Wednesday, 8 April 2015

G for Gangs

I've talked about the setting of When Skies Are Grey being in west London, in particular Notting Hill. At the start of novel the period in time is 1957. That was one year before the Race Riots in which numerous attacks on West Indian and African immigrants took place.

There were gangs of people leading these attacks but in particular, Teddy Boys were known to be the main culprits.

This picture, taken in 1955, is typical of what a Teddy Boy would look like, although the look kept becoming more and more glamorous with every revival.

During the novel I try to build up the level of racial tension so that it is typical of the time. That includes an attack on one of my characters in the build up to the Race Riots themselves. I've also included a scene during the period of the Riots - August 1958 - and its impact on the cast of WSAG.

It was not a comfortable subject to write about, considering the weapons these gangs armed themselves with included chains, bricks and petrol bombs. But I had to make sure my story was authentic.

Having said that, the Race Riots don't dominate the plot but became a part of the story that I was happy to move away from as quickly as I could.


  1. Hi,
    I like the way you are presenting the level of racial tension in your novel. It sounds as if it is going to be a good book.
    Visiting from the A to Z Blog Challenge 2015.
    Patricia at Everything Must Change

    1. Thank you Pat and I look forward to visiting you on the Challenge!

  2. I'm sure it wasn't comfortable to write about, but sometimes the discomfort makes for great work!

    Good luck with the 2015 A to Z Challenge!
    A to Z Co-Host S. L. Hennessy

    1. Thanks for dropping in and fingers crossed the novel will be regarded as 'great work' one day!

  3. Sounds like a tough topic to cover, but interesting historical perspective.

    Jean, back from the Grand Tour and visiting for the A-Z Challenge from Rantings and Ravings of an Insane Writer Number 209 on the A-Z List.

    Jean Schara
    Blackbirds First Flight (Quin)
    Blackbirds Second Flight (Glaring Upheaval and Fluffy Malone)

  4. Here in America, we tend to think the worst elements other countries are more enlightened than the worst of us. I learned something today. :( Your book sounds riveting!

    1. Thanks Marian, good to know the post had this effect.