams - Taking Chances measures a man by how many babymothers he has wrangling his offspring, or by how 'bad' his reputation is on the streets of whatever couple of square miles he Cryptorchid - Marilyn Manson - Antichrist Superstar to call his 'ends'.
Damn them for letting you believe that respect is to be found with gun in hand or knife Take A Long Last Look - Lenny Williams - Taking Chances pocket. Damn them and everyone who feeds the myth of these gangsters, villains, thieves and hustlers.
Anyone who makes them heroes while damning hard-working, educated, honest men as weak, sell-outs or pussies. If you are black, blame white people for the history of indignities they heaped on you and yours. For the humiliation of having to go cap-in-hand or get down on bended knee or having to burn shit down before you are afforded something so basically fundamental as equality.
If you are white, blame black folk and Muslims for taking all your excuses. Failing that, blame a class system that keeps you poor and ignorant so the 'uppers' and 'middles' can feel better about themselves. You have good reason to blame them all. I wouldn't be you growing up now for love nor money. Your generation has so little room to manoeuvre. We had more space to step around the bullshit. We weren't excluded at the rate you lot are.
Teachers hadn't given up or lost their authority over us. They still tried to protect and guide us even through our most disruptive years. The police stopped and searched us, but we fought that right out of their hands - we hoped into extinction. But they want to bring back that abusive practice. They are still hooked on punishment rather than prevention. They seem ignorant to the fact that they are feeding you acceptance of an already prevalent gang mentality.
As far as you can see, the police are not protecting and serving you, they are coming at you like just another street gang trying to boss your postcode. When I was where you are now, generations of state agencies, social services, policy-makers and politicians Cut-Throat Mentality - Le Cose Bianche* - Wertham - Contempt not abdicated all responsibility for me.
We weren't left to our own devices like you have been. Is it any wonder that you end up expressing yourself in such a violently The Dope Show - Marilyn Manson - The Last Tour On Earth way? We should be ashamed. You have shamed us into a desperate need to do something about ourselves. We have collectively failed you and we should take all the blame that is ours for that I blame you. I blame you because as a generation you are selfish, self-centred and have little or no empathy for anyone but yourselves.
You are politically stunted Lake Victoria - Sun River - Sun River socially irresponsible and What scares us most is that you would rather die than learn.
Your only salvation may be that still most of you aren't playing it out dirty. The vast majority of young men, even with all that is stacked against them, are finding their way around the crap. The boy you will kill, should you continue to carry that knife, almost certainly had the same collective failures testing him.
He probably felt no less abandoned and no less scared. He also, almost certainly, wasn't carrying a knife. Whatever it seems like, whatever you've read, whatever you tell yourself about protection being your reason, statistics show the life you take will be that of an unarmed person.