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Welcome to my world

Murder Ballads
Secret London

Paul Slade Hello. My name's Paul Slade, and I've been a journalist here in London since 1982. During that time, I've written for The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Guardian, The Times, The Observer, The Sunday Telegraph, The Independent on Sunday, The Sunday Times, Mojo, Fortean Times, The Idler, Time Out and a host of other publications. In 2005, I started making occasional documentaries for BBC Radio 4, covering subjects like a forgotten radio hoax of 1926 and the craze for "dirty blues" lyrics in pre-war America.

I've developed a taste for writing long essays, a form very few magazines will consider buying

Like any hack who's been working for that length of time, I've accumulated a fair number of pet projects over the years. These are subjects which I've become passionately interested in myself but which, for one reason or another, I've never managed to sell as a commercial proposition. It doesn't help matters that I've recently developed a taste for writing longer essays - running anywhere up to 15,000 words in length - which is a form very few modern magazines are prepared to consider.
Hence this website. Here you'll find my guide to some of the world's most fascinating Murder Ballads, a series of Secret London's forgotten mysteries and, in the section I've cunningly titled Miscellany, anything else I damn well feel like including. My aim is to combine the old-fashioned virtues of traditional journalism - proper research, clear writing and a habit of checking my facts - with the global distribution and ease of access which only the internet can provide. I hope you find something here to take your interest.

- Paul Slade, London, April 2009


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PlanetSlade’s main Twitter account gives you announcements of all new additions to the site, a heads-up on significant aniversaries, capsule theatre reviews, tips on my cultural discoveries and anything I think might make people laugh. Join our merry band by clicking the button below.

Added in Dec 2014: All change at Cross Bones.

The past few months have brought some big changes to Redcross Way, with the Cross Bones gates remounted in a new position and planning permission granted for a new public garden there. Read all about it here.
   That page also contains all PlanetSlade’s latest letters. Here’s a few highlights:

From Andy Hulme (aka the Invisible Gardener): “When I was living in Northampton I met Alan Moore. His proposal for the sport Great Britain should add to the Olympics: hallucinating. We’re unbeatable.”

From Sue Rands: “I really want to know where the remains of the Crossbones Girl were laid to rest after the BBC had finished the programme about her.”

From Jeffrey Bloomfield: “The best film ever turned out on the story of the West Port Murders was based on the Robert Louis Stevenson story The Body Snatchers. I recommend it highly.”

From Sarah Carter: “Edith Thompson was hanged in 1923 for murdering her husband – even though her lover did it. Her execution went wrong and the hangman later committed suicide.”

From Joe Turner: “The overall bone industry by 1850 was in the thousands of tons and barges were regularly carting them around the country.”

From Rebecca Shearer: “I just found a big stack of hell notes next to my daughter in a new house. Is this bad luck?”

From Fred “Butch” Burns: “In my ongoing pursuit of the Hillbilly arts [I’ve found] there are Polly songs and Molly songs. Polly gets murdered and Molly breaks hearts.”

From Michael M: “What stuck me were the parallels between the Weekly Dispach approach – whereby anyone could simply grab a shovel and follow the crowd – and the current Hidden Cash style.”

     For all these delights, and a special table celebrating the completion of PlanetSlade’s five-year alliterative headlines project, just click here.