By Geoffrey Pearson
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Extra info for Hooligan: A history of respectable fears
Chaps fall over and their friends pick them up cheerfully and unconcernedly. At one spot a young man falls flat on his face, his friend picks him up and puts him over his shoulder, and lurches away with him. Immediately a fight starts among four young men: the crowd simply opens up to give them elbow room as it flows by; some stop to look on. One of the fighters is knocked out cold and the others carry him to the back of a stall and dump him there. Back streets are not so densely crowded, but even more drunks.
Its lineage reaches back, via the accusations against the Hollywood 'talkies' and the earliest silent movies, through and beyond the Music Halls at the tum of the century when directly similar complaints were voiced, towards the cheap theatres and penny-gaffs of early Victorian England when it was commonly alleged that the portrayal of the daring exploits of Jack Sheppard and Dick Turpin caused young people to imitate their crimes, and then back towards the eighteenth century's disapproval of popular amusements such as fairs, interludes, public shows and minor theatres.
But in a typically maverick comment on the matter, Baden-Powell thought that if there had been an increase in juvenile crime, then this was 'rather a promising sign'. The Times (25 May 1933) reported BadenPowell's speech as follows: To him it was rather a promising sign, because he saw in those banditry cases, robbery with violence, and smash and grab, little 'adventures'. There was still some spirit of adventure among those juveniles and if that spirit were seized and turned in the right direction they could make them useful men.
Hooligan: A history of respectable fears by Geoffrey Pearson