“The city of to-day is a dying thing because it is not geometrical. To build in the open would be to replace our present haphazard arrangements, which are all we have to-day, by a uniform layout. Unless we do this there is no salvation. The result of a true geometrical lay-out is repetition. The result of repetition is a standard, the perfect form.”
George R. Stewart’s “Earth Abides” (1949) | Stephen Basdeo
George R. Stewart’s novel Earth Abides grapples with the question of what shape society will take after a deadly pandemic kills off most of the earth’s population.
How the Albanian Mafia Infiltrated the Government | Logan Lafferty
“It is painfully obvious that the modus vivendi that has been reached between state and political institutions and organized crime is causing a permanent deformation of the democratic system.”
St George’s Day seems as fitting time as ever to publish a “new” Robin Hood poem I found titled “Saxon Grit” in the archives of a long-defunct Christian socialist magazine titled The Labour Prophet in 1892.
How “The Godfather” Shaped Perceptions of Italian American Culture | Angelo Calfo
How did the most famous gangster movie of all time shape people’s perceptions of the Italian-American community? Angelo Calfo investigates.
“They had never heard of Robin Hood”: Remarks from George Orwell’s “A Clergyman’s Daughter” (1935)
Dorothy found that the hardest subject to teach her children was history. “They had never heard of Robin Hood,” she remarked, “and never played at being Cavaliers and Roundheads.”
“Like a faint echo from the Middle Ages”: George Orwell’s Time among the Tramps | Stephen Basdeo
“The story had been amended [by the tramps] … just as children amend the stories of Samson and Robin Hood … It was oral tradition lingering on, like a faint echo from the Middle Ages.”
George Orwell’s Time as a Policeman in British India
Angelo Calfo briefly discusses an episode which occurred during George Orwell’s time as a policeman in Burma, British India.
Detective Robert Fabian meets Perverts and Rubber Suits | Stephen Basdeo
“A man begins to commit murder from the moment he indulges sadistic day dreams…and begins to buy sadistic novelettes, or seek out a prostitute or masochistic amateur to share his perverted interests.”
Red Katy and her Customers
The room contains an assortment of devices for inflicting pain. All the time, the client is pleading with Katy for her forgiveness, promising “he will be good,” while she lays into him with the whiplash of her tongue, and afterwards with her collection of implements.
The History of Thomas Walsingham’s Historia Anglicana traced through Reappearances of Jack Straw’s Last Dying Speech
How do certain ‘facts’ about one of the major events of English history get forgotten? Between 1715 and 1863, one such fact which people forgot was a dying confession made by Jack Straw, ahero of the Peasants’ Revolt.
Jack Harkaway: The Victorian Harry Potter
The Victorians in many ways were just like us: they enjoyed a good scandal whenever it was reported in the press, they liked both trashy and high-brow entertainment, and like today, they had their popular heroes adored by both adults and children. Let me introduce you to the Harry Potter of the late-Victorian era: Mr Jack Harkaway.
Crime in a Communist Utopia
“Up at the League, says a friend, there had been one night a brisk conversational discussion, as to what would happen on the Morrow of the Revolution, finally shading off into a vigorous statement by various friends of their views on the future of the fully-developed new society … [William Guest] found himself musing on the subject-matter of discussion, but still discontentedly and unhappily. “If I could but see it!” … “If I could but see it! If I could but see it!”
“La Eme”—The Mexican Mafia
Robert Ramirez delves into the history of the infamous La Eme, better known as the Mexican Mafia, one of the most brutal organized crime groups in existence.
No point in legalizing weed for recreational use
When looking at the states where recreational marijuana use has been legalized, all the great things that activists promised said would come with legalization never happened.
Yobs from Richmond Arrested for Stealing Football
Young lads have always enjoyed playing football, but sometimes their love for it can land them in trouble with the police. This is as true today as it was in the Victorian era, where in court records we find two residents from Richmond, London, William Ford, aged 19, and Henry Hold, aged 15, arrested for having broken into a shop and stealing a football.
Inscriptions from the Dungeons of Richmond Castle
In WW1, Conscientious Objectors under sentence of death left their mark in their cells detailing their thoughts and prayers before in what they imagined were their final hours.
Carlos Rodriguez gives a brief history and analysis of Mexican cartels from the 1980s onwards.
“One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”: Deciding what is and what is not an act of terror
Tyler Welch explains why it IS possible to distinguish terrorist acts from the actions of legitimate freedom fighters.
What distinguishes a well-planned murder committed by a robber to a low-life thug extorting protection money from a business owner? In this post, Tyler Welch discusses how we can define organised crime, and how such groups emerge and flourish.
Reading Robin Hood in World War Two (1939–45): Data from Mass Observation
Did film completely destroy the market for Robin Hood books? Perhaps not as quickly as we might think.
Mack the Knife: The “True” Story Behind the Song | Stephen Basdeo
By Stephen Basdeo. The popular song “Mack the Knife” was based upon the story of an eighteenth-century highwayman named Captain Macheath. This post traces the literary life of this fictional character.
An Early Socialist History of the Peasants’ Revolt: Charles Edmund Maurice’s “Lives of English Popular Leaders of the Middle Ages” (1875)
Charles Edmund Maurice was a Barrister, History Lecturer, and committed Christian Socialist. In 1875, he authored one of the first socialist histories of the rebellion of 1381.
Available for preorder: “The Life and Legend of a Rebel Leader: Wat Tyler” (2018)
My book on Wat Tyler in medieval and post-medieval literature is now available for preorder on Amazon!