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.