The Good Listening To Show: Stories of Distinction & Genius

Poetic Redemption, the Gift of a 'Second Chance' and a Mother's Unquestioning Constancy & Love: Overcoming Adversity & Shame to Inspire Future Generations, with Children's Laureate of Wales 2021-23, Connor Allen

December 19, 2023 Chris Grimes - Facilitator. Coach. Motivational Comedian
The Good Listening To Show: Stories of Distinction & Genius
Poetic Redemption, the Gift of a 'Second Chance' and a Mother's Unquestioning Constancy & Love: Overcoming Adversity & Shame to Inspire Future Generations, with Children's Laureate of Wales 2021-23, Connor Allen
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Have you ever witnessed a person's life unfold like a phoenix rising from the ashes? That's what it felt like when I sat down with Connor Allen, the former Children's Laureate of Wales, to unearth the layers of his inspiring transformation. His past, laced with challenges, paves the way to an incredible journey of self-discovery and influence. Connor's candid recounting of his experiences, from a speech that altered his path to his moving work with young offenders, demonstrates the power of resilience and the indelible impact one can have on the lives of others. His tale is a testament to the magic that happens when we channel our struggles into empowering narratives for the next generation.

The tapestry of human experience is rich with stories of growth and redemption, and Connor's is no exception. As we traverse the chapters of his life, we uncover the profound impact of parental figures, the significance of time, and the symbolism of doorways as entry points to new beginnings. Connor's poetic voice and his heartfelt poem "Knock, Knock" echo the sentiments of potential and the pursuit of purpose. Through our exchange, listeners will find a deep connection to the notion that our past does not define us — rather, it fuels the hope that guides us forward.

As we bid farewell to the 2023 season, we reflect on the profound influence of our familial legacies and the generational echoes of our identities. Connor's roots in the Windrush legacy, his bond with his little brother Blaine, and his nurturing presence as a mentor to many young people in his community remind us of the cascading effects of kindness and love. With heartfelt gratitude and anticipation for the future, we pass the baton to Briony Kimmins, excited for the fresh perspectives she'll bring. Join us for this final episode of 2023 as we celebrate the stories that shape us, the voices that inspire us, and the collective wisdom that propels us forward.

Tune in next week for more stories of 'Distinction & Genius' from The Good Listening To Show 'Clearing'. If you would like to be my Guest too then you can find out HOW via the different 'series strands' at 'The Good Listening To Show' website.

Don't forget to SUBSCRIBE & REVIEW wherever you get your Podcasts :)

Thanks for listening!

Speaker 1:

Welcome to another episode of the Good Listening To Show your life and times with me, chris Grimes, the storytelling show that features the clearing, where all good questions come to get asked and all good stories come to be told, and where all my guests have two things in common they're all creative individuals and all with an interesting story to tell. There are some lovely storytelling metaphors a clearing, a tree, a juicy storytelling exercise called 5-4-3-2-1, some alchemy, some gold, a cheeky bit of Shakespeare and a cake. So it's all to play for. So, yes, welcome to the Good Listening To Show your life and times with me, chris Grimes. Are you sitting comfortably here? Then we shall begin. Welcome to the last, as it happens, recording of the Good Listening To Show and podcast for 2023, please Hurrah, and delighted to welcome the children's Laureate of Wales 21 to 23. So one of the questions I'll obviously be asking you is whether your tenure is about to come to an end. We'll come on to that, but this is Conor Allen, who I got in touch with because I was walking past Radio 4 in the kitchen If you know what I mean by that and I heard a poem called Knock, knock, which stopped me in my tracks and I immediately went to my computer and got in touch with Conor and said would you like to be on the show? And he said yes. Within about 24 hours, knock Knock stopped me in my tracks. It's a beautiful poem, a brilliant poem. Also, it resonated because I've written my own short comic film, dark comic short called Knock Knock. So there were two things that got hold of me. It was that and that. And then that's why I then loved your poem, which I think you've been kind enough to say you don't mind sharing with us as one of the things that we'll talk about.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, by all means 100%.

Speaker 1:

So you're very welcome, conor. So, yes, do you want to tell us the story behind the story, first of all, of being the Welsh children's Laureate 2021 to 20 and 23?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So, to answer your question, I'm now the former children's Laureate. My tenure has come to an end. Oh, okay, yeah, yeah, yeah. So I finished in September. Yeah, two years stint, but it originally started way back. So I wow, how far did we go? I gave a talk at my old high school to the sixth form leave a ceremony. I got invited back and I basically just gave a speech pretty much directly to the young people and talked about my journey and second chances and my kind of I guess, my trouble past and where I'm at like then and all the teachers and parents came up to me afterwards and really thanked me and they were like, honestly, you were so honest and thank you so much. And I was like, wow, okay. And someone said, because obviously I was, I had trouble with, like, the police and the law. They were like you should go into prison and talk to young offenders. And I was like, nah, I'm good. But one of the teachers knew someone from literature Wales, which is an organization in Wales who obviously deal with literature, hence the name and they got in contact and I had a meeting with a lovely, amazing woman called Louise and we had a meeting. I told her my story and within I'd say, three weeks, she messaged me. I was like, okay, so I've got you some fundings, we're going to go into Pat prison and we're going to do some creative writing workshops. And I was like wow. And off the back of doing that project for six weeks and working with those young people, I wrote a blog because I got so overwhelmed and I cried on my fifth day and we created like just authentic, real stories from them, you know, and it was really kind of powerful and it was just amazing that I gave them a creative outlet. So I was on literature Wales radar after that and then, obviously, the post for children's lawyer came up. So they just kind of sent me a message and was like we think you should apply for this or send an application through. And at the time I was like I don't write poetry barely anyway, and I definitely don't like poetry for children. So I'm good. And I spoke to my mom, good old mother and she just said like well, what have you got to lose? So you know, send your stuff in. They might say no, they might say yes. So I was okay. So you know, I wrote my application and I attached like I think it was like three poems I wrote and, yeah, I got an interview, got through, got a phone call two weeks later and they wanted to offer me the role and at the time I guess I didn't understand like what a children's lawyer was. They know what a lawyer was, you know, I'm from a council estate in Newport, so for us, you know laureates and titles. And we were like what? So I didn't, I didn't really know what that was and it was only until my, my Jamaican, my Jamaican grant said Connard, you know, maya Angelou was a lawyer. And I was like, yeah, right now. So I googled it, she was, and I was like, oh, okay, ned is like, wow, this is, this is quite a big deal. And then, obviously, I looked at like the lineage of laureates from history and I was like, wow, it's a true honor. So that, in a nutshell, that's how I came to be the children's lawyer of Wales.

Speaker 1:

What I love about that is the psychomic lens line of you're a poet and you didn't even know it, and how wonderful that you know what's meant for you won't pass you by, despite your best efforts. Also, I love the fact that one of your poetry books is called Dominoes. So there's been a real domino principle of you having an experience. A door opens, one thing leads to another, and then how extraordinary. You end up, unknowing to you. You end up in prison, really inspiring people. Then you're inspiring young people. Then you know you inspired me through your poem, not not? So isn't that extraordinary that not?

Speaker 2:

It's an extraordinary. I really find that like the more I talk and the more I do events and public speaking, the more I'm finding that like my story and my message of hope and inspiration isn't just for young people. There's like I was a. I was at a parents evening for a school, a local school in Newport, and I gave a speech there and and a father was 56, came over and he was like son, just want to say well done you. You've inspired me and I'm 56, but I'm going to go work tomorrow More inspired because of you, so thank you. And I was just like wow, OK, look, yes that I find crazy, you know, because I'm like, what like yeah, and your poetry, dominoes, that are really.

Speaker 1:

I've really enjoyed researching you, by the way. Dominoes, this is poetry as open heart surgery, raw, revealing, exposing and utterly true. Somebody, john Gower, said about you.

Speaker 2:

John Gower said yeah.

Speaker 1:

So what's really wonderful about you, too, is that I'm just blowing some happy smoke at you. You're you're seringly honest in its poignant, and the fact that you've had a second chance. I'm not nudging you as to what I'd like you to talk about. You could talk about whatever you like, but I love the fact that you know you you've come back from a. You know you had a three year suspended jail sentence and it's just been a really extraordinary story, which is why it doesn't surprise me that you've you've done great work in going back to inspire others, to encourage them to take a different and a new path based on possibilities and future potential, and that's what I took from knock knock as well the idea of you know the gateway towards the future, as opposed to taking you down. You know the shame of memory lane is one of the things that I know.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, no, but even when I wrote that, so that originally that knock, knock our commission as my first poem as Laureate, but I got commission, just like this festival for hope, and I was like, ah, I started like I had to talk about hope, like, but you know, and I thought, okay, and what I really fang from working with young people, like children are not stupid, so actually and that that was that was a me floor like I thought I had to really kind of lessen down poetry for to make it accessible for you, for young people and for children. And it's like no, and I think that's one thing I really did learn during my tenure was like actually, no, kids are not stupid, because the beautiful thing about children if they don't understand something, they'll ask, they'll just be like what do you mean? What's that mean? Whereas the older we get, the more embarrassed we get, the more we start there to then think, ah, actually, you know I ain't gonna ask that because I look like like the stupid one, so I'll just I'll Google it later. You know, with me I've been in meetings with like artistic directors. I'll be like what's that with me? You know, and I'm 31 years old, I'm like I don't care, I'm like me. You, every day is a school day so you can teach me. You know, I'm like. Well, tell me, like, what does that mean? So when I came to do knock, knock, that's why, really, I was like, let me breathe, like, yeah, you're like I have got history of like of shame when I travel day memory lane, but actually it's okay, because I guarantee you, you're going to grow up and you're going to make mistakes because we're human. So it doesn't matter if you're eight years old or if you're 14 years old. You know, actually, like I guarantee you, especially like post COVID and people being alone, not seeing their friends and losing family members, you know, the harsh reality is we're going to have painful memories. So actually, it's like we we could either run from those which I've spent a lot of my life doing, or we can just like confront them head on and be like well, do you know what they're going to play a part in making the person that I'm going to become? So I was, I was really hesitant about putting something like that which I, like you know, could be considered quite dark in a poem about hope, but I thought, well, actually that's the whole point. Of hope is no matter how dark it does get, there's always a light, there's always hope. You know, if they go low, we go high. So I'm always like, yeah, less, less, always, if we have anything in this world, we have hope.

Speaker 1:

Yes, A previous guest, by the way, someone called David Hyatt, who does the do lectures. He hooked me because of an icon, of a yellow front, just a yellow door in the middle of a clearing in a field, which is such a random thing. But it's brilliant because on the door it's about a gateway to a new me. So it's about threshold crossing, which again was one of the other reasons that I was so struck with knock knock, and I keep teasing our audience about knock knock. I want to put your poetry book on a metaphorical plinth within the clearing coming up. So I promise that we'll. We'll feature the poem. If you'd be kind enough to share that 100%, I'd love to so welcome. It's my great privilege and pleasure. I nearly said pleasure and privilege and it came out as a privilege which didn't make sense.

Speaker 2:

That's a new word right there, you just created a new word.

Speaker 1:

And, yes, it's my great pleasure to curate you through this journey. It's going to be a clearing a tree, a lovely, juicy, sterile, telling exercise called 54321. There'll be some alchemy, some gold, a couple of random squirrels, a cheeky bit of Shakespeare, a golden baton and a cake, so it's all to play for. So, conran, let's get you on the open road. What is where is a clearing for you? Where do you go to get clutter free, inspirational and able to think?

Speaker 2:

I like cheating. I have two, so I do a lot. I do a lot of thinking when I'm in the car which I'm driving and they're saying yeah, because then I kind of distract myself. So I'm just there, so a lot of my thoughts kind of come when I'm driving and I'll put on an album on all your book and you know, yeah, so there's that.

Speaker 1:

There's your inner sucks there. I like driving in my car. A bit of madness there for you.

Speaker 2:

What else could you be driving in, connor? You know, yeah, I get it. And then I think my next kind of place of tranquility would be my nan passed away last year. So just going to hear grief and just sitting, I was put a cold day and I'll just sit next, like next to my nan, and that's like, that's like my kind of my place where I can go to just solitude, you know.

Speaker 1:

Yes, I'm sorry to hear that she passed last year, presumably not COVID related in this instance. No no, yes, so I'm going to arrive with a tree at your clearing, if I may, and no one's ever answered. Actually, in the 200 episodes I've done, no one's ever said at a graveside. So thank you for that. If I may, could I choose that one of the two? Done, thank, you. Sorry to interrupt you, but I'm going to arrive, if I may, with a tree, a bit waiting for Goddow Esk I know you've trained as an actor, by the way as well a bit of Beckett existentially arriving with a tree within your clearing and I'm going to shake it to see which storytelling apples fall out. How'd you like these apples? And this is where you've been kind enough to respond to a lovely storytelling construct called 5.4.321, where you've had five minutes to have thought about four things that have shaped you, three things that inspire you, two things that never fail to grab your attention. That'll be where the squirrels come in. Borrow from the film up. And then a quirky, unusual fact about you Connor Allen Children's Laureate just stepped down of Wales 2021 to 23. So over to you to interpret the canopy shaking as you see fit.

Speaker 2:

Oh wow, Jeez, that's it. It's not a memory cycle.

Speaker 1:

They all curate you through it. So if you want to start with four things that have shaped you, Four things that have shaped me.

Speaker 2:

So I think my first would be my suspended sentence. I guess would be top of the list, I think, and that, yeah, so that back in 2007. Yeah, that would be top of the list, I think. So what I'm going to combine that into one. So, like my suspended sentence and then the like what I did to my mum which caused that, I think would be top of the list because I think that was like that one Domino that really did spiral off and I think my mum, like I can look back now I'll give context for that. So one night when I was 16, I got into an argument with my mum and the argument in physical, and I attacked my mum and I fled and I got arrested and because she from the police, and yeah, I got arrested and went to court and yeah, I had a three year suspended sentence for two counts of assault and battery and one kind of GBH. So that I think would be probably the biggest apple to fall from that tree in terms of the things that have shaped me, because I think I always look back and I said I've wrote blogs about it when I went into the prison, like I've made a theater show, the making of a monster radio play, all off that event. Not so much that event, but it was linked into a whole story around. So growing up, by the way, how long have I got for these apples Because I realised I could probably talk about this apple for a?

Speaker 1:

while You're doing beautifully. It generally takes about 45 to 55 minutes. So as you know you can trust the process, but this is really rich and lovely. You're doing exactly as I hoped you might.

Speaker 2:

Wicked. So growing up, like skin, very light skin, mixed race, my father's black, jamaica, my mother's white, welsh. So growing up my father was, you know, largely absent from my life and that left, I think, a lot of questions for me and answers about like, why do I have this light skin and what do I say when people are like, well, you're not really mixed race. You could do the same colour as me and they'd show their white arms and compare skin tones. You know, and obviously at the time when I was younger I didn't have that knowledge. Now I'm older, my knowledge is power, so I can learn and like interact, those kind of like silly comments where we are like, well, you know, it's different shades of black and it's different experiences of being mixed race. You know, genetics is an interesting thing, but I didn't have my father around and I thought like a lot of my questions around identity and around race would come from my father. He wasn't around so I kind of I took a very destructive route into that absence, be that, you know, getting into fights, getting in trouble with the police, running away from home. I was just very destructive as a teenager and that all kind of came to a yeah, like a standstill, when me and my mum had a big fight and an argument and I attacked her and saw red and then, in her strength and in her courage, she rang the police and I think, like looking back, because at the time I really I really resented my mum for that, you know like because I was like you're ruining my life. You know I'm in trouble with the police now, but I look back now with that I'm older, you know, and I can see like that was the greatest test of strength and resilience you could ever show me. You know, and actions be glad and I'm weird, like you never need to tell me that you love me. Your actions have shown that and to find the courage and strength to be like I'm going to do this because I might have options and I think this is going to be the best thing for him. I can never like I don't even know if I would ever have that courage, you know. So I always look at my mum and I think, like your actions have shaped not only who you are but who your children are, and never I'm older, I can always look back to that and be and, by the way, in researching.

Speaker 1:

I know that what's so lovely about you is you are a really profound, very present father figure, role model to somebody else in your life. So you've managed to hug the gap of your father's absence. And also your blogs are really interesting. There's a series of to let everybody know I am enough and you talk about the impact of absent fathers, the impact of brothers, and then what I was just talking about there, the impact of father figures. Yeah, and then there's lots to talk about and I'm sure you will let me know there's so much, but you're completely right.

Speaker 2:

So I think like there's two ways you can go. I think on a path of like your father wasn't in your life for whatever reason. You know, and the older that I'm getting, the more I'm understanding that and the more I can realise and I can understand why my father wasn't around and why he did the things that he's done. It doesn't mean that I condone that or I forgive that. It just means that I can understand and I can be like okay, like you're human, as opposed to you just being like this, like nasty person who wasn't around, you know. So, but I was very blessed to have a father figure who, like I shared my radio place with my next one, a pro-jewel. I've always called him my dad. You know, like anyone can be a father, it takes someone special to be a dad and he was like a dad to me because he he taught me how to shave, he would give me advice on, you know, girls when I was a puberty stripping teenager and you know he would sit and listen and if anything, he'd give me his time, and I think that is the most, the most, the most important thing that we have on this like on this earth, is time, because it's the one thing that you can buy back, you can replicate, you can trade, you get. Like that's it, it just runs. So to give someone your time like wholeheartedly is the greatest gift ever. So I'll always thank him for that and you'll always be like my dad for that. But it means that he taught me then you know like you don't have to.

Speaker 1:

I'm curious that again, this is your neighbor's dad.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, so, so it's my next-door neighbor, like Jodie his name is, but yeah, he was like I'm Godfather to his daughter and yeah, you know, like they're like a second family to me. So, growing up, you know, like I say it in Hammond Drive is the opening poem for Domino's but like within that we were a community, we were a family, like there were no locked doors, we'd go in and out of each other's houses and you know, like we'd go running for tea, like we were just like this little family on this estate. That was us. And I think, growing up with that, like it takes a village to raise a child and I had like a really good village that like if I was ever out of line they would be the neighbors. But you can't, what are you doing? You know, like they would step up and they would be that parental figure that would, like, you know, take me down to my mom's. You know, like yo Connor's acting up. So I was very blessed, but it just means that I was able to replicate that. And see, you know, like for Jake's, who is my little man, he's the one that, yeah, I'm guessing I'm a father figure or role model for you know, I was able to do that, in the same way that I was able to do that for Jodie's daughter, you know, just being there and being present, so yeah, and your dad.

Speaker 1:

If I may ask, is he still with us, but in the distance somewhere?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, he's out there somewhere. Yeah, I think he still lives in Newport, I wouldn't particularly know. I haven't spoken to him the last time. The last time we actually physically spoke was after I attacked my mom, and that was, I guess, the genesis of my whole kind of the work that I make. Was because he took me out and like asked me why I did what I did and I just said that like I want to live with you. I don't want to live with my mom, like she doesn't understand me and like I always remember you. I'm just like I don't want you to live with me. You're a monster, you'd like. So I always like that really stuck, you know, for like a 16 year old kid who idolizes his father, for him to kind of like say those words, you know, really destroying me, I guess. So I took, like you know, a good time of me going away to university and meeting people and understanding that I am loved and I'm not a monster and you know, it's hugely ironic that we can sometimes idolize somebody I totally understand this when they don't necessarily earn that right to be idolized 100%.

Speaker 1:

There's something called a tribute charisma, where we put people on a pedestal because of who they are and then they don't necessarily measure up and they ultimately are on a wobbly pedestal because of that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, but I look at it now. That's interesting. You say that Because I'm like like he did nothing for me to put, but like when you're on that, I think the interesting thing about having a lapsum period for me was he was a blank canvas. I could paint this picture that I wanted to have him with, like you know, a cape and a superhero and a crown, and he was the best. But with my mum I had like a dusty Polaroid which I couldn't change. She was just there but she was human. And now I look at it and I think, well, I've always got that Polaroid, Whereas this, like canvas, I could just chuck black paint over, you know, because it's like you're not. I painted it straight to be a god, but I understand, I put that pressure on you then because I was expecting you to be something that you're not your human being Ultimately so it makes you wiser for it, for that realisation, absolutely. I guess so.

Speaker 1:

So we're still shaping the shapeage within your tree.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, shaking Apple. Number two, I guess, would be my best friend. Lloyd passed away when I was 10 years old and he had a brain tumour. And he passed away when I was 10. And it was my first interaction with grief and I always remember coming home from school and every child in St Andrews had a brain envelope and I brought it home. Now I was quite like you know, a cheeky, naughty kid and I brought it home to my mum and I sat there and, like I came in, I gave it to her. I was like I don't know what it is, but I've been good in school, so I don't know what it is, but everyone's got one. And my mum was like I know what it is. And I was like what? Like hey, do you know this? Like what witchcraft is this? Do you know? Like you weren't being schooled. And she told me to sit down. She never tells me to sit down. So I knew something was up and I was like why have I got to sit down? And she goes come and just sit down. I was like, no, what are you being weird for what's going on? And then she told me she's like well, like Lloyd, you know he's been ill, but like, like he passed away this morning, like he's gone, and that was what 20, yeah, 20, 20 years ago, near enough. And to this day, two decades later, I can still remember this, really that feeling I had of these, this pit in my stomach just rising and rising and I could feel it in my throat and then my eyes just started. I couldn't. It's the only time that I couldn't control my emotions, because it was just such an experience of emotions, feeling, feeling my body, and I just said you're lying. And I ran upstairs and she chased me and I ran into the box bed and I just barricaded myself. I just sat up against the door and then I put the wardrobe against my bed and I put the chest of drawers against the wardrobe and the wall, so there was like a barricade or she couldn't get in. And I sat in that room for two days in my school uniform and I just sat against the wall and I just cried my eyes out for two days. I didn't come out. They got toilet and nothing. And my mum just sat on the landing and was just like knocking and like you're okay, and I just sat there for two days. And I always say that is like I just sat there and just cried and when I came out of that, I came out of the room then two days later and I literally just I sat at the same school uniform and I just picked up my bag and I just went to school and when his funeral happened weeks later, I didn't cry and I felt really bad. So I didn't cry and I look back now and I think, but I cried on my tears, you know, like I was cried out. So for me it was very much that like I didn't obviously know what grief was, and I think that is what sometimes you have to feel your emotions to understand what they are. I think when we're younger, our emotions ourselves we're like a big ball of colorful string of all different colors and we have to take these colors out of the ball to be like, ooh, oh, that's grief, that's interesting, I'm going to lay that down individually. And then, oh, that's anger. So the older we get, then we start having all these colorful strings that we can just be like. I understand these emotions now, whereas when I was younger, obviously it was the first time that I understood grief. But I always feel now that I'm older, having experienced it so young makes me so acutely aware to what people are going through and I can just see it. I don't know if that's a blessing or a curse, but that would be my second apple, because I think without that I wouldn't.

Speaker 1:

I love the presence of your mom and the fact you said she knocked again gives even greater sucker to the poem not later on. So it's a lot of through line really 100% love.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, man, they need to do nothing. I just sat there and complete that. I can just do these and just cry by, is it? Because, yeah, I was using my best friends, my brother, who did everything together. Yeah, so it's interesting now, I think, the older that I get, sometimes reminiscing and looking back and you sometimes hit you. You think, wow, we used to sit there nine years old and we'd build. We had connects. So back in the day you'd have connects with these toys, you would put clip things together and you'd build all these houses and we'd build worlds together, fairgrounds and houses, just complete worlds where our imaginations would go. And I was dreaming that when we would live in this world, that we're just so fun and freeing, and the fact that he never got the chance to grow up and achieve that it stops me in my tracks sometimes because, yeah, I think yeah.

Speaker 1:

That's a profound second Apple. Thank you, apple number. Please Try Occasionally. I've got a bell If you go. Casio, number three please. So this is Apple number.

Speaker 2:

Apple number three. I think this is going to be a Granny Smith. It's a good juicy Apple, it's a good Apple, wow, I think. Apple number three I'm going to go with when my mom this was years later, so when my mom dropped me off to university, obviously goes upstairs to my room, she drops me off and, bearing in mind now, obviously I still had this suspended sentence hanging over me we weren't in the best place at all. We had a court case and everything, and at the time obviously I didn't know, because obviously I went upstairs I was like, yeah, ok, cool, bike, whatever. And she went down to the car and it was only years later that we spoke about it and it was so ironic that I closed the door and sat on my bed, empty room, on my own, first time ever, and I just cried my eyes out for like 45 minutes and my mom went downstairs, went all the way back to the car and sat in the car for 20 minutes into the exact same and we both just had that experience of us crying and just understanding that I think, what are we going to do without each other? Which I think for me, now that I understand that, I was like, wow, I always just think that my mom didn't care and didn't rate me as a son because of what I did. But she's there crying because I'm no longer going to be around an eldest and a first son. He's, like you know, going to be off doing what not? And she wrote me a card and I opened it and it said like you know, I'm so proud of you for what you've done and just remember that I'm on your phone call away and you're at university to learn, but also have fun and just be yourself. And yeah, I think, without the realization of that, because mom's always mum, isn't it? From when we're born, mum's always been mum, very understanding that our parents have had lives before us Like they were people before they were our parents. And I think that really showed me that, like in some profound way that, wow, she's gone from so much.

Speaker 1:

There's sort of an innate constant sea to your mum. She is ever present and a constant Through the highs, the lows, the lows, the highs. She's there.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, which is bizarre because I think, like, for me, I was always a nannies boy. So for me, I was always like you know, yeah, nannies boy, where's my little brother? He was always a mummies boy, so it was always like they were super close, and they are. But for me it's like, yeah, it's a weird thing with me and my mum. If, like, I can go and travel the world and I could, like you know, message my mum and she'd be like, wait, I do it now. I'm like, you know, working, doing what I'm doing. She'd be like I'm hearing from you in like four days. You like nice to know you're alive. What are you doing? You know, it's that relationship that we've got right. Yeah, but it's like it's been cultivated through so many years of us just trying to figure out what this is. And I always say, like there's no manual on how to be a parent. It's the biggest improvisation ever. And did my mum get it right all the time? Of course she did. She's human. But I can look back now with more profane because, you know, I can have someone tell me that they love me a million times. But if you show me that you love me and I think that's what my mum did, but I was just too young to appreciate that, the actions with that. You know, I said some horrible stuff to my mum, like growing up, which I can't take back, I live with. But she was there and she'd wipe her tears and she'd get up the next morning and she'd have my school uniform, they read, she would, you know, like I'd go to school, she'd come home and we'd have like a freshly cooked meal on the table from my little brother, like it's those acts that you think, like wow, you know, and I say it a lot like I, my energy, my, I guess, my, yeah, my energy and my charisma. A lot of people say that I get from my father. I'm very much like him, supposedly, and I question that a lot. Sometimes because of my work, he wasn't around and I guess, lately I've been really thinking, like, you know, what do I get from my mum? And I've always believed, especially now that, like, my greatest gift is my capacity to love and show love and to give love and that comes from my heart and that's the greatest gift I got from my mum. You know, she gave me this heart because to empathy, you know, is allowing other people to walk in your shoes and she has showed me that by being so empathetic to other people because of the stuff that she's overcome in her life, you know, and all those dominoes that have stacked up against my mum and you know she gets knocked down seven times, she gets back up eight and it's that resilience. But you know, not just my mum, but like so many women in my life, my aunties, my nan, my neighbours you know my estate Like it's built on so much like resilient women. I guess I've always just been blessed to receive that love, even when I didn't even like understand it or know it.

Speaker 1:

Lovely Fourth apple.

Speaker 2:

Fourth apple, um, I recently, I recently went to um, jamaica for the first time, um, and I think that whole trip I'll just put one apple so I think that's really shaped my understanding of who I am and where I'm at. And I went on a whole trip after, you know, I went to, I went to the Civil Rights Museum in Atlanta and I went to Martin Luther King tomb and just being in Jamaica and seeing like that paradise but then seeing the, the adverse poverty that is also there, you know, it was a real eye-opener of understanding, like my, my, my family trip and the reason why, you know, I guess my grand came over to Britain and I think, yeah, profoundly, that has had like a massive impact on my outlook in life and Martin Luther King um he has.

Speaker 1:

Is it Windrush generation related or yeah?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So my nan, my, my, my grandma, the first generation, my, um, yeah, so so like she came over and, um, yeah, settled with my granddad and then, um, yeah, so then I guess my father, my aunt, my uncle, his second generation, I find it weird. So I, I technically I guess I'd be third generation, but I was born in the UK, so I don't, you know, yeah, it's, it's, it's a weird. Some people would say, well, you're still a descendant of, of, of Windrush generations. So I don't know, I'm always like I don't really look that deep into that. But for my grand then, yeah, like she's, she's first generation, windrush.

Speaker 1:

So yeah, if I may, in researching you as well, something really struck me as well, that that um on the night when you were being sort of brought back from the police station, just going back, even though you were your nan's boy. It was your granddad that turned up to get you.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I I wrote that in in um. So in my autobiographical show, the Make Love a Monster, there's a moment in there where, like my, my um, the character of corner had like a comment. There's like a his, his nan's voice springs in me like of this nightmare and she's relaying the story that, like, my nan actually told me Um, but yeah, it was like I've always been a nanny's boy and that was the first time ever Like my nan was like kind of like the, the head of the table, you know, like she was like oh well, she says goals and she, she holds everything down. And my granddad was like this devoted husband, you just sit there and you just support her, you know, and it was the first time that he'd ever been like no, janet, I'm going to get him Cause for the first time ever. He needs a man in his life. And he drove. He drove to a police station, picked me up and we sat in the car and, bearing in mind, what was he? What was that name? 15 years, he's gotta be, you know, 70 possibly at the time, you know I'm some angry, volatile teenager and he just, he literally just looked, sat. I got in the car, he looked across at me and he just said I'm going to say this one time, or one time only. If you ever lay a finger on my door again, then you'll have me to deal with. And he just fixed his wind mirror, started the car and drove off, and at the time I was like whatever old man, whereas now that I'm older, I can respect that so much because I was like you. This, this volatile grandson of yours, is just, he's like. You know, he's out there, you know like, yeah, like attacking your daughter and getting in trouble with the police and these many people with the off the rails. But you confronted that, knowing for well he could do anything, and you chose to be like no, you don't lay a finger on my door. So I think like, again, actions speak later than words and your actions at that time. I can never look back and be like you're one of the bravest men that I know. So I'm shared my granddad as well.

Speaker 1:

So now we're on to three things that inspire you, Connor Allen.

Speaker 2:

So three things that inspire me. That's so I think I'm going to put, I'm going to cheat, I'm going to put the young people in my life as one apple, and that goes for Little man Jakes, because he inspires me to be a better version of myself, so I can inspire him to grow up and be better.

Speaker 1:

How old is Little?

Speaker 2:

Man Jakes now. Little man Jakes now is I should know this, shouldn't I? He's 13. Yeah, he's 13. Just started, no 12. 12, sorry, just started high school. Yeah, I'm questioning that now. Is he 12 or 13? 12.

Speaker 1:

You can ask him later.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, again, I'd be like I will do me. Yeah, but no, like it's just understanding that, like I want to put young people in general inspire me. But parallel co-load puts it best when it's like if you ever want to look at the world for their business, look at it through a child's eyes. And I always hold on to that quote because I just think you know what there's something really beautiful about looking at the world through a child's eyes, and I had the greatest privilege by being children's lawyer, of having two years of being able to look at the world through the children of Wales's eyes, and from that I'm a better person for that, because they've showed me so much empathy, so much love, so much hope, so much intelligence for the next generation. So I put the next generation of young people in one apple, but I have to shout out like you know, little matrix, because I wake up and want to be, you know, a better person, a better version of me. Because of that, and within that I'll put my best friend's little girl, evelyn. I put her in there as well because she's only five, but here, yeah, just here in general, and again, her capacity to love and feel Like I gave her a hug the other night and she said to my friend she was like Mummy, uncle kind of gives the best hugs, because when I hug him I can feel his heart beat and it's just to get me and it's like you're five years old with me, like what, and it's those moments You're definitely big hearted.

Speaker 1:

I get that. That's really singing through what you're talking about.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, you know. So it's like when I got that, I'm like, well, how can I not? I know I put that trust on myself, but I think it is. It's that like being a role model to them and trying to make them understand that, like you know, the world is such a big place but it's also so small and you can be.

Speaker 1:

You're also a testament for coming from a place of, you know, initial darkness but into light. Now there is a Again. I keep being really struck with the threshold of the door. I know Knock, Knock is coming. It's a good point.

Speaker 2:

No, honestly, this is Honestly I've got. I've just got this obsession with doors. I honestly don't know where it comes from, but no, I'm right there.

Speaker 1:

I'm loving it because I keep putting it off. Maybe we should do the door now, but I'll put it on a plinth in a minute, okay, second, sorry, you're crunching through your inspirational apples. Where are you up to now, inspirational?

Speaker 2:

apples. Apple number two, my little brother, blaine, is like the biggest. I probably should have put him first, actually, but he's the biggest inspiration for me, just understanding, yeah, like our experiences and how we have each other. I think like he is, without a doubt, my best friend, my confidant, my brother and, yeah, just trying to create a life that I can look after him and him. Something interesting was said to me recently that it was, I read, like if you heal yourself, you heal those around you, and it really struck me and I thought my brother's similar to me and he's got his own demons in his past. But by me delving into those kind of, I guess, those depths, it means that it opens up and gives him the space to hopefully have those conversations and heal himself. So I'll always put my brother up there in everything that I do, because it just means that I'm able to provide better things for him that we didn't have on the roll-up. I'm able to show him a better life that through no fault of my man, we had a great life, but it's nice that I'm in a position where I'm able to be like you know what, let's go for food, but it's on me and I'll pick. It's just like this little random acts of kindness. I feel like when we were growing up we didn't have that luxury. I always remember walking over to the cinema because I was in drive back then. So we had walked, like you know, three, five minutes over to the cinema and then she'd stop off at Tesco, you know, because she couldn't afford to, like, you know, like, get all the snacks in the cinema. So then she'd buy, like you know, a bag of popcorn, maybe, like, maybe like one bottle of drink that we could share, and then, dad, three for a pint on like the Tesco sweets. Then she'd stick them in a handbag because she's embarrassed, you know. And it was those things I was saying. Like, actually, that's taught us, that's taught us to hustle, you know like, I'm cool, you're getting me, I'm like I get older now I think like there's nothing to be embarrassed about. But you taught us to hustle and, like you, you raised two mixed race kids on a Newport council estate, you know, and they both went to university, they both got degrees, they both, like, they beat the system because of you, because statistically in the UK there's more black and mixed race boys in prison than there are in university and that's like I was so close to becoming a statistic. But, like you know, through your, through your determination, through your tenacity, you didn't give up on me or blade. You know my little brother, so like, he's always an inspiration to me because I'm like I'm sacrificed so much and it means that I'm taking that and I'm making sure that you're the best vision that you can be. That's a lot of pressure and I know why. Like I can't put that pressure on him. I'm like blade, just be blade. You know, like you are, who you are and I can support that. But I can't lie if I'm saying that, like you know, just having him in my life isn't like the biggest inspiration because he's my little brother and you know, if I can't be a role model, then who can?

Speaker 1:

I believe we now could be at the two squirrels of distraction. Is that right? Obviously, I don't know what I'm doing. I think we've had three apples, haven't we? Or is there one left?

Speaker 2:

Ten, I think, a couple of young people like James and Eveline, the ones tonight, and then my brother, but we can say our three. You know, that's all good. I'm trying to think of another inspiration. I guess, inspiration, I guess. I think music is a big, big inspiration for me, because it's such like lyrically, sonically, I just think music has that ability to kind of like articulate certain things that, like rhythm of poetry within song is what you're saying.

Speaker 1:

Is that right?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, like. Well, that is like that, I think, music in general. Like it just evokes, like there's not. I don't think there's a bigger art form than music that gets you emoting, like in a way, because like you can have like a real intense scene in a film but you put a nice little string chord in the background and you know that's, that's playing on your heart. Strings, right, yeah, it's music, I think is. It's a massive, massive inspiration to me in like all my work, all my poetry music, because I think, like, when you've got, you know like certain lyrics, certain songs you just come back to. You know like I've recently listened to where Nicki Minaj is Pink Friday too. You know like what an album you know, but like there's, there's a song on there called Let Me Calm Down. It's Nicki Minaj and J Cole, and J Cole like wraps this entire verse and it's just so honestly, I'm just like like you're telling me a whole story in like a minute and a half about the human condition and J Cole. I'm like man, come on, you know so.

Speaker 1:

So what was that again? Nicki Minaj, just give me the track again.

Speaker 2:

Let Me Calm Down. Featuring J Cole.

Speaker 1:

Calm down, lovely. Okay. So, and now we're on to the two squirrels. You know what never fails to grab your attention, irrespective of anything else that's going on for you in your interesting life.

Speaker 2:

I'm going to be a real sucker and I'm going to be like do you know what always grabs my attention? Love, like if I'm walking down the street and I see like a couple holding hands or you know I'm not like me it just always grabs my attention. You know like, all the time, love, love wins. So I'm always like, always grabs my attention wherever I am. I'm like oh wow, look at that, my stories and you know I think it's interlinked to people and stories of everyone has a story and I'm always interested in those stories, but especially if it's a love story, I'm there, you know, I'm rooting for you, so that always grabs my attention.

Speaker 1:

Nice, tender answer. I love that Second squirrel.

Speaker 2:

I'm going to be really funny videos online. You know, like that, just I'm there for that. You know they always just yeah, if there's like one really silly one, you know, like someone falling over, it just gets me every time and I it's me.

Speaker 1:

That's the genesis of slapstick right there laughing at other people's misfortune Comic heroes Dan, laurel, laurel and Hardy and I love the fact that innocent but also slapstick, it's brilliant.

Speaker 2:

Honestly, it just gets me every time, just like, especially when you can't see it, or like you know, like they do everything to try and make it not like someone slipping on ice, and then they're like it feels like so long, doesn't it? They fall on, like me, just fall over, like you know. Yeah, gets me every time.

Speaker 1:

And now a quirky or unusual fact about you, connor Allen. We couldn't possibly know about you until you tell us.

Speaker 2:

Oh geez, I did struggle with this one. So I was like I brought my pelvis when I was like, yeah, and I can't remember if I really spoke about that. So I'm going to go for that one and be like the, that's it. I brought my pelvis running so the sheer force of my hamstring ripped the bottom of the pelvis off when I was like you know you're sort of using bolt in waiting.

Speaker 1:

Had it gone a different way?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, Well, I'm always like you know what Mr Ball took my world records because if it wasn't for that hamstring, I was there, you know. Yes, but I thought you know the force of your own hamstring ripped your pelvis off.

Speaker 1:

No one's ever answered it in that way either. There you go. Has it been stuck back on again? I'm assuming it has.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, Can you imagine? Nah, it's still hanging off. Nah, I had like two operations and, yeah, the Is that a joke about doctor.

Speaker 1:

Doctor, I keep falling off a chair. That's because you've only got one buttock.

Speaker 2:

Literally. I had the walk of rain. I had like a rubber ring and everything. I sat on that for about 18 months.

Speaker 1:

You know you tore your own bottom. I like that Very good Pretty much, yeah. Okay, we've shaken your tree, hurrah. So now we're going to stay in the clearing, move away from the tree. The plinth with your poetry book is coming up, but let's talk about alchemy and gold next. I've even got a gold bar, no extra charge.

Speaker 2:

Look at that, mate, come on, get it. I thought that was real. I was like, hey, what's that? Looks really cool, doesn't it?

Speaker 1:

So when you're at purpose and in flow it's sort of implicit in the children's laureate for Wales but when you're at purpose and in flow, what are you absolutely happiest doing, connor?

Speaker 2:

Spending time with loved ones, I think for me is, yeah, like and it's not to disregard like my art and my craft, Like I love that. But I think a lot of my art comes from authenticity and I don't get to top up my cup without spending time with loved ones, Because time is the most important gift. So being able to gift my time, yeah, really makes me happy.

Speaker 1:

And there is that extraordinary dichotomy of the fact your dad never gifted you the gift of time, and that's his loss, it would seem, obviously, because now you've learned so profoundly in surrounding your own sense of belonging is about spending time with those who said that are precious to you 100%. That's a beautiful way of looking at it. So now let's put your wonderful poem Knock, Knock on a plinth. What's the book it's part of?

Speaker 2:

It's not Domino's I thought it was, but you said it was no, it is there another yellow door for you, chris, right there, miracle Love that. So yeah, that's the children's collection of a lot. Well, chapter, well, three chapters. But chapter one is, yeah, all like my kind of Laureate Commission poems. And then we've got chapter two, which is the I am poems. So it's an exercise that I did during my tenure where I get like children to create their own poems under the guise of I am. So I would prove to them that they're all miracles and they all got their own doors, different shapes, different sizes, but behind that door is you. What makes you you? So we'd make a list poem, a little exercise where they'd write their favorite season, their favorite place, their favorite smell, their favorite toy and their favorite person. Then they'd write like in one word or one sentence, why those things are their favorite. And then in the first column they'd write I am. And then they end up having just like a five line I am poem. But they'd be like I am somewhat hot weather, I am Newport home. I am Lacoste Redd, first girlfriend. I am Superdog, beloved toy. I am Little Brother, best friend, and then you've got like a poem about you, you know. But then every single one is different and it empowers them. And what I was able to do? Because I thought, well, what is my legacy, you know, and what? How can I empower the next generation? Well, actually, what I can do, I can publish them in a book so they can go into Waterstones, they can go into Debra Smith with the appearance, but I'm in that book. Well, yeah, gloria, liam, emily, like you're in that book, that's yours, you know, for forever, and you're, you're legacized for forever. And then chapter three is just new poems that I've written for this. Yeah, just three chapters of miracles and poems.

Speaker 1:

So, with your permission, would you like to do knock, knock and tell us if? You'd like anything you'd like to do to position it, but then over to you too.

Speaker 2:

Ah, let's go Knock knock and I'm always get who's there and I wonder why I get that you know, interesting knock knock. I wonder what's behind this door? I hope it's not remnants of a time before and these times that move so fast, yet this fragments of my past that are rooted in pain, and this histories of shame when I traveled a memory lane. But imagine, behind this door, this potential, not purpose, because that's what's essential, because each and every one of us, we all, have this magic contained within us. To hope and dream of a better future is a must. So turn the handle, unlock the door, travel through, just look upon all those different variations of you, because there's strength, there's dreams, there's creativity and so much more just waiting for each and every one of you behind that door.

Speaker 1:

Thank you so much for the gift of that. That's knock, knock by Connor Allen. Love that Thank you. By the way, even the I am you said here's another yellow door for you even the I am is very relatable because in the work that I do I often get whole audiences to say I am Spartacus as opposed to am I. So people say I am versus am I. And so many people say to the world, accidentally, am I Spartacus? Do you mind? If I'm Spartacus, would it be okay with you guys for us kind of like Spartacus? So it's just the energetic difference between I am and am I, and I love the fact that you've got a, you know, as you say, a leg of sizing way of getting people to I am which is unique to them. That's a great gift to people, I can tell.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's really interesting. But again, going back to like the whole thing about adults, like even when I do these workshops now, like I did one in Waterstone, newport, and I got parents involved, you might knock on you can do it, draw three lines for a little chat, let's go and the impact that it has on them and you know, like parents are crying. I'm like what? Like yeah, it's crazy, but I think it's that empowerment is understanding that actually you are enough just as you are. There's no one like you in the whole world. That's your superpower. And I like, if my second chance was anything linked into that about making people understand you're a miracle, like on this planet, then you know, yeah, that's, it's well worth it. You know you could be. Yeah, you're a diamond and yeah, you know.

Speaker 1:

And now, thank you so much for that poem as well, and by as a sort of post script later on you can do, if you'd like, another one or two poems if you'd like to, because it seems like I'm going to be very enigmatically ringing a couple of episodes out of you, which is lovely because we're going on. Anyway, we're going to put, we're going to award you with a cake now, connor, love a cake, love a cake. Yes, let's talk about cake. What cake would you like? Metaphorically, I'll have a carrot cake. I will. I like you, I like carrot cake too. That's my favourite. So you get to put a cherry on the cake now, and this is obviously the final suffused metaphor. So this is now where you get to put a cherry on the cake with stuff like here we go what's a favourite inspirational quote? That, connor, that's pulled you towards your future and always given you sucker.

Speaker 2:

My one is Plato. Plato once said the highest form of knowledge is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another's world. I always come back to that quote because I'm always like live in my world, walk in my airforce ones and you'll have a bigger capacity for empathy. You can understand my story a little bit more and it just gets you closer to this human condition. Same with me, let me walk in your Jimmy Choo's, let me walk in your Doc Mines for a mile, and then I can get a higher form of knowledge. I can get empathy because I can understand what has made you the person that you've become. And I think like that for me, is one of the greatest gifts is just to allow someone to walk a mile in your shoes.

Speaker 1:

And I love the fact it's the wisdom of the ancients as well, which is lovely. During the pandemic I subscribed something called the Daily Stoic, and it's an ancient one, my favourite one as well. Marcus Aurelius quote Anyway, love that. The Plato, thank you very much. That one, by the way, has never let the future disturb you, because you will greet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against your present.

Speaker 2:

I like that Boom.

Speaker 1:

What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given, conor Andy?

Speaker 2:

Sharon, andy, sharon. She gave me a quote that was from my granddad so her dad, my drumming granddad back when she was like going through some stuff and she was questioning herself. He said Sharon, just be Sharon, you are who you are. And, andy, years later she gave that to me while I was recently, a few years back, and she said Conor, just be, Conor, you are who you are. Floors are not, floors are not. And I always hold on to that, not saying that I have to let my flaws reign supreme, but just understanding that I am who I am. And that's why I would say to every single person is like Chris, be Chris, you are who you are. Floors are not. It's that it's making people just understand you are who you are, so be you. Don't be a second-rate version of someone else, just be yourself.

Speaker 1:

Love that and with the gift of hindsight now, what notes, help or advice might you proffer to a younger version of Conor Allen?

Speaker 2:

Oh, wow, that kid. I think I would just say, like you probably won't believe me, but just know that you are loved by so many people and it might not be by the person you want it to be by, but understand that you are loved. So I think I'll even flip that and I'll just say, you know, if there is a Conor Aide that is, you know, going through stuff or the questioning in the world, just understand that, yeah, you are loved somewhere. Even if it's not like very apparent in your face, you are loved. So just, yeah, hold on to that.

Speaker 1:

I fully appreciate how you will be a profound mentor to the state you've described of an angry younger version of yourself.

Speaker 2:

No, I won't, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Because you're relatable, because there's a very good friend of mine who has a very troubled 14-year-old Ethiopian adoptee and he's in the storm at the moment and I think there's great hope in it but it's still in that sort of adversity storm of the moment.

Speaker 2:

There's always hope. Oh, like, that's what I keep coming back to. You know, like my greatest, my greatest attribute is my heart. Like I said, I get that from my mum and my ability to feel and love. But I think I always say, like, hope is the cousin of love. You can't have hope without having love. So you know they're interlinked, they're cousins and you need them both. But hope, we always have hope. Even if we have nothing, we have hope.

Speaker 1:

And as your tenure is coming up to an end by the way of your Laureate ship of being a wealth of children's Laureate, what's next for you?

Speaker 2:

What is next for me? More theatre writing. So I'm doing an adaptation, I'm developing my show, the Making of a Monster, into a TV show. That's on the horizon as well, potentially maybe my children's book coming out. So yeah, I've got a couple of pots, you know, on the stove simmering.

Speaker 1:

So we'll see. And have you accepted that you are a poet? Remember we spoke at the beginning I'm a poet and I didn't even know it.

Speaker 2:

No, that's it. Yeah, I'm always like, who's the? Tell me that I'm not so like. For me, I'm always like, if you write poetry, because, also, it's like what is a poet? You know, for me, poetry is just the creative expression about how you feel about the world, like what your outlook is. That could be two sentences, like Ruby Qua, or it could be, you know, three, four pages, like Harry Baker. You know, like, who's this? Say what poetry is? It's like actually, just creatively express how do you feel. And if that's poetry to you, then it's poetry. I can't stand these elites who are like, well, that's not poetry because it doesn't rhyme or it doesn't follow this set structure. It's so off-putting for people and it's like, well, actually, no, how about we just get to the basics of allowing people to express? You know so, from the moment, yeah, you know it's things, like people who are like am I a writer? I haven't had nothing like professionally put on. Do you write? Yeah, you're a writer. Then you know, like, why do you need these accolades? To be a writer, you write, therefore you're a writer. So it's like you write poetry, you're a poet. You know you don't have to be a lawyer, you don't have to be, you know, an award-winning poet to be a poet. Like you write poetry wherever that's for you and your family, wherever that's for thousands of people.

Speaker 1:

You're a poet. I love the idea that it's not about seeking validation, it's just about doing it, do, the do, and then you know the validation.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, because, again, who's it for? You know, like when, like Alan Rickman, for example, like he thinks that acting to leave like 40 in his 40s, you know and you think, like mate, you gave us Professor Snape. I'm like, come on like.

Speaker 1:

By the way, I played the young Alan Rickman in a TV film which is called the Song of Lunch Go Figure, anyway, as you mentioned it. So we're ramping up to a bit of Shakespeare in a minute, but just before we get there, this is the past. The golden baton moment, please. Alan. Who in your network would you most like to pass the golden baton along to who may enjoy benefit or just really like being given a damn good listening to in this way?

Speaker 2:

Oh, I'm going to say Briani Kimmings, I'm going to pass that golden baton to her. She's a performance artist, a mentor of mine and an all-ranked lovely human being, and I feel like she would have a lot to say, briani.

Speaker 1:

Kimmings, did you say, yeah, love that. With your permission, then, please do pass along a warm introduction to Briani Kimmings, bob's your uncle, and also your aunt nowadays, which is good. I'm good with this song. And now, inspired by Shakespeare and all the worlds of stage and all the men and women merely players, we're ramping up to now legacy inspired by the Seven Ages of Man's Strike Woman's Speech. So how, when all is said and done, connor Allen, poet, writer, actor, would you most like to be remembered?

Speaker 2:

or someone that made you feel, even on your darkest days. Connor was there to make you feel and bring a little ray of light to the darkest room in my house.

Speaker 1:

Love that. Where can we find out all about you? On the old Hinterweb. So if you want to find out a bit about me.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so my website corneralloncouk, and then on my Twitter as well corner underscore Alan92.

Speaker 1:

Lovely, and Alan is A-L-L-E-N and Connor is C-O-N-N-O-R. I know you know that, but I'm just Probably yes, yeah, I know that.

Speaker 2:

Just assume we're there for when else knows that you know?

Speaker 1:

Lovely so, as this has been your moment in the sunshine in the Good Listening 2 show Stories of Distinction and Genius. Is there anything else you'd like to say, connor?

Speaker 2:

Do you know what, chris? I think we've smashed it, to be honest.

Speaker 1:

So High five to us. You've smashed it. We've smashed it love that. So, yes, if you'd be up for it, we could do a bit of a post-grip where you, if you'd like, you can read another couple of poems if you want to. Yeah, by all means, but for now, this has been the Good Listening 2 show dot com. This has been the lovely Connor Alan. I've been Chris Grimes. More importantly, that's Connor Alan. Thank you very much indeed. Also, if you've been watching on the old Facebook channel as well, and, uh, stop recording there. Good night On Twitter and Instagram. It's At that, chris Grimes. So until next time for me, chris Grimes, from UK Health Radio. I'm from Stan To your Good Health and goodbye, connor Alan. Uh, children's Laureate of Wales 2021 to 23. You've just been given a damn good listening to it in this way. Could I get your immediate feedback on what that was like for you being curated through this journey in this way?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it was lush, it was really nice, just to be given. I guess that speaks Also not being able to overthink and just be like, ok, is this Because it could change, isn't it? You know, I guarantee you ask me the same questions next week. You'd have different answers, you know. But it's nice. Yeah, it's lovely.

Speaker 1:

You're the first person who's ever said it was lush. I'll take that. Thank you very much, 100%. We're off again. So this is a bit of a post-script, because if I just do another few minutes I'll get two episodes for you on UK Health Radio.

Speaker 2:

Woohoo, yeah for that.

Speaker 1:

So that brings you into a UK Health Radio space where it's 54 countries and an audience of about 1.3 million people. Please, no extra charge. You're welcome. So would you like, as we've got you here in the clearing, would you like to read a couple more poems? Would that be all right?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, by all means, by all means, do you know what? I'll play a little game with you, chris. I'll give you a pick and number between 56 and 74.

Speaker 1:

I'm going to go for Keshe number 71, please, 71.

Speaker 2:

Oh tribe, there we go.

Speaker 1:

Tribe, did you say yeah, tribe, it's called.

Speaker 2:

I misheard that.

Speaker 1:

It's not tribe as in B, it's tried as in I tried. Is that right? I know tribe. Yeah, I'm sorry, I was right.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, you were right, 100%. We're tribe, so it's high and low, far and wide for each and every member of your tribe the ones who will watch you ugly cry, the ones who will help you grow and fly. The ones who are patient, the ones who are kind, the ones who will give you a moment of their time, the ones who will cuddle you when the world isn't all it seems. The ones who will push you to chase those dreams. Life is a marathon, not a sprint, so don't overthink. Take time to breathe and blink and find those missing links. Friendship's the last forever. There's something you can't describe the ones who accept you for you are the best members of your tribe.

Speaker 1:

Thank you Very lovely too. Reminds me of your vibe attract to your tribe, which is a slightly cheesy way of not saying it as well as you just did.

Speaker 2:

I quite like that I mean OK. So I mean I we're on the Pertry Carousel.

Speaker 1:

Do you want me to pick another number?

Speaker 2:

Go on, go for it. 56, 74.

Speaker 1:

Let's go for cashier number 66, please 66.

Speaker 2:

That's a short one. Boats, boats Floating in a cold ocean, with different people and a mixture of emotions, all travelling in the same storm. Yes, waves are getting choppy, but boats are never in the same form. Not everyone is in the same boat. Some are in yachts, some in dinghies. Some are strong, some are flimsy. So, wherever boat you're in, just remember, keep hold of hope and you'll stay afloat.

Speaker 1:

Boats Love that Very good. And then we may as well do the comedy rule of three. Let's have a third poem, and I'll let you select the one you'd most like to do now.

Speaker 2:

Oh, go on, then let's do the last one, the title poem, miracles, miracles. The future you build lies before you over waves of words you sail through. It's a blueprint that's drawn in snow, and every unique creation will show A sea of words floating upon your imagination. You're a child on the waves of creation, climbing over mountains of make-belief, building a future, a sense of relief, words stored in the memory of the universe like stars, everlasting and diverse. Light and treasure can be found in the dark, and nothing can ever dim your spark, because you're one in eight billion, brilliant and unique. Your potential is yours and yours. To seek Behind your door is magical and lyrical. So walk on through, because you're all a bunch of miracles.

Speaker 1:

On that note, you're all a bunch of miracles. Thank you so much, Conor Allen, poet, writer, actor and the Children's Laureate of Wales. Please, that's a great thing for your perpetual CV 2021 to 23. Happy Christmas and then my last recorded episode of 2023. And I thank you for that.

Speaker 2:

I bless, bless. Thank you.

Speaker 1:

Thank you very much, and I'll let you know when it all goes live. I've been Chris Grimes. This has been Conor Allen. Don't forget to check out the website thegoodlistneedtoshowcom if you'd like to be my guest too. Thank you very much indeed, and good night.

Conor Allen
Exploring Hope, Growth, and Personal Reflection
Childhood, Identity, and Shaping Factors
Personal Relationships and Emotional Experiences
Generation, Identity, and Inspiration
Inspiration and Love
Knock, Knock and Power of Empathy
Advice, Love, and Poetry
Gratitude and Farewell