City of Gangs is a history of Glasgow’s gangs, but also a study of Britain’s gang culture. It features dozens of gangs, ranging from the well known Billy Boys and Norman Conks to the more obscure Romeo Boys of the Garngad and the Savoy Arcadians. Some of the names that gangs chose for themselves are intriguing. Take the Nudie Boys from the Gorbals. Perhaps they were enthusiastic exponents of one of the social trends that scandalised the Scottish press during the late 1920s: nude sun-bathing. Some of Govan’s gangs appear to have taken themselves less seriously than their counterparts elsewhere in the city, at least if their names are anything to go by. Perhaps the Tripe Supper Boys and the Cauliflower Gang were more menacing than their names suggested. ‘New’ gangs emerged at a rate that bamboozled the press and the police. I wonder if some were in fact old mobs under new names. Once a gang became notorious, its members were liable to harsher treatment by the police and magistrates, so changing their names might have been a strategy for avoiding unwelcome attention from the authorities.
I ran about with a Gang from the Gorbals from 12 until 23 from 1968 until 1980 I was in numerous fights and always up to no good, and then lying in the Jail after another Fight I decided to call it a day and have kept my nose clean ever since.