Ilsa Colsell (Donlon Books) Available at Arnolfini Bookshop for £35.00
In 1962, a then unknown couple, John (Joe) Orton and Kenneth Halliwell, were tried at Old Street Magistrates Court, London, charged with, ‘larceny, malicious damage and wilful damage’, involving hundreds of Islington Library’s book stock. Over the previous three years the pair had been secretly stealing these books, removing what amounted to thousands of valuable art plates and either using them to create alternative dust jackets for other books (which were then returned quietly to the library’s shelves for unsuspecting browsers to find), or pasting them directly into a large and uninterrupted collage spanning the interior walls of their one-roomed flat on nearby Noel Road they were then returned quietly to the library’s shelves for unsuspecting browsers to find. Malicious Damage looks closely at the collaged dust jackets still remaining within the archive at Islington Local History Centre. It also focuses on the early collaborative nature of Orton and Halliwell’s relationship, using the changing collage that had consumed such a large part of their lives in Noel Road as its frame.
Malicious Damage, a beautifully constructed book is an informative interesting pleasure, an absolute must for your bookshelf.