Knuckle Girls – Richard Allen

A bit of an odd one this, I’m not sure who it was aimed at when it was released. I was expecting a female Joe Hawkins running riot beating hippies up at Brighton and going to football matches to fight with Geordies and the like. But instead of that we get a story about two middle-aged social workers (one male, one female), and the love triangle they find themselves in.

There is the type of aggro-vignettes you would expect in a Richard Allen book, all told in flashback to the social workers by the knuckle girl herself (there is only one, despite the title), Ina Murray while she is held on remand in prison. But you also get the social workers’ (or more likely Richard Allen’s) theories on why the youth of the 70s were so violent.

You see it’s all due to coming from a broken home, with an abusive alcofrolic father and couldnt-give-a-fuck mother. And in Ina’s case, a lack of self-esteem due to her short height and lack of big boobs and wobbly arse like young women are supposed to have. She also has some chemical imbalance in her brain that keeps her constantly on an adrenalin rush.

Ina’s lack of self-esteem makes her lash out at other women she sees as prettier than she is, often slashing their face with a cut-throat razor that she keeps taped to her side with lots of band-aid plasters (no hiding knives in her bra for Ina like the skinhead girls did, presumably due to her lack of boobs). To compensate for her lack of height, she also dons platform boots when going on an aggro, which I would guess would make it difficult to run away from the fuzz, though this isn’t expanded upon.

Despite being an old cunt myself these days, and having a passing interest in sociology (I studied it when I was younger, but never wanted to do it professionally), I found it difficult to relate to the social workers and their rather petty self-centred world-view. They take up far too much of this book, and what little action there is from Ina’s perspective is spoiled by their inane comments on “the problem with yoof!”

Ina should have smacked both of the cunts round the head with a chair when she had the chance. That would have made a much better ending than female social worker deciding which one she wanted to marry.



About Marcus Blakeston

Ex-shouting poet, ex-fanzine writer, ex-angry young man (now growing old disgracefully). Living in sunny Yorkshire with his wife, children and motorcycle, Marcus still has a healthy distrust of all forms of authority.
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