Two years ago, two men met at City Hall.
Both were known to those in the know but were still waiting for that big breakthrough.
The first was Andrew Adonis – a No10 backroom wonk who’d become Schools Minister and was making a name for himself with Academies and renewing the capitals schools with the London Challenge programme.
The second was Bow’s finest, Dizzee Rascal, who’d just released his ‘Maths + English’ album to critical acclaim but was still waiting for his first number one hit.
Whilst both came from different worlds they actually had a lot in common. Adonis had a difficult childhood and was given a council funded place at a boarding school. Dizzee was expelled from a handful of schools.
And both had that unyielding drive to get to the top against the odds.
Political commentators said Adonis, who I worked with for three years on improving the image of London schools through London Challenge, would be axed from Government as soon as Brown got through that famous black door.
Music experts said Dizzee, who rapped on Band Aid 20, would never crossover to the mainstream in his own right. Both proved their critics decisively wrong.
Two years later, Adonis is probably the most talented Secretary of State in the Cabinet, this week announcing to the delight of the Labour benches plans to renationalise the East Coast Line whilst Dizzee wowed Glastonbury and has two number ones under his belt.
I brought them together to launch a new website promoting out of school summer courses. Dizzee agreed to do it because he got his break at an after-school club. He was able to learn how to lay down tracks and produce music. Summer Uni was the making of him.
So it’s good to see that their hard work paid off and I for one will always remember that we had more people at our bash than Mayoral Questions, which was going on at the same time three floors below. They even asked us to turn the music down!
Dizzee’s surprise choice of the track ‘Pussyole’ did give me a bit of a fright but luckily the client couldn’t hear the lyrics because the bass was so loud. And the kids LOVED it.
Here you can see both men in action in the clip – but check out DJ Semtex. A remarkable turntable maestro.
Even more remarkable when you consider he only has one arm and can scratch with his nose.
Now THAT’s talent.