Right, instead of telling people what I think about the refugee crisis or having a pop at the UK’s government or mainstream media (see ‘#RefugeesWelcome‘), all I’ve done is tell a story.
The story in the lyric is 100% true. Marco is a real person, he really did volunteer as a teacher at a makeshift school in the Calais Jungle, and the boy – as well as his story – also exists.
A couple of weeks before my first visit in April 2016, I was at the annual With Banners Held High event in Wakefield. I attended a talk on the refugee crisis, and left the room with a desperate urge to visit The Jungle and help out in some way. A group of activists called We Are Wakefield set the wheels in motion and – largely thanks to Sally Kincaid and Leda Prest – I saw The Jungle with my own eyes.
The reason that they facilitated my visit was partly because they knew that I’d shout about what I saw. Never in a million years did I expect a full stage show, my debut poetry collection and a chunk of a new Skint & Demoralised album to come out of it, but there you go.
I could give you all kinds of stats and figures. They’re not hard to find with a quick Google. But at the end of the day, I’m not a journalist – I’m a poet – and the most valuable thing that I could do is tell stories.
The dehumanisation of refugees in the UK right now is a disgrace. I couldn’t care less if I sound like a virtue-signalling snowflake. And the most harrowing thing is the sheer number of children involved.
So, have a listen and please share it as well – the more folk that hear these stories, the better. Ta very much.