26 April 2012


A full length documentary film is currently playing in British cinemas - all about the life of the legendary Jamaican music maker - Robert Nesta Marley (1945-1981). It's simply called "Marley". Yesterday I received a pirate copy and watched it on the big screen in the social club. Two and a half hours long, it was an intense watch.

You see the little shed in the impoverished inland hill parish of St Ann where Marley grew up with his mother, Cedella. Some time in 1944 she was impregnated by an English plantation overseer - Norval Marley who was considerably older than  Cedella. He died when Bob was just ten years old. That Bob was therefore of mixed race made him uncertain of natural allegiance. Perhaps he was of the world as much as he was of Jamaica.

Largely through interviews with Marley's musical associates and family members, the documentary follows his life to Trenchtown - the vibrant shanty district of Kingston. There he develops his musical and songwriting talents as well as embracing the Rastafarian religion with its somewhat bizarre focus upon Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia. This diminutive and politically dubious figure even visited Jamaica in 1966 - greeted at the airport by many thousands of Rastafari and ordinary Jamaicans who literally mobbed his plane - such was the excitement and adulation.

Smoking ganja was not purely recreational. The notion was that it allowed Rastafari a closer connection with Jah - their God. Bob Marley smoked a lot of it but he also loved to play football at every opportunity.He was also sexually active - siring eleven children by seven different mothers. One day after a football game, his big toe hurt like hell and when he got it checked out he discovered he had a melanoma. This was to be the beginning of a four year journey to death but in the meantime he created most his finest music - playing huge concerts across the world including his triumphant "Uprising" shows at Madison Square Gardens.

From such humble origins, Bob Marley came to touch the world. It wasn't just about his music. There was something special about him - perhaps something spiritual. He seemed to embody the quest and the hope that is in all of us. Whereas so many ephemeral musical artistes have been obscured and forgotten by the passing of years, Bob Marley endures. I wish I'd seen him in concert:-


  1. For someone who is purportedly dipping his tootsies in the warm turquoise waters of coastal Myanmar and Thailand whilst parading about in what I'm sure is a very fetching pair of lilac speedos, you certainly know a lot about what is currently going on in England. I'm just sayin'...

  2. Jah... Rastafari.... tanks, me love dat.... Irie man!
    Perhaps you would also like Lee Scratch Perry??
    Roast fish and cornbread

  3. YP this is just what we need for an evening on the Island.....everybody can move to music like this and after a hard day swimming and strolling and reading and whatever, then a few drinks and a cry of 'give it a bit a push' would do the job nicely

  4. RHYMES WITH... What are you implying my good sir? Even I can feel a little homesick. After all, I wasn't meant to be living here on my own! We were meant to be building a brave new world together - an alternative society. Instead it's just me and the whispering, smirking servants!
    ARCTIC FOX Gimme ah bulla as brawta ah fawty dolla wut ah callaloo, caw ah frah mawning mi nuh nyam!
    LIBBY - If youd as cummin in de Bloglan you and me gi laugh fi peas soup!

  5. Hello dear blogging friends.
    Yesterday I rounded the last headland on my circumnavigation of my island and made three new discoveries. The first was that there is a land very close to the North. I wouldn't risk swimming it, although I'm sure Daphne could make it! The second was that the whole beach was covered with tiny wee jellyfish. Their weren't stinging ones, but looked really cute. The third thing I took to be a washed up log, but it's not - it's a canoe! I was so excited! Then my heart fell when I saw the hole in the bottom. I don't know if it can be repaired, but I am determined to get off this small island where I have established there is no-one but me, and get to the next one, which is SO close. And now, I might have the means! Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I might be able to fix the hole? I have one 'Sheffield' Swiss-army-type knife, and that's about it, apart from what is on this island.

  6. PS I don nor nothing 'bout Marley ceptin if youd be wanna say 'bacon' youd bi havvin to say 'beer can'.

  7. "Marley and me" was one of his better films... though I dont recall seeing him much in it?
    there was a lot of a labrador though

  8. Katherine, I have reviewed the photographs of your circumnavigation and I suggest that you try to plug the hole with a large coconut, which you might be able to lash down and secure with a couple of palm fronds. It might not be totally seaworthy for a long trip, but it might make it to that nearby island. Of course, we wouldn't know until you attempt it.

    Perhaps you can dismantle the canoe and use a large piece without a hole as a raft or surfboard that you could lie on and dog-paddle your way to the other island.

    But what are you hoping to find on the other island?

  9. Thanks so very much for your suggestion Robert. I have any number of coconuts, and I could enlarge the hole and make it more circular, so a coconut would fit more snugly... Not sure how long palm fronds would last, but I may find some lianas in the jungle (brrr) that might do as lashing. I expect the water would still seep in around the edges of the coconut, but if it wasn't too much, I used my coconut bowl to bail regularly, it just ... might ... work! Thank you!

    Any other ideas out there?

  10. Yes. I have another idea. Split a coconut in half then link the two halves together with palm binding and you have yourself your own eco-friendly homemade bra!

  11. Well, thank you YP. I guess my request for ideas was very open-ended. But what do I need a bra for here?

  12. I know what to do Katherine. Turn the canoe upside down in the water and ride it like a horse. That'll do the trick !!
    See you soon.

  13. Thank you for your suggestion Helsie. I tried that. It rolled over. In fact, even right side up and patched, I suspect I'm going to need an outrigger...


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