Tweet Follow @PlanetSlade

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


Follow PlanetSlade on Twitter @PlanetSlade

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 June 2015: New fRoots reviews & letters

I’ve been busy with my upcoming murder ballads book this year, which is why PlanetSlade itself has gone rather quiet. I found a day this weekend to put together a new letters page and add my latest fRoots reviews though, which means we’re back in business now.
      The reviews include details of a truly excellent new country blues CD from Minnestota’s Charlie Parr. It’s already become one of my favourite albums from this (or any other) year, so do yourself a favour and check it out.
      Subjects raised in the letters this time around include a long-forgotten Frankie & Johnny animated cartoon, plus some memories of that song being acted out at what sounds like a very boozy Brooklyn party back in the 1950s.
      The Yorkshire folk duo Sage Herb bring us details of a particularly bloody 1830s ballad sheet about William Shaw’s murder of Rachael Crossley. They’ve recorded their own version of the sheet’s song too, which you can hear for yourself via a link in their letter.
      Finally, we have a photograph of the Euro-denominated Hell banknotes I asked PlanetSlade readers to find for me back in 2013’s Hell Money piece. Sometimes it takes a while, but you guys always come up with the goods in the end.
      I’ll be back with another major PlanetSlade essay towards the end of the year, my working title for which is “The Murder Bottle”. It’s going to be a good ‘un…