Paolo Hewitt on Fiery Bird Show ‘Colour Me Father’

Colour Me Father, An Open Letter To My Son by Paolo Hewitt one of the celebrated sons of Woking takes a different turn on his usual writing. Whether his life’s work as the scribe of a generation mesmerised by the myth and magic of music, or his autobiographies, the sum total of both reaches 23 books. He joined me on the Fiery Bird Show to talk about growing up in Woking, his past and this, a very personal project shared at such a poignant time in his life; becoming a father.

In this more philosophical work he sets out a letter to his young son, Rafi, born in 2015. Sparked by his first birthday and his smile of delight at his family and friends gathered to celebrate, Paolo unlocks for his son the detail of the everyday that gives wonder to life to the philosophy of belonging that his sometimes painful, lonely, delightful and interesting journey has brought him to make a world through these new eyes make sense. “To keep you believing without a moment’s hesitation in your soul that life is indeed, deeply wonderful”

With a similar outlook to the allegorical writing of Paolo Coelho yet embedded from the childhood laid bare in The Looked After Kid, this book is a moving contemplative work that brings the bittersweet joy and fear of parenting to the fore. Its research was life unfolding, an instinctive, visceral thing provided by the very act of becoming a father, something he spoke to friends about who, whether sprung from a comfortable nest of family or not could assure the lone orphan that whatever our background, when we start again as parents, we all start again.

Like many of us do, wishing to pass on the wisdom we learn, it always comes down to what can’t be bought and the voice of the heart. That such a personal work about the future by giving his son the stories of his past, has proved cathartic for him in that it almost serves as the last in a trilogy started by The Looked After Kid through to But We All Shine On: The Remarkable Orphans Of Burbank Children’s Home and now with the birth of Rafi and this book that brings the past only to the future to be its guide, Hewitt says he has now let go of the past and has said it all, a weight has lifted.

The honesty about the loneliness of a writer, the vulnerability of revealing yourself layer by layer with each work stands it as a bearer for the outsider feeling so many have, that after all is only truth of individuality wishing to connect. Lessons learnt from our long lives are that; only by being and connecting to ourselves can we live out the integrity of our dreams. Since reading it the phrase ‘Be faithful to life’ uttered by Sister Patricia repeats itself often when there is doubt.

This personal letter shared is only available direct from Paolo, wishing to keep the book something that the writer and reader remain as reading a personal letter that means something.

More details of his work and this book can be obtained here.

To hear him talk about this book, growing up in Woking, fighting over the studio desk with me and general banter with the added contribution of possibly the nicest man in Woking, Pete Garland a long time friend of Paolo’s.

Three examples of the catholic schools of the parish of woking 😉

How they use us as examples is another thing

Listen again to the interview here (10mins in)

Playlist

Fire – Gino Parks (skipped miserably – i hate the desk but just so you know an attempt was made

Steeley Dan – Reeling in The Years

Color Him Father – The Winstons

Be My Baby – The Ronettes

Kushty Rye – Ronnie Lane

Reading from ‘Colour Me Father’ By Paolo Hewitt accompanied by an original piece by Simon Wells

Apron Strings – Everything But The Girl

Blue Horizons – Graham Parker

Long & Winding Road – The Beatles

Be Young Be Foolish Be Happy – The Tams

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Future Unfurled – World Part 2

I’m crying about a dog that waits for the dead

It’s something on facebook I just read

I’m shocked by unkempt coat he bears

But the food bank grows while I browse there

I’m saying we should look after our own

Whilst voting that my tax should go on down

I’m crying over dogs and abandoned kitties

But don’t care for the homeless in this hard city

I’m calling out scroungers whilst cash in hand

I work a short day in this rich land

I’m calling out people who work with compassion

Whilst ‘you lost get over it’ is my new fashion

I’m writing a letter to my MP

Waving it frantically for all to see

I’m shiny and proud of my generous hamper

To foodbank I go, Christmas joy camper

My list that I tick off my festive duties

Good work, examples for my children’s future

At this special season we must share

But not all year round – don’t you dare

My favourite mantra look after our own

Charity you see, begins at home

364 days they are drunks and addicts

1 day my halo is bright and lit

With the self satisfied feeling I do my duty

Unwrap my self service sipping my green tea

Settle in to a comfortable tv debate

Repeat you lost get over it, it is too late

And the bastions of health and safety

A yellow high vis heralds revolutionary

Police drop their helmets to join in the anthem

We pathetic look on as our country dismantled

Like the austere aunt in a black jet gown

We fulfill their rule in our soul less town

Cover up the table legs they spark our passion

Whilst flagellate mercy, justice, compassion

We are all lost, we are all lost, in glitter and jungle

We are destroying hope, wait for what song will

Finally sound the note to wake us

To rebuild what thus greed takes from us

It’s not the bricks, the things you buy

But within us what we can try

To make each of us as one another

Start to see the future on here

That schism is as was foretold

But who said we have to listen to the old

The point of these texts is to goad a new horizon

Where we contemplate gentle goodness and take in

A chance to reset this despicable spin

Of the world that loves its vicious sin

As some kind of hair shirt

It measured itself

When easier to just breathe into its health

Why fight for the right when it is ours already

Confidence breeds its new reality

And we can be the architects too

I in me and me in you

I feel sad for those who logic reveals

Cannot feel the rhythm that informs and heals

There is truth in our molecular make up

That articulates nothing you can write on paper

You know it is there your heart is truthful

For those who fear need find a way through

This tiresome world cries to us to save it

We have one chance, now lets take it.

Dismantle structure set to bind

Let kindness flow out where there is kind

Give love the strength that rage did bear

And silence where the ignorant roared

So quiet truth has its day

And the voiceless finally have their say

That resets how we shape our world

The second part of future unfurled

Humanity Lands

This was the poem that became Humanity Lands – the title track of Phoenix Chroi’s second album

I’ve done my penance

Walked on my knees

Fixed on a star

Through the wood and the trees

And as I traversed this scorched earth

I never regretted that I gave birth

I trod the fine line

Between celebration and solace

Saw the selfie explode in its own menace)

I wiped a tear that stole its own path

Slapped my own face to wake my own heart

This blighted star hangs so futile

Amidst terror cruel law all the while

Waits Blinking a beacon of hope

And we have to wait too enlighten folk

But wait for what and wait for who

Hope springs in the heart of you

It’s you who fixes you who builds

You who paints and you who guilds

You can make believe and propagate lies

Or feel the truth see with own eyes

There’s absolutely only one truth

To make a better place starts with you

Pull out your heart and hold it up high

Use its rhythm to move the star from dangerous sky

Spin your tales rewrite the law

Show your children what it is all for

Stand stand stand

The ground is yours now

Take no more milk from their sacred cow

Open your mouth drink in the rain

From high from sky from heaven again

Shout in the face of the despot who dares

Belittle your truth stamp on your cares

Throw off your shackles

There’s no prisoners here

Just the jail made from lies divisions and fear

There’s no ballot box that controls your heart

Take back compassion

March on from the start

The Giants who stood who knew what to do

Had hope in their hearts and holes in their shoes

The once insignificant voiceless few

Felt rage in those hearts but knew what to do

Because rage can be love Set on fire

And rage can be care whose purpose is higher

Take back your lives and hold out your hands

Your people need you

when hope flies

Humanity lands

copyright EMcGinty 2015


Where are all the saintsThey should be marching in

Are they in Hoxton drinking all the gin?
Where is their conviction to right the wrongs

Surely not a fiction we sang all the songs?

Why is their armour rusted and worn

Bits mismatched some lost and gone
Turned their faces, heartsick of us

We’d rather a lifestyle than stand, make a fuss

To be the vehicle to dishearten a saint

Makes of us a race of taint
So this after all was our original sin

Blamed on a woman, serpents grin

our inability to stand to defend the weak

Our backbone jelly voices won’t speak
Will we ever connect to a higher plane

Within or without us all one and the same

Children play in gutters of fear

Patterns in the sky ashen tears
We want saints on demand

a credit card to buy a conscience

We want those who were burned 

For belief to take our presence
Life, sham and drudgery have made broken dreams

A society from a sweatshop poorly riven seams

A cleverness we espouse to leave superstition behind

embarrassed to take the fight of the kind
Contemplate our horror over a glass of fizz

Contemplate the fact none of us exist

Whilst we allow ourselves to be grass fed herds

The saints are on strike until we find the right words
Until we find that we will stand strong

Stop dictation, right our wrongs

Until we take our responsibility set fire to our cares

The saints are on strike not marching anywhere
And the angels won’t act as scabs in our war

Humanity it is time we got our arses in gear

Be cynical be wry be all sorts of clever 

Can’t blame religion if we fuck up forever 
It is all down to us now

It is not a roll of the dice

Our humanity resides 

On our ability to be nice