George The Poet just won several British Podcast of the Year plaudits and deservedly so. “Everything you know is a story”, he explains in episode one of ‘Have you heard George’s podcast?’, “like how when I was at school Pluto was a planet.” The main story-tellers of his community – young, black, poor and urban – are rappers. Collectively they now provide the content for a multi-billion pound global enterprise and yet, he laments, the stories of poverty, violence, and exclusion aren’t much different today from those told by N.W.A. when George was growing up. Why?
I won’t try and analyse it any further – you have to listen to ‘Have you heard George’s podcast?’ for yourself. Suffice to say it will be an unendingly thought-provoking and stimulating exploration, mixing poetry, music, musing and sort-of-documentary.
And when you’ve done that, take a trip to the British Museum, go downstairs to the Africa rooms, stand if front of the extraordinary sixteenth century bronze plaques that adorn the back wall in the right hand room, and listen to George The Poet’s equally beguiling poem, performed with the stolen bronzes as a backdrop. It’s pure magic.