Bartley Gorman – King of the Travellers
When I was about 13 I’d gotten bored of reading Roald Dahl and type of stuff that is aimed kids of that age. The boredom was filled with the biographies of extremely naughty men. The Kray Twins, Lennie McLean, Roy Shaw, Dave Courtney and other assorted “Hard Bastards”. Quite weird looking back at it.
One summer school holiday I happened upon the biography of Bartley Gorman, aka The King of The Gypsies. I can remember being very impressed with a tale in there of someone regularly eating pint glasses as a party trick. Also quite weird looking back at it.
A few years later I found myself at music college in Nottingham, my Mum was very thankful that I’d grown out of being obsessed with shit gangsters and swapped it for music. The college I was at also had a functioning commercial studio attached to it, there was often talk of who was in there amongst us eager students sniffing for a bit of work experience and a go on the buttons.
Someone who was in there quite a lot was a then unknown director Shane Meadows, who was mixing the audio for the film Dead Man’s Shoes. I delved back into his previous work and found that one of his first forays into film was a documentary on The King of The Gypsies that was Bartley Gorman, the very same hard bastard whose book I’d read a few years previous.
There’s been talk of a full length feature film on Bartley Gorman, directed by Shane himself for a long time. I hope it gets made and I wonder how they will film the scene of eating pint glasses.
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Sunshine in Soho – 1956
Step into 1950’s soho, where everyone dressed sharp and the Summer fair is taking place… The BFI have put this film up for free, it is a delightfully relaxing watch. Watch Sunshine in Soho
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Lockdown conference calls though history #1