N’Jai The Writer


A Picture Says A Thousand Things! This Says 2008 Things!!
Let The Picture Do The Talking!

Let The Picture Do The Talking!

In simple terms I think this picture concludes some of the many highs, lows and iconic symbols or features of the year 2008. From John Terry Crying to Barack winning, from Jazmine Sullivan to Bashy, from the end of Woolworths to the prominence of Facebook this year.

I set out to write about some major events of the year and maybe a Top 3 poll in some categories, i.e. Best UK Artist Album etc, I think I will still do that, however my imagination got the better of me and I felt creative, thus the picture above. Some things cannot be written about to the extent that a picture gives across, i.e The Yellow Crime board can hardly be written about but once you see the picture it prompts thoughts of the amount of crime and murder on the streets.

Hopefully you’ll be able to understand what most, if not all the pictures represent.

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Street Boys – The N’Jai-Alysis
December 9, 2008, 3:19 pm
Filed under: Books, Literature, Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

I've got my copy. Have you?

I've got my copy. Have you?

Elijah’s father walked out of the house, only to return two years later, to subject the Mother to harsh domestic abuse thus forcing her to move from Birmingham to London.

Simon came from a happy family only to return from school one day  to an empty house, his Mother had left for Canada with all his siblings.

Nathan came from a devoutly Christian household and grew up with Michael whose parents were also strict but separated as he was growing up.

Byron’s mother sold crack and was sent to prison as a result of this, he did not know his father but knew that his father had many other children within the local area, often making him question his advances towards females as they may have been his siblings.

Street Boys provides a fascinating, dramatic insight into one of London’s most notorious street gangs of our generation, and looks deeper behind the story of ‘7 kids. 1 estate. No way out.

Street Boys is written by Tim Pritchard, a writer and TV programme maker whose first book, Ambush Alley was an eye-opening account of the most extraordinary battle of the Iraq War. In Street Boys, Pritchard turns his focus to this under-reported and under-analysed phenomenon, the truth and realities of living in the ‘hood’ or the ‘streets‘ and the importance and influence of Guns, Drugs and Gangs.

Pritchard takes time to analyse the family histories and dynamics within each family and the way this may have affected the youths’ mentalities and attitudes growing up.

The book focuses mainly on Elijah (JaJa), the individual responsible for making PDC (Peel Dem Crew, Poverty Driven Children, Pray Days Change amongst the variables) what it has emerged to today, although he did not create the name, he was significant to the actions behind them.

Elijah’s story is one of a difficult childhood, having to take responsibility of the house at an early age due not having a father figure and having younger siblings to look after so while his Mother was at work he would baby-sit. His life on the Angell Town Estate in Brixton was far from ideal but he personally loved it, at night he would meticulously watch the drug dealers and Yardies of the 80’s sell drugs, pimp women, rob cars etc, that life fascinated him.

He began running for the yardies, watching out for the ‘fed’s‘ or police as they are more commonly known and then that led onto petty crimes, stealing car stereos for small change. This changed when he went to school and connected with one of his white associates who introduced him to bigger burglaries where he could go in, get one watch and get paid much more for his work than he would if he burgled a regular house, these White men knew their stuff and he liked that… Quick, fast, easy MONEY!

At an early age Elijah became a central figure on the Angell Town Estate, coming from Birmingham, his accent differentiated him from the rest of the South London boys, he stood out, but it was not only his accent, he was involved in crime from early and this meant he had money, new trainers, new clothes etc. This embraced him towards his peers, they respected him for what he was and what he had, ‘Elijah wasn’t a bully but you knew not to mess with him.’

The burglaries died out and led to a new craze of ‘steaming’ or robbing shops in numbers, this is where the Angell Town youth’s became more of a tight knit circle, thus leading on to both Post Office and Bank Robberies.

Prison was imminent and only one of the featured members in the book, Michael (Birdie) has ever escaped jail, and that was down to his own intelligence to know when it was getting ‘hot,’ despite many close encounters, he maintained a focus to do the best he could for his family and knew that his responsibilities were too important to sit in a prison. By no means was he not involved, he just had a smart head and wasn’t entirely driven by greed.

Prison is a key feature throughout the book, many finding prison fun and some that hadn’t been even trying ways to get into prison, ‘I remember dancing on the Prison bus, I couldn’t wait to see what it was all about.’

Reading some of the stories, its recognisable that although some had harsh, difficult upbringings and circumstances, others came from good backgrounds but chose to go down a different path, some would say products of their environments, others maybe not?

As they grow, they realise that worse things are occurring to each other, some getting longer stretches in jail, some getting shot and paralysed, and some closer friends even being murdered, while some feel that the best way is to leave the lifestyles that followed alone, others only know what they know and continue.

Street Boys is a very readable book and is a good insight into some of the factors faced by the youth of today. I also admire the fact that Pritchard brought such a topic to the forefront so the masses maybe can get an understanding, as a White middle class citizen may have heard about Brixton through negative press etc, at least the book provides them with more depth to their initial thoughts and provides the other side of the coin.

My one criticism of the book would be how it was written by Pritchard. The stories are engaging however Pritchard takes away this engagement by his disjointed style of writing, which many a time led me to refer to the inside cover to check who he was referring to as the chapters do not follow any chronological flow.

In terms of readability though I would rate this book highly, it is hard to put down once you start reading and no matter what part of the world you may be from if you have an interest in gangs, guns and/or drugs this is a must read.

Parents who cannot understands the youth of today should definitely read and the youth of the next generation who think that being ‘road’ is the only way forward should be made to read this kind of book in school, this will influence a youth’s life more than any Shakespeare play could.

Please leave comments below…



Street Boy’s N’Jai Opinion…
November 27, 2008, 12:38 am
Filed under: Books, Literature, Reviews | Tags: , , ,

97800072670642

This was one of the books I asked for as a b’day present as I had tried to but it at least 2 times as soon as it came out and both bookshops didn’t have it, one was sold out (good look) while the other didn’t stock it.

I recieved this a few weeks after my b’day on a Sunday evening, about 8 O’Clock, 24 hours later on the Monday, I had completed the 314 page true story about 7 kids growing up on the Angell Town Estate in Brixton to become part of one of the London Street Gangs, (PDC).

Watch this space for the review, it’s worth the wait.. In the meantime I know it’s credit crunch times and that but if you’ve got a spare £5 you can order it from here..