The term Modern Britain, for me, stands for futurism in a post-racial world, cutting edge
thinking and creativity and a sense of progressive consciousness that still needs to be distilled in many other places. It’s that culture which makes Britain such a unique and special place for so many.
In a bid for unity, representation and support of the arts, I am really happy to be included in this project from Heathrow Airport to support the new campaign with acclaimed
spoken word artist and Young People’s Laureate for London Caleb Femi.
Enjoy the content below including the moving piece of video content created for Caleb Femi’s poem A Tale Of Modern Britain.
A Tale of Modern Britain by Caleb Femi
You arrive at the end of the horizon
standing at the tarmac mouth of home
lighter if you left it all behind -heavier if you brought all with you.
Come, before you step out into the open air
sit down here, in-between the brief pause
of children’s laughter and a tannoy announcement.
In the small kingdom of faces -some moving with
the grace of falling snow
others like laser beams bouncing off a disco ball.
Not too long ago you were at departures
when leaving was a sweet song bitter in the throat to sing.
Do you remember the faces who were leaving for work,
or for the spring holidays,
to say goodbye at a family funeral
or for the laughter of a hen do?
Those who were answering the call to adventure
with an open ticket in hand and in the other a phone
full of friends who will follow them each step of the way.
Now you’ve arrived at the other side of that adventure
in the warmness of home
shed the hue of ‘tourist’
you’re back in your endz now
one of the locals
you know the right trains to catch
know the best breakfast spot.
This country is not a place of good weather but of good people.
What do you want to know about the country? You might learn it here
in this marketplace of modern British culture.
Take a crash course in the local lingo
teach your ears the different accents
we don’t all sound like Downton Abbey
not all Northerns sound like Wayne Rooney
some of us man do get hot
we’re not all about tea and crumpets -well some of us are.
Imagine a terminal as a portal to a new version of yourself
a new light pouring over a new sunrise
remember that as you
depart at the start of the horizon
standing at the tarmac mouth of the world.
In the context of Caleb’s poem, and along with 78 million other passengers, I’ve been travelling to and from Heathrow – the world’s gateway to Britain – in a number of ways for the last few years – by train, limousine and Uber but on this occasion and for this story I wanted to hero the iconic black taxi.
The journey has always been one of excitement – especially at 6am when you’re rolling down an empty motorway set for your destination. It’s beautiful how Caleb describes the warm return to Britain – a feeling any one of us is super familiar with as well when you’re back on home turf whether it is after a two-day trip or a month.
One personal habit on the way to any flight for me is fragrance, the sense of smell being
transportive – you can take yourself to your destination even before you get on the plane – and Heathrow is such an awesome destination for fragrance shopping, I almost look forward to that part of the journey alone.
To find out what ‘home’ means to British people today, Heathrow also commissioned research asking 2,000 Brits about their views on Britain in the context of travelling and it turns out that Brits are thrill seekers at heart with more than one in five (21%) saying one of their top reasons for jetting off is to seek out an adventure, whilst 19% crave exploration of unusual places. Highlighting what a global community we truly are, a further 20% say their main purpose for travel is to visit their extended family, with one in twenty (5%) making journeys inspired by their family history.
This post is sponsored by Heathrow Airport.
Also filmed on the day, some light comedy inspired by Snatch – one of my favourite films…