Lime interview - Books & Spoken Word
Junior James - Different
EDITOR - Vernia Mengot
Lime gets talking to Junior James aka Sherlock about his book, based on his life story.
Dealer, user, smuggler, prisoner are the four words that describe Sherlock’s life, having put pen to paper his life story now lies in print. Within this trilogy of detailed accounts of Sherlock’s years, he talks about how he spiralled out of control from a young age. Sherlock didn’t get education and put his desires into hopes of becoming a DJ as a teenager and making a name for himself at dances back in the day.
“Growing up as a teenager, my education- my reading and writing was poor. In my 4th year of primary school I started bunking. But then I got into DJ’ing, I found something I was good at. I made a name for myself as a DJ, and turned into a little ghetto star. That was the high point of my life, got girls, no money, but I was just having fun.”
As time went on Sherlock realised that the attention from DJ’ing was no longer and soon he got mixed up with the wrong crowd. When he had no job prospects ahead of him, he took a turn for the worst.
“Few years after, it died down, mans where doing street robbing. It was peer pressure, I had no education, no job or anything so I started following. I always knew what I was doing was wrong. Then my first time I smoked crack, we robbed some guys and with the money we got everyone decided to buy some crack. I said I was never going to smoke it again, but more fool me that was the beginning of more to come.”
Knowing that it was the wrong route to go down, getting himself work held the key to change.
“I stopped all that and went and got a job from the careers office. My first job was in Harrods, which lasted for about 2 months and after that I got laid off in the recession. I had my girl at the time, so I spent time with her and then we broke up. I tried to get back into the DJ’ing, but by the time, there was lack of funding to get the tunes where I wanted to get them.”
After feeling like he had no hope and from his previous experience with drugs, Sherlock turned to harder crime and got mixed up in the game of dealing and selling, and later found he’d become an international drug smuggler taking 29 different planes in a year, to places like Colombia, Brazil, Jamaica, Spain, Amsterdam, and Belgium.
“When I reached 20, I came from Jamaica, and met this guy who I started selling drugs with. I had grown up with him, and then he bought this Yardie guy, so in the end we started selling weed and selling crack. I’d snort the crumbs, they no effect on me and I couldn’t see how this drug could turn anyone into junkies. So I was making money smoking the crumbs, but as time went on I started smoking the profit... I had £500 profit for myself and I started smoking profit, not realising that I’m hooked now. My addiction started to get worst and I was smoking the crumbs, profits, market money and the money that you actually use. Then someone came along and wanted to invest some money. I was hooked on the crack and end up messing up on the money. They never clocked how much weight I was losing- I was wearing nice clothes and driving nice cars. I had £12,000 debt to all my friends around me so I had to come clean and tell them I had smoked their money. They respected the truth; as time went on they started pressuring me for the money and that made me start smoking more. My addiction started to get out of control.”
When Sherlock realised that he was in a substantial amount of debt, he couldn’t face the pressure anymore and tried to take his own life.
“I took Rat poison and tried to take my own life. I woke up in the morning with bad stomach pains, my sister came round and saw me in all this pain, she called my girl at the time and she took me in the hospital and I got pumped out.”
Wanting to change his ways, having come clean to the members of his family; he sought rehabilitation staying with his aunty to keep a low profile, away from the people who were on his case for his debt.
“I end up going to an Aunty- demanding ‘what’s going on?’ So I told her everything, she was shocked and disappointed; she let me stay at her house, but said she would notify my parents. My mum took it really bad, it was new to her- she didn’t have a clue.
Now Sherlock’s main focuses lie in writing his trilogy of books, which he began to write during his prison sentence- having been caught for drug smuggling. In the first instalment he goes through the ins and outs of his younger years on road and stresses the importance of creating a better, more positive lifestyle.
“Anyone that’s read part one are begging me for part two.”
“Doors have just been opening. I have invested in two thousand copies of books; and have sold them on the streets, all over London. To get a publisher is the hard part, when you put out a book, they may not like your book. It’s not that it’s rubbish; it’s just that it’s not there sort of thing. It breaks your spirit. I want to get my book out there and build a CV for myself. It will start to open the right doors. I’m now four and a half years clean off drugs. I’ve been out of prison a year and three months, I’ve done nothing illegal since. I don’t live that lifestyle; I don’t have to be hiding from police. I don’t want to smoke no more”
He expresses today’s generation getting in with the wrong crowd and the advice he would give to young people in today’s society who face that dilemma.
It’s easy to get into the wrong crowd. If you’re doing something sensible with your life, you won’t fall into the wrong crowd. And if you’re not doing anything with yourself; that’s when you’ll fall into the wrong crowd. They all have this postcode stuff now; we used to be able move away from the area. Make sure you get your education, you’re gonna automatically go down thatnegative road that I did if you don’t. You’re gonna see the crowds that are going on the move, you’ll make £2000 and you think it’s easy and fall into the trap.
Dr Maya Angelou and Still She Rises