I suspect most of you have not heard of the Breakfast in the Ruins podcast. Taking its name from the title of a 1972 science fiction novel by Michael Moorcock, the podcast has a major focus on the work and influence of the British writer. But it also delves much further afield to take in related subcultural and niche books and films, particularly from the late 1960s and 1970s.
It is one of my favourite podcasts.
Anyway, I was very happy to be a guest on the latest episode, my second Breakfast in the Ruins appearance, talking about the sleazy, exploitative but sociologically savvy English publisher New English Library and their lengthy run of biker paperbacks.
In particular we focused on two books: Angels from Hell (1973), written by Mick Norma, a pseudonym for Laurence James, an NEL editor who would go onto have major paperback writing career; and The Devil’s Rider (1973) by Alex R Stuart, aka Scottish author Stuart Gordon.
In addition to these books, we also cover off on the occult, the history of bikers in pulp fiction and exploitation film, and the state of British society in the 1970s, among many other topics. These books have some fairly out there content, so the usual content warning applies. You can find the show, which is a must listen for pulp paperback fans, here.
New English Library is a pulp publisher that looms large in the collective imagination of a cohort of people who were coming of age in the 1970s, in the UK, but also in Australia, where NEL books were heavily remaindered. Despite this, it is significantly under researched. If this podcast piques your curiosity, check out the book I co-edited with Iain McIntyre, Girl Gangs, Biker Boys and Real Cool Cats: Pulp Fiction and Youth Culture, 1950-1980, which has a chapter on biker pulp, which includes an in-depth look at the output of NEL. The book, published by PM Press, is available here.