From the pages of the "Industrial Worker" circa 1995
RED LONDON, by Stewart Home ISBN 1 873176 12 0 Published in 1994 by AK Press 22 Lutton Place, Edinburgh EH8 9PE, Scotland, UK 5.95 Pounds + 10% handling U.S. order to AK Press, POB 40682, San Francisco, CA 94140-0682 $12.95 + $2.00 shipping
RED LONDON is a novel about a revolt of the oppressed against their oppressors. Its protagonists spend their working lives as members of what is termed these days by official authorities from Clinton to Habermas as the "underclass". The sell their time as prostitutes, obscure rock musicians, porn magazine photographers and so forth; while devoting their free time to sexual pleasure and the murder of the ruling class. They are libertines with visceral passions. Their practice of meeting out class vengeance is both crude and ruthless. They are serious proles with serious lusts.
RED LONDON is not for the squeamish or prudish of heart. Stewart Home's prose is on a par with the Marquis de Sade when it comes to sex and violence. Here's a taste. The setting is a rock concert for conservative teens, given by an older Tory rock star, Sebastian Fame, whose neurosis of choice happens to be pedophilia. Security for the concert is by a gang of fascist boot boys, known as the Aryan Youth League. Nobody suspects that the Soho Prostitutes Collective has planned a guerrilla action.
"The minders jumped to attention when a van skidded to a halt outside the hall. Twelve masked wimmin leapt from the transit, while the driver remained at the wheel. The heavies relaxed. Obviously these birds were a part of some practical joke, one of their mates had no doubt set them up by writing to Jeremy Beadle. The two AYL yobs were mentally incapable of accepting the fact that many of the greatest fighters down the ages had been wimmin.
"'We don't need to see your faces', the fatter of the pair laughed,'just get your tits out.' "'Get your tits out, get your tits out, get your tits out for the lads!' his mate chanted, but not for long! "Cleo floored the sexist retard with a kidney punch that brought blood bubbling up through his mouth. Then the kung fu chick broke the bastard's spine by bringing her boot down on th back of his neck. There was the satisfying crunch of splintering bone and the fascist bore became just another name on the Met's long list of murder victims.
"Simultaneously, Melody Thrush slammed a clenched fist into the other minder's mouth. Having rearranged the brickhead's teeth, she landed a devastating blow to his stomach and within seconds, the prick was puking his lunch. If nature had been left to take its course, it looked like the bastard would have retched up his guts, piece by little piece. Instead the steel toe-capped boots of several SPC members rained in against his body. After the first few ribs had snapped with a sickening crack, a badly aimed kick hit the cunt's head and the beer boy's body went limp. It was bloody unfortunate that his brain no longer registered the searing pain which accompanied the early stages of the beating. But, to the fascist, the icy numbness of physical blackout was more welcome than a million pound win on the pools.
"Sebastian faltered and broke off midway through a song as the SPC cut through the hall in a flying wedge. After a few screams, the crowd fell silent and the only sound to be heard was the tramping of boots on the wooden floor. Cleo and Melody grabbed Fame. The other SPC members herded the audience into a side room. Adults were simply shot through the head and left where they fell.
"Sebastian was shoved across the stage and held against the wooden cross. Melody removed two hammers and a fistfull of six-inch nails..."
RED LONDON is Home's latest novel. Like his previous works of fiction: NO PITY, PURE MANIA and DEFIANT POSE, Home has set RED LONDON in a Britain which has already raced through the cautionary traffic light, flashing " a clockwork orange", into a nearly visible future populated by an increasingly class conscious, if semi-educated, proletariat, who live within the socio-economic boundaries of a capitalist system in terminal decay. In RED LONDON, the self-appointed vanguard of the lumpen and proles is composed of young men and wimmin, who have cut their ideological teeth on a tract penned by the then notorious K.L. Callan.
Callan's famously banned book, MARX, CHRIST, and SATAN UNITED IN STRUGGLE is passed in xerox copies between self-styled anarchist fighting units and individual anarcho-nihilists, like Adolf Kramer. Kramer is the main protagonist. His mental interior reads like a politico-genetic cross between Charles Manson and Ulrike Meinhof. He is the archetypical child of the urban terrorist movement, grown more sly; but just as psychopathically dogmatic as his forbearers. Adolf and his comrades are prone to using the blood of their class antagonists to dab quotes on walls at the scenes of their actions. It is invariably K.L. Callan's MARX, CHRIST and SATAN UNITED IN STRUGGLE which is quoted.
"Adolf slit Gallon's throat with a flick-knife, then set to work ritually mutilating the bodies of the two class traitors. After dipping his fingers in the gouts of blood that were still spurting from Gallon's bulk, Kramer scrawled the following observation across the living room wall: Contrary to orthodox opinion, be it Situationist or conservative, it is quantitative--not qualitative--problems that lie at the root of the current crisis. "It was a quotation from MARX, CHRIST and SATAN UNITED IN STRUGGLE, magnum opus of that most mysterious of nihilists K.L. Callan."
These exiles from main street move within a milieu of militant vegans, situationists, buddhist priests, nazis, skinheads and other assorted denizens of lumpen and prole origins. You follow them through the pages of RED LONDON as they drink, fight, and sexually amuse themselves in the public housing projects, whorehouses, streets and bogs of the city. RED LONDON is a simple book, written in a minimalist style, with more than a few repetitious icons e.g. the ubiquitous bottles of 100 Pipers Scotch, preferred brand of the underclass; the ever present sexual motif of couples, "beating out the primitive rhythm of the swamps." It's also an exciting bit of anarchist pulp fiction. The sex and ultra-violence can stir up your deepest Id-ish fantasies. But, I don't think that it should be read as an organizing prescription, the way its heroines/heroes seem to have read K.L. Callan's MARX... . Nor do it think that Stewart Home sees himself as the K.L. Callan of today. There is more tongue in cheek within RED LONDON than is to be found in the numerous scenes of oral sex. No. RL might better be read as a warning; much as the proles of yesteryear read Jack London's IRON HEEL, that foreboding tale predicting the advent of the fascist States of the mid 20th Century. The warining this time is for the bourgeois of the world, whose commodified morality leads them to treat their wage-slaves as nothing more than carbon-based biological work units to be thrown on society's scrap heap when they're all used up. Home has given us a novel about a pissed off underclass of midnight ramblers who are going to be the first to stick their knives right down the throats of the ruling class--and baby it hurts! The warning is as simple as that old working class aphorism--what goes around, comes around.