The tragedy of Big Show

A report in today’s Observer says that Jamail Newton, the boy murdered last week, was not involved in any gang trouble, and was one of the boys that the amazing Camila Batmanghelidjh at Kids Company was trying to help. Also, he was not involved in any trouble at Aristocrats and the fact he was outside there was incidental.

Seems that a lot of false conclusions have been reached, including by me, and for which I apologise.

Update: Forgot to thank reader Mumu for bringing the link to my attention.

Author: Peter

Long-time resident of Camberwell, author of this blog since July 2004.

23 thoughts on “The tragedy of Big Show”

  1. How tragic. Doubly tragic that a lot of people, myself included, reached the wrong conclusion. I’m appalled how little coverage this story was given. How different would it have been if it was in a more prosperous neighbourhood or if the victim was white and/or wealthy. Aristocrats is a shithole that should be shut down regardless of the role it played in all of this. It won’t bring Jamail Newton back or do much to solve the problem but does Camberwell really need it? It was a timebomb from the start. The irony of its name is not even funny any more. I’m sick and tired of this pathetic bad boy culture of violence and intimidation. It’s boring. It was played out back in early 90s hip hop videos. God bless America! Thanks for the crack and guns

  2. I agree with you bukowski. Apart from closing down Aristocats I would ban all the videos on MTV that glamourise guns and violence.…and the games that all our teens are playing in their bedrooms. It’s time to stop portraying violence as cool. It’s obscene.

  3. How can the club want to stay open and continue to invite gun crime round it? Who wants to go there now? How to stop gun crime? These are all impossible questions.

    There are not many possible or positive things to think about all this, though Camila’s clarity and sanity shine in this gloom we’re having.

  4. Agree re Aristocrats. It’s a honeypot for trouble.

    In truth this information, and the facts as they have emerghed, have made me feel even more paranoid — that a seemingly random killing can take place so close to my home and loved ones scares the bejeezus out of me.

    That at first it appeared to be a gang-on-gang killing, though sad and frightful, at least gave anonymous passers by like myself some semblance of safety. This just makes me even more scared to be honest.

    So much for looking people in the eye, smiling and building bridges. Look at them and be riddled with bullets. fook that.

    RIP BigShow

  5. The gun-shooting is a very peripheral phenomenon and we shouldn’t scare ourselves, but you had it on your doorstep, ewookie, and that’s a real blow to your peace of mind, which anyone with a hole in their bum will appreciate.

    We may as well not worry. The gun-shooting is now a feature of one end of black society in London and Manchester, just as much as fat City Bonuses and cocaine jollity is at one of white society. Anyone, whether pc or PC, knows that. Neither touches our lives that much, I suspect, just our imaginations and worriations.

    There’s no amount of pieties on one side or grumbly mutterings on the other that will cheer us up after this exceptionally gloomy event. But what will?

  6. true

    maybe a 2 for 1 happy hour leffe in the dispensary may cher me up. along with coming home in the rain strangely enough. i’ve missed rain.

  7. Realme — I am by no means a staunch advocator of censorship but I do find the glamorisation of guns in popular culture obscene and I think it’s hard to argue that it doesn’t have an impact. With literacy levels so low and the average schmuck on the street more concerned with what trainers someone else is wearing than how to reed or rite, it’s no surprise that people can’t think for themselves and become sheep. That’s the tragedy for me in the kiling of Jamail Newton, that he seemed to want to play no part in the bullshit gang mentality.

  8. I know it has an impact‑I hear it all around me in the conversations of the young teens I work with in South London’s schools. Whilst they are in despair about what they see happening around them to them and their friends (and believe me most young men know someone who has been personally affected by street violence) They are also hyped up talking about it. And the conversations are now about what kind of gun so and so has.…that’s the level it’s reached. Even the yardies themselves are afraid of the violence of the youth on our streets because it’s so random. The children are living in a video game-and still they are bringing out films like Saw3 and Grand theft Auto will be in many a teen’s christmas stash this Christmas.

    If you are going to campaign against anything, I think camapaigning against the glorification of violence would be the most effective thing to do. Never mind campaigning against the youngsters themselves. Get to where the big money is made which causes the hype. People making megabucks out of promotion of violence are irrsponsible and should be stopped.

    I am not for censorship on the whole, but the impression that all this makes on young minds, especially young male minds, is too much and it needs to be thought about.

  9. The last two comments have really hit the nail on the head, in my mind. I think that education is key to tackling so many of the problems that we face in areas like inner London. It’s a cliche, but I’m going to say it anyway. Having the ability to lose yourself in a book for a couple of hours, to have your imagination fired by a painting, to be moved by a song lyric — these things all make you feel great to be alive. But more importantly, perhaps — they steer you away from being a consumerist sheep, give you and understanding of things that you have not directly experienced and put things in perspective a little bit more. Those trainers would be nice to have, but are they really worth £150? Suddenly, Primark starts to look like a pleasant shopping experience (OK, so I overstepped the mark there, but I hope you get my drift).
    The large multi-national companies love poorly-educated sheep and they wield alot of power in the world. They will pay lip-service to social responsibility, but will stop short of cutting off their noses in the interest of the common good.

  10. Very sad.

    However I think campaigning against the glorification of violence in youth culture is attacking the symptom, not the cause. The arts and media, whether The Daily Mail or 50 Cent, only hold a mirror to society. Easy enough to break the mirror but there’ll still be drugs, prostitution, organised crime, guns…

  11. Ben Patio — I understand your perspective, in that the arts and media reflect society, but I find it a little naive to think that it only goes one way.
    The arts and media also actively shape society. Where do I start? Why do young women want to look skinny now? Why are 90 per cent of the high streets of provincial towns full of Kate Moss wannabes? Why do we look at pictures of women in the 50s and they are curvaceous with pointed breasts? Why do breast sizes and shapes go in and out of fashion? Trainers? Music? Drugs? The majority of the neanderthal general public, regardless of race, class or age learn from what the Sun tells them and watch channel zero.
    I find it hard to comment on the plight of inner city black teenagers as I’m not one of them. I’m a 30 year old white male from a dismal suburban provincial blackwater. Their problem is part of a larger one affecting society as a whole, however. People lack the resources to think for themselves, to educate themselves, to learn something out of life rather than keeping up with the Jones’s or be overtly concerned with how they will be perceived by their peers. I can’t get my head around it. We’ve got one life to live and so many people are content to live a fake hum-drum existence, to watch the shadow-play on the wall rather than actually living, to buy any old shit they are sold, to treat sex as a commodity and raise a child without thought as to what parenting is. We’re falling apart at the seams.

  12. Why don’t we organise a local rapathon, where local councillors can visit sink estates and improvise in a two way constructive non-gun-chic rap with local youths, about what is wrong with the area and how to improve it? It might go something like this:

    Kids: “They’ve sold off the parks and they really blew it’
    C: “Well pass me a sandwich, and I’ll get to it”
    Kids: ‘Where are the ‘menities for-the ethnic votah?’
    C: ‘Sold to build houses for the brownfield q‑wota — hah yeah’ etc.

    Just an idea.

  13. Heard about the guy who fell off a skyscraper? On his way down past each floor, he kept saying to reassure himself: So far so good… so far so good… so far so good.
    How you fall doesn’t matter. It’s how you land

  14. So long as da bruvvers (Know what I mean, like?) restrict themselves to murdering each other, that’s fine with me.

  15. Think we’ll ignore that last comment from Croyboy.

    Bukowski, catwalk fashion does not cause eating disorders. Eating disorders are a form of mental illness. The Daily Mail and The Sun are the two best-selling papers in the country because people want to read them. The answer, if it is possible, is to cure society’s ills rather than its products.

  16. I’d say the problem is the same as it always was; as the Bible says: the love of money is the root of all evil.

    We live in an unprecedentedly materialist culture; your worth is measured by the price of your belongings, or by your fame.

    Nice things don’t come cheap; imagine having it all flaunted in front of you, and you can’t afford it and don’t have the patience or opportunity to earn it.

    Young male role models tell you to Get Rich or Die Trying; young female role models tell you to try and marry a footballer. Hard work is no longer necessary in the society which sells dreams of get-rich-quick schemes.

    Before video games they blamed movies, before that it was rock & roll, before that comic books. The problem isn’t that a video game is violent; it’s that the console to play that video game costs £250, and the game a further £50. Where does a teenager get that money from if they don’t have a job and their parents can’t afford it?

  17. Peter — agreed.

    Yet this love of money may come from a refusal from the great and the good to be meritocratic. Inns of court, law firm, finance firms, government and the civil service, are all guilty of institutional racism, ageism and sexism, and prejudice as to educational and social background.

    Being rich is one of the few mediums of recognition left to the variously dispossessed. How many of those of us in even lower managerial positions of influence can say they have not hindered the progression of meritocracy, and thus contributed further to the fracturing of society?

    I blame Thatcher for turning money into a full blown religion, but as in the play An Inspector Calls, we all have a role to play in helping to formulate other respect systems which can take the place of cash.

  18. Quite right Regeneguru. There is no-one to blame but ourselves. How can we continually go around pointing the finger elsewhere? Or to the past?

    You want to change the world — then change yourself first. It’s those everyday actions, speech and thoughts that all add up to forming our environment, both internal and external.

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