Tag Archives: Processed Sugar

Refined Sugar

Much thanks to Sinclair from the prolific Poetical TV for the filming of this boiled down, re-processed version of my Tangled Roots memoir, Processed Sugar.

Props to Deanna & Dean and the Come Rhyme With Us fam for a most enjoyable, warm and flavoursome couple of gigs, and check the Poetical TV archive for lots more  poetry food – including the force that is Rhythm of Men. Tasty.

Tangled Roots anthology launch and performance

The Tangled Roots anthology was launched last night at Seven Arts, Leeds, accompanied by a performance of blended stories from five of the writers: Michelle Scally Clarke, Seni Seneviratne, Jane Steele, Adam Lowe, and myself.

Due to the fact that the theatre space roof had collapsed the night before, we were forced to improvise what would have been a more theatrical rehearsed piece in the café bar. We dubbed this performance, Tangled Roots: the Radio Play. It seemed to work. And with broadcaster Nick Ahad among the contributing writers perhaps a radio treatment could even be a possibility? (nudge nudge ;)).

The book itself features further writings on the subject of inter-racial Yorkshire love from Emily Midorikawa, Desiree Reynolds, Audrey Dewjee, Abiola Awojobi-Johnson, Chloë Anderson, Theeda Winter, Cassandra Henry, Eve Ahmed and project devisor/producer Katy Massey.

The book can be ordered from the website.

Happy World Book Day!

TROOTS cover

Processed Sugar – Tangled Roots memoir

photo by Anthony Farrimond

photo by Anthony Farrimond

Processed Sugar
– a memoir of growing up ‘mixed-race’ (an extract)

Mum and dad never really thought they’d settle in Pontefract. Ponte was supposed to be tough. Hard, gritty. Neighbour of Fev, Cas, Wakey, ex-mining town, northern, White working class. They had lived in York.

One day, heavily pregnant with my older brother Andrew, my mother ventured out to Betty’s tea shop for a teacake. An elderly lady made room at her crowded table. In conversation, she remarked: “One of the good things about York is that there aren’t many coloureds.”

Pontefract was quite a change to York. Both had sweet factories, a castle and a racecourse but the Pomfretian tea shops were of a much lesser premium. In 1976 there weren’t that many ‘coloureds’ in Pontefract either. Out shopping in the town centre with myself in the pram and Andrew seated on top, my mother met another friendly stranger who felt moved enough to observe: “People like you are really good to look after these children.”

Unlike Andrew who had the misfortune to be born in soft, cosy, chocolate Florentine-d, lace doilie-d, middle class York, I was born and bred in Ponte. I was proud of the fact. “Where you from?” People would ask. “Ponte”, I would reply in my broadest Pomfretian. “No, I mean where were you born?” Not giving them what they wanted, I’d answer: “At the hospital. You?”

Read the full memoir here.


Tangled Roots is an Arts Council funded project which records and celebrates the experiences of multi-racial families in Yorkshire.

Contribute your own story or read others by Michelle Scally Clarke, Desiree Reynolds, Adam Lowe, Jane Steele, Emily Midorikawa & Seni Seneviratne by visiting the website tangledroots.org.uk