Heathrow has teamed up with critically-acclaimed spoken word artist (and Young People’s Laureate for London) Caleb Femi to launch his new poem A Tale of Modern Britain

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Heathrow has teamed up with critically-acclaimed spoken word artist (and Young People’s Laureate for London) Caleb Femi to launch his new poem A Tale of Modern Britain. With 78 million passengers travelling through Heathrow each year, this powerful new piece of poetry – written and narrated by Femi – uses his experiences travelling as his inspiration for the film. Please find the video here!

 

To mark the launch of the new poem, Heathrow commissioned research asking 2,000 Brits about their views on Britain in the context of travelling, discovering:

 

  • One in five Brits (20%) say their main purpose for travel is to visit family abroad
  • Have You Met The Queen (19%), Which Football Team Do You Support (32%) and Are You From London (33%) are the top three things Brits get asked by people when overseas
  • Harry and Meghan’s engagement announcement revealed as defining moment of the last year
  • The Beckhams, Mo Farah and James Corden join the Royals as best representatives of modern Britain

 

 

A Tale of Modern Britain: Heathrow partners with spoken word artist Caleb Femi to create powerful poem on modern Britain and travel in 2018   Heathrow commissions research on Britishness to mark launch

 

Thursday 25th January, 2018, London, UKHeathrow, the UK’s only hub airport, today unveils a collaboration with critically-acclaimed spoken word artist Caleb Femi to launch his new poem A Tale of Modern Britain. Caleb’s piece, a beautiful and modern description of travel, celebrates Heathrow’s role as the gateway to the UK, welcoming and waving off international visitors and returning Brits.

 

With 78 million passengers travelling through Heathrow each year, this powerful new piece of poetry – written and narrated by Femi – uses his experiences travelling, as well as capturing people and journeys which have taken or taking place at the airport, as his inspiration for the film. Looking to the growing trend for spoken word, the poem explores what it means to be British through the lens of arrivals and departures at the country’s busiest airport.

 

The short film brings Femi’s words to life with his narration framing moments at the airport – from emotional reunions, excitement as people head off for new adventures at Departures and behind the scenes from the airfield – alongside snapshots of life in and around Britain. The video can be viewed on Heathrow.com, on terminal screens across the airport and on the Heathrow Express.

 

To find out what ‘home’ means to British people today, Heathrow commissioned research asking 2,000 Brits about their views on Britain in the context of travelling.

 

DEPARTURES: GOODBYE BLIGHTY

 

Brits are thrill seekers at heart with more than one in five (21%) saying one of their top reasons for jetting off is to seek out an adventure, whilst 19% crave exploration of unusual places. Highlighting what a global community we truly are, a further 20% say their main purpose for travel is to visit their extended family, with one in twenty (5%) making journeys inspired by their family history.

 

TALLY HO-LIDAYS

 

London, the Queen and the Beautiful Game are what people most want to discuss with Brits when they travel overseas; one in three Brits stated they are asked whether they are from London, 32% are quizzed on which football team they support and nearly one in five of us are asked if we have ever met the Queen when on our travels.

 

With a Royal engagement, a third royal baby on the way and a global obsession with TV show The Crown, the royal family are firmly front and centre of mind for the nation, with The Queen, Harry, William and Kate all identified as our most recognisable representatives. Beyond the royals, David and Victoria Beckham, Mo Farah and James Cordon all feature on the list of ‘18 for 2018’; the British stars voted as the best representatives of modern Britain*.

 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal engagement is the moment that summed up the last year for many (32%) Brits. Over one in four (26%) felt it was the spontaneous singing of ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ following the tragic Manchester attacks, whilst more than one in ten (14%) thought that the announcement of a female Doctor Who was the biggest moment for the nation last year.

 

ARRIVALS: WELCOME HOME

 

The welcoming view of our local pub on the journey back from the airport is the moment at which more than one in five (22%) of us feel truly back in Britain, whilst buying a British newspaper (18%) and hearing different regional accents (17%) also feature high on the list of what makes us feel like we’ve arrived back home.

 

Caleb Femi explains why he was attracted to the project: “For many of life’s biggest milestones – from exciting departures to emotional reunions – Heathrow is the backdrop. The airport is a fascinating place to keep your finger on the pulse of modern Britain, as the people who travel through it says so much about the country and what we stand for.  I’ve loved immersing myself in the stories of different travellers to piece together a portrait of the country in 2018.”

 

“I hope people enjoy watching the video, which celebrates what it means to be British and the emotions that unite us all when we travel.”

 

John Holland-Kaye, Chief Executive at Heathrow, commented: “The UK is a culture that thrives on its connections with the rest of the world – for those leaving or returning home, as well as international visitors exploring the country for the first time.  As the UK’s only hub airport, and after more passengers than ever in 2017, we’re proud to help make these connections with the world possible. We hope that people really enjoy this ode to the UK as a celebration of Britain as a nation.”

 

Watch A Tale of Modern Britain by Caleb Femi on the Heathrow website here.

 

 

The research was conducted by Markettiers on behalf of Heathrow between 5 to 9 January 2018, based on a survey of 2,000 respondents from across the UK.

 

*Top 18 Brits for 2018 (as voted for by 2,000 UK respondents):

 

  • David & Victoria Beckham
  • JK Rowling
  • Ed Sheeran
  • Andy Murray
  • Mo Farah
  • James Corden
  • Adele
  • Jamie Oliver
  • Jessica Ennis-Hill
  • Lewis Hamilton
  • Idris Elba
  • Stormzy
  • Vivienne Westwood
  • Nadiya Hussein
  • Wayne Rooney
  • Kate Moss
  • Naomi Campbell

 

A Tale of Modern Britain by Caleb Femi

 

You arrive at the end of the horizon

standing at the tarmac mouth of home

lighter if you left it all behind -heavier if you brought all with you.

Come, before you step out into the open air

sit down here, in-between the brief pause

of children’s laughter and a tannoy announcement.

In the small kingdom of faces -some moving with

the grace of falling snow

others like laser beams bouncing off a disco ball.

 

Not too long ago you were at departures

when leaving was a sweet song bitter in the throat to sing.

Do you remember the faces who were leaving for work,

or for the spring holidays,

to say goodbye at a family funeral

or for the laughter of a hen do?

Those who were answering the call to adventure

with an open ticket in hand and in the other a phone

full of friends who will follow them each step of the way.

 

Now you’ve arrived at the other side of that adventure

in the warmness of home

shed the hue of ‘tourist’

you’re back in your endz now

one of the locals

you know the right trains to catch

know the best breakfast spot.

 

This country is not a place of good weather but of good people.

What do you want to know about the country? You might learn it here

in this marketplace of modern British culture.

Take a crash course in the local lingo

teach your ears the different accents

we don’t all sound like Downton Abbey

not all Northerns sound like Wayne Rooney

some of us man do get hot

we’re not all about tea and crumpets -well some of us are.

 

Imagine a terminal as a portal to a new version of yourself

a new light pouring over a new sunrise

remember that as you

depart at the start of the horizon

standing at the tarmac mouth of the world.

 

About Heathrow

Heathrow is Europe’s largest airport and one of the world’s top international aviation hubs. As the UK’s global gateway, Heathrow welcomes more than 76 million passengers every year with a commitment to making ‘every journey better’. The airport is home to more than 80 airlines and is Britain’s largest cargo port, helping to drive British trade growth by connecting the nation to more than 190 destinations around the world. Following an investment of more than £11 billion over the last 10 years, Heathrow is currently ranked by passengers as the ‘Best Airport in Western Europe’ for the third year running and the ‘Best Airport for Shopping’ for eight years in a row.

 

 

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