Rose Rouse – I’ve been a journalist for over 20 years. In 1984, I was pelted with bread rolls by Frankie Goes To Hollywood in the green room at the infamous TV music show The Tube in Newcastle. I’d given them a bad review a couple of weeks before. The Stranglers and I didn’t get on either. French and Saunders – I found them bland and uninspired. Journalists in those days took more risks. Interviews weren’t just a gentle PR exercise. I loved it.
Since then, I’ve been on many adventures including emotional and tantric ones. I wrote about the Hoffman Process – an 8 day intensive where the focus is on forgiving your parents and learning about your behavioural patterns – for the Observer. And belly danced in Turkey for the Independent. More recently I visited the International Tantra Festival in the hills of Catalonia and reported on it for GQ.
I’ve also started writing books. Missing (Metro 2008) was a series of heartfelt interviews with the relatives of husbands, sons and daughters who have never been found; and Last Letters To Loved Ones (Metro 2009) which contains the often poignant last letters from soldiers who have died in Iraq, Afghanistan, World War 1 and 2, moving last letters from the terminally ill and suicide notes. I went on Woman’s Hour and the World Service to talk about the latter. It was also serialised in the Daily Mail. Oh heavens!
Now I have a new project, which is exploring Harlesden where I live. I’m having an adventure on my doorstep. It’s in North West London in the borough of Brent. Simultaneously, one of the most diverse and deprived areas in the UK, Harlesden is raw and very, very lively. It is also multi-layered.
I’m setting myself the task of being a detective on the trail of Harlesden. Initially, this blog records a series of walks that I’m undertaking at different times of the day and night. Sometimes alone, sometimes with others. I’m walking with all sorts of people from documentary maker, Louis Theroux to actor and writer, Alexei Sayle to poet, mother, artist and ex gas meter reader, Sue Saunders. More recently, I have walked with legendary punk filmmaker, Don Letts. I’m also orchestrating happenings like Talk To Me where I sat under the Jubilee Clock with a sign inviting passersby to talk to me. They did. More recently, I organised Dance Willesden Junction with 8 friends dressed in red. Soon it will appear as a short film.
Take a look at what I discover. I welcome your feedback. I don’t think I’ll be getting pelted with bread rolls in Harlesden High St but you never know and I’m ready for anything…