Thursday, 29 July 2021
Pulp fiction is nothing new to us yobs. The Hells Angels and Skinhead books of the 70s sold by the barrowload. As a yoof I'd buy bovver books at Rock On in Camden Town, at Brick Lane of a Sunday and also at the book barrows that used to be on Holloway Road and Leather Lane.
The Penny Dreadfuls were a precursor and in his Curiosities of London Life, from back in 1853, Charles Manby Smith himself had noted that London’s Sunday markets had ‘all abundance of the blood-and-murder, ghost-and-goblin journals, embellished for the most part with melodramatic cuts, where what was wanting in truth of artistic delineation was plentifully made up in energy of action. It would seem that there is a charm in pistols, daggers, bludgeons, and deadly weapons of all sorts, with the assaults and assassinations they suggest, that is irresistible to the population of London. No matter how gross the ignorance or stupidity of a writer, so that he have but a deed of blood or violence to unfold: a murder is so delicious a morsel to the palates of a debased multitude, that it imparts a relish to the most intolerable dullness, and invests imbecility itself with the attributes of genius and talent.’