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Gaol Fever

David Saunders-Wilson, 24 July 1986

Prisons and the Process of Justice 
by Andrew Rutherford.
Oxford, 217 pp., £5.95, June 1986, 0 19 281932 1
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Growing out of Crime: Society and Young People in Trouble 
by Andrew Rutherford.
Penguin, 189 pp., £3.95, January 1986, 0 14 022383 5
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... but now he’s thinking of taking acting lessons. Perhaps he had been inspired by the careers of Jimmy Boyle, John McVicar, ‘Dirty Den’ of EastEnders, and Paul Barber, one of the ‘Brothers McGregor’ who also spent some time inside, and who recently claimed in the Sun: ‘Jailed turned me into a ...

Brought to book

Gordon Williams, 7 May 1981

Ronnie Biggs: His Own Story 
by Michael Joseph.
Sphere, 238 pp., £7.95, March 1981, 9780718119720
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A Sense of Freedom 
by Jimmy Boyle.
Pan, 264 pp., £1.25, September 1977, 0 330 25303 4
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... Train-robber Biggs and murderer Boyle present in their testaments a challenge to our moral reflexes. Both authors have appalling records: South Londoner Biggs with countless petty interviews, conspiracy to commit biography, and now brazen autobiography executed in ruthlessly-priced hard-back, plus indecent exposure on a Sex Pistols waxing: Glaswegian Boyle with an audaciously publicised apologia here compounded in paperback, cold-blooded participation before the fact in a television film witnessed by millions of law-abiding citizens, and flagrant indulgence in the plastic arts (to wit, sculpture with a sharp instrument) under the very noses of the prison authorities ...

Diary

Jenny Turner: ‘T2 Trainspotting’, 16 February 2017

... corpsing into the camera, he’s enjoying himself so much. T2 Trainspotting does the trick Danny Boyle did with the London Olympics ceremony, reflecting its audience straight back on itself, only bigger and nicer and much, much better-looking, wrapping it in a shiny gift bag, tied up with a bow. The premise is that Renton is on his way back to Scotland from ...

Sweet Fifteen

James Campbell, 3 November 1983

Bad Blood: A Family Murder 
by Richard Levine.
Hutchinson, 351 pp., £8.95, May 1983, 0 09 152360 5
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The Glasgow Rape Case 
by Ross Harper and Arnot McWhinnie.
Hutchinson, 259 pp., £5.95, June 1983, 0 09 151731 1
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Notes from a Waiting-Room 
by Alan Reeve.
Heretic Books, 203 pp., £3.50, May 1983, 0 946097 09 7
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... bad faith controlling his testament. Like other celebrated prisoners – Genet, Gilmore, Abbott, Jimmy Boyle, each in his own way – he conceives his destiny as that of martyr and saint: ‘It was Easter,’ he writes, describing a rooftop protest, ‘and I horrified many onlookers by stretching my arms over the cross on the church roof and hanging ...

Making strange

John Sutherland, 19 March 1981

Other people 
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 223 pp., £5.95, March 1981, 0 224 01766 7
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The Magic Glass 
by Anne Smith.
Joseph, 174 pp., £6.50, March 1981, 9780718119867
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The Book of Ebenezer Le Page 
by Gerald Edwards.
Hamish Hamilton, 400 pp., £7.50, March 1981, 0 241 10477 7
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Sharpe’s Eagle 
by Bernard Cornwell.
Collins, 266 pp., £6.50, February 1981, 0 00 221997 2
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XPD 
by Len Deighton.
Hutchinson, 397 pp., £6.95, March 1981, 0 09 144570 1
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... of why Lowland Scots, as different in pedigree as David Daiches, the film-maker Bill Douglas, Jimmy Boyle and Anne Smith, should be so determined to rake over and publicly display their childhoods (all more or less deprived childhoods, though in Daiches’ case less so from poverty than from an austerely Judaist upbringing). To take a topical ...

All Monte Carlo

James Francken: Malcolm Braly, 23 May 2002

On the Yard 
by Malcolm Braly.
NYRB, 438 pp., £8.99, March 2002, 9780940322967
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... books like Jim Phelan’s Jail Journey (1940); John McVicar’s McVicar by Himself (1974); Jimmy Boyle’s Sense of Freedom (1977). When Boyle set down his experience in a novel, Hero of the Underworld (1999), the central character was already out of prison and back on the streets. According to the ...

Diary

Terry Castle: Moving House, 27 August 2009

... on my Facebook Wall. Self-destructive thoughts when forced to admit they can’t. Like Susan Boyle, all one wants is to have one’s little life back. B., thank god, seems fine. Calls frequently from Cambridge on the Crackberry; thinks I’m making an insane fuss about moving five houses up the street. Full of kind spousal forbearance when I tell her we ...

What are we telling the nation?

David Edgar: Thoughts about the BBC, 7 July 2005

Uncertain Vision: Birt, Dyke and the Reinvention of the BBC 
by Georgina Born.
Vintage, 352 pp., £10.99, August 2005, 0 09 942893 8
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Building Public Value: Renewing the BBC for a Digital World 
BBC, 135 pp.Show More
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... producers and strand editors to the controller and five commissioners. In the same period, James Boyle, Radio Four’s controller, had undertaken the dangerous procedure of restructuring his channel’s slots, which reduced the weekly 90-minute play to 60 minutes (at the same time moving it from Monday to Friday) and rationalised the daytime drama output in ...

What was it that drove him?

David Runciman: Gordon Brown, 4 January 2018

My Life, Our Times 
by Gordon Brown.
Bodley Head, 512 pp., £25, November 2017, 978 1 84792 497 1
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... McIntyre’ and a group of young shop stewards from the Rosyth Dockyard, who ‘included Charlie Boyle, Helen Dowie, Jimmy Dyce, Charlie Logan, Margaret Logan, Bert Lumsden, George Manclark, Derek Stubbs, Peter Young and also Alex Falconer’). As this shows, they didn’t all have to be men, but usually they were. There ...

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