New English Library, London, 1972
dedication: For Christa
The blurb on the back:
In the centre of London, squatters and hippies take over an empty mansion. The address is 144 Piccadilly.
Samuel Fuller was the film directing equivalent of someone like Mickey Spillane: a hard-edged no-nonsense kind of auteur. Even when he was working on a decent-sized canvas with a film like 1980's The Big Red One, he still made an uncompromisingly tough movie.
Born in 1912, Fuller started working in films in the late-1940s, initially as a writer but moving into direction as soon as he could. He also knocked out a couple of novels, and clearly enjoyed the form since he went back to books occasionally throughout his long career.
In 1971 he produced this, 'a fictional re-creation of a factual incident with fictive characters.' Written in the first person, apparently as himself, it's the story of an American in London: puzzled by Britain's laws that allow the practice of squatting to continue, he tracks the experience of a group of hippies occupying an up-market property in Piccadilly.
What can you say? It's not bad, not brilliant, but it is a neat piece of reporting on a little piece of England that was finally killed off by the Thatcherite 1980s.
Just out of interest: who the hell used to choose the models for the covers of these books?
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 3/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT: 3/5
visit a fabulous archive of writings on squatting