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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Dear Capitalist-travelling Swine

In replying to this letter, please write on the envelope

Number 8903 Name Hirst

H.M. Prison,
Isle of Wight
PO30 5RS

Fri 25-Aug-89

Dear Capitalist-travelling Swine,

How I envy your recent journey to wide open spaces, when poor me, is so confined.

Not so long back, there was a programme on t.v. about bears living in Yosemite and the fellow filming. A documentary within a documentary. Interesting. The American I.R.A. guy who lived in San Fransisco, told me the name is of Indian origin. His involvement to the cause of Ireland was passed down in genes from his grandparents. Roots go deep in history.

Thanks for the 2 letter cards and p/c.

Much merriment this end with the opening paragraph of your return letter. Psychologically, I suppose it is like waking up from a beautiful dream and finding yourself in harsh reality. So poor old John becomes the target of indignation. I am glad to see my "cheek" still has its desired effect. I demand: You supply.

I thought you would appreciate the £5 "saving" on the records.

I have received the August issue of The Howard League's "Criminal Journal" which contained my article, minus one paragraph, misspelling my name at the begining but correctly at the end and somehow substituting Dartmoor for Durham Prison. Upon reading it in cold print, I got a certain satisfaction, but felt it could perhaps have been written, or at least structured better.

In the same magazine was a book review about a lad I met in Hull Prison in 1980 - "In for Life" - Jason Richardson (New Wine Press, 1989, £2.95). Will you please order me a copy?

The adjudication began after 28 days only to be adjourned for 2 weeks more - 6th of Sept - for the appearance of the star witness who is still on sick leave. I cannot help mentally laughing at the farce as it plays itself out. The curtain goes up in Act Two. Centre stage, lying down "asleep" on the job for between 5 and 8 minutes, undetected, is a prison officer. Upstage and to the left, 20ft away, are 3 guardians of good order and discipline, busily reading newspapers, and talking. An inmate enters stage left, discovers the unconscious screw, and subtle-like informs the "off duty" screws, by asking one of them to unlock the stairwell door to allow him downstairs. The alarm is raised. The leader of the trio, someone - somewhere - somehow decided, had seen me attack the screw and "hastened" to investigate. If one already possesses the knowledge, what is there to investigate?

The System I detect is already squirming in embarrasment. The Maverick has yet to play the card up his sleeve. Will it be enough to win the game, or will Doc Holliday upset the table?

However, the stakes are not very high. Already a new game is in progress. The governor, in a private interview, asked me where I wished to go next. I suggested either Long Lartin or Grendon or, a combination of both i.e. Long Lartin until a vacancy occured at Grendon. He refered it to a lower governor grade, who suggested either Lincoln or Hull for their S.C.U's (Special Control Units). I told him if it came down to a Unit (there are now a few of them - and more in the pipeline), I said not Lincoln, but Hull is a possibility.

The not to distant future: "Now Sir," said the policeman, "I'm afraid I have to arrest you. What handcuffs would you like to wear? These gold plated ones are very popular or, perhaps you would like the silver? The diamond studded?....."

I'm catching up on my reading down here. Waiting my attention is Norman Mailer's "Tough Guys Don't Dance". The blurb states: "The brilliant new novel from America's greatest living writer". One would not get a new novel from a dead author - unless of course he was a ghost writer!

Why not take this last opportunity to visit me before I am whisked back up North to Hull? You still have between six and eight weeks to avail yourself of this offer. Let me know within 21 days of receiving this advertisment and collect your free gift, a genuine visiting order, limited to only three people in the country!

Thanks for sending off for the records, I look forward to playing them when my 40 days and nights, or whatever period in this wilderness, is deemed necessary by my judges.

All the best


n.b. The above letter was sent to Bryan Rostron, journalist, author, playwright who I met through Gordon Honeycombe, the ITN News reader and author.

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