My first memory of the Blackie is when we were kids and had to navigate our way to the Black-E from Berkley Street in Liverpool 8. We used to cut through the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral to avoid any confrontations on the way. The buzz of the youth sessions and the general atmosphere attracted me to the Black-E.
I remember going to Granada TV Studios and the Coronation Street set in Manchester and being told not to touch the sweets. The Blackie had been comissioned to produce a programme called “Blackie Reports”. I met Bob Greaves and was interviewed by Wayne Spencer on the basis that I lived in a barrel.
I remember when the Black-E was being rebuilt it moved to the Hertz premises in Renshaw Street for a while. Once again innovation saw the Homesick Blues project. I painted a blue rainbow using six different shades of blue. The Crown paint company had donated gallons of blue paint to the Black-E.
I established the Dance Alive Company during the 1980s. It was initially part of a youth training scheme (YTS) based in Princes Road, Liverpool 8. It was the first such scheme to tour venues in London.
The African Routes festival was held in the Black-E featuring various artists. It was a positive event full of energy and very fulfilling. The show was awarded the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo Dance Performance of the Year. To me it satisfied my thirst for music and dance.
I was fortunate to attend IM Marsh College to study Afro Caribbean Dance with the dynamic Elroy Josephs. Little did I know I would eventually become the tutor of the Dance Course. I am in no doubt that the Black-E gave me the opportunity to realise my potential.