Dutty Sink Drama - Anthology To Podcast

In my own little bubble, from the four walls I have been busy getting my book ready for publishing day. I should include the link here, but the pressure is too great. I have to live with the proof versions first, given that it's already listed for pre-order on Amazon, 21st February 2021. The number formation, 21/2/21 appealed to me. What it means in terms of numerology, I know not. But it's days, not weeks and even now, as I write this blog, could have been published it by now. I may not suffer with writer's block, but my anxiety manifests when I try to press, enter, send, share or publish. *Shudders*

Since the pandemic and lockdown began, projects I had lined up were put on hold and my work took another direction as a result. I was all set to complete a new novella, a departure from the DJ Series, clubland rave-lit arena, when I ended up heading down a zoom creative writing rabbit hole. The pandemic has inadvertently awakened our socio-political awareness. An unprecedented time where society needs to pull together for the greater good, but our vital interconnectedness are buried in hindsight.

For a number of reasons from the agitator POTUS, Healthcare, Immigration, Windrush, BLM, Brexit, Diversity, Vaccines, Protests, Fake News, the Social Media backlash, I could not help feeling compelled to comment on issues concerning identity. When you strip it down, it seemed to run through the heart of global main stream media agendas.

I couldn't help but notice the increase in debates on TV, radio talk shows and or news items concerning the threat of 'other'. Over the last 10 years was growing ever louder. It wasn't just beamed from the flat screen into my living room, but was beginning to impact my life. What the hell happened? Race has become front and centre of all we talk about. Equality guidances conveniently, ignored excused by freedom of speech volleys. Does that make freedom of hate speech okay then? Freedom is a loaded word.  

Let's look at freedom. As a 2nd generation, West Indian, born in the UK, I sensed that a history was being erased before my eyes after the Windrush scandal unfolded. I am yet to be convinced that Windrush records were destroyed. This is the UK after all. The home of the ledger and storing everything in triplicate. Across the country museums and libraries store records of the most trivial of socially historic importance. I'm an ex-Civil Servant, I witnessed how the destruction of papers was a gargantuan bureaucratic process, requiring signature after signature just to file something dormant before its cellar storage, let alone destroy. Fiddlesticks! I'm also ex-BBC and their operations were not dissimilar. Quite sure their archives would store copies of Windrush passengers for posterity. Hmmm...not buying this. They will of course mysteriously turn up as The Lost Windrush Papers documentary 2036. In the meantime lives ruined. Establishment mistrust deepens. British born West Indians, rejected wholesale, put on the backdoor again. 


I was disgruntled leading up to 2020 and walked a few protest marches for differing causes, but I've accepted that I will always be little more than an armchair activist. It is a big ask for any black person, already undervalued to put their head above the parapet, under the watchful gaze of the establishment's tools of ordinance wielded in the criminal justice system and mental health. That in mind, I decided to use my strengths, an affordable strength, from home, under the glare of my laptop screen, and write Dutty Sink Drama (MT-Ink) an anthology of short stories, prose, spokenword about my identity, a fusion of West Indian and British influences for better or worse. 

I chose the title, inspired by the Kitchen Sink Drama film movement, depicting the stark, depressing lives of the working classes in post-war Britain. The genre came of age in the 1960s, when I was born and when my parents came to the UK. A few of the films I saw included black actors representing the West Indian community, integral to the stories. 

I am fascinated by this period in social history. Times of depravation, unemployment, austerity creates blame culture and it is convenient for governments to use propaganda to re-enforce a narrative. Poor housing, health and education had to be addressed. It didn't take much to point the finger. It may have been ugly, but to have that history 'destroyed' all these decades later in a bid to create a 'hostile environment' exposes a resentful underbelly no apology could heal. The desired result perhaps to leave 2nd generations and beyond a sense of uneasiness. Create a backlash, brew a storm to point the finger. It's them down there, not us up here, us with the power to effect change. I relay the same message in poetic and short story forms. Figure it out. 

'Dutty Sink Drama' I hope becomes the expression, an umbrella, that best describes the experience of my West Indian generated peers and the ones that followed. Using creativity, I hope to kick start unity in this niche group and strengthen our resolve against the unfathomable 'mistake' the Windrush scandal will always be. We can't delete it. But we have to sleep with one eye open. Job well done dear Home Office.

While going through the drafts and cover design, it occurred to me the new best platform in town is where I should take the book. Dutty Sink Drama is now a podcast. There'll be readings and informal chats and interviews, from barely heard voices. Examine closely the hybrid of cultures a multi-racial society has made of us.  How do we feel, how did we steer our way against the cacophony of adversity and bigotry in our paths, day to day, job to job. What strengths did we draw upon and what drove some of us to give up. The stories are nuanced. Just like everybody else. One black brush, does not paint all as we are constantly being led to believe, but balk against. Complex by education, class, culture and popular culture. 

I am keen to see how my podcast develops ongoing, if it spawns hundreds of similar ones under the Dutty Sink Drama genre then my work here is done.

Listen to the intro on Spotify here: Dutty Sink Drama Podcast Introduction 

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