Monday, October 1, 2007

Outside Reading Week 1

Well...I already read my book, so i'l try to remember what my initial reactions were as i reread. by the way, this book has a great book cover. It's the main character holding his baby son in one arm and and rifle in the other. anyway, the book starts in january 1998. the main man, currently unnamed, is in the middle of robbing a bank with his crew. the main man's job this time is crowd control: he makes sure all coustomers and employees do what they should, while the rest of the crew grabs the cash. they finish up fast and run out to the getaway driver. During the drive, he talks about the gang and the roles they play. When he is done with thism he talks a little about the police system in London. He also talks about the king of unwritten code amoung criminals, like don't grass. Then he talks about the famous criminals who he looks up to, then chapter one ends.

Chapter two starts in 1960, the year of Razor's, the main character's, birth. It then skips quickly over his life until he is nine years old. When he was nine he moved with his family to sinclair estate in south london. They moved from a slum in north london. Razor and his brother Mick met four of local boys, the brooker brothers, while exploring a nearby area. they quickly became friends. they caused alot of trouble around town, exploring construction sites and jumping on the backs of buses. They would often engage other gangs of young boys in fights. they also often skipped school.

He talks here about how he stole little things as a child. Like when there was no wood for the fire, he would go break down garden fences. He talks about how he alwais admired the people like Robin Hood, who stole but were still good guys. When he was eleven years old, he switched schools. He was kicked out of the first for fighting. He was sent to Tulse Hill school, which he says was one of the worst experiences of his life. After the first week he never went back.

When they were supposed to be at school, they would just hang out in south london. When they were thirsty, they would take a milkbottle off of someone's porch. This was normal behavior for children at the time. Once, though, the police saw them do it. The fine officers proceeded to beat the crap out of him and his brother, both of whom were under 15 years old. This is where his hatred of the police began.

He talks about one incident where a boy in front on an ice cream shop called him a "bog trotting Fenian bastard". He responded by breaking the kid's nose. The kid ran to his father and told him. The father came back and asked Razor if it were true. Razer said yes, and said why he did it. The father hit his kid in the head and gave Razor enough money for an ice cream.

When he was 15, he was arrested for his one man war against the police. Ever since they beat him, he had spent his time dismantling police motorcycles, looking for police cars to get to chase him, insulting officers. Once, he burgled a local tennis club that was a favorite of the police. He threw a party with the money, and a neighbor called the police about the noise. When they arrived, people began to throw bottles at them. There was a fight, but Razor got away. At this point, the police were looking for his pretty hard. He no longer slept at home, staying with friends or in cars. Once, after the police had scared his mother in a house raid looking for him, he threw a brick to a police station window. After this, he stole a police motorcycle and ran it into a ditch. A few weeks later, he was caught while hotwiring a motorcycle and arrested. He was sent to HMDC (Her Majesty's Detention Center) Send. He talks about the Short Sharp Shock, a system employed by screws, or prision employees, for dealing with juvenile offenders. It involved beating the evil out of children, which Razor compares to 17th century villagers burning the devil out of poor old ladies accused of being witches. The system also had the children complete useful tasks for the betterment of society, such as digging holes and filling them back in again, or smashing reject cassette tapes with hammers. Razor also talks about how juvenile prision also gives potentional criminals the oppurtunity to set up contacts and get information, such as the security of certian stores.

As soon as he arrived at HMDC Send, he received "a good hiding" from the screws. He talks about the stupid prision rules, like you have to shave even if you have nothing to shave. If you return the razor dry, you gey a beating. You had to cut your chin to prove you shaved. Also, all meals were eaten in a large dining hall while standing and being silent. If you sit or talk, you get a beating. Prisioners were allowed one letter to home a week. If you say anything bad about the prision treatment, you get a beating. Also, the laundry workers will leave skid marks on your pants.

He learned many intresting facts in Send, such as Marks and Spencer skylights had no alarm. There was also more general criminal information, such as how to hotwire a car, or how to bypass a burgler alarm. The prisioners considered themselves the good guys, and the screws the bad guys. They considered themselves soldiers behind enemy lines who's job it was to "fuck the system". The prime examples of straight society, as they saw it, were the screws and the abusive police. If they saw them as an enemy, of course they saw themselves as good, since the cops were clearly evil. Confident that they were the good guys, the prisioners of Send decided to refuse to do work. The next day, the wake-up screw comes in and tells them to do get ready fir work. Razor says that they "Ain't workin' no more". The screw responds by punching Razor in the face. After this, the rest of the prisioners are scared intp working. While the screw is shouting at the rest of the prisioners, Razor picks up a scovel off of the floor and swings at the screw's head, fully intending to kill him. The screw moves at the last second, and calls in more. They beat Razor down and take him to the punishment block. After this, the other prisioners treat him with respect, and he is given the easy jobs by the screws. He takes this as a lesson that he can use violence to get what he wants. He is released from Send in November.

The day after he left send, he and Micky went looking for a cop car to chase them. They got away that time, and a few times afterwards as well. Once, though, the police called in a motorcycle. They were caught, but Micky got away. When Razor learned this and laughed, one of the cops hit him in the face, just as two old ladies were passing by. He appealed to them for healp, saying he had done nothing wrong. The old women began yelling at the cops and took down the vehicle numbers. At this point, the cops had stopped beating up Razor and took him to the police station. When he got out of the car, he said the handcuffs really hurt, so the took them off. He burt away so fast the police didn't bother chasing him. He spent the night at Micky's house and then began a series of smash-and-grabs on electronics shops. He would smash the display window, and grab what was inside, hence the name.

It was around this time that he met up with Peter Mayne, commonly known as Pete the Nut. He was also a theif and they quickly became friends. They found a fence who collected antique goods and good to work. They raided ivory, clock, and silver stores, netting decent profits. Pete and Razor started to get into the Elvis scene, and started going to alot of teddy-boy clubs. The standard ted weapon was the cut-throat razor, filed to a point to make it hurt, but wrapped with masking tape an inch from the end to make it non-lethal. Razor "practised religiously" with his, and got a chance to use it when a local soul-boy gang raided the teddy-boy club he hung out in. There was a huge fight, and he slashed one kid in the face with the razor. The teds won the fight, and it was the first time Razor had used a weapon. About a month after this, he attacked a skinhead clob by him self, slashing everyone there. This was revenge for the skins almost killing a friend of his. The club was only about a quarter full, but the story grew until he was said to have slashed fifty skins and wrecked the club. He did nothing to dissuade these rumors, and the stories earned him the nickname Razor.

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