Shane Solanki is a writer and performer whose broad ranging repertoire covers music, theatre, literature, live art, comedy and cabaret. He’s a regular collaborator with political animals like Don Letts, Coldcut and independent record label Ninja Tune. His band, Last Mango in Paris, play a soundtrack of subversive, non-partisan, spoken word jazz.
Here is one of Shane’s Poems:
I was raised on credit cards and civil disobedience
Singing songs of immigrants and also of expedience
Eating take away Chinese, buttered naan, rice and peas
Listening to Vapors telling tales of turning Japanese
And this is why I feel kind of international, see
I learn a little more on every visit I take overseas
Cultivating what we call the Gringo Lingo
See how many languages in which I’ve learnt to say hello:
Like ni hao. Sup braw. Konichiwa. Kemcho.
Sijambo. Guten tag. Namaste. Yakshï ba?
I haven’t even started yet
The planet’s still unfolding like an origami serviette
First we sailed by boat, then we flew by jumbo jet
Now the universe unravels as we travel through the internet
Logarhythmic rate of information increase blinding
One click of the mouse for man,
one giant leap for humankind
for some it’s only just begun
Others say it’s almost done
the only thing we’re sure of is that we’re revolving round the sun
at 108,000 kilometres per hour, and though such speed is dangerous,
None of us have even put our seatbelts on.
With our eyes wide open and our wings unfurled
We’re travelling at the speed of thought, and conquering every frontier
It’s confusing; You may find yourself bringing up children in another part of the world,
And ask yourself, ‘how did i get here?’”
Yes, before our eyes this world is becoming distorted
shrinking, shrink-wrapped and exported…
who would have thought it?
These connections made around the globe
Somehow opening our eyes
Something growing inside us and its spreading planetwide
You can’t divide us – there’s nothing to divide
We’re atomised, and scattered wide
We don’t have a leader
Every seed across this Eden redefined is growing of its own accord
blades of grass rising like samurai swords in the aftermath of a terrible thunderstorm
In the deserts of Sudan
And the gardens of Japan
From Milan to Yucatán
Every woman, every man
Raising rhythm sticks and using them like batons in their hand
As they learn to conduct orchestras made out of pots and pans
As they learn that reaching out is more rewarding than control
And that connection makes more sense than building empires on your own
I recognize my optimism might be seen as quite naive
But I’ll be throwing flowers in the bitter streams of Tel Aviv
I’m one of millions, working to help people they will never know
non-profits, schools, hospitals, in charities and NGOs,
creating platforms for dialogue, the likes of which we’ve never seen.
Our scope and scale of vision is unparalleled in history.
This is the most extraordinary time we have ever known.
We’ve become aware of each other across the globe.
It’s time to reach out and redefine what you call home
This is your time. Take it and run. Run like your life depended on it.