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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

"When I first met Bob, I used to sell him weed."

While I consider the first part of the Toronto Rap Project basically wrapped and I am currently working towards finishing an edit for The Reelworld Film Festival world premiere... I still cannot resist the opportunity to interview a subject I think will add to the story. So when I saw that British documentary filmmaker Don Letts was to be honoured in Toronto, I figured it was time to pack up the gear and head out. Don Letts was a big player on the scene during the seventies explosion of punk in the U.K. From his DJ gig at London's Roxy Club where the likes of the Sex Pistols, Clash, and Generation X broke out - to Don picking up the Super 8 camera which would eventually provide the pinnacle documentation of the emerging scene. I wanted to find out what similarities there were with the emergence of the punk scene and it's effect on British youth to today's hip-hop climate in Toronto. Just like the establishment wants to point the finger of blame at 50 Cent here, there was an element of society, circa seventies London, that tried to stop the likes of Johnny Rotten and The Sex Pistols. It proved to be tougher then first thought trying to get an interview with Mr. Letts. I don't know what it is today, but with almost any notable person out there.., there just always seems to be the entourage of people ready to tell you that "Don, is all booked up with media requests now and won't be able to speak to you." In my usual fashion of not taking "no" for an answer (at least until I hear "no" from the person I'm after... not their bitch boys or publicists.) I was eventually able to catch up to Don and pleaded my case for an interview. Don quickly saw the merits of the rap project and in appreciating my "punk spirit" of guerilla filmmaking techniques - he granted me some precious time for an enlightening (and sometimes combative) interview. When early in the interview the topic switched to Lett's first meeting with Bob Marley, and Don quipped, "the first time I met Bob, I sold him weed." - I knew I was in for a treat.