An Excerpt From ‘How To Wear Odd Socks’ -Murder In Eltham

How To Wear Odd Socks

The latest instalment of my quarterly series, How To Wear Odd Socks is now available on the subscription site Channillo, and is called Murder In Eltham. It centres on the 1993 murder of Stephen Lawrence, and the wider context in which that crime occurred.

You can read the whole series by becoming a Channillo subscriber – something which directly benefits the writers of the work you enjoy.

Here are two excerpts:

“But, despite all that previous bloodshed, it was the 22nd April 1993 that seemed to change everything. A tipping point was reached. I have never been able to adequately explain why Stephen Lawrence represented the tipping point, and not any of the victims that went before him. There had been a conviction in the case of Rohit Duggal, and indeed one in the case of Rolan Adams. But Gurdeep Bhangal has spent decades knowing that the man who almost killed him escaped any kind of consequence – that he could be walking down any street, at any time, and may even come face-to-face with him again. Why the nation was not rallied by that injustice, I do not know. Perhaps because – despite having a carving knife thrust through his bowel just inches from his spine for the crime of protecting his family’s livelihood – he still kept his life? Does his survival make the crime any less outrageous?”


“So no, I had little joy at the news of a conviction in the case of Stephen Lawrence, whose life was taken yards from my front door two decades ago – I simply hoped that it would bring the Lawrence family some semblance of comfort. For me, the experience of living in Eltham during that time had a vast impact – shaping the way I interact with the world, and with others. It also had a detrimental effect on my mental health. It exposed me to the horrific duality of society – in which we are all encouraged to skate along quietly, while just below the surface, monsters draw blood for their own twisted purposes.

“It gave me a crash course in white privilege – knowing that, in Eltham at that time, I was actually a good deal safer than many in my peer group, simply because of the colour of my skin, provided I kept my head down and didn’t rock the boat. It fed into my paranoia, with the idea that those who are supposed to be protecting us, might actually be working against us. It booted my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder into overdrive, with me constantly checking physical security, and repeatedly washing my hands – as if trying to scrub the hatred off, in which the whole town felt steeped. It also showed me, in no uncertain terms, what male violence looks like.”

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