Is armed robbery the new Rock and Roll?

What sort of bottle does it take to steal £50 million from the bank of England? I mean, how do you go about even imagining a plan like that? Talk about putting a team back together for another job is the stuff of movies, but it actually happens and these people actually exist.

Just as they did a few years back when a gang of ‘Villains’ smashed their way into Piety’s white Elephant with a digger and tried to nick the worlds most expensive diamond. I remember the excitement of it all, a bizarre mix of boyhood fantasies and grown up dreams. The fact that they used a JCB and planned to escape up the Thames in a speedboat made men in stuffy offices everywhere smile, safe in the knowledge that all is not lost because real men still exist.

I remember me and Dad watching news footage of the Brinks Matt bullion robbery in the early eighties. It was at about the time when most kids, including my friends, were getting into shoplifting. His message was simple, “If you’re want to nick stuff, wait ‘till you’re grown up and do the job properly”. Cool as you like at the time, but now I realise that he was basically aligning himself with the gentlemanly conduct of old fashioned bank robbers, which is slightly embarrassing considering he’s the sort of bloke that’s never even looked at a fruit machine.

It’s not about the absurd tabloid romance of the bygone gangster and the East End boozer that no longer exists. Or Phil Collins and Julie Walters as salt of the earth working class London, living out the post war reality of struggle and toils with impeccable manners. Because despite what admirers of Ronnie and Reggie’s perverse brutality might claim, this type of crime is always going to hurt someone. For those on the sharp end there’s always going to be terrifying flashbacks, or years of sleepless nights and worry. In that sense this kind of criminal will always end up harming his own in pursuit of the ultimate job

But it’s not the crime itself that we find so exciting, or even the fact that someone has managed to get their hands on so much money. What is appealing is the sheer audacity of the act, the belligerent two fingers to an increasingly sterile society in which we are all terrified of the consequences of practically anything. Anything that involves looking less than perfect in front of the neighbours or colleagues at work. It’s a reminder that now matter how much we’re steered towards ID cards or a police state, there is still someone ready to front the cynicism and refuse to conform.

It’s about people taking risks, and pissing the establishment off at the same time.

But most of all it’s about the blatant refusal to bow to the cultural demands of Piety Blair, Nicky Campbell, XFM, newspapers, reality TV, celebrities and all that other middle class tedium that is consuming our daily lives. Think of Don Logan in Sexy beast, “We don’t do it for the money, it’s for the thrill of it, the sheer fuck-offness of it all!!”

Am I getting carried away with the romance? Maybe, but remember that Rock and Roll doesn’t happen that often, so when it does we have duty to indulge.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *