Obama Rap Foxy Knoxy

Obama Rap – Foxy Knoxy from New London Writers on Vimeo.


William Lobban's Glasgow

william lobban

William Lobban was born in Exeter prison where his mother, Sylvia Manson, was serving time for her part in a daring heist, which, (like so many of the criminal adventures in young William’s life), went pear-shaped.

The opening sets the tone for Lobban’s life as heir to one of the more ‘successful’ crime families of the 60’s and 70’s. William’s uncle, hardman Robert Manson, (described by Lobban as a “real Glaswegian gangster of a long gone era”) was an underworld force until his murder in April 1983.

With the loss of his uncle, William’s life took a downward spiral. Robert Manson, (for all his hard man ways), defended the young William against the whims of a drunken, and volatile mother.

The rules of the game were straightforward in the William Lobban household. Ruthlessness, cruelty, a will to survive, (kill if necessary), and an odd form of entrepreneurship. Oddly, William’s world bears striking similarities to the corporate world; same rules apply; profit at all costs and sod the consequences.

William Lobban is a vivid raconteur. The botched episodes of William’s early criminal career are amusing, with the young William having the Monty Python knack of missing a pertinent detail, (such as how to shift stolen goods). The botched Balmore bar-heist is one such account of an inexperienced young crook getting it wrong.

It is easy to warm to the writer. Lobban comes across as likeable crook, irrespective of a ruthless criminal background. There is a certain prophetic tone, look what happens to kids who are abused and neglected. Lobban was both abused and neglected, but the narrative lacks self-pity.

The crime networks described in the book are historically apropos, for instance Lobban’s yuppie pad was a well-furnished apartment, complete with Axminster carpet, a status symbol in the 1980’s. Lobban, and his associates Ferris and Taylor were the criminal version of the yuppie movement down South.

At the same time Lobban chronicles the soreness of the times, grinding poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, and scant opportunity for working class Glaswegian kids.

Meanwhile, down South, the Tories were pushing ahead with their economic and social reforms, caught up in the Gordon Gekko mantra, “greed is good”. Economic philosophers expounded the idea that human greed, (or envy) acts as a spur to growth.

In their quest to pull Britain out of the doldrums the conservatives turned a blind eye to the hostility of ordinary working class Britons. Not everyone was included in their ambitious manifesto and with the demise of the unions, people were angry, brittle, and afraid.

Home ownership relieved much of this fear, practically overnight, but for a certain period of time, (in the mid to late eighties), there was a war-like atmosphere between the government, (city of London) and UK workers, a predecessor to the anti-corporatist movements of today. (UK Uncut for instance).

William Lobban describes the conflict between the older crime bosses (overlords like Arthur Thompson) and the young criminal up-and-ups who were desperate for similar status. This is familiar territory to crime-book aficionados; turf wars, prison riots, internecine squabbles, conniving and betrayal, all freshly told.

moral perspective.

The book starts off with bleak descriptions of a grim childhood. Poignantly, the young William never remembers having a meal cooked for him by his mother. Tossed about and abandoned, nevertheless the young William Lobban relished his freedom, he had the kingly ability to roam the streets at will.

The path chosen, (a predestined life of crime), demonstrates the moral failures of the era. Community leaders and politicians failed to make sure of an economic future for Glaswegian youth. Some might argue that William’s ingenuity and energy – albeit criminal – were a credit to his entrepreneurial young spirit.

Predictably, upon his release from prison, the writer had not help back into society. Given a £70 giro cheque and scant rehabilitation, William Lobban somehow made it beyond his life of crime and imprisonment towards becoming a professional writer.

The narrative, though seemingly matter-of-fact, crackles with life and zest, Lobban makes use of understated humour throughout. It is a well constructed first book and Lobban is planning a sequel.

One shining chapter (for me) was the prison siege. Following serious head injuries inflicted by another inmate, Lobban decides to take a guard hostage. The stand-off lasts for thirteen hours during which time Lobban and the guard achieve a delicate human bond. So much so that by the end of the ‘ordeal’ the captured guard shakes William’s hand calling him “a gentleman”.

This finely executed drama depicts the ironies and contradictions inherent in the prison system. Arguably, there is no such thing as criminals, there is society and its failings; that’s it.

A highly recommended read from William Lobban. I won’t be surprised to see this book turned into film.

The Night Mick Taylor Exploded At The RAH

Mick Taylor and Ronnie Wood played together at the Royal Albert Hall in a tribute to Jimmy Reid.

Quote: The blues is a mixed up thing – Billie Holiday

The Royal Albert Hall is a resplendent joint, romanesque galleries, white painted columns and pink, luminous mushrooms hanging upside down from the ceiling. Ronnie showed up, sleek as a lizard. He strolled up to the mic and strummed a few bum chords. Out of the darkness, a triple-F-cup flew towards the stage, the straps snagging in the strings of Ronnie’s guitar.

A voice called out, “I love you Ronnie!”

“I love you too, darlin”, Ronnie growled.

I was sitting with Jojo Ruocco, a drummer from New Jersey. She’s a hot chilli tamale on drums. Jo and I had a box seat next to the stage. We leaned over the balcony to take a gander at the auditorium below.

“Check this out,” I said, “all the guys have Ronnie Wood hairdos.”
mick taylor

The audience was made up of mostly men, ageing rockers, all of them starstruck. Woodsy was a survivor and he had the guitars to prove it. All three of them, lined up like china on a mantlepiece. Ronnie sang a of couple Jimmy Reid numbers with Mick Taylor shuffling around on guitar next to him. A kid called Hercules sat in on drums.

Ronnie paid tribute to Jimmy Reid. “Jimmy was an alcoholic” Ronnie told us. “And he had epilepsy. So after a night’s boozing not only did he get the DT’s, he topped it off with a fit.” I looked at Jimmy Reid’s flat screen image hovering over the auditorium. Probably more fun being a hologram than the real thing I thought.

We waited for the razzle-dazzle from guitar legend Mick Taylor but he was keeping his head down low, playing it safe. This was Ronnie’s gig and he wasn’t about to step out of line. The kid drummer kept missing the grooves, acting like he was stoned.

“Wake up you son of a bitch!” screamed Jojo.

I was mortified. “Jesus Jo! People are looking!!

“He’s playing eight ‘n quarter notes on two and four! Is that the best he can do?”

“Do I detect some professional jealousy?”

“Bollocks!! The kid sounds like he’s fresh out of high school!”

“That’s why he’s called ‘Hercules’. It should be you up there on that stage Jojo!” I told her, “not that blinkin’ kid.”

“Yeah, it should be me on those drums!! I played with all these frickin’ faggots!! Mick Hucknall, Ronnie Wood, Paul Weller!! What’s this shit all about? Is this the fricken boy’s club!?”

“Yeah, you’re the Queen of the Funkin Drums!”

“You bet your ass I am! I could wipe the floor with these bozos!”

“You should have slept with Ronnie when you had the chance,” I said. “You’d be up there now instead of Hercules!”

“I don’t mix business with pleasure, “said Jojo, “but I have to admit, Ronnie was a hot chilli tamale back in the days. He’s on his way to a Knighthood now, the creep!

“Of course he is!! The Knight of the living dead.”

That gave us a laugh. Then Hercules screwed up again on the drums. Jojo went ballistic, “enough of this torture! I’m going up on that stage! I’ll get this party started!”

“Go! Blow his arse off those drums!”

Jojo hurtled down the stairs to the stage. A security goon tried blocking her but she barreled past, nutting him in the groin on the way. Woodsy and Taylor were crunching away up front, oblivious to the action behind. Jojo yanked the kid off the tins. A brief struggle ensued but Hercules soon lost interest and wobbled down off the stage to be with his girl in the front row. The audience went wild, thinking it was part of the act!

Bobby Womack crept out from the sidelines and the hall erupted en mass. The sound of thumping feet reverberated throughout the auditorium. Up on the ceiling, the pink mushrooms wobbled dangerously as the crowd went haywire, screaming, “BobbyBobbyBobby!” Ruocco smashed into those skins and the crowd hit the roof. Woodsy was sliding all over the stage, his skinny legs trying to match the beat of the drum.

Womack was wailing like a banshee, “Amm goin’ a New York, yes Amm goin’ a New York!” The audience was ecstatic, but no one expected the ending to happen like it did. Right after Womack disappeared, leaving a frenzied audience in his wake, Mick Taylor exploded. Literally. He’d had these rockets tied to his vest, and all this time everyone thought he’d put on a couple stones. “Cocksuckers!” Taylor shrieked, before erupting into an effervescent storm of atomic particles, then drifting like confetti over a hushed audience. The audience went ape!! It was the best performance ever!

© New London Writers Press

William Lobban Interview

William Lobban

William Lobban

William Lobban Author of Glasgow Curse


After a harrowing upbringing in Glasgow, William Lobban embarked on the life of crime. Released from prison 14 years ago, he has turned his back on crime and now lives in the Highlands of Scotland.

1. Do you have a routine when you’re writing (i.e. silence, a particular genre of music, only working in the morning, only working in your underpants?

I can write in just about any given situation whether this is with noise in the background or in total silence but I do prefer the tranquil setting. I’ve found that when I’m in the zone, when that sudden burst of inspiration takes over, then it makes no difference what the state of affairs is because I’m so immersed in what I’m writing about it doesn’t matter. First thing early in the morning when everyone else is in bed and after that first coffee when I’m ready to take on the day I find this time particularly stimulating.

2. What advice would you give to anyone who wants to be a writer?

I’d have to say believe in what you’re writing about and if you’re passionate enough in what you’re doing then that belief is enough to carry you forward. You don’t know what you can do until you put your mind to it. And never give up that’s most important!

3. Who are you generally writing for?

Since this is only my first book I’d have to be selfish and say it’s more to do with convincing myself, as a writer, that I’m good enough to write another and so on. When I first started writing The Glasgow Curse I never set out with a target readership in mind although I appreciate this type of writing is more suited to readers of true crime. That said I’d like to think that my book would appeal to a much broader readership, most certainly fellow Glaswegians from every walk of life, and I’m confident that people who do read my book will be able to connect with me as the author as well as all the different characters. My heart and soul went into this project and I’m sure this will come across loud and clear. My book will also be dedicated to all those who have lost their lives to The Glasgow Curse.

4. What’s your favourite book, and why?

I’d have to say it’s a book called Moobli by highly acclaimed author Mike Tomkies aka The Wilderness Man. The author wrote this book while he lived secluded in the Scottish West Highlands for over 20 years and the only company he had, apart from the many different forms of wildlife he researched, was the Alsatian dog he owned from a pup and which he named Moobli. I read this book in one sitting while I was locked up in segregation in a windowless prison cell for seven mind-bending months and I couldn’t put it down. Profoundly entranced by this book, I suppose I could relate to the author and his solitary lifestyle. The book really drew at my emotions.

5. What one thing would improve your life?

The simplest of things can sometimes feel like a massive improvement to me. With so few opportunities in the past, it wasn’t easy trying to lead a normal life with a background like mine so even today I’m faced with difficult challenges and I’m always striving towards a clearer day. I’ve felt my life has improved dramatically since I started work on The Glasgow Curse project. Not just from a writing point of view, but from every aspect of my life. It’s amazing how quickly things have improved but it has taken a lot of hard graft and dedication, not least support from others including Birlinn who have been brilliant. I guess I now have to stay focused and build on that impetus but I’m very passionate about what I do and I’ve waited a long time for this break. I may have found my niche in writing and a sudden gush of inspiration is all it took.

6. Where would you like to be right now, anywhere in the world?

Spain would be nice but not for the sun and laid back lifestyle, my young daughter Tamara who is only 12 lives there with her Spanish family and I’d love to spend more time with her.

7. If your book was a film, who would you cast for the lead character?

To make a great film that mirrors a part of Glasgow’s underworld you don’t need Hollywood actors to achieve this. Scotland has a fantastic breed of artists who are more than capable of a starring role; look at Jimmy Boyle’s 70’s film Sense of Freedom that was a brilliant movie and a realistic portrayal of one of Glasgow’s most hardened criminals from an earlier era. It’s a touchy subject since not everyone believes that movies of this type should be made. Some say that they only glorify crime and I suppose to an extent they do, but the majority of people still find them fascinating and for that reason film producers will want to make them. It is a part of our society and we shouldn’t forget this, as for films of this sort, well, I’ll let everyone else argue the point.

8. Why are books important in your opinion?

Books are a source of knowledge and for that reason alone they are important. Depending on what book you read they can trigger all sorts of different sentiments and some books will inspire us to a point where we want to make changes in our lives. I think that books are even more important today as they were say 30 years ago because with modern technology and the internet books can now reach millions of people at the touch of a key.

9. Which authors do you particularly admire?

I have a high regard for John Dickie, Professor of Italian Studies at the University College London. He is an internationally recognised specialist on many aspects of Italian history and his books, as well as having sold millions of copies around the world, have also been translated into many different languages. Apart from him being Scottish, a family man with two kids, speaks different languages fluently and currently a TV presenter having filmed a documentary called The Mafia’s Secret Bunkers, he’s an inspiration of how to be successful despite having come from humble beginnings.

10. If you had a superpower what would it be?

You really don’t want me to answer that!

Read New London Writers Review of The Glasgow Curse here

UK Muslim Student Group Damns London University

UK: Muslim group sobs “Islamophobia,” and issues threats after University of London bans Islamic supremacist speakers
It is shocking that Theresa May and David Cameron haven’t reprimanded the University of London for banning these Islamic supremacis…

UK Muslim Student Group Damns London University

UK: Muslim group sobs “Islamophobia,” and issues threats after University of London bans Islamic supremacist speakers
It is shocking that Theresa May and David Cameron haven’t reprimanded the University of London for banning these Islamic supremacis…