Sunday, November 05, 2006

If you remember, you weren't there

Interesting article in the Sunday Telegraph today. Actually, it's not a particularly interesting article. It says kids are running wild, ASBOs are useless and policemen are hampered by excessive form-filling, the human rights industry and political correctness. There's even a lousy poem, the sort of thing Peter Lilley used to perform at Tory Party conferences, to the delight of delegates and the bowel-churning embarrassment of everybody else. Pretty much the sort of thing that's been running in the Telegraph for decades.

What is interesting is the byline. It's by Felix Dennis (above, right), who was one of the troika behind OZ magazine. In the article, Dennis describes how, at the age of 16, he received a no-holds-barred bollocking from a beat copper who apprehended him about to steal a microphone from a pawn shop: "Thus ended my life of crime."

Well, strictly speaking, that's true. After Dennis, Richard Neville and Jim Anderson were prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act over the Schoolkids' edition of OZ, found guilty and given jail terms, their sentences were quashed on appeal, so he doesn't actually have a criminal record. However, the case, for all its focus on a raunchy image of Rupert Bear, was as much to do with official nervousness at the widespread subversion of law and order, and the growing tendency of young people to express their contempt for the bastions of authority, including the police. The case was dramatised in 1991, with Kevin (brother of Keith) Allen as Dennis, and a preposterously pretty Hugh Grant as Neville; it was later satirised in an episode of the sitcom Hippies.

The judge gave Dennis a lighter sentence than his co-accused, because he was "very much less intelligent" than the others. He made no mention of his faulty memory.


Anonymous said...

Presumably the Telegraph knows who he is, the hypocrisy of age eh?

orange anubis said...

The world is truly a confusing place when you can progress from OZ to the Sunday Tel. Although knowing that makes me feel slightly less conflicted about agreeing with part of that article: I had cause to visit a police station earlier this week and was amazed that nothing seems to be computerised.

St Anthony said...

How funny is that, getting a lesser sentence for being a bit thick? The shame of it.
(If memory serves, a very similar defence was trotted out by Lester Piggot's brief, when he was up for tax dodging ... I'd rather take my knocks than go for that).
Can't imagine Hugh Grant as Richard Neville.
It's a standard journey, I'm afraid - from young firebrand to conservative old fart ... look at the likes of the Angry Young Men.
The opposite journey, young conservative to old radical. is much rarer. Not sure if Michael Portillo fits the bill ... red-blood Tory to touchy-feely liberal ... can't trust him either way.

dh said...

Fancy that OZ thing surfacing again. Jim Anderson seems to have vaporized. Richard Neville is back in Oz, doing public speaking. Felix now has a very nice little place in the Caribbean from whence he writes poetry.

Tim Footman said...

Yeah, Anderson doesn't even have a Wikipedia entry. The Jules Munshin/Horst Bucchholz of OZ.

I know what you mean about radicals turning rightwards, Anthony, but surely he could have used that in the article - a mea culpa for his youthful indiscretions, etc.

Billy said...

I only got as far as the third line. I refuse to read anything by anyone who uses the word "chav" unless they're actually Romany.

St Anthony said...

Billy has hit the nail firmly on the head ... being of Romany blood (and proud of it), I was nonplussed when the term 'chav' started to gain currency ... I regard it as a term of racist abuse, since it is an insult exclusively thrown at the white English working class ... usually by people who are inordinately interested in policing other people's language.
Nice one, Billy.