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SELF-MADE

A memoir by PJ Murray

One of the most raw, honest,
and captivating success
stories you'll ever read.

The story

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The story

A brutally honest narrative chronicling the life of a barely literate northwest London juvenile gangster who navigated his way through the racially-charged 1970s, consumer-driven 1980s, multicultural 1990s, and internet-focused 2000s to become a self-made success story.

Despite enduring an underprivileged childhood and a decade-long cycle of criminality and incarceration, PJ Murray matured into a street-smart business operator who played an unsung, but pioneering role in Britain’s black media industry.

While offering insight into his Christian faith and the fascinating world of small and medium-sized enterprises, this thrilling poverty to prosperity memoir is similarly peppered with mind-boggling accounts of suicide, sex, fast cars, Jamaican black magic, revenge, and personal development.

Self Made is available to pre-order now.

Meet PJ Murray

A street-smart London hustler; lavish yuppie salesman; black media pioneer; self-made insolvency practitioner - who is PJ Murray? Discover more about the fascinating man behind the book in this candid interview.

pj

PJ Murray at 50

In 2016 I hosted a series of local and international events to celebrate my 50th birthday under the theme ‘PJM50’.

The festivities kicked off in January with a dinner party attended by 40 family members at a Greek restaurant in Hatch End.

In March, I held a reception, dinner, and entertainment party for 300 guests at the Royal Garden Kensington Hotel. A month later, we put on a reception, dinner, and evening of gospel worship for 150 guests at the Hilton London Kensington Hotel.

In May, I invited 10 couples to Grenada for a seafood and Champagne holiday, which was followed by a week-long cruise of the Greek islands on a 52-foot-long, £1 million yacht with my eldest son, three nephews, and their partners.

By the time I hosted the seventh and final event, a seafood BBQ for 100 young people at my home, I’d spent £100,000 celebrating my 50th birthday.

Chapter preview

Get a sneak peek into the book with these snippets form each decade of PJ's life.

Humble beginnings

Truth be told, my family was considered to be dysfunctional, undesirable; and compared to the other families in our community we were dirt poor. So poor that we lived on hand-outs from other people, and used to get our clothes from the Salvation Army.

If the neighbours were going to take the piss out of anyone, we’d be in for it. Sometimes, one or two of the older guys would take the piss out of my mum in front of me.

When I’d stay out too late in the evenings, she would come looking for me and because she was blind in one eye they would close one of their eyes and say: ‘Peter, Peter, come home,’ in a high-pitched voice.

Eats, sticksman & rastafari

…The first rave I ever went to was a street party for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in June 1977. I was 11 years old and Lord Koos’ sound system was playing. It was like a carnival contained on Fortune Gate Road in Harlesden.

I remember arriving, smelling ganja in the air, seeing lots of people, and hearing the song of that summer, Two Sevens Clash by Culture, booming out of what appeared to be a dozen speakers positioned along the street. I was in awe.

I began raving with a group of around 20 juveniles aged between 11 and 15. At various times, some of us would abscond from care homes to join the group and most had elder siblings who were either in care or just entering the criminal justice system…

Banged up, breaking out & jackie green

…I was still seething about Jackie Green coming to court and providing the prosecution with the evidence that was used to lock me up, but I tried to forget about her and was pleasantly surprised to hear that I’d been allocated a cellmate.

I don’t remember much about him, other than his name was Michael. He was white, had brown hair, came from Hertfordshire, and was in jail for the first time.

On about the fourth night after he arrived, I remember lying on the bottom bunk talking with him and discovering that we were both 17 and had birthdays coming in the following weeks.

I must’ve dozed off midway through the conversation because the next thing I remember is waking up, looking to my left, and seeing his lifeless body hanging from the cell bars…

Champion of champions

…I partied regularly during this period and one of my favourite West End spots was Legends nightclub on Old Burlington Street. There, I became friends with another insurance salesman who was four or five years older than me; a well-to-do, and probably blue-blooded, cokehead.

One night in October 1987, as the unsigned pop group The Pasadenas performed on stage, he introduced me to a girl named Lucy Sanders. They were around the same age and of similar ilk, but for some reason Lucy and I just took to each other.

All three of us went into the toilets and snorted a stupid amount of cocaine and my friend went off with a girl he’d met, leaving Lucy and I alone. Apparently, they worked together but she was concerned that his drug habit had gotten out of control and was affecting their profits…

Black media, birth control & Beethoven

…I quickly learned that the black media market was run by a small, tightly-knit, and hugely competitive fraternity of experts. But couldn’t decide on the best method of approach. Eventually, I said to myself: ‘What would Surjit Shah do?’

I phoned The Voice newspaper and told them I was looking for some publicity to help promote a black magazine that I was launching. A receptionist took my number and said that someone would get back to me shortly.

After two days of waiting I said to myself, ‘time’s running out. Use your skills and go to the top’. I contacted The Voice’s editor Winsome Hines, who wouldn’t take my calls so I blagged the deputy editor, Joseph Harker…

Women, money, and making new friends

In May 1991, one month after my 25th birthday Leroy, William, Faye and I launched what is now known as Britain’s most successful lifestyle publication targeting women of colour, Pride magazine.

I was young, happy, on top of the world and, although I’d lost some property due to the rising interest rates, earlier that year a consultant from investment company Hill Samuel had valued my assets at £1.3 million.

I remember driving every evening after work from the Pride office to my mum’s house in Harlesden, where she’d give me a plate of food and we’d talk.

Afterwards, I’d cruise through Harlesden along Church Road then through Willesden and Cricklewood (the areas where I reigned during my days of criminality), before entering a new world; Golders Green, West Hampstead, and Hampstead, where I now lived…

The oo's & beyond

Descent into hell

…I heard the young man trying to contain his excitement as he replied: ‘Yeah man, call back the same time tomorrow.’ I hung up the phone and smiled thinking, ‘gotcha, you little bastard’.

I called my good friend Slinger, who came to visit. When he arrived I asked him to help me get a strap. Slinger stared at me for a long while and said: ‘It’s all around the hood that you’re mixed up in something with Winston, and I’m busy telling people it’s got nothing to do with you. But now you’re coming to me on some different ting, talkin’ bout you want a strap. Yo Peter, what’s happened to you?’

I assured Slinger I was just taking care of business and he had nothing to worry about. He looked to the heavens, shook his head, and tried to talk me out of the purchase. But after a few days he arranged for another supplier to deliver a MAC-10 machine pistol…

Goodbye Georgina, PJM50 & the benefits of sowing

…The thing few people understand about success is that it doesn’t come at the beginning. The whole idea is that you have to make it past the halfway line. Most people give up before they get to that point, and that’s why they never reach anywhere. It’s impossible for you to reach halfway without getting hit by perceived obstacles and disasters.

To help gauge how far you’ve reached, try to remember that unless you’ve gone through some pain, setbacks, tears, and changes; you’re nowhere near the halfway line. If you really you want to survive and succeed, you must work hard over a long period of time…

Read the whole story, buy your copy of PJ Murray’s Self Made now.