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Old 17th Nov 2007, 12:17   #1
widmerpool
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Default Derek Raymond

Serpent's Tail have re-released The Crust on Its Uppers.

Sometimes it's best to realise one's lack of skill in reviewing a book and let the author do the work for you:
All the rest of the so-called kosher establishments are really down to the snob angle, trying to moody through to the royal enclosure on the knock, like the slag in the King's Road. You plan. If you live near the King's Road it's just a nasty coincidence. Nothing to boast about. You know how you hear the slag in the Cavalryman rabbitting about the morries pub, the Tealeaf in the Park Lane - Lord This and Morrie That - well, that's how the slag gives itself away. The real morries never do that. Don't have to, do they? They're all about trout, flying dodgy kites with each other at bent spielers till the punter, for very shame, outs his kiting-book too and scribbles a straight one, sort of not to be outdone. And when even the old firm's going a bit unsteady morries never hock their gold kettles and never walk or bus it like the slag do. Always the XK or the three-point-four, never the Sprite or the knocker's aged small-boot Bentley or the A30 van.
And that's really how the story goes. Lose yourself and imagine you're in a London pub with the narrator telling you the story. It is by far the best English crime novel (well, this week at least) purely because of the language as quoted above. It even has a glossary, though I'd rather he'd left it out.

It's newly republished by my favourite publisher Serpent's Tail, and though they disappointed me so by abandoning their Mask Noir imprint for this rather insipid cover design, Raymond should be on everybody's TBR list, especially in March '08 when I Was Dora Suarez is released on an unsuspecting public. You see, that last hackneyed phrase "is released on an unsuspecting public" is why I should just quote more Raymond (born Robin Cook and you'll find some of his older books published under that name)
It was like this. We'd been complaining for weeks how poor biz was and the tightness of money. The Archbubble had been going ahead like mad, sparring with the resident heavy and vowing not to show himself again till something was done about it. Marchmare and I felt the full weight of his Attic wrath. But what could we do? You can't make biz happen, but that didn't help: even the hoods over at The Tealeaf were giggling at us, and it was no good poncing about in there in our Savile Row knickers and knocking down gin-and-tonic when there were no wages - hardly marching money, even. I was two payments behind with the jam, and Marchmare had lent his to some slag for a ton who had smashed it up abroad, on some pitiful slag grafting operation. A rich boiler or two, bent poker games with Marchmare and me lamping each other's broads...everyone knocked anyway and the heavy having to go and beat wages out of them. We had a good bit owing down to the old, but they were just slag punters and couldn't pay even when we put the frighteners in. The Archbubble had had a lot of trouble down to a raid on his chemmy game a while back, so even that was out, and the poor old firm was going dead unsteady.

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Old 17th Nov 2007, 12:27   #2
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Default Re: Derek Raymond

Good to see you back around these parts, Widmerpool. I'd not heard of Derek Raymond before and it looks like it takes some reading, but fascinating stuff!
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Old 17th Nov 2007, 12:30   #3
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Default Re: Derek Raymond

Hello and welcome widmerpool.

I remember reading this one 20 years ago on a much trumpeted re-release. At the time I think I found Raymond's style a little heavy going, but reading it again here he comes over a little like a Soho version of James Kelman...
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Old 17th Nov 2007, 13:54   #4
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Default Re: Derek Raymond

I was given all the Serpent's Tail Raymond releases last year in white covers...still haven't got round to reading them. I'd read the Factory series fifteen years previously, though, and thought them terrific.

Well, now we have a thread for the old man, so I'll get cracking, I think.

welcome back, widmerpool.
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Old 18th Nov 2007, 15:09   #5
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Default Re: Derek Raymond

I remember browsing Raymond's books in Borders in York after this year's Palimpsest BDO, so I reckon amner or someone must have nudged me in that direction. A David Peace comparison maybe?

Welcome back, widmerpool!
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Old 18th Nov 2007, 21:04   #6
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Default Re: Derek Raymond

Raymond/Cook is well worth reading - well, at least the Factory sequence of novels, which follow an un-named DS in his investigation of the deaths of the unwanted and unloved. They're classic British noir. The Serpent's Tail editions look good to my eyes.

I recently tried Nightmare in the Street, but it was simply too much. I couldn't get in to The Crust - though may try again, and I haven't got hold of a public library copy of A State of Denmark!
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Old 6th Mar 2008, 17:13   #7
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Default Re: Derek Raymond

Wooo-hooo! Just completed my Factory series set now, so have:

He Died with His Eyes Open
The Devil's Home on Leave
How the Dead Live
I Was Dora Suarez
Dead Man Upright


Only had the first two before, but have finally hunted down the last three (including the impossible-to-find Dead Man Upright). I feel a Raymond-a-thon coming on...watch out for a humungous review in about 3 months!
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Old 6th Mar 2008, 17:29   #8
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Default Re: Derek Raymond

I've had The Crust on Its Uppers in my collection for many years. It was a random book I picked up for free somewhere, I believe (no, that doesn't mean I stole it). I guess I should read it.
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Old 12th Mar 2008, 14:03   #9
Adr.
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Default Re: Derek Raymond

There's was an article about Raymond on The Guardian's book blog site here:

http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/books/20...k_raymond.html
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Old 12th Mar 2008, 14:30   #10
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Default Re: Derek Raymond

That's a very good write-up, Adr. Thanks for that.
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