It was the long hot summer of 1976, and a 15-year-old Noel Smith, testosterone jangling, was among many south London kids keen to stamp their mark on the world and find an identity and a sense of belonging. Rock ’n’ roll music of the ’50s had gripped his imagination and, adopting the dress, hairstyle and dance moves, a Teddy boy was born. Many of his peers followed suit and soon the Balham Wildkatz were born - mob-handed, arrogant and spoiling for a ruck at every opportunity. Life was all about flying your colors, cultivating both a personal and gang reputation, claiming new turf and protecting your own patch against the enemy: the other teen subcultures based around the music scene - mods, rockers, soul boys, punks, skinheads, smoothies, rockabillies - that formed a volatile melting pot of juvenile angst waiting to explode. Clubbing, drinking, thieving and fighting became the norm and a wave of increasingly reckless and violent behavior ensued, resulting ultimately in internecine warfare. Razor’ Smith, as a veteran of that scene and former gang leader of the Wildkatz, looks back with honesty, humor and vivid clarity on the days of his youth.
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Noel Razor Smith was born in London in 1960. He has fifty-eight criminal convictions and has spent the greater portion of his adult life in prison. Whilst in prison he taught himself to read and write, gained an Honours Diploma from The London School of Journalism and an A-Level in Law. He has been awarded a number of Koestler awards for his writing and has contributed articles to the Independent, the Guardian, Punch, the Big Issue, the New Statesman and the New Law Journal. Razor is currently serving a life-sentence for armed robbery. His autobiography 'A Few Kind Words and a Loaded Gun' was published in 2004.
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