Portrait Project One: Kunle

Over the summer I undertook a personal portrait project.  On the back of my own transition from a career in marketing into a more creative world I was intrigued to explore some of the more creative people amongst my friends.  I was fascinated by their working environments and the spaces which inspired their work. It was a fabulous journey of discovery, as well as a delightful opportunity to hang out with some of my nearest and dearest plus get to know some more casual acquaintances better.  All were wonderfully hospitable and patient with me. I thought rather than do one post about all of them I would pick out a few and highlight the amazing creativity they have.  Today I’m going to talk about L. Adekunle Salami. One of the reasons I love London is that you never know where you might end up of an evening.  A few months ago I was passing through London and was finally able to take up frequent invitation from my friend Richard to attend a poetry night that he DJ’d at in Camden called Beat (Jack Kerouac introduced the phrase "Beat Generation" in 1948 to characterize a perceived underground, anti-conformist youth movement in New York).  So I found myself on the streets of Camden on a warm evening in a pub, Charlie Wrights, that from all outward appearances seemed to be shut, but no, inside was a handful of poets and faithful followers (not numbering more than the poets) and after a wait to ensure that everyone had turned up the first poet took the stage (more of a mini platform).

From a psychiatric nurse drawing on her experiences to another poet talking about a bi-polar bear, angst and psychiatric illness were frequently delivered through humour.  The venue seemed entirely appropriate; dark, dingy, with squashy sofas to sink down into clutching cheap wine.  Kunle came on last and played 'She said sorry'.  Just his voice, his harmonica and his guitar in the darkness and his words sent chills down my spine and I desperately wanted to photograph him.  We met up a couple of weeks later, strolled down the embankment, drank whisky in Soho at 11am and ended up in the basement of a music shop on Denmark Street.