In response to my guide to producing a rock opera in prison (in the March Issue of Inside Time), a prisoner wrote (in the May Issue of Inside Time):
“…I would like to congratulate Graham Coutts and his fellow inmates on their roaring success.
I can say it has been a few years since I witnessed one of your successes, plus the many band nights I attended. It was those days that inspired me to learn music. So, I would like to say thanks to yourself, (another prisoner), and the other members who inspired me and helped along the way…”
He goes on to say that he and other prisoners at his prison are attempting to put together some music project by following my guide.
To read this was a real tonic. To know that, in my own small way, I have played a part in inspiring other prisoners to do something more than just sit in their cell learning a musical instrument; this is part of the legacy we all spoke about at the start of our project.
This project was never about me; it was about breaking new ground, pioneering a new way of thinking. Prisoners are human beings and, as such, cannot be defined by one thing or another; we are all so much more than the worst thing we have ever done and we all have the pontential for greatness. This project showed a lot of the participants potential they did not even know existed in them. Imagine a world where prisoners leave prison, not brutalised, broken and bitter but with hopes and goals to rebuild their lives and contribute to the lives of those closest to them, and society as a whole.
Given tha arduous journey this project became and the attitudes of the naysayers, this letter really cheered me up; at least some people get it.
Be happy, be safe.
Graham Coutts, 7th August 2018