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Very bad boys

Blake Morrison's reflection on the murder of toddler James Bulger by two ten year olds is now out in paperback. Peter Wayne reports from prison on some of its themes: television's influence on crime, sexual abuse and the imperative of mercy

By Peter Wayne   January 1998

It was hung, controversially, in the Whitechapel Art Gallery. Do you remember? Exhibit by Jamie Wagg. Mothercare. Bootle Shopping Centre. Liverpool. A tiny figure, hand in hand with a bigger boy, is led away from the camera. Another boy, hands nonchalantly in his jeans’ pockets, strides ahead. We know it now as the start of a journey which ended with the little boy’s death. Mothercare; mother’s loss; irreconcilable irony.

Several weeks ago, I was sitting with other convicts in a smoky television room in a prison in the southwest of England. We were watching, for the umpteenth time, Tarantino’s seminal…

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