Twenty-five years ago today my first novel Road Rage! was published by Scottish small press Low Life Books, with a launch at the Tactical bar and bookshop on D’Arblay Street in Soho! As far as I know, no photos exist of that event. Read more about Road Rage! here, and there are some review clippings in the ‘Press’ section of my site. Low Life was run by the legendary George Marshall, who’d been reissuing the Richard Allen novels in three-volume omnibus editions and was looking to publish contemporary examples of what he termed ‘street fiction.’ I’m eternally grateful to George for his faith in my writing (which was why, he said at the time, he’d put “Tony White’s Road Rage” on the cover) and for giving me my first break.
Here’s what Steve Beard wrote in i-D Magazine:
Who would have guessed that Richard Allen’s range of ’70s bootboy novels would have proved so influential? First Stewart Home samples the speed and aggression in order to turn round the political message and make the link with Burroughs and Blake; then Victor Headley steals a few riffs to draw up a map of the Black Atlantic in London. […] what subculture could be appropriated next? Tony White’s Road Rage makes it clear. Mixing psycho-social realism and techno-pagan fantasy, Tony White stakes out a position between Stewart Home and Martin Millar to offer a vision of London which is romantic, revolutionary, and conservative all at the same time. This is a signpost to the fantastic worlds of a Michael Moorcock or an Alan Garner, and it’ll be interesting to see what White does next.
(Steve later became a good friend and neighbour in Whitechapel, London.)
The cover of the Low Life Books’ paperback of Road Rage! features my by then former Beck Road neighbour Dave McCairley’s photograph of a fire artist. The picture had been taken in 1996, during a demonstration outside Hackney Town Hall against evictions from ‘The Spikey Thing With Curves’, which was the name of a large squat in a former Salvation Army building and Methodist Hall opposite the Hackney Empire on Mare Street. Such a great photo – we were so lucky to have it.
Thank you Dave, George, Steve and all!