Barbara Adair on The 9 Lives of Ray The Cat Jones

Stewart Home headstand

Stewart Home headstand

“So what is the text about? There is a story; the story is of the life of Ray the Cat Jones. It progresses in a linear fashion, Ray Jones is born to a working family in Wales, and then later, after many adventures, he dies of cancer. Ray Jones is a cat burglar, he is also a victim of the vicious exploiter of the working class, the British bourgeoisie, (and he is Welsh and we all know how the English hate the Welsh -‘sheep shaggers’, so he is a victim of racist bigoted loathing), but he is a righteous man. And so he takes a stand, he is, (becomes) a person of agency, he knows he does not want to die in the coal mines of boredom and pain, so he steals from the rich, why should a ‘toff’ have a full belly and the poor man one groaning in hunger. Furthermore his dreams of one day being a professional boxer are thwarted as, just as he is making it on the boxing circuit, he is set up by some lackeys of the bourgeoisie, (those who are employed to protect wealth and property, uphold unjust laws, those who have ‘sold out’, grassed their spirit to slothful owners), a ‘plod’ (‘rozzer’ ‘old bill’ ‘fuzz’) and so spends time in jai…” Read the full text here: http://sensitiveskinmagazine.com/the-9-lives-of-ray-the-cat-jones-a-novel-by-stewart-home/

Above: Stewart Home doing a headstand in front of one of the 13 pieces by him in the group show In Praise Of Laziness at Trade Gallery in Nottingham on 1 November 2014 at the exhibition opening. Photo by Bruce Asbestos.

 

Loving Dalston on The 9 Lives of Ray The Cat Jones

Home9Lives

“WHO KNOWS the truth about Ray “The Cat” Jones: the world’s most notorious burglar or a small-time jailbird loved by journalists grateful for his exciting yarns about robbing the fabulously rich?

So writer Stewart Home has chosen to tell the master thief’s story as a novel rather than a documentary book.

The 9 Lives of Ray The Cat Jones tells of a Ray Jones, who nearly became world middleweight boxing champion but instead turned into the greatest-ever cat burglar, stealing jewellery from megastars Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren, the private papers of the Duke of Windsor, paintings by Rembrandt and the furs of the London upper-class women, often approached via the rooftops of the Mayfair district.

Ray’s carefully targeted burglaries are perfectly planned and thrillingly executed, as is his jail breakout, one of the most stunning in recent English penal history.

All of the extraordinary incidents figure in the real life of the now-dead (natural causes) Dalstoner…”

Read the full story at Loving Dalston.

Above Stewart Home holds up the special edition (sold out) and ordinary edition of his novel The 9 Lives of Ray The Cat Jones. You can order it online from the publisher Test Centre.

Mandy, Charlie & Mary-Jane – Why 2005?

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Some of those who’ve seen the proofs for my new novel Mandy, Charlie & Mary-Jane (published 26 February 2013) have asked me why I used a 2005 setting for the book. The answer is quite simple, it was contemporary as I wrote, I started the book when I was writer-in-residence at York University in May and June of that year, then completed it over the summer of 2005. Therefore the exhibitions and news events I mention were what was going on around me.

The biggest news event of 2005 in the UK was the 7/7 bombings in London. I was back home from York when these took place and experienced at first hand the chaos the attacks caused around London. The 7 July 2005 London bombings (often referred to as 7/7) were a series of co-ordinated suicide attacks in London which targeted civilians using the public transport system during the morning rush hour.

On the morning of Thursday, 7 July 2005, four Islamist home-grown terrorists detonated four bombs, three in quick succession aboard London Underground trains across the city and, later, a fourth on a double-decker bus in Tavistock Square. Fifty-two civilians and the four bombers were killed in the attacks, and over 700 more were injured. Homemade organic peroxide–based devices packed into rucksacks caused the explosions. The bombings were followed exactly two weeks later by a further series of attempted attacks.

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The 7/7 bombings were incorporated into the narrative of Mandy, Charlie & Mary-Jane and sensitivity about the subject in its immediate aftermath was such that when I’d completed the book my treatment of the subject didn’t go down well with UK publishers. They didn’t seem to understand that the narrator is deluded when he wrongly concludes the 7/7 bombings were carried out by pagans and decides to emulate them.  Among my many intentions was a desire to parody the ridiculous 7/7 conspiracy theories that emerged very quickly after the bombings, and to try to get people to see that all terrorists are reactionary scumbags regardless of the ideology they spout (and this applies to Leninist or anarchist terrorists as much as pagans or those who claim they are ‘making the world safe for democracy’).

Since among other things editors were wary of taking on a novel that was narrated by a suicide bomber, Mandy, Charlie & Mary-Jane didn’t find a publisher in the mid-noughties despite being sent to the usual UK based suspects. My last book Blood Rites of the Bourgeoisie was completed 5 years after Mandy, Charlie & Mary-Jane and there was no delay in its publication. Blood Rites was also started but not finished when I had a writer-in-residence post, but at Strathclyde University rather than York. Aside from these two anti-novels, none of my other books were written (or rather partly written) as a writer-in-residence.

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Protest Against The Ongoing Failure To Close All London Police Stations!

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This week the UK media got in a frenzy about the possibility of half London’s police stations closing down. If right-wing journalists were serious about the need to cut crime then they would want all London’s police stations closed down and all London’s cops given their marching orders. But the law and order brigade are all about posturing and never advocate real solutions to the issues they flag up. The police don’t solve crimes they create crimes – they fabricate evidence, take bribes, fit-up innocent people etc. Getting rid of London’s police would clean up the streets and massively reduce crime in the city.