Yesterday I went to see Matteo Garrone’s film of Roberto Saviano’s novel about the Camorra syndicate in Naples and Caserta, Italy - Gomorrah. It’s a powerful exposé of corruption and of the brutal methods used to recruit young men who become so entangled in the web of crime that they have no choice but to continue living in a truly violent world. Only a few can even contemplate escape. Mattone deftly mixes and melds five stories into one. An extraordinary film of a cruel and frightening aspect of Italy that tourists only hear, read or see films about.
This afternoon I went to hear Peter Doyle give an illustrated talk on his cultural history of Sydney in the 1920s via records of criminals of the day. He has just published another book Crooks Like Us, after having spent many, many hours delving into the forensic photography archive at Sydney’s Justice & Police Museum.
Peter Doyle curated an exhibition of photos and published an accompanying book City of Shadows in 2005.
Many Sydneysiders also know Peter as “Peter ‘Rockin’ Doyle”, the amazing guitarist from the bands Wasted Daze, The Magnetics and The Bopcats that played around the inner western suburbs in the mid-late 1970s.
Since then he has completed a PhD, written a novel, The Devil’s Jump, and finically researched the police archives to write the criminal history books and he is now an academic teaching media at Macquarie University. Of course, he still likes to boogie - the Doyle-Bongers Downhome Quartet – a roots blues jazz funk steel guitar and saxophone combo was getting into the groove as I left the event.
Click to enlarge -Assembled bands The Bopcats, The Layabouts, Ratbags of Rhythm
Peter Doyle in white shirt fifth from the right