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A Child of the Jago (Oxford World's Classics)

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A Child of the Jago explores the influence of a sense of place upon the human psyche. For Morrison the very geography of the streets of the Jago produces a certain mentality: just like the winding passageways of the slum its inhabitants are furtive, guarded, and secretive; they operate by their own rules and not those of the society outside their own narrow confines. Home to the people of the Jago comprises ‘foul rat runs, these alleys, not to be traversed by a stranger’. In the late Victorian period the astonishing squalor and wretchedness of the East End (and other English slums) became a source of fascination for the army of middle-class do-gooders (parodied here as the East End Elevation Mission and Pansophical Institute) and there were a bundle of books, novels and reportage, published – The LCC’s Boundary Street Estate was a complete reconstruction of the area and today, little remains of the Nichol. Arthur Morrison’s 1890’s novel A Child of the Jago is set in the slum courts of London’s East End. Life in the Jago is a Hobbesian war of all against all, a socialist Darwinist nightmare for which the legal jurisdiction is the law of the jungle. Based on the historic rookeries of London’s Old Nichol, the Jago is not only a geographical area but an existential state of desperation.

We’d done bits and pieces together in the past, we worked on a brand called ‘Activist’ for a while. When I was growing up and going to clubs and helping my mum in World’s End in the 1980s, Barnzley and I used to go out together, live together and run wild together – and we always tried to out dress each other. Barnzley was working on his own thing and not really enjoying it, and I was fed up with menswear, so we decided to do something that inspired us. Malcolm McLaren, my revolutionary, chaotic, brilliant, messed-up father | Music | The Observer". Theguardian.com . Retrieved 12 August 2014.Anyone familiar with Joe Corré’s label AChildof the Jago will know it’s an acquired taste. Its Shoreditch store has been peddling its dandyish, Edwardian-influenced gear since opening doors in 2008 – not your typical east London fare by any stretch. But that’s just the way Joe likes it. He proudly describes the label, that’s just opened a new location on Charing Cross Road, as an ‘anti-brand’. Ide, Wendy (12 March 2022). " 'Wake Up Punk': Glasgow Review". Screen Daily .com . Retrieved 4 May 2023.

The LCC did not demolish the two Board Schools, built in the 1870s – they stand at the west and south-east edges of Arnold Circus. Meanwhile, Boundary Street (Edge Lane in Morrison’s novel) still features a few original buildings at its southern end, on the western side; and ‘The Posties’ – the narrow alleyway that connected the Nichol to Shoreditch High Street – is still there, although the Posties themselves have been upgraded (local legend had it that the posts had been made from upturned cannons from a ship in Nelson’s fleet). ‘The Posties’, Boundary Passage – Photo: Igor Clark Wake Up Punk is Nigel Askew 's [19] documentary with interviews of Vivienne Westwood and her two sons Ben Westwood and Joe Corré, [20] about burning some [21] of his own (Joe Corré's) collection of punk memorabilia, [22] [23] and having Nigel Askew record the event. [21] In 1894 Morrison published his first detective story to feature the detective Martin Hewitt. In November came a short story collection, Tales of Mean Streets, dedicated to Henley. This was reviewed in 1896 in America by Jacob Riis. Morrison later said that the work was publicly banned. Reviewers of the collection objected to his story Lizerunt, causing Morrison to write a response in 1895. Later in 1894 he published Martin Hewitt, Investigator. In 1895 he was invited by writer and clergyman Reverend A. O. M. Jay to visit the Old Nichol rookery. [5] Morrison continued to show interest in Japanese art, to which he was introduced by a friend in 1890. Morrison began writing his novel A Child of the Jago in early 1896. Brought out that November by Henley, it details living conditions in the East End, including the permeation of violence into everyday life, in a barely fictionalised account of life in the Old Nichol Street Rookery. He also published The Adventures of Martin Hewitt in 1896. A second edition of A Child of the Jago appeared in 1897. [5] Traill had continued his assault upon Morrison’s claims to reportage with the words: ‘He invites the world to inspect [the Jago] as a sort of essence or extract of metropolitan degradation… It is the idealising method, and its result is as essentially ideal as the Venus of Milo… the total effect of the story is unreal and phantasmagoric.’ But over the past 100 years, it is Morrison’s vision of that square quarter-mile of East London that has prevailed: his mythic location (‘a fairyland of horror’, in Traill’s view) has usurped the historical fact of the Nichol, which was entirely mundane in its awfulness; and from 1896 onwards, many East London residents have used the words ‘Jago’ and ‘Nichol’ interchangeably. When historian Raphael Samuel came to record days’ worth of cassette tapes with Arthur Harding, who had lived the first ten years of his life in the Nichol’s final ten years, Harding spoke of his childhood in the Jago, as often as he called it the Nichol. This has been one of the most impressive literary re-brandings of a district.Haj-Najafi, Daryoush (6 August 2008). "Now Window Shopping | Child of the Jago". The New York Times. Kiddo is Father Sturt's one success. Always jovial and sharp, he is sufficiently self-aware and industrious to make something of himself with his fruit and vegetable enterprise and secure a chance of escape from the Jago. He marries Pigeony Poll, thus uniting two of the more compassionate characters in the novel.

Morrison’s had not been an eyewitness account but a faithful regurgitation of tales told to him by Father Jay, some of which, what’s more, had come to Jay at second hand. ‘Typical facts were all I wanted,’ Morrison had protested to his critics. Instead, he had retold atypical, and legendary, Nichol events, from which he constructed his fairyland of horror. The Boundary Street Estate as built … … and on the drawing board A disappeared neighbourhood I suppose the strongest sense of narrative comes through in the show itself. In terms of the clothes, Barnzley and I share exactly the same points of reference. We remember those things that looked crap and those things that didn’t. We’ve combined our ‘style histories’ and created a new way of communicating through clothes. Traill had continued his assault upon Morrison’s claims to reportage with the words: ‘He invites the world to inspect [the Jago] as a sort of essence or extract of metropolitan degradation... It is the idealising method, and its result is as essentially ideal as the Venus of Milo... the total effect of the story is unreal and phantasmagoric.’ But over the past 100 years, it is Morrison’s vision of that square quarter-mile of East London that has prevailed: his mythic location (‘a fairyland of horror’, in Traill’s view) has usurped the historical fact of the Nichol, which was entirely mundane in its awfulness; and from 1896 onwards, many East London residents have used the words ‘Jago’ and ‘Nichol’ interchangeably. When historian Raphael Samuel came to record days’ worth of cassette tapes with Arthur Harding, who had lived the first ten years of his life in the Nichol’s final ten years, Harding spoke of his childhood in the Jago, as often as he called it the Nichol. This has been one of the most impressive literary re-brandings of a district.

A disappeared neighbourhood

He was born in John Street, Poplar (today’s Grundy and Rigden streets), on 1 November 1863, in respectable poverty. His father was an engine fitter who died (after three years with tuberculosis) when Morrison was eight; his mother, with three children to support, then opened a small haberdashery shop in John Street. At fifteen, Morrison started as a clerk in the London School Board’s architects’ department, and subsequently worked as a clerk at the Beaumont Trust, which administered the People’s Palace, and then became a sub-editor on The Palace Journal, in 1889, where he impressed Walter Besant. He began to write short stories for the Journal and upon leaving his full-time post in 1890, contributed poems about bicycling (his craze of the time) and short stories on a number of themes to various publications, most significantly to the Strand magazine (the journal that nurtured so many writers, not least Arthur Conan Doyle) and to WE Henley’s National Observer (Henley was also at that time encouraging the young Rudyard Kipling). Tales of Mean Streets was a big success for Morrison, and he was able to move from lodgings in the Strand to rural Chingford, and by 1896 was living in some comfort in Loughton. It was here he invited some of the men of the Old Nichol so that he could observe their accent and demeanour: ‘Sometimes I had the people themselves down here to my house in Loughton. One of my chief characters, a fellow as hard as nails… came several times and told me gruesome stories and how the thieves made a sanctuary of Orange Court.’ This was the chap who had dropped the fire grate on a copper’s head. Morrison spent several months in the Old Nichol quietly conducting research for his book. He walked the area’s streets and talked to its people in the company of the local parish priest, Reverend Arthur Jay. Jay was the only outsider whose presence was tolerated by the inhabitants of the Old Nichol and he tried to improve the lot of the area’s young people by providing food and schooling. Very pleasantly surprised: what could have been moralistic, cringeworthily predictable or eastploitation, turned out to be exciting and engaging.

Miles, Peter (2012). A Child of the Jago; Chronology of Arthur Morrison. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-960551-4. Vincent Brome, Four Realist Novelists: Arthur Morrison, Edwin Pugh, Richard Whiteing, William Pett Ridge, London: Longmans, Green & Co. 1965, 'Writers and their Works' series for the British Council and the National Book League. Flood, Alex (13 May 2022). "Vivienne Westwood: "Oasis? I heard it and thought: 'Is that it?'"". NME. Additional excitement arises from the role that the streets of the Jago themselves play. The maze-like configuration of the Jago/Nichol street plan appears both to influence behaviour and to reflect emotional states. The topography of the Jago induces a cunning, furtive mentality; the possessor of that mentality, in turn, learns to make use of the Jago’s intricacies to evade hostile ‘outsiders’ in pursuit. In Morrison’s book, knowledge of Jago geography is knowledge of evil. The Jago has a warped morality. The Ropers are despised for being clean, sober and industrious. Viciousness and dishonesty is respected and the only real sin is that of informing. An inverted hierarchy of criminality and brutality means that a child of the Jago aspires ultimately to joining the ranks of the High Mob, the most successful criminals.The sketchiest of biographical material appeared in his lifetime, and the 1904 Dictionary of English Authors described Morrison as born in Kent and educated at private schools; his father was now an ‘engineer’, not an ‘engine fitter’. Can we surmise that this upgrading of his past was evidence of how Morrison felt about poverty? Was shame part of the creative impulse behind the arch, sneering hostility to the Jago and all who lived in it? It is tempting to view A Child of the Jago as a record of a clever, ambitious young man putting a lot of distance between himself and the humble Poplar origins that had balanced Morrison precariously on the edge of Jagoism: for all his claims that Jagoism was an inherited taint, the novel’s plot reveals instead the fluidity between respectable indigence and membership of the ‘lowest class, vicious, semi-criminal’ (Charles Booth’s (in)famous 1889 description of the outcast poor). Hannah Perrott, after all, was born respectable but is seen slowly sinking into Jagoism; daft, squalid but kind prostitute Pigeony Poll gets redeemed at the end of the novel through marriage to Kiddo Cook, a criminal costermonger who has decided to go straight, and prospers.

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