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The Spiv and the ArchitectUnruly Life in Postwar London$
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Richard Hornsey

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780816653140

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816653140.001.0001

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The Perversity of the Zigzag: the Criminality of Queer Urban Desire

The Perversity of the Zigzag: the Criminality of Queer Urban Desire

(p.81) chapter 2 The Perversity of the Zigzag: the Criminality of Queer Urban Desire
The Spiv and the Architect

Richard Hornsey

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter explains how the urban machinations of London’s queer men were characterized as a malignant mode of spatial criminality. It discusses the tabloid moral panic regarding the metropolitan “male vice” in the early 1950s and traces the complex geographies by which queer male behavior was marked as a demonic social force. In May 1952, the weekly tabloid Sunday Pictorial began a three-part series of articles titled Evil Men that urged readers to break the “conspiracy of silence” surrounding urban vice, implying that “silence” is a factor that enabled the evil of homosexuality to spread. The chapter also reviews the 1951 British film The Lavender Hill Mob, which portrays a story on queer criminality.

Keywords:   London, queer men, male vice, queer male behavior, Evil Men, silence, homosexuality, Lavender Hill Mob, queer criminality

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