When I went to Jamaica in 2011, I paid a lovely visit to the Bob Marley Museum, but never did the official tour. I explored all about on the outside, even briefly conversed with his grand-daughter, but regrettably, I did not do the whole walk through of the house. I promised myself, that should I get the privilege of going back, I would do the tour. This time around, I did. I must admit however, that I have mixed emotions since doing so. In some ways, I kind of wish I didn’t do it, which would have let the fantasy I’d had about him since I was a teenager, remain in tact. I don’t really know how to explain it. Upon entry into the house, up the original marble steps, I was hit with this immediate feeling of heaviness. I looked around on everyone’s faces who were on the tour with me, to see if their faces expressed the way I felt, but I saw all big grins, so I knew I was alone with that feeling. The tour guide was wonderful. It should actually be against the law, to be as nice and as bubbly as she was to be honest. For me, I always envisioned inside to be massive, (it looked big in the Marley movie scenes as well), but it felt quite small, considering how big outside looks. I will admit though, the floors, the molding, the stairs, everything was just beautiful. I just could not shake the eerie feeling. There was an awards room, a room with a life size hologram of his likeness and 3 mannequins representing the I-Threes. Also, there was a the still functioning recording studio, which is barred off from the tour, and a room with news paper clippings of his tours and his life.
It was then up the stairs, to the kitchen, his bedroom, a large hallway type space with a window next to his bedroom, that had a perfect view of the hills, where his hammock swings and some another news room. I assume that the news room would have been a guest room, or maybe even that game room, where the ping pong table used to be, as I have seen in pictures, during its functioning days. There is also an exact replica set up, of The Wailers original record shop, where they sold their records as really young men in Trench-town. In the hallway by the stairs, a few of his favourite articles of clothing were on display, encased in glass picture frames, hanging on the wall. I got to see the denim shirt that I had always admired him scanting about on stage in, and 2 of his short pants up close.
Now we’ve all been told that Bob Marley was a small man in stature, so I was always aware that he wasn’t my ideal 6 ft. 🙂
‘Cyan I tell yuh, mi nevah know di man min soo tiny!’
I was like,
‘Why dem clothes look soo small?’…..
Especially his pants. I actually did a double take. I was stunned. I always thought he would’ve been around 5′-9″. Kind of short for a guy, but still workable. At that moment my fantasy lost 4 inches, when my tour guide confirmed that he was 5′-5″.
‘im wus a lickle man yuh seet.’ Me couldn’t do nutting wid dat?’
lol 😀 Yeah I know, I have issues, I admit it, but for half of my life, I watched this man move his waist line on stage, with the sweetest, sexiest, motions, wondering at times, what it would have been like to well,.. errrr…you know…lol 😀 , and I immediately felt the need, to shake those thoughts from my mind. He seemed so small to me in that moment.
You know what,..Screw it!.
It’s my mind and he can be whatever height I want him to be in my fantasy, so he’s 6 ft. Nobody can tell me otherwise.
The place that left me most perplexed was his bedroom. It is left just as he’d left it, the last time he was there. The only thing that is different is the sheet on the bed, at least that was what the tour guide told us. The heavy feeling came on stronger, and all I wanted to do was get outta there. Everybody was still smiling and grinning, and I felt like I was going to be sick and wanted to run out of the house. I wish I could get somebody to explain to me why I felt that way, considering it was a place I’d wanted to go into for a very long time, even more so, after seeing the Marley film.
We then went downstairs, outside around to his rehearsal room, aka the ‘shot room’, which is where the assassination attempt on his life took place. A few of the bullet holes are still visible. He was struck by a bullet which grazed his chest, and lodged in his elbow and it remained there until his death. The tour then left the main house, then went over to another building on the property, which was once his record pressing plant. It housed a display of his guitar and other pieces of his life, and now a small theater, where a short film about his life was then shown to end off the tour.
I have completely mixed emotions about the tour. It was a humbling experience to be in his space, because when it boils down to it, he was/is a remarkable man, and in his death, his life and legend continues to grow. Outside of his t-shirtification, he was sooo much more than the handsome facial images, that we’ve all grown overly accustomed to. Being in his physical space did something to me. There is an undeniable energy there, at least I thought so, but I left 56 Hope Rd a little bit overwhelmed. Unfortunately, picture taking is not allowed inside the house, so please enjoy the ones I was able to capture.