July 9, 2011 by markstani
Bernard Hare’s ‘Urban Grimshaw And The Shed Crew’ (Hodder, 1995) has been described as a British ‘City of God’. It’s a deeply affecting trawl through the east Leeds underclass, focusing on a group of illiterate, junkie and criminal kids who have been utterly failed by the system. Hare, a former social worker who drops out and forges a unique friendship with Urban, a prominent member of the self-styled ‘Shed Crew’, wastes no opportunity to rail against his former profession. Riveting and tragic, it deserves much greater acclaim. There was also talk of a sequel, though it never came to pass. Shame.
Approaching the shed, I noticed graffiti on the gable above the door. There was an A in a circle, the Anarchy symbol, an E in a circle, the Ecstasy symbol, and a smily face with a crooked mouth in a circle, the symbol of the chemical generation. ‘The Shed Crew’ was written bold above the door. Above that in a smaller script was scrawled, ‘The Untouchables!’.