“D’you know, JD?”, “There isn’t much in this world that a hard right hook to the jaw won’t solve!” That was The Big Man’s philosophy on life and was usually the cue for the other students to take note that he had temporarily decided to ignore the poem he was typing on his keyboard, swivel around 180 degrees on his revolving chair and stare out and scan the classroom, searching for the culprit who had either verbally abused me or had taken what he considered to be ‘acceptable banter’ a little too far. And, at that point, every student’s head would bow down, as, miraculously, they would suddenly find their work very interesting again! And that is because The Big Man was frightening. No, worse than that – if you didn’t know that he possessed the heart and soul of a Warrior Poet, The Big Man was nothing short of terrifying!
Over six feet four, Afro-Caribbean, dreadlocks, Martial Arts’ champion, bodybuilder, bouncer, doorman, street fighter, gym orderly on the ‘inside’, perpetrator of extreme violence ‘on the out’ and a life sentence for a cold-blooded murder that he never denied and openly spoke about committing – forget the movies, this prisoner was the Real McCoy when it came to inner city, gangland crime. And yet, the more I came to know him as a student, the more I realised that he was a Da Vinci-style polymath who appeared to be able to turn his hand to just about anything within the realms of the Arts & Humanities which, in turn – unlike most of us – he could also back up with his fists! (Full story available for 99p using PayPal)