The Great Train Robbery

Yes Mi Irieites,

Today, August 8th, 2013 is the 50th anniversary of The Great Train Robbery, featuring Ronald Arthur Biggs, who was part of a gang of 15 members that carried out this notorious act.  What a birthday treat.  The event took place on Biggs’ 34th birthday.

But it wasn’t long before all of the train robbers, except for four, were caught.  Ronald, found guilty, was sentenced to a whopping 30 years in prison.  What a difference today, people are serving a far less time nowadays for committing the most horrendous of crimes.

However, a bit of luck came Ron’s way when he managed to escape jumping through the top of a removal van while it was “temporarily stationed” outside Wandsworth prison, July 1965.  This led to him becoming infamous: Ron went on to became a fugitive for 36 years. Thanks to the early Hollywood craze of plastic surgery as well as falsified passports, and the generosity of the Brazillian government, he was able to evade the British government for quite a long time.

Towards the end of his fugitive years, around 1997, we, Steel Pulse, had bumped into Ronald Biggs on a few occasions in Rio de Janeiro.  At that time he was delighted to meet some of his “home grown” boys, but at the same time showing expressions of being in a bit of a dilemma.  It was at a moment in his life when his Brazilian son, Mike, was becoming of age (21). This meant that Biggs would no longer, under Brazilian rules, be qualified as legal guardian to his son. This also meant that the UK had the powers to extradite him to complete his 30 year sentence.

The following year we had shows in Brazil and bumped into Biggs again who was celebrating telling us that the Brazillian government “dissed” the UK’s return order and gave him the right to live as a free man in Brazil.  I must admit, everyone around was celebrating with him…. the Pulse, too.  Mike had a smile as wide a Cheshire cat.

What we also knew was that Ron was homesick and had longed to return to the UK.  There have been other times too, for example when he had learnt of his eldest son’s death in a car accident, in Australia.  Ron was so distraught that he wanted to turn himself in.  Ultimately, he returned a sick man, with his Brazilian son, Mike, back to England.  His sentence was continued but only for a third of the time specified.  After a series of pleas from both him and his son due to his ill heath, Ron was released on “compassionate grounds.”

Happy Birthday, Ron…. 84 years old today!  We wish we were there to celebrate with you.  And Mike, if you manage to see this, please give us a link.  It would be good to catch up on old times!!

Ficar Forte, Meu Irmao… Vai Com Deus.

Stay Strong, My Brother… Go with Jah.

Postcard from Port De Saint Nazaire, France


Hail Mi Irieites,

….Still on our European festival tour and loving it!!

Here’s an image from Port De Saint Nazaire, Les Escales, at the of the “Festival des Musiques du Monde” (The Music of the World Festival).

It beats me why after 22 years of being active, this has been the first time that Steel Pulse has ever performed here.  It was a wonderful and honourable experience.  Behind me is a monument that was made in memory of the slaves that were transported from Africa.  The ships had  docked here and the slaves were generally transported to Nante, a nearby major city.  We give maximum respect to the efforts of advocates such as Victor Schoelcher, who went to drastic measures to put an end to the slave trade.

Saint Nazaire, was also a important entity during World War II, for the making of ships and any other types of water vessels.

And to the children of Saint Nazaire: keep strong and continue to grab education.  It would be good to start a communication network between you that can interlink with the UK and other nearby countries to spread more harmony and positivity around the world.  Thank you for your presence.

Oh, and a Happy Birthday to Ed, our tour manger, President Obama and my good good brethren, Jah B….

With Ky-Mani Marley @ One Love 2013, Venice

kmHail Mi Irieites,

Chilling with Ky-Mani Marley.   I haven’t communicated with him for quite a few years now… well, since we all did that show in Ghana along with Joseph Hill.  Joseph passed on later that year (2006).  Too bad Ghana’s 50th anniversary was right around the corner.

Nevertheless, we will, both Ky-Mani and the Pulse, continue our divine duties to “Chant Down Babylon”.

As Big Daddy would say “ONE LOVE” and One heart at the One Love Festival….


Stranger Cole at Garance 2013













Yes Mi Irieites,

As we embark on the first date of the European summer tour, I had the pleasure to chill out briefly with one of reggae’s original veterans, Mr. ‘Ruff and Tuff” himself: Stranger Cole.

There I was, rushing to get out of what was a slightly cold night (well for me it was), after an extremely hot day, and now fighting off a sore throat because of this drastically mixed weather, I stumbled across Stranger, sitting in our van waiting for the rest of his band members.   We both are at one of France’s biggest reggae festival, Garance.

It beats me why every time Stranger re-introduces himself he makes it a point that he is the father of Squiddly Cole, one of Jamaica’s best drummers.  But with no disrespect to Stranger, I believe he has carved a very chunky-size niche, within the industry.  Stranger was one of the acts that we use to shuffle dance to when my eyes were at my knees.

I am still reeling in disbelief that there is only an eleven-year difference between us.  He started his career in 1962.

So Stranger, don’t be a stranger.

Juror B29: “George Zimmerman got away with murder”

One of the first comments I made in regards to the Trayvon Martin shooting, was within days of the incident.  I stated that American justice will be in the balance, whatever the decision.  I was also hoping that what ever decision made was based on “truth and rights,” as oppose to the cunningness of lawyers.

As the story unravels itself, another juror has come forward now saying that “Zimmerman got away with murder.”  She went on to say that she held on to her decision as long as she could for a second degree murder conviction.


A Tribute to Bruce Lee

BruceLeeHail Mi Irieites,

This is an undying love for one of the most inspirational figures that has entertained our community while we came of age…. the masterful Bruce Lee.  This day July 20th, marks the 40th anniversary of his death.

So give some thought to Bruce, our unforgotten warrior. (27.11.1940 – 20.07.1973)

Just finished watching a documentary special on him.  BTW, Bruce shared the same birth date as another icon who passed on while in his prime……. James Marshall Hendrix


Happy 95th, Nelson Mandela!

Yes Mi Irieites,

I did promise that I would get back to you on this.  Time has ticked away, but no second has passed without us having thoughts for Nelson Mandela in our hearts.

At the beginning of the month, I received a few phone calls pertaining to Mandela being in hospital and his condition on “being hopeless.”  At that time I was asked by a few close friends to put something together for him before he goes.  I made reference of getting back to them on the issue but never did.  My reason? I had this deep belief that if Nelson survived all the turmoil the way he did for all those years, there was no reason why he would not be unable to gather that well known inner energy he has to be around for his 95th birthday.

My instincts paid off and I feel good about that.  So here is one more tribute to Madiba himself; Nelson, you served us well.  We are honoured to be witnesses and beneficiaries of your achievements in life.

Neither will we forget Winnie.

As the struggle continues, we wish you all the best on this special day, 18th July 2013.


A Sad Day in Bihar, India

Mi Irieites,

A sad state of affairs:

Earlier today, a food-poisoning incident broke out and killed at least 22 children between the ages of 5 and 12 years of age in a small village near Patna, in the state of Bihar, eastern India.

The children were said to be having their school meals consisting of rice, lentils, soya beans and potatoes when all of a sudden they started to feel severe pains in their stomach followed by a series of vomiting.  No one is really clear as to what might have caused this terrible outbreak.  But the idea of an insecticide known as “organophosphate,” used on the crops, has not been ruled out.  It is used in the rice fields and there was a strong possibility that the food was not properly washed before being cooked and served.  There is also a lot of speculation going because it has been said that many children who ate the soya bean product before the rice and were the ones that took ill, first.

Well, we are praying for the families who have lost their young ones and for a speedy recovery for those that are still in critical condition lying helpless in the local hospitals. This is the world’s largest school feeding program involving 120 million children, and in a poor state like Bihar, it is important to feed the children at school, but it is equally critical to make sure the food is safe.

For those who are unaware, the village is about 200 km from Gaya, the place where the Buddha is reported to have achieved enlightenment.

Jah Love Itinually…

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