Tag Archives: Kings Cross Black Magic

Pulp Friday: passion pits and twilight zones, Kings Cross pulp fiction

The Deserters“A startling and authentic story of wartime Sydney when the American ‘invasion’ turned Kings Cross into a passion pit of vice and black marketing.”

Earlier this week I reviewed Louis Nowra’s terrific social history Kings Cross A Biography for the Overland Journal website.

Kings Cross has always had a particular place in our popular imagination as Australia’s capital of sin, sleaze and crime.

The terrific 1995 television mini-series Blue Murder and the not-so-wonderful Underbelly: Razor and Underbelly: The Golden Mile all did their bit to maintain this unsavoury reputation.

In the sixties and early seventies, Kings Cross was also a favourite setting for locally published pulp novels.

As I have discussed many times on this site, pulp fiction is a warped reflection of mainstream society, its illicit desires, fears and fascinations. Thus it was with pulp’s depiction of the Cross as a virtual Sodom and Gomorrah of sex, gambling, crime and human depravity of every description.

Wild youth gangs, criminal syndicates, black magic, pulp took all of these and turned them into portable, pocket sized key pieces of key hole voyeurism. From a publishing perspective they sold a bomb to punters eager for vicarious thrills and a peek of the dark goings on in the Cross.

Nowra’s book didn’t touch on this this particular aspect of Kings Cross’s hold on our popular imagination.… Read more

Pulp Friday: Kings Cross Black Magic

Kings Cross Black MagicToday’s Pulp Friday is a great example of exploitative pulp dressed up as quasi-serious sociological inquiry, Kings Cross Black Magic by the wonderfully named, Attila Zohar.

It’s also one of the more unusual pieces of pulp fiction produced in the sixties and seventies in response to the real and imagined goings on in Sydney’s notorious vice strip, Kings Cross.

I just love the cover of this book. The minimal furnishings, the title font, the female model, who I presume is supposed to look ‘Satanic’ but comes across more as a sort of sullen drag queen. It speaks of things that just shouldn’t be talked about in polite company, which, in turn, only makes me more curious.

Kings Cross Black Magic was released by Horwitz publications in 1965. According to the University of Ortago’s wonderful pulp fiction website, Attila Zohar was a pseudonym for James Holledge. Holledge was a former clerk who became part of the stable of in-house writers brought together by Horwitz in the early sixties. He wrote approximately 45 books between 1961 and 1970, most of them salacious journalistic tracks parading as sociological expose.

His titles included Australia’s Wicked Women (1963), Crimes Which Shocked Australia (1963) and Women Who Sell Sex (1964) and What Makes a Call Girl (1964).… Read more