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Summary:

When Jonathan May-Bowles – a.k.a. activist-comedian Jonnie Marbles – tipped a foam-pie over Rupert Murdoch, oh how we scorned him. “He’s…

Jonathan May-Bowles aka Jonnie Marbles
photo: Getty Images / Dan Kitwood

When Jonathan May-Bowles – a.k.a. activist-comedian Jonnie Marbles – tipped a foam-pie over Rupert Murdoch, oh how we scorned him. “He’s turned Murdoch into the victim!” we bawled, or at least I did, anyway. In hindsight, it seems the real victim was Marbles himself. The father-of-one was sentenced to six weeks (reduced on appeal to four) in Wandsworth prison – by the same judge who had previously acquitted a riot cop for slapping a female protestor in the face.

Tough justice; perhaps even disproportionate. But the good news is that Marbles has reacted to it all with surprising bonhomie – and is even blogging enthusiastically about the experience from inside the jug. Writing on his blog Anarch*ish* (subtitle: “Because the state’s not gonna smash itself”), Marbles recounts how he at first tried to keep his crime a secret from other prisoners, for fear of reprisals. “This plan went up like a lit fart the moment I stepped into E-Wing,” he remembers. “‘Oi, Pie man!’ shouted one of my fellow lags.” But despite his initial fears, Marbles seems to have developed a cult following. “Beebop, my newest lag friend, is getting me to sign his copy of the Sun. He says he is going to sell it on eBay (NSDQ: EBAY). Maybe I’ll buy it.”

There have been some scares. Returning to his cell one afternoon, Marbles found his way blocked by four stern-looking men. One squared up to him. “‘You Jonnie?’ he quizzes me. It seems silly to argue. ‘Yeah? Well, Murdoch sent me.’ I scan his face for a hint of a smile but I find none, a look I’m all too familiar with from the stand-up circuit … ‘Murdoch sent you?’ I reply. ‘Yeah, he’s my uncle’, he says” – and soon everyone breaks out smiling.

Meanwhile, creature comforts are never too far away. Marbles’s room-mate, a serial offender named Splinter, regularly watches Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear: “A reminder, if one was needed, that there are far worse people than the ones you find in prison.”

But there is one sobering aspect Marbles can’t laugh off: his enforced separation from his child. “I love you and miss you,” he tells his son. “Not seeing you is my real punishment here; the only one I care about, anyway.”

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This article originally appeared in MediaGuardian.

  1. Paddy Brocherie Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    Hey Marbles, sorry you,re missing your son so badly. You did something for all of us, throwing that foam pie.
    Sadly you may be the only one to punish  Murdock.  No one else has had the courage to do it.
    Kia kaha.

  2. You realise this is the internet and you can link to things? Why link to Ebay’s stock ticker but not to the blog you’re talking about?

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