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Monday, January 10, 2011

The Razor’s Edge


According to wikipedia the 2011 season of the (apparently) popular TelAvision series ‘Underbelly’ will be called ‘Underbelly Razor’ due to its focus on the infamous so-called ‘Razor Gangs’ of the Nineteen Twenties. It says: “Season 4 has been confirmed by the Nine Network and it will air sometime in 2011. Underbelly 4 will be set during the roaring ‘20s in Sydney, when organised crime in Australia began. This is the story of the bloody battle between the era’s most feared vice queens, Tilly Devine and her rival Kate Leigh. The new series is based on the Ned Kelly Award-winning book Razor, by Larry Writer. Casting information is expected to be released in early 2011.”
One wonders whether the script writers will give due attention to the, one would think unavoidable, facts of heavy Jewish involvement in this Antipodean version of the Glasgow and London Razor Gangs or if they will ‘slit it up a treat’ as they have with previously uncovered sensitive material and excise the inconvenient truths from the story as a surgeon wields his scalpel on necrotised tissue.

The Razor Gang Wars

“By 1927, the cunning, ambitious and ruthless Kate Leigh, Tilly Devine, Phil 'The Jew' Jeffs and Norman Bruhn were unchallenged as Razorhurst's major crime bosses. For a while they were content to live and let live. Kate's territory was Surry Hills, where she ran sly grog and dealt in cocaine and stolen goods, Tilly's beat was brothels in Darlinghurst, Kings Cross and Wolloomooloo. Jeffs specialties were drugs, gambling and sly grog in the Cross and the 'Loo.

Bruhn and his razor gang monstered small-time vice purveyors in Kings Cross and Darlinghurst: freelance prostitutes, drug peddlers and low-rent two-up schools and sly-groggers unallied to Leigh, Devine or Jeffs. For a time, none encroached on another's turf or activity. Then in early 1927, the thieves fell out - and all hell broke loose.

It was Bruhn who first split from the ranks. Bruhn and Hayes first held up one of Phil Jeffs sly-grog shops, in Liverpool Street. On 6 June, Hayes was gunned down in Liverpool Street. Passing taxi driver Jack Edelman pursued the shooter's limousine and took its number, then returned to where the victim lay unconscious and bleeding. Police, acting on Edelman's information, traced the getaway car and charged Phil Jeffs henchman Tom Kelly with malicious wounding.

Bruhn and his gang then stormed onto one of Kate Leigh's sly-grog shops in Liverpool Street and, razors flashing, took the proprietor's nights taking, 100 pounds of the man's own money and a stash of jewellery. A few nights later they returned to Liverpool Street and extorted stolen money from one of Kate Leigh's thieves. When she learned of the heist Kate Leigh totted up the money Bruhn had once more cost her and seethed.”
Adapted from the award winning book Razor, by Larry Writer
“And so... the vendetta gets fiercer... Its climax may come in a wild campaign of shooting any night, as the mystery gangsters, once elusive, shady and unknown, are now easily identifiable by those who have sworn to 'get' them. The 'Midnight Raper' has other names, ordinary names, but they do not count much, as a criminal changes his title about five times a week if it suits him. There are others identifiable by nicknames, too, one of them of snowy white locks who is called 'Nigger', and yet another who is referred to more often that not as 'The Jew'. The reputed leader (of the worst gang) is a Melbourne man who absconded from bail and bolted for Sydney after he had been committed for trial... And so, known to the police and known to their victims, the gangsters prowl through the shadows, and even into the light of day, spreading supreme terror as they go, and never fearing that the processes of the law may be set against them.
Truth Newspaper 1927
Glasgow, Scotland

“Many Jewish people came to escape the pogroms in the east as they saw a dirty, industrialised dump like Glasgow with its Razor Gangs and religious hatred as just the sort of quiet place to settle down. Any port in a storm but even the bubonic plague hit the Gorbals in 1900.” Taken from: A History of Glasgow Part 6: The 20th Century, Washed up in the Gorbals.The book ‘No Mean City’ by H. Kingsley-Long was a novel giving a fictional account of the Glasgow Razor Gangs. In an obvious tribute, the famous Glasgow based Seventies Hard Rock band ‘Nazareth’ released an album of the same name with the rather lurid cover artwork featuring an Orc-like creature brandishing two large cutthroat razors, one in each claw.

The increasingly frequent and brutal act of slicing a victim’s face from the corner of the mouth in an arc leading upward and toward the ear became known as a ‘Glasgow Grin’. Sometimes the victim died from blood loss, but there were enough (and there still are, even today) people walking about with horribly disfigured faces to show that this was a deliberate gangland form of scarring designed to ‘mark’ the victim for life and to remind him or her of the ruthlessness of their attackers.

The following extract from an account of Sir Oswald Mosley’s foray into Scotland and the badlands of Glasgow illustrates the common thread found among many contemporary accounts of the Nineteen Twenties and Thirties, namely that the Razor Gang leadership was dominated by Jews of the meanest and nastiest type.


“Support for Mosley came from all sections of Scottish society. In the same month as the Shettleston Town Hall meeting he was nominated for the rectorship of Glasgow University. Although Mosley failed to win the contest his candidature was supported by the well-known writer George Bernard Shaw. Indeed, Shaw's view of the contest shows that even in the 1930's, Glasgow University was inhabited by the same kind of creatures which prowl its corridors in the present day. He wrote, "They only show that our seats of learning and culture are the only places where representatives of learning and culture are invariably at the bottom of the poll, and the vulgarist available party careerist at the top."


The red scum were not prepared to allow Mosley's popularity to continue to spread in the face of their campaign of lies and hatred. A new way of stopping Mosley in Scotland was needed and this they hoped could be achieved by recruiting among the Jewish-dominated razor gangs of Glasgow's Gorbals for allies in a new anti-Mosley alliance.


After a giant open air rally on Glasgow Green (the Times newspaper estimated the crowd at 40,000), Mosley and his leading officers were attacked by a 500-strong gang of razor-wielding Communists who went on to fight pitched battles with the police. It was this event more than any other which was to precipitate the major change in Mosley's political life. On his return to London the New Party executive was hurriedly summoned. Mosley was brief: "We need no longer hesitate to create our trained and disciplined force. From today we are Fascist.” From issue 2 of Highlander, PO Box 85, Glasgow, G51 2DS


When the violent ‘fashion’ of the Razor Gangs spread to Britain’s capital this savage treatment of ‘facial reconstruction’ was tagged, with a similarly grim sense of humour, a ‘Chelsea Smile’. Again, this activity was rife among the vicious gangs of cutthroat Jews in London’s East End.

As a postscript to this piece Old Victor would like to say that apart from being a big fan of Billy Connolly there was another rather ‘unfortunate’ incident that linked him to Glasgow violence. When Old Victor was in his mid twenties and still a fit young man he worked with a Scottish chappie from the old Gorbals who took an instant dislike to him apparently due to nothing more intellectual than his surname. He sported a very elegant scar on his forehead which he was proud to proclaim was the result of a house brick striking his forehead while in his stroller as a baby in Glasgow. Well, to cut a long story short, a period of baiting and taunting ensued which resulted ultimately in a brief but rather nasty brawl involving not only fists etc but also various items of furniture.

Following the indignity and not inconsiderable discomfort (intense pain) of being king hit from the blind side, head butted repeatedly and put in a vice-like headlock, your humble narrator, poor Old Victor, only narrowly prevailed against this maniacal Glaswegian pugilist after having the good fortune, due to some rather desperate twisting and turning incorporating fancy footwork and a handy reverse head butt, of opening up a very deep gash above Glasgow Johnny’s eye. Once the claret was flowing freely the fight seemed to go out of him quite swiftly. Funny that. Imagine a Gorbals boy being shy of the red, red krovvy.

It’s a funny old world, innit?


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My ol` Scottish Pop said they used to sew em` up with sack hooks to intensify the scaring. Perhaps the Jews were doing the sewing ?