Thursday, 23 September 2010

Gorilla in the roses

Some of the Islington Library books defaced / remodelled by Joe Orton & Kenneth Halliwell. The previously inseparable couple were prosecuted and each sentenced to six months in different prisons, an experience Orton later described as the impetus he needed to start writing outside of their unsuccessful literary partnership.

The books are now on display in the Islington Local History Centre.


  1. I've never seen these before, Paul. They're amazing. Thanks. Great post. x

  2. It's more than ironic that Islington Council failed to appreciate this excellent subversive art project and sent those guys to prison for six months and now has the nerve to display the books as part of their special collection. Prison may have been the making of Joe but it broke Halliwell and thus led to Orton's premature demise.

    Sorry for coming on a bit strong but I did some work for ILHC and feel that frankly they should be ashamed of themselves.

    Lovely books, mind.

  3. No, spot on, the cheek of it struck me, too.

    Amazing how much Joe managed to achieve in just three years, though.

  4. Have you read John Lahr's biog and Orton Diaries? Recommend.