Booker winner Marlon James talks about his teenage musical tastes

As a persecuted nerd I had delusions that I was at least brilliant. It was a coping mechanism. Just like music. Many middle-class nerds in Jamaica like me didn’t really listen to reggae in the ’80s. We listened to alt bands like the Cure, the Smiths, New Order, Skinny Puppy and pretty much anything on MTV. [link]

 Nineteen eighty-three. Thirteen years old. I was at an all-boys high school, one year into my reputation as one of the class ‘faggots’. There’s an edge to being a freak, even at thirteen, but also a desperation to belong, made worse than there being nowhere to belong to. This sounds like a Jamaican high school play about American high school life, but our favourite pastime in 1983 was watching America. Pop culture, music, America itself wasn’t quite real until Michael Jackson. [link]

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