this is the briefing. i‘m sally bundock. our top story: changes to her brexit deal — theresa may and eu officials agree ahead of a crunch vote "legally—binding changes" to the brexit deal, ahead in westminster on tuesday. of today‘s crucial vote european commission president in the british parliament. jean—claude juncker warned if the deal was voted down there was "no third chance". today we have secured legal changes. us aviation authorities say they believe the boeing 737 max now is the time to come together aircraft — of the type that crashed to back this improved brexit deal in ethiopia on sunday and to deliver on the instruction — is airworthy. of the british people. european commission president jean—claude juncker warns voting down the deal would put airlines around the world have everything at risk. grounded nearly 80 planes in politics, sometimes over safety concerns. investigators have found you get a second chance. the voice and data recorders. it is what we do with the second chance that counts because there algeria's ailing president abdelaziz bouteflika has pulled out of a bid for his fifth term in office — following widespread protests. the 82—year—old — who returned on sunday from medical treatment in switzerland — also postponed elections that were due next month. now on bbc news it's a special edition of hardtalk,
with stephen sackur. welcome to a special edition of hardtalk from the bbc radio theatre in london with me stephen sackur. this mental health is not easy to talk about, least of all for young men, so often brought up to regard any emotional vulnerability as weakness. well, my guest today knows that and has lived with the consequences. stephen manderson is much better known as rapper professor green. all his hit records, the awards and the rewards, couldn't ultimately mask his own inner pain. but he chose to speak out. he is determined to break the taboos around mental health. so, can we all learn from professor green? cheering and applause. thank you.
stephen manderson, professor green, welcome to hardtalk. thanks for having me. i've got to start by asking, how are you? because people who follow you closely know that you were about to go on a national tour. yes. you then had an accident and you fractured bones in your neck. so how are you doing? yeah, i'm all right, that's my answer and i'm sticking to it. but you're not in a neck brace. no, i think the way they described it is that it wasn't structural, it was a hairline fracture of my c7, which is high up, so we were quite worried initially, but i'm all right. i'm notjumping around yet but i'm probably doing better than they thought i would be. when i was introducing you, i was wondering whether to introduce you as stephen manderson or professor green.
‘cause obviously you are one of those artists who has always had a sort of stage name, a stage persona. is it important for you to be separate from professor green, or do you not see it that way? that's a tough one to answer, because i've always put so much of myself in my music. and that wasn't a character, it wasn't a character that i played. a lot of the musicians that i listened to when i was growing up, my favourite artists put themselves in my music, and that was what gave me an affinity towards them, really. so when i started writing music, i started writing about how i felt, what i saw, what i'd been through. it's always been incredibly personal, hasn't it? yeah, and that for me, you mentioned mental health already, i didn't realise this until recently because i only tried it once and it didn't work for me, cbt, cognitive behaviour therapy, a cornerstone of which isjournaling, writing down how you feel at any
given moment in time which is actually a really good thing to do that because it gives you perspective. you can write something a week prior which you look back on and say, i don't feel like that any more. you've made progress. or, i do feel like that, and i was right to feel like that, and it was a justified anxiety because it was actually something to worry about. what i'm trying to say is basically, from the age of 18 when i started writing music, i was doing something that was really beneficial to me as far as my mental health, because i was making sense of the mumble—jumble inside my head. i tell you what interests me, that you chose a form of music, a genre, which to many people, rap and hip—hop, to many people that was — in the 1980s and 1990s and through the 2000s — associated with images of young men bragging. young men putting on a show of bravado, of macho behaviour. macho attitudes. and your take on rap and rhymes and the words was never quite like that? no, there is a lot of
bravado in my music. laughter. isn't there? what about that word, macho? macho... no, not really. i think, i think the idea that... listen, there are things that were instilled in me growing up from when i was very, very young, as to what a man should be, because i grew up in a very hard household. i was brought up by my grandmother who was working three jobs and looking after her grandson, having already raised three of her own children on her own after her husband walked out and left her, and was also looking after her mum, my great—grandmother, nanny edie. and i think this happens in a lot of single—parent families, especially when the single parent is the mum, they think they have to be hard
because they assume that's what the man would do. so my household was very, you know, very stiff british upper lip, and i was taught that being a man meant being hard and you've got to suck it up and get on with it. which isn't necessarily the best way to deal with things, and i learnt through my own experiences and through going through things that the more honest i was about my vulnerabilities, the more strength i had in myself. and actually, there is a strength in admitting being vulnerable because as soon as you're honest about how you feel you can deal with it. as long as you lie about it, especially if you're lying to yourself about where you're at and how you feel, you're doing yourself a disservice. that honesty about pain within you, i think it's run right through your writing and your music. we're actually going to play a clip. because you late last year released a new song,
it was a collaboration with a guy who is now very big in britain and around the world, rag and bone man. we can show it, and i think when people look at it, it's important for people to know that it is deeply personal. it's about photographs, the importance of pictures, and lots of the pictures we're going to see in the clip are actually you with the dad you barely knew. let's look at this video clip. # i can't believe i left you feeling so low # i was just at nan‘s going through old photos # and you ain't in many of them, you're barely in any of them # three or four of them, wish you were in more of them # ijust wish there were more of them # ‘cause now all i got is memories # and i cry but that river's run dry # if only time was something money could buy # goodbye, but it ain't # with words there's only so many pictures i can paint # i'm running out of film now # 0nly so many pictures i can take # how does faith feel looking at pictures of b? # how does courtney feel looking at pictures of kurt? # is the pain worth the thousand words, i love you, # but i hate looking at pictures of you, ‘cause it hurts. # wish that i took more photographs of us # said goodbye, now our
love's collecting dust # just a memory of you is not enough # wish that i took more photographs of us. i‘ve watched that a few times and it really gets me. you wouldn‘t be the first person it made cry. yeah. and i think it resonated with a lot of people. the girl that you saw there was someone who contributed to the video by way of hashtag. there‘s a lot of negative talk about the impacts of social media. we found a way to use it for something really positive. you appealed to people for whom pictures of absent loved ones, or people they had lost meant so much. you appealed for them to send in those pictures. you said, you know what, i can relate to that. people did, and it became this beautiful, albeit sad, this wonderful public forum where people were engaging in each other‘s stories and sharing those
stories of the people they lost and people they had lost, and by way of doing that, keeping them alive. the girl in the video lost her brother, she only went to one concert with him and it was mine. but it seems to me that your relationship with your dad has become so central, to be honest, to your life. yeah. which is crazy, when you think... i was going to say, it‘s so ironic, because in life, and of course your father took his own life when you were just... 24. 2a years old. you didn‘t really know him. not as an adult. and in fact, the most difficult thing to say to you is that when you last had a conversation with him, when you were six years younger, at 18 years old, you told him basically to get lost.
no, i said if i see you again i‘ll knock you out. and people say, do you regret that? why would i regret that? he had done so much to me by way of letting me down time and time again, and i swore before that conversation that i would never open myself up to him doing that to me again. and then i thought, actually, you know what? maybe i need to be, even though i‘m not the elder here, i am not the parent, maybe i need to be the one to take that step because for whatever reason, unbeknownst to me at the time, he was too scared to. and i have an understanding now which i didn‘t have then. so i found him and i said, what‘s happening tomorrow? are you going to come and see me? he was mobile, i wasn‘t. i mean, he was driving. and he started to go, well, jackie and the kids would love to see you. jackie being his now—widow, and the kids being his stepchildren who he was more of a father to than he ever was to any of his, you know, his actual children. and i just said, for the first time ever, i stood up,
i was honest about how i felt, you know? and i said, "this isn‘t about me coming to play happy families, this is about you and i sitting down as adults and trying to see if there is a relationship there for us to salvage." and he started to stutter, and ijust went, you know what, don‘t even bother. if you can‘t make the effort, don‘t even bother. if i ever see you again, i‘ll knock you... how‘s that for macho? typical man, the first emotion, anger. and what i actually was, i was upset. and this is even harder to talk about, i guess. but the next time you saw him... he was dead. i id‘d his body because no—one else would walk in to do it. they were going to let the owner of the shop he worked in to identify his body. and ijust said, have some respect. there might have been something in between those words. but i walked in and i said, you silly sod. i gave him a kiss on his forehead
and i cried my eyes out. does talking about it, and it is so intense and so personal, and yet you have talked about it in recent times, does talking about it ease the pain? or is the painjust as real today as it ever was? what‘s funny is, i normally have a real good way of disengaging with any of the emotions that have anything to do with it, because i have to talk about it so often. and today, i don‘t find it that easy to disengage from, yeah. that‘s the thing, he‘s never going to not be dead, but we‘ve got a really bad relationship with death. we pretend it‘s not going to happen, and when it happens, we quite often pretend it hasn‘t. we sweep it under the carpet, we don‘t deal with that, we don‘t give ourselves a chance to deal with that. people, the old saying about i would rather cross
the road than talk to you, you know? it‘s because it‘s an awkward conversation. i think it‘s because we also want to fix things, we want to make people feel better, but your job isn‘t actually to do anything in that situation. sometimes you just have to give someone a chance to talk. or to cry, or to say nothing, just give someone the chance to grieve. absolutely. in the years directly after your dad took his own life, your music career took off in a big, big way. well, i almost died. sorry? i almost died. well, we‘ll get to that too. you are very accident prone person. you almost died because you were stabbed in a nightclub. and i don‘t know if the camera can pick it out, but if we look at the tattoo on your neck it actually also now is deeply scarred, because that‘s where that broken bottle went right in. i had a tattoo which said "lucky," which was an ode to me being less pessimistic, if not optimistic, at least realistic. and just trying to be a little bit more positive about things. and then i was lucky, to be honest. it‘s weird, people always say, "but you got stabbed." but how many people get stabbed in the neck and walk away from it?
nonetheless, if we don‘t get too distracted by the multiple accidents, because there are others we can talk about later, if we just focus for a second on the career. because i‘m interested in this disconnect in a way, between such a troubled, anguished life, but the ability you found going on from 2008 through to 2014 to have a string of hit records, to work with some of the biggest artist in the world, to become, if you like, the sort of vanguard of a rap movement in the uk that was a really big deal. some would say surely that, the success you had, the millions of records sold, that might have eased the pain. did it? no. i‘m silly as well because i had this idea, right, that if i became successful in music i would be absolved of everything that hurt me in my entire life. everything i saw growing up, all the stress that was in my household from the minute i was able to work out
what was going on and even probably before, you know, before your memory is forming, before you can think, you can feel, can‘t you? i was four when i was diagnosed with ibs and it was just anxiety and stress. you just said you had a permanent knot of anxiety in your stomach. not anymore. not anymore? not anymore. when did it go? when, uh, well it came back two weeks ago when... yeah, well, you know, there was a slight worry when they told me i‘d fractured my neck but then that‘s warranted and what i‘ve learned to do is distinguish between what‘s worth worrying about and what‘s not. did you reach a point when you realised that no amount of money, no amount of record sales, no amount of adulation was going to fix you? completely, and that‘s what i was getting to, it doesn‘t stop you from having good and bad days. nothing does, no matter what you achieve. and people always focus on numbers. so like, you can obsess with selling a certain amount of records.
i didn‘t know how many i wanted to sell, ijust knew i wanted to sell enough to be able to support myself so i could continue making music ‘cause i loved doing it so much. and i‘m extremely lucky. myjob is a hobby, you know? i don‘t look at going to the studio as work, that‘s a day off for me, and i‘m lucky for that, but it absolved me of nothing. if anything, it put a microscope under it and just meant i wasn‘t allowed to complain about anything because everyone still in the situation that i was in looks at me as someone who can‘t complain because i‘ve done what they‘ve wanted to do and they still think what i thought which is it gets rid of all your problems and absolves you of your past, which it doesn‘t. the other element of your life and actually i guess an element that some of your friends stuck with even after you left it behind, is drugs. and again, you‘ve been very frank and honest about the degree to which, in that period from sort of being a teenager to your early 20s, you were building a life that actually revolved quite a lot around selling cannabis, selling weed. and other stuff, i never sold
crack or smack though because i would never deal with people in the most desperate situations they‘ve ever been in every day of their life, i don‘t believe in it. but what do think made you different from the friends you had in that tough neighbourhood of hackney in east london, made you able, in the end, to escape from that when so many others did not? i don‘t know. there was a lot of people — and you know, not everyone carried on, some people did. you know, i‘ve got friends that are still in prison from it now. some people got regularjobs, there were people that said to me who were working on music, as i was, who said, you know, come on, this is never going to work. remember, i didn‘t start selling records till i was 28. i really did go all nothing. like i risked everything to do this. and they said you know what? you gotta get a job or you gotta do something different or this is going to be your life. and i don‘t know if it was, like,
a bit of some kind of self belief buried beneath all the blind stupidity thatjust led me down that path continually, but i carried on and thank god i did because it changed my entire life and gave me an opportunity, hopefully, to show others that it‘s possible. it makes me feel good whenever i see a young rapper coming up that would otherwise be doing what i was doing, it makes me feel good because, you know, i know what that life is, i lived it. that element of wanting to show others and in a sense, maybe guide others as well, seems to me it‘s really taken a big part of your life in recent years, as you‘ve made quite a number of tv documentaries. the first i think many people in this country remember very well, suicide and me, which built around the story of your father taking his own life, to look at the phenomenon of young men, so many young men in the uk. the percentage is extraordinary. i think 5,000 young men a year kill themselves. i would never have thought it. even having a dad and his brother also took his own life two years prior to him doing exactly the same
thing in exactly the same way. i would never, if you‘d have asked me what‘s the biggest killer of men between 15 and a5, i would never have thought it to be suicide, ever. never would i have thought that. itjust strikes me that given your own vulnerabilities, the mental health issues you‘ve had, the willingness you‘ve then shown to go into areas and dig deep into mental health, suicidal tendencies, you‘ve also looked at the drugs industry, you‘ve made documentaries about the class system and the difficulties that white working class kids face. you have become something of an activist and a campaigner and you clearly care very passionately about these causes. breaking taboos on mental health, breaking down barriers that keep down kids from disadvantaged backgrounds. but in a sense, that‘s you taking on more burdens.
i know you get e—mails from across the country from people who are sharing their mental health problems, their difficult times with you. that‘s incredible difficult because all i can say to them as a responsible adult is here‘s where you can get help because it could be irresponsible of me to try and give anyone advice, i‘m still dealing with my own— like, i‘m not sitting here, like, i‘m fixed, i canfix all of you, i can‘t. but isn‘t the danger, you‘re doing your head in some more by taking on all of these other problems. it‘s wonderful that people reach out to you with their problems but what does that do to you? um, do you know what? it‘s really, and i think everyone should probably take this on board, it‘s what you choose, like, you have to filter stuff. it‘s what you choose to let in, really, because you do have the power to decide as to what you do let in. it‘s like, i could read twitter all day and look at all the people saying nasty things, you know? and that could become my opinion of myself, but i am too old and too long in the tooth to be living my life for anybody else now.
i‘m not living up to anyone else‘s expectations. i make my decisions based on what i believe and what i want to do. the word selfish i think we need to look at and really readdress the connotations attached to it because looking after yourself is in no way a bad thing at all. like, how many of us find ourselves in situations that we are in just because other people wanted us to be there? like, go with what you need to do for yourself, as long as it‘s not at the detriment of other people then, you know, like, i had to work this out the hard way, but you‘re no good to anyone if you‘re no good to yourself. applause. ijust wonder, listening to you and hearing what you just said about the importance of tackling inequalities and giving people chances, whether there is, possibly, a bit of a politician inside you?
i hate politicians. laughter. i hate politicians. even the ones i like, i can‘t stand. laughter. but you, unlike politicians... applause. to generalise massively, unlike politicians, you are a public figure that young people in particular can connect with and who do not, for a second, question your genuine interest in them. that is an incredible power you‘ve got and i just wonder if you‘re tempted to use it. do you know what? yeah, i am, but but in the way that i have kind of, by accident, stumbled into and it‘s by not preaching, it‘s by not telling anyone how they should live or how they should do anything differently, it‘s just by, and it‘s how i learn from the people that i watched growing up and the people that i listened to. this is my last thought because we‘re almost out of time. my last thought is about the book title that you chose, lucky.
that was asking for trouble, wasn‘t it? laughter. and the tattoo which hides a scar from an attack that nearly killed you and we didn‘t even get to that. no, i had the tattoo first! sorry? i had the tattoo first. no, i know! but then the tattoo was ripped apart by the bottle, anyway, the point is, you have gone through an awful lot. there‘s the car smash we haven‘t talked about that almost killed you. recently you‘ve had this terrible accident that‘s done your neck in. you‘ve had the personal pain and anguish... i‘ve a brilliant osteopath, so look, i can move my neck again now. laughter. and yet, your book is called lucky. and i guess you‘re still here, so there‘s an element that i understand there. what i‘m interested in, after all of the honesty you‘ve given us about the pain in your life, is whether, alongside lucky, you could write happy. 0hhh. um, do you know what? it really depends on the day. i‘m not going to sit here and, and...i can‘t lie to you, i can‘t do it. not every day, not every day. more days than not? um, of recent, yeah.
i‘ve learned a hell of a lot about what i find happiness in and i‘ve spent a hell of a lot more time doing those things and spending time with those people as opposed to putting myself in situations which may have made me feel better temporarily but ultimately made things worse. and that‘s the most important life lesson i‘ve learned, find the things that make you happy and find the people who make you happiest and put your energy into those things and those people and, you know, life does get a hell of a lot better. i‘m a hell of a lot happier now than i was a couple of years ago, i can tell you that much. lets end on that thought. stephen manderson, it‘s been terrific having your. thank you so much. applause. thank you, thank you for being here.
hello there. although it was quite windy out there on monday, it was probably the quietest day of this week. through the next few days, the rest of the week, we‘re going to see some outbreaks of rain, which will be heavy at times, and accompanied by some very windy conditions. in fact, we‘ve got a storm on the way. the latest storm is being named storm gareth, and it‘s around that curl of cloud there, already pushing ahead this thickening cloud to bring some outbreaks of rain, and on and ahead of those weather fronts, we‘ve got some strong and gusty winds, as well. but it‘s really as the storm, the low centre, approaches later on on tuesday and into tuesday night that the winds really start to pick up. so this is what we look like early on in the morning.
those are the sort of temperatures — pretty mild out there. that‘s not the main story, mind you. you can see we‘ve got that band of rain around from that cloud, and these are the sort of gusts we‘re looking at early in the day, so gales, i think, in many places. and it could be particularly squally, briefly, in that rain band, as it sweeps its way across northern england, wales and the south—west of england in the morning, into the south—east of england through the afternoon. we may well find some sunshine and showers following on, and the winds easing just a little. but then they really start to get noisy again around that swirl of rain, around our storm that approaches the north—west later on in the day. and we‘re drawing down some chillier air as the day goes on, so temperatures will be dropping a bit. the winds, though, really picking up through the afternoon, into the evening and overnight in northern ireland, western parts of scotland. 70, maybe 80mph around some coasts, and we‘ve got that rain around, too — that‘ll push its way into england and wales. 50—60mph gusts quite widely. very slowly, the winds easing down
just a little bit on wednesday, but still a very windy day, and there‘ll be some sunshine and some showers, before we get some more persistent rain coming back into northern ireland. those temperatures should be a little bit higher, typically in double figures. now, our storm is heading across the uk and out into the north sea, so the winds are easing down a little bit. but then we‘ve got that next weather system coming in rapidly from the atlantic. as you can see, overnight it brings rain in many areas, that weather front then sinking its way southwards on thursday. some of the heaviest rain likely to be over the high ground in north—west england. you can see we‘ve got some strong to gale—force winds, and then by friday, sunshine and some showers. the strongest of the winds, though, arriving with storm gareth later on on tuesday. through tuesday night and into wednesday, there‘s likely to be some travel disruption and some damage. you can keep up to date with the forecast here, and all the details on bbc local radio.