My chum Micky Fawcett gave me a very interesting book on Saturday: Slang by Reggie Kray.
It does what it says on the tin.
It is a dictionary of (mostly criminal) British and American slang words and phrases.
The cover claims it is “A must for Television Viewers, Film Directors and Script Writers.”
It includes some (to me) rare phrases such as:
“He’s at the jack and danny so blank him…”
“Cop for his boat and blow…”
“Get a rhubarb…”
“To be slommory…”
But perhaps I have led too sheltered a life.
The Slang book was written (with help from Steve Tully) when Reggie was 50 years old and in Parkhurst Prison – around 1983 – when, the book’s foreword says, he had “been in prison now for sixteen gruelling years”.
Reggie was released from prison on compassionate grounds in 2000, eight and a half weeks before he died from cancer. aged 66. He and his twin Ronnie Kray, were born in 1933. They were arrested in 1968 and imprisoned in 1969. Ronnie died in prison in 1995, aged 61.
In the book, Reggie gives his hobby as “Writing” and his ambitions as “To be recognised as an author and to live in the country”.
As well as slang and nostalgic photos of the ‘good old days’, Reggie goes in for a bit of philosophising. It starts:
“I had hidden myself under the blankets, I was soaking in sweat and blood. Whilst I continued to saw away at my wrist, with a broken piece of glass, which I had broken from my TV spectacles.
“Eventually I fell into a fitful sleep, only to wake up the following morning to the clang of the bolt being drawn across my cell door.
“It seems that my prayers had been answered in a strange sort of way, because prior to this attempted suicide, I had calmly smoked what I thought to be my last cigarette, and said a prayer. My state of mind stemmed from a period of time I had spent at Long Lartin Prison, and my meeting up with a foreigner…”
It is an interesting read.
Micky Fawcett’s book Krayzy Days is arguably the most realistic insider’s view of working with the Krays… as well as some other… erm… escapades.