What I’m reading: Bobby Ballone half of the entertainment team Cannon and Ball

23 October 2007

by Allison Ward

‘Joey Pyle was a gangster in the East End of London in the 1960s. He worked with the Krays, and through his connection with the Mafia became a music manager. Notorious is the story of his life, and has frequent contributions by Pyle himself.

Like the Krays, he was born in London, and was a boxer. In the book he disputes the myth that the Krays were rich, and says that they didn’t make a huge amount of money. The supposed “code of honour”, he says, was not loyalty, but purely the result of fear of violent reprisals.

I read the book recently on a plane, and I couldn’t put it down. This surprised me, because it’s not at all the sort of book that I, as a Christian, normally read. Pyle talks about violence in a matter-of-fact way — it was clearly a way of life, for him. I suppose I found it interesting because it was a world that I didn’t know. I didn’t like Pyle — a hard and brutal man — but he intrigued me. It held a morbid fascination for me, that such a world could exist.’

Joey Pyle: Notorious - the changing face of organised crime, Earl Davidson, Virgin Books, £7.99 (£7.20); 978-0-7535-0943-2

The Gospel According to Cannon and Ball by Chris Gidney is available from Canterbury Press, £8.99 (£8.10); 978-1-85311-792-3.

Forthcoming Events

16-18 February 2018
Church Times Festival of Faith & Literature

Our literary festival with a theological slant in Bloxham, Oxfordshire. Speakers include Francis Spufford, Ruth Valerio, Eve Poole, Mark Oakley, James Runcie and many others. Find out more

5-6 May 2018
Church Times Festival of Poetry
With Sarum College, Salisbury. More details coming soon - register your interest here

The Church Times Podcast

The Church Times Podcast, hosted by Tim Wyatt and Ed Thornton, features a mixture of interviews and news analysis. Listen online

Subscribe now to get full access

To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read seven articles each month for free.