'Why am I travelling over to London to meet up with a man who has been shot five times, who was an infamous London criminal gangster with a history that would make even the toughest of people wince at what he’s been through?’
Then my overriding thought kicked in which was, 'isn’t this what 'The Mindset Junkie' podcast is all about? I created the podcast to be able to speak with people from all over the world who have made changes in their lives and have a story to tell about it and this man has certainly that.
I made my coffee and got on the road to Belfast to meet with Dan my videographer for the day who would be coming to London to record the podcast.
We got into London pretty early Saturday morning and after landing at Stansted we made our way into central London with plenty of time to go grab a bite to eat and think about the podcast. We ate at a lovely coffee shop on Abbey Road right beside the famous Abbey Studios and the famous zebra crossing that the Beatles used for their album cover aptly named Abbey Road.
We had organised to record the podcast for around lunchtime and after a quick chat on the phone we made our way down to meet up with Marvin Herbert, a former London criminal who has had a life that looks like something right out of a Guy Ritchie movie with the scars to prove it and the outlandish stories to accompany them.
As we walked to meet him at the address I noticed we were in a very up-market and high end part of London with the houses averaging in price not in the thousands but millions. As we arrived we introduced ourselves, shook hands and made our way in to set up for the podcast.
We were greeted with a couple of dogs first who were eager to see who we were and as we walked into this beautiful home that had its own living quarters for house help, in my mind I was thinking former criminal, or what's really going on here?
We sat and chatted for a while in between getting set up and basically got to meet each other, for most podcasts I have a fair idea what I want to talk about and have a fair idea of how it might flow but for this one I knew that it would probably go in many many different directions which it did.
As I sat there listening to Marvin explain his childhood and his upbringing and while listening to some of the harrowing stories of beatings from his father, going without food for days, or having his hand burned in the fire by his dad because he was caught stealing from the shop - a recount of an event which which made him visibly emotional - I could sense that under all of that hard exterior and pain was someone with a big heart, and at heart a kid who really just wanted love and acceptance, to be accepted for who is.
Marvin's path took him down a life of crime and violence starting as a petty criminal stealing car stereos on the streets of London, fighting after school with other schools in fisty-cuff battles but that then advanced to swords and knives and guns.
As he grew he was eventually running a criminal empire but I sensed it could have been something completely different with the right guidance as Marvin is very smart with a real entrepreneurial mind, and even though it definitely isn’t right or to be admired, a lot of what it takes to run successful criminal underworld businesses could certainly be applicable to build legitimate empires
My thought was that he certainly could have done that, and thankfully it is now what he is directing his focus towards.
"Show me the child and I will show you the man.” That's a famous quote that in short states that nurture not nature is maybe more important in shaping someone’s future. I have always asked myself that question also, What is more important?
For Marvin it was both nurture and nature as his father was a criminal and in his environment it was all he seen growing up it was just normal in his world, something he accepted as normal and when I asked him at certain stages of his early criminal career did he ever think about doing anything else, it was an emphatic 'no!' He did not know anything else. This was his life and it was what he accepted and when in that world, what he wanted.
Marvin was shot five times and left for dead while living in Marbella, Spain. He was shot four times around his body, in the legs and arm and then one in the face resulting in him losing his right eye. How he is alive in itself is a miracle. The bullet to his eye flattened and did not go all the way through, and the one in his leg narrowly missed his femoral artery which would have had him bleed out.
As he showed us the scars I remembered the words he said often in the podcast and what he was wearing on his hoody. It was the simple question . . . For what?
This is a question that Marvin now reinforces as he speaks and educates youths and adults in prison or kids thinking about this kind of life to ask themselves, for what?
Shootings stabbings, jail time over and over again living a life that has you trusting nobody and always looking over your shoulder. For what?
We spoke for around two hours and we then took a drive around London with Marvin to some of the places he would learn to become the criminal he was. I also want to point out that in no way was this chat aiming to glorify that kind of life and Marvin himself works hard to push the same message.
This is not a life you want to live! I won’t divulge in much more of his story but listen to this explosive episode of my podcast with Marvin which will be available on Monday, February 7th on my Youtube Channel, The Mindset Junkie Podcast and also available to listen to on Spotify or Apple or any other popular platform. Click here to check out previous podcasts.