Marlon James (notes from a BBC interview)

In this post, there are notes so that you can understand the BBC radio 4 Desert Island Discs interview with Marlon James. He is writer who wrote a book about the attempted assassination of Bob Marley.   Aggie and I are currently creating a podcast (in which we will explain some of the vocab) and it will be launched on 11th October!

You can listen to the interview here:

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the booker prize

he may have been destined to turn his talents to story about crime

1.30    Family joked that his mother locked criminals up

1.38 He believed he had destroyed every existing copy of his manuscript

2.00 Tell me about self belief – I didn’t always have it

2.38 Someone asked him to give her a manuscript “I did under duress

3.38: I like teaching undergrads

3.39 just discovering their voice

3.51   intoxicating    (creativity for creativity’s sake)

4.07   Writing is figuring themselves out

4.09   and tapping into this vast possibility of what they can be

4.36   Silence to me feels like deafness

5.011 Reggae music - rebellious

5.15 first Track (Ring the Alarm) – it was one of the paradigm shifts for reggae music

5.22 a stunning brilliant song

6.15   When he won Man Booker – reaction seems to be one of genuine surprise (LL)

6.23 Thinks he must have the most rambling, incoherent  speech ever

6.32 in hindsight, yes I should have know (that he would win)

6.36 I was absolutely stunned

6.47   they even stayed near the stall (bathroom)

7.05 Selling a book sure beats not se

7.08 it’s galvanised a lot of things (selling the book)

7.18 Some thoroughly hating it (the book)

7.21 coming to it because of the exposure

7.35   we don’t storm the best seller list

7.35   we bring some acclaim to the publisher

7.52 Reaction in Jamaica it was for the most part celebraitary

8.00 same year that I came out in the New York Times

8.20   that was the sole purpose of the Facebook group (should a homeosexual give a marley speech)

10.00  A typical, surburban childhood

10.07 some lofty british series

10.31   some ways very rich, some ways stultifyingly boring

10.35 Boredom is the correct crucible for a creative imagination

10.40 – you’re trying to write your way out of it

11.00 they were very good at shielding work from us (parents – didn’t talk about their professions)

11.06 my mum was so over it

11.10 they shot up her workplace

11.28 It must have given you a different perspective

11.57 One of the few times when new unnerved my parents (When BM was shot)

12.05 BM was untouchable

12.15 that pulled a rug out from under them (the shooting (his parents))

12.28   A peculiar kind of close (relationship with Dad)

12.45 that was our way of bonding (Dad)

13.27 he sort of sunk into my blood (Mersey street - track)

13. 35 skipping college

13.43 rolling through Kingston

13.48 no matter how fast you were going, you were gliding

13.57 all you hear is rain on the wind shield

14.11   Utter joy

14.51   inexplicably joyful college days (LL - taking you back to …)

14.59 I was definitely a nerd, a geek, the school sissy

15.12 really wanting to live in any era but the one I was in

15.24 just not feeling that I fit in at all

15.30 was that something that you’d articulated to yourself at that point? (the ways that he didn’t fit in)

15.34 I found kindred spirits

15.41 everyone else excluded us

15.49 the kids who cursed too much ….

16.05 pretended that you weren’t your brothers brother so he wouldn’t be teased

16.11 not just my idol but ..

16.15 a second former with 5th former cred (he was that cool)

Street cred

16.51 the most we may have done is nodded to each other for the next 5 years

17.05 we didn’t acknowledge each other (him and his brother)

17.20 people were stunned (that they were related)

19.05 we’d show up in the library (at college)

19.36 it was pretty traumatic going to work

19.42  I ran back  into the same people I left behind in high school

19.45 they were still narrow minded, homophoebic

19.59 after this grace period at college, you’re suddenly back in the real world (LL)

20.14 everyone will be progressive… was so oppressive

20.33 I didn’t pursue it for years (writing)

21.30 you are creating via compromise (being a writer in an ad agency etc)

21.33 there are so many cautionary tales in my own industry

21.49  get suspended

22.03: He thought I was chasing girls

22.43 he had dreads

23.55 you said that you wanted to pray away the gay

24.35 a narrowness that was looked upon as a virtue

24.51 you can put things on hold for as long as you want

24.55 we’re all repressed together

25.16 Exosism

25.29   So much intense and immediate emotional turmoil

26.26   the lusts came roaring back

26.59   that worked smashingly

27.05 I’m too much of a wuss to become an atheist

27.34 It was the first time that I felt like someone got my back (Nirvana didn’t want racist, homophobic people to buy records etc)

28.47 I don’t know if I would have written the queer parts (if was still in Jamaica)

28.59 I was over obsessed with what a novel should read like

29.14 shows itself in the ways in which I’d allow it to slip into a stream of consciousness

29.23 shifting timeframes

29.38 God I’m queer! (strange) high level code switching -

29.59 ‘they’re even more conservative in a diaspora (jamaicans living in the Bronx)

30.00 I’m living with people that are nostalgic for Jamaica

30.06 very suspicious of difference

30.23  baggy pants

30.44 Skin tight jeans with an obscenely low rise

30.57 strutting all over like some peacock

to show people how good you are at doing something, or how attractive you look

Let’s go and strut our stuff on the dance floor.

31.14 dash back to Barns and Noble

31.33 I could start over

33.16 have you ever made a pilgrimage to …

34.28  The guys were such good sports

34.36 all the hilarious of who shows up at Prince’s gates

34.51  I don’t think my books are as loaded with violence as people say

34.57 Of course my violence is going to resonate because violence comes with suffering

35.06 a lot of that criticism of violence is hypocritical

35.10 second novel doesn’t flinch from it either (the violence)

35.20 Reading about a slave getting whipped is probably hard, it’s easier than getting whipped.

36.28 I’m always thrown off when people ask me what can you cook

36.36  edible - food on the island

37.11 you kind of slide into it (Radiohead)

37.18 as a roving busy adult

38.44 Tom Jones - I had the most rollicking time