School of Education

photo of Marlon Moncrieffe

Podcast: Dr Marlon Moncrieffe

Dr Marlon Moncrieffe, Senior Lecturer in the School of Education, discusses his new book on decolonising the curriculum, the importance of teaching black British history in schools.

Dr Moncrieffe also gives an update on his Black-British Champions in Cycling project, which has received global attention, and how he’s developing it into a worldwide study.

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Alternatively, the podcast is roughly transcribed below – please note, this is auto-transcribed and there are likely to be errors throughout.

Hello, welcome to the University of Brighton podcast, I’m Richard Newman and this is the podcast which talks to academics, students and staff to get to know more about their specialist areas and work. There’s something here for everyone so do take a look at the back catalogue. My guest this week is Dr Martin Moncrieffe, senior lecturer in the School of Education. Marlon’s research primarily focuses on the application of 20th century black British history and its cross-cultural interaction with white Britain for advancing education. He has a book coming out soon about decolonizing the history curriculum as well, and has run a successful exhibition on black British champions in cycling. We’re going to talk so much about a lot of this Marlon, and thanks so much for coming on. We’ve spoken in brief before and an episode but a chance today to get into a little bit more detail.

Marlon – And thanks for inviting me, it is good to talk with you again. Thanks for the invite.

Richard – No problem. And so let’s start before we get into the discussion. Let’s start at the beginning. Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you arrived at this point?

Marlon – Yeah, I mean, I can start with guess I was once a primary school teacher I began my career in education as a teacher in nineteen ninety nine, as a classroom assistant, actually in Lambeth was a baptism of fire was tough. That was just that was just a year after I finished my university degree in English literature. And so yeah, I taught as a primary school teacher for about 14 years at the same time as beginning my sort of teaching career. I was almost on the back end of doing sort of serious cycling. So, I kept up my cycling at the same time as having a sort of teaching career. And yeah, I taught for 14 years in schools in London, in West Sussex, in Surrey, in Berkshire, became a deputy head teacher. I started my doctorate in education at the same time as becoming a deputy head teacher, was still doing my cycling, still racing. And, you know, once I got sort of off half way through my doctorate, I felt that I needed to be a university to sort of finish the work and sort of maybe expand some of my research with student teachers. And so you what the job came up at Brighton, applied and was based in West Sussex so I thought lets go for that one. And I’ve been here since 2013.

Richard – Cool Oh, and let’s focus on your research on teaching black British history in schools. So we’ll start with the fact you have a book coming out on December the first de – colonising the history curriculum, Eurocentrism and primary schooling. And tell us about the amount of work that’s gone into that.

Marlon – That book started in 2005 when I was a primary school teacher. I mean, the idea of the conception of the idea began in about 2005, and it was all to do with the social context of Britishness, what it is, what does this mean to you. And this came after the seven seven terrorist attacks and it was Gordon Brown talking about this. And that was some discourses in education. I’m about to teach a national narrative through history and for education, said the new Labour government had an idea for this point. So he was able to sort of the diversity report for portfolio that government got shifted by the coalition government. We got a new curriculum which was much more traditional neo conservative curriculum. And so that’s kind of framed the way in which English and history and other subjects are taught that sort of Eurocentric English centric perspective. So I’ve tracked all of this these social and political conversations and discourses fused that with my own sort of sense of what it means to be British, Britishness, my own sort of stories of that alongside the stories of my parents from Jamaica and my grandparents who are from Jamaica, who came to Britain in the 60s. And yeah, I’ve tried to sort of look at them, how we can teach them more broadly accounts of mass migration to Britain through the current national curriculum, which is quite restrictive compared to what the New Labour government were aiming to do back in the day. So I think I mean, in terms of the decolonising the curriculum fits, I mean, some people might say that that particular term is a woke word of a buzzword, but where you have documents such as national curriculum or discourses that are very narrow and exclusive and can marginalised people in their lives, that they need to be challenged. And so the decolonizing really does ask the people who support racism, people who support colonialism, who support the empire to perhaps to look into the mirror and to change it so that they can allow other people space to breathe.

Richard – So why do you think it is that we don’t all learn more about these things? You know, why don’t we learn more about black British history or face or face up to some real truths? Actually, more about Britain, about British Empire, about colonialism, it’s very important to understand why the UK is as it is today or and to also reflect the general UK culture as it is now.

Marlon – Yeah, I think what I mean, there’s a master there’s a master narrative that’s taught in schools, really. And that master narrative of the British story is a big interpretation of 17th century, which speaks to the national narrative is one of sort of triumphalism of celebratory narratives that doesn’t really want to go into the more sort of harder and darker sides of what colonialism and empire actually did. And again, that’s those things that we learn in history are culturally reproduced by the media, and that frames the way in which the world can be viewed. And I guess I mean, look, when I did my research with white British trainee teachers just sort of asking a simple question, what does British history mean to you when I examined their background influences on that particular question in terms of whether they were educated, what the family backgrounds were, what kind of neighbourhood they came from? Most of the majority of the respondents were from white British background. What, for instance, when they spoke to a particular question, they basically regurgitated what is in what is in the national curriculum and what it’s going to Eurocentric kind of history that excludes any other sort of story. So so they were talking about Victorians, the Tudors, WW1 and WW2 and speaking to white European characters, heroes and heroines. But, yeah, I mean, those discourses do shape the way in which we see history and they marginalize any other account very much anti blackness approach to history.

Richard – Yeah. So, I mean, how can we change all this then? Because last week we had the Dr Christian Hogsbjerg on. He’s a historian at university who focuses mainly on. Caribbean history, actually, and he made the point that in Germany, for example, they do face up to the crimes of Nazism, whereas over here we sort of glorify the defeating of it instead without talking about empire, slavery, Windrush. It’s not it’s just not there.

Marlon – No, it’s not. I mean, black British history Windrush. No. You know, black people have been people of African descent have been Britain. I think I think since day dot, the man in Somerset was from Africa. I’ve done research with, white trainee teachers and speaking to colonialism and racism in primary schools, you know, there is there is the feeling of thinking is I get from there is a sense of shame, guilt, fear. When you talk about words such as racism, white privilege, sometimes they feel that being told off about it. And that’s why it’s hard to sort of engage in those conversations, you know, not every white person is like that, but quite a few are. And it means that it’s difficult for them to open up a conversation when they, you know, some are willing to. But they find that that’s the I mean, that is what I found in terms of the feelings I get from them. So it’s difficult to talk about those terms. I think the way that I’ve been trying to do my research is to sort of look at how few mass migrations or through cross-cultural encounters in the past and in recent years where there has been any sort of minority ethnic group struggle involving black people, Asian people, whatever. They’ve been led by that particular ethnic group. But they’ve also had support from white people as well. So when it comes to looking at, for example, the riots of Brixton in 1981, which I experienced first-hand, that I mean, that wasn’t just black people, Asian people who were white. And then there was well, because they were fighting against the system, know they were changing the system in terms of like oppression was occurring. And there was a success in that in that race relations were rewritten. So those examples of cross-cultural encounters where there was tension after that tension, there was you know, there was no opportunity to talk about coexistence of ways in which I believe if everyone’s got a stake in the aspects of history, then everyone can benefit from it. And you can look at more recent forms of history, such as what just said in terms of the riots with the uprisings of the 80s, and sort of look at the incongruity with, say, emancipation from slavery in the Caribbean, where it wasn’t just these were black that struggles for freedom, but those black people, those African people in the Caribbean, also supported by the churches of both the Baptist churches of the UK as well. So, again, they had white allies in that respect. So there’s a stake in that history for everybody in terms of, yes, we have to go through this struggle with each other. But we also come out at the end of that struggle with each other to try to make the world a better place. And we actually saw that as well through Black lives matter. As much as why it wasn’t just black people walking up and down the road, it was black and white people. So I guess that’s what I’m trying to do with my book, I am trying to look at cross-cultural encounters and to sort of say, look, we’re all involved in this. You know, this has been created maybe part of the group, but in order to get out, we need to work with each other.

Richard – Yeah, I mean, the timing couldn’t really be better at it in some ways because we feel like with because of, as you mentioned, the Black Lives Matter movement, a key point, a time here where especially certain generations are sort of realizing now this is the time to make a change, isn’t it? For me personally, as a white man in my 30s, we wouldn’t learn about this sort of stuff at school. It just wasn’t. And now we’re learning about it now and we’re keen to learn about it now. So whilst there is that this is going on, this is the time to really push it through. Isn’t that a critical point?

Marlon – I think it’s a fantastic moment. I think, as I’ve just said, because it wasn’t just the guy who was black, but we had a people of different kind of skin, sort of skin colours. Looking at this issue and thinking right now, this is the time to change things and how can we do this? And it does start with education. And the focus in the UK has been cast, on history, because in order to understand the now we need to look at the past and project future possibilities. So that’s what history’s been basically higher profile. And as I say, everyone’s got a stake in that particular story ends and everyone gets a stake in the now and the future so we can do this together. So I think with curriculum at university, with curriculum in schools, it’s not just about focussing on policy documents that we used to teach things, but focusing on our own life experiences in terms of what we bring to curriculum in order to bring new knowledge to that particular space in teaching.

Richard – Yeah. And you’ve written recently an article In the conversation, which talks about the importance of giving teachers support and guidance, particularly white teachers who like the generations now we’re talking about, may not be that well clued up about black British history to see if they’re going to teach it. They also need to get the support of being able to deliver it.

Marlon – Yeah, completely. I mean, it goes back to those words. I was used to this notion of fear or shame or guilt or, you know, or just not knowing where to start, really having the willingness to sort of engage in it, but not knowing where to start. And so that word support is really important. I think if, you know, if I’ve got the knowledge ultimately to allow young teachers, to tap into their own knowledge of their own cross-cultural encounters as well, and to challenge the things that the piece of information that they’ve been taught through the background experiences that shaped the biases in school and for the parents, what they learned from that, the neighbourhoods to challenge those. Because, you know, if especially if you’re doing teaching, if you want to sort of reach out to different sorts of students, you have to have the capacity to do the capacity, the capacity to be reflective and reflexive so that you can engage with different people in different cultures. So, yes, it’s about I mean, the book is about is about them offering support through reflective and reflexive practice. It starts with it starts with the actual teacher themselves looking into their own sense of existence in terms of how they come to learn about love themselves and that and their interactions with people and how they can use those experiences to teach more broadly. So, as I said, the teacher is probably more important than the curriculum itself because the teachers that has the power to change that document according to the children that are in the classroom and according to their values and beliefs about being able to sell them to teachers really.

Richard – Yeah. And it’s the same with universities, isn’t it, about decolonising the curriculum? It’s about, you know, drawing on texts from a much more diverse range, ripping up the tried and tested that’s been there for years and modernizing it. Decolonizing it is.

Marlon – And there’s some fantastic work occurring at the university. I mean, I’ve been reading the journal decolonizing the teaching about race equality. And it is a bi-annual journal with just three issues now. And it’s always it’s always fun putting those issues to give us and taking examples of best practice from across the university and then sort of showcase those in order to keep the conversation floating. And it’s not just colleagues who are writing we have students and alumni writing those articles, senior managers writing articles as well. So, you know, if the more we disseminate those examples of best practice, best examples of theory and good evidence based practice, the more that we can sort of push through the system so that that will encourage people to sort of think about what they’ve been doing or they could be doing so that they can move from, you know, if they need to move from that one dimensional way of teaching or learn about sort of that so that they can have a more broad repertoire to what they’re delivering and engaging with their students.

Richard – Yeah, and important to recognize as well, I guess, that if you bought into that, it’s an ongoing process. It never finishes. It’s always going to be new things that come out. It’s always about keeping up to date. It’s always about being open to those new texts.

Marlon – Always learning and completely. I think what we’ve done there with that particular challenge was in the HE sector. I think, you know, I would argue that Brighton are the first of which to produce a journal, I mean, there were lots of universities now who are moving forward with the decolonizing gender and we can learn from those practices as well. So to see how we can use those examples to filter to our own sort of action plans for the shaping of policies. And I know that I know that Andrew Lloyd and Ruth Whittaker and Jo McDonald are keen to sort of move forward with those plans because it is only going to benefit everybody in terms of advancing our practices by, you know, giving us more ways in which we can do the teaching and learning. So it is very positive and we have to see it as a positive step for learning for everybody, for advancement, for everybody. This is the moment now. And as I said, we you know, the work that we’ve been doing, whether we’re supporting charter schools, fantastic team, the amount of investment we put into that, I think we’ve really put Brighton on the map in terms of what we’re doing, I mean, on email the other day from a colleague, a school humanities, he said that one of our journalists was being shared between the University of South Africa because they used it as a template, as a template to sort of develop their own methods. And so that shows of what we’ve been doing. So, yeah, we should aim to build upon that again.

Richard – Absolutely. And let’s talk about British champions in cycling, which has been a really successful project exhibition for you. First of all, just for listeners that don’t know, you touched upon it just now as well. But it is also formed out of a passion and experience in cycling that you’ve got so tell us briefly about your former life as an elite, track cyclist.

Marlon – Well, I did not start as elite I started from scratch like everybody else. Worked my way through, cycling’s a tough sport. You know, you have to work hard for most things in life. It is a tough sport. You have to, it’s a lifestyle. You know, I’ve been in the sport for 30 years, so I’ve always had a bicycle, had a bicycle as a boy to do the paper round on the bicycle. I rode to school And I rode to university as well. Joined a club became Club Champion, won know a few road races then went to track sprinting a bit more, which was more successful. I won quite a few international medals and so on. You know, also as a teacher, I established quite a few schools teams for cycling and there’s always been an issue, an interest in cycling being a white sport. I mean, I guess back in the late 90s, sort of early 2000’s is I used to look into the discussions that were being held on the Internet forums about cycling in being a white sport. I guess this year, well, since Black Lives Matters discussions, you know, there’s a lot more people talking about race in race and ethnicity in cycling. And so it’s there’s this almost much more permission to talk about it in that respect. So to me, I mean, that discussion has always been there, I guess, with the black champions and research and exhibition that that be again in 2016. And that was that was me sort of starting with a simple question. You know, where are the black British champions in cycling? What are they doing? Because, again, took better communication and discourse and we’re in a gold age of cycling. We got a lot of communication about the sort of white British champions, if you want, or the norm of cycling champions in terms of Wiggins and so on. Being a black British man in a white cycling world, which, you know, I guess in didn’t concern me so much because just about the competition and doing as well as you could do, but because it because, um, because that those forms of communication were amplified even further also because they were being connected more to imagery linked with empire and colonialism. So for example, when Wiggins and Pendleton won the gold medals, you know, the media were dressed up as, you know, Britannia, for example, and Wiggins was dressed up as a mod, you know, an image of a golden age of the 60s. And so when they were being commodified in that respect. I though now’s the time to look at the, to see how this particular sport is being seen as an entitlement for white people particular one or exclusive entitlements. And I knew that there were black champions in the sport whose stories need to be amplified. So that’s what the exhibition was about, which sort of gives more education to the Masters in society that we do have black champions. And yeah, I mean, we’ve put the exhibition at Brighton we went to the championships in Harrogate. Last year, we did a massive exhibition with Bradley Wiggins came to that because he’s got a great connection with Russell Williams. He was his mentor was is one of the guys my and lots of TV coverage, BBC and that sports with a lot of coverage on TV and quite a few publications with international publications with such concepts. We’ve also been on Australian Radio USA Radio. So yeah, credit to Tara Dean and Andrew Church for support and the funding because erm so it difficult to make a decision as to what to fund, we have put our Brighton stamp on it. So it’s done really well for the university.

Richard – Yeah. It’s been incredibly popular and it continues to be popular as far as that, because as you said, you started this went on display for the first time two years ago. Two years ago and then so here we are now, and it’s they were getting a lot of traction, I guess, in kind of the common theme show, didn’t it, that there was this talent pool of black British cyclists throughout the years. And even if they won national titles and were extremely promising, for whatever reason, they weren’t being given the opportunities to progress. So they weren’t going to international competitions and representing their country as much as they probably should have been.

Marlon – Yeah, I mean, that was tough to get a pick in cycling anyway, because, you know, there’s only seven spaces in the squad. You know, when you are the best of your peers, when you ask to win races and that, you know, not supposed to win, but you can win them. I mean, this you know, these are these are the patterns that have occurred for these last 50 years. And so, yeah, I mean, it’s I think what I found from my studies is that once these guys have stepped into the higher echelons of the sports and began to work with national bodies, with BCF, and, you know, it may be the decision of individual coaches that prevent them from maybe going to the Olympics and Russell Williams did not get those opportunities. But the study as well, which is kind of expanding now, even looking at stories from across the world. So I’ve been speaking with cyclists in the USA – Justin Williams, Nelson Vales, other European cyclists with African heritage. And because I have been able to sort of get a book contract with the RAFA to sort of write about the history of black champions in a sport. So I’m going to be sort of using some of those, testimonies and quotes from the black champions and some interviews with the American guys, also females as well, Aisha McGowan as well. So basically, creating an international historical narrative of the black experience in cycling. So obviously, I mean, we’re going to be speaking with Major Taylor, who was American champion at the end of the 19th century speak to the sort of Kitty Knox, the move on to others such as David Welch of Jamaica, who won in 1980 to Nelson Bales, who won silver and not just to black people want medals in the Olympics, to sort of bring together the entire black experience as well as I can. But fused also with grassroots experiences of cycling, of stepping into the white world of cycling. Sort of give us the feel of what the black experience has been, because as I say, you know, since Black Lives Matter, there’s been there’s been a lot more sort of discussion around it. But what we found and this was is that the people involved in cycling, in some of the media, very much white people know, white journalists, white commentators say when they talk about racism, can they use a Eurocentric point of view. Whilst with me being a black British man who’s been in a sport, I’m going to be bringing a black paradigm, a black narrative framework of black and white analysis to that experience, which arguably may be more authentic. Maybe not, but at least at least it’s been given the opportunity to be spoken through a black lens rather than the norm of the white European lens. And so this is an example of decolonizing the norms of knowledge creation around a particular thing.

Richard – Yeah, I mean, in terms of cycling and it being that that is a predominately white sport. Pretty much, most sport has a lot of work to do when it comes to its work on anti-racism. Obviously, we saw across the summer a support for the Black Lives Matter movement. We’re still seeing it in sports, such as football at the moment. Where is cycling on that list in terms of tackling those inequalities?

Maron – Behind, it is stuck in the 1950s completely. I mean, look at the sports, such as football, rugby, in cricket, you know, athletics or athletics have all you know, since, you know, seen it necessary to show some solidarity. Some may see this tokenistic know, but at least they’ve been able to do that. I mean, even Formula One, I guess the is that if Lewis Hamilton wasn’t there and they would have been just as solid as golfers. But, you know, it hasn’t moved on. And I think if potentially I don’t know if you can you can you can speak. But in a hypothetical way, but like athletics, if there were some sort of African people of African descent with African Caribbean, British people who were represented in the opportunity to represent Britain’s Olympics and world, and maybe that could have triggered a wave of multicultural presentation, bit like liking football and like in cricket, which I think cricket is quite white at the moment, a bit like track and field. So So, yeah, there needs to be much more. I guess what we’re talking about is that speaking about inclusion isn’t enough diversity and inclusion is going to occur because of, you know, because especially after the 2012 boom of cycling, people got involved and it’s going to try different sorts of people coming into the sport. So we had the mammal’s, for example, come to the sport that is for lots of new women, come into the sport, which is fantastic. Lots of BAME people. But when we speak support of people, of people, of different ethnic groups, that diversity, inclusion needs to be protected by anti-racist messaging. OK, so this is what the national bodies have failed to do for example, in football, they have kicked it out or show racism the red card, you know, because they know that the sport’s more diverse will be we won’t tolerate that. Football is for all. And I’m working with some international colleagues I’m working with and I’m speaking with British cycling as well to see what we can do to protect and promote more anti racist messaging.

Richard – Yeah, I mean, interesting you said actually, because I want to just finish on what your experience have been with British cycling since this has come out. How much how much conversation has there been with them?

Marlon – Yeah, I think I mean, what’s I said on ITV, in Tour de France is I am the critical friends. And I think they see as that I’m not I think I speak up when I want to. And I think, I do have conversations with them on the front and. I think they would rather I keep quiet sometimes, you know, I’m just saying, as it is and I’m using their own message and again, send the message that their efforts is transforming Britain in to a great cycling Nation. You can’t do that if you don’t include people. Don’t if you don’t support people who are who are the minority that support them, then you can’t transform into a great nation. So I’m just using the words against in that respect and I’m holding them to account because not many other people are and comes down with evidence based research with experience. So good conversations. What are you going to see next week? I’ve given them permission to use some of my icons, my Black Champions exhibition. So some of the artwork, the imagery. So they’re going to be using some of that Black History Month presentation they are going to be doing next week and part of the commission. So they’re aiming to establish a diversity and inclusion sort of steering group as well. And I’ll be talking to them about that so soon we will see what manifest in that respect. It’s not happen overnight. But again, with the decolonising the curriculum, I mean, universities or schools, it’s about supporting people to step up away from the comfort zones to sort of challenge the ways in which have been told to see the world and to see the world differently so that they can appreciate different people’s experiences and lives.

Richard – But, yeah, I really look forward to seeing what comes of that. And I also say that when you bring in this a lot wider to the whole world, it’s going to be really interesting to see that so looking forward to that. We were talking just before we started this podcast that you’ve been on sabbatical for a while, so you’ve missed out on loads of this remote working stuff. And so coming back to the University of Brighton and obviously a different way of working this time, things are very different. How are you finding things in the early stages? I mean, students as well, that proved to be very resilient and getting on with their work from a remote point of view.

Maron – Students are brilliant, it’s a bit like when I was a primary school teacher with the kids, you know, that’s what that’s what you are in education for to sort of grow students, sort of give them confidence. And, I was on sabbatical from Jan to sort of the end of March. So I had a head start on people because I almost got to where I was sort of trying to get work done for the REF and so is carried on and came back properly, sort of teaching a couple of weeks ago or so. And I must admit, when it comes to online lectures, it’s almost as if you’re speaking in soliloquy. You know, sometimes it’s almost like sometimes, you know, the students don’t put their faces on the screen and you wonder whether they’re still there, whether they switched off to watch the television or, you know. So I’m always asking. We still then and yeah, I’m still here. So, I mean, I think they can really you know, they really want to engage with the learning. They really want to be at Brighton and they really want to do well in their courses. And we just have to show the same amount of willingness as well towards them because we really want them to see the best. And so, yeah, it’s a different way of working. But the best way to sort of develop that relationship is to keep the communication going and to sort of help people along the way. But no, I mean, we just try our best and not try to get some see if we can sort of push them through to sort of get the results that they know they can know when they leave the university. I think back in 10 year’s time and say I was part of that generation that did it that way, you know?

Richard – Yeah. Yeah, definitely. And we end each podcast with some questions away from your work. We finish with the same questions to every guest. So first one. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Maron – Be calm, between being over energetic and being calmer.

Richard – If you can pick any other subject to study at the University of Brighton what would it be and why?

Marlon – I think I would like to do something to do with nature and well, I’ve always said to my daughter that I’d love to drive a tractor. So maybe something in farming or agriculture, because I would really love to sort of drive a tractor through the road and be the king of the road.

Richard – Oh, yeah. Pick a favourite place in Sussex for as well.

Marlon – I think I just Amberly last time because I just, you know, just love the river I did a lot of canoeing on the river over the summer and it was fantastic. They’ve never gone before. I do love that part of Sussex, the hills around Goodwood, gorgeous as well do lots of cycling around there still with my daughter mainly. So yeah I guess. Yeah, I guess those sort of hills around buy the Goodwood area which is just on the doorstep, you know. It’s beautiful.

Richard – Yeah. It’s an amazing place to go. And for a cyclist a pretty amazing place to do your hobby?

Marlon – Yeah. We tend to go through Chichester which is lovely.

Richard – Nice. And so you live away from Brighton. But give visitors to Brighton, a tip of what to do if they came down here for a couple of days or a day or two, what would you suggest?

Marlon – I would go down to the lanes. I think, You know, also going to the pier and going to the fairground rides, I think that’s the first thing that I did when I first came down to try and sort of move down here when I was with my daughter. And, you know, it was so fun.

Richard – Yeah, yeah. And tell us something interesting about you, which most people or many people may not know ?

Marlon – Trying to think of this. There’s nothing interesting about what so ever.

Richard – Difficult one, because I would say you say you’re being an elite track cyclist in the past is pretty cool. That’s a pretty interesting thing.

Marlon – And, you know, some people just wouldn’t think of a way of life, really, but no to tell you something that was interesting. I was a teacher, which might be interesting. I was trying to think I there’s a band called The Rolling Stones, the Rolling Stones. And a guy called Keith Richards, Keith Richards a guitarist. I taught his grandson that it was cool and actually we jammed. He played drums and I played the bass guitar.  I said to him, and it’s like, why don’t we why don’t we go into the music and have a jam? And so he said, yes. So I snuck in at break time and said, I think the music teacher followed us and we just jammed. And we had a good time. So I could say it jammed with the blood line of the Rolling Stones.

Richard – Amazing. That’s a great story. Yeah, because Keith Richards doesn’t live too far away from you.

Marlon – Yeah, he’s got a song called Marlon as well.

Richard – Oh really?

Marlon -That’s what was the talking point between me and Lawson’s mum and stuff.

Richard – Cool, That’s a great story. And if you could pick three people tonight for a dinner party, past and present, excluding families of the fantasy dinner party, really, who would you pick?

Marlon – Well, Jesus Christ, a lot of questions to ask and maybe and most definitely I could have said the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, maybe Bob Marley. Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix. Yeah, some of those kind of guys. I mean, I did read a lot when I was younger. I used to listen to a lot of music as well when I was young, especially these black people, you know, in my household. And I learned a lot about ways we can speak about the decolonized empire, black experience. And I learnt a lot about it through those artists, really. You know, that was my education to know a bit about my own existence, really. So, yeah, I love to move to those kinds of people. Really?

Richard – Yeah. Marlon, thanks so much for your time today. It’s been fascinating hearing about your research and best of luck with the book launch. I’m really looking forward to finding out more about the project with black champions in cycling in the wider project. It’s going to be really good to see. Thanks, so much for coming on.

Marlon – Thanks Richard, it’s very much good to talk to you again.

Richard – Really, really appreciate it. That’s it for this week’s podcast. But we’ll be back next week do take a look through the back catalogue for previous episodes as well. Thanks for listening.

Kerry Burnett • October 16, 2020


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