The Glasgow Curse is my story in my words, a searing and real exposé of the Glasgow underworld that does not glamorise or hide the truth of violent crime. In the book I reveal the real facts behind the crimes I committed and the real facts behind the crimes which I was falsely accused of committing.
I was born in Exeter Prison to a violent, schizophrenic mother and into one of the most notorious criminal families in Scotland. My upbringing in the East End of Glasgow was just as bleak, and I ended up in care, destined for a life of violence and insecurity.
Aged only 15 I master-minded a daring break-in to a Glasgow pub, and many years of armed crime, robberies, dealing narcotics and gang fights followed. When I wasn’t causing mayhem on the streets, I was serving terms in various young offenders’ institutions and maximum security prisons where I was involved in some of the most serious prison riots and hostage takings of recent years.
In the course of my criminal career I teamed up with the infamous Paul Ferris, someone I once considered a trusted associate, yet someone who would later attempt to incriminate me as the murderer of fellow gangster Arthur Thompson Jr. The police also believed that I was the man behind the brutal double killing of Bobby Glover and Joe ‘Bananas’ Hanlon, but none of these charges was made to stick.
Finally released from prison in 1998, I decided to walk away from a life of crime, but at first it proved impossible for me to break away from the way of life that had moulded me, and only in recent years have I found a measure of peace and stability. There is not a single day that goes by now where I'm not trying to better myself, and I now live quietly in the Scottish Highlands.
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Find out what some well-established authors thought and read the following reviews:
A brutally stark insight into the violent booze-fuelled world of a Glasgow criminal family, this book tells the hard and bitter truth behind what the author describes as 'an awful degrading and hopeless way of life.' A compelling read.
If you ever doubted that violence begets violence then read this book. I've read grim books about the Glasgow Underworld before, from Jimmy Boyle onwards, but this is the grimmest yet. Undoubtedly cursed by his upbringing, told here with brutal honesty, Lobban is to be congratulated at finally getting it off his chest, opening up the door of his past into a world the rest of us hope we never have to go.
This is a totally honest account of someone born into a criminal and violent family; inevitably he followed the family ways. For most people the criminal world is only glimpsed, fleetingly, in newspaper accounts usually after a trial case.
In William Lobban’s story we read about his many misdemeanours from early childhood, until that led to his eventual imprisonment as an adult. He has now put his past behind him, but the re-telling of his life is not just about “score settling” but an attempt to portray a section of society as it was, and perhaps still is in certain parts of Scottish cities.
For those of us who have the fortunate experience of being brought up in a loving and law abiding homes, we may never fully understand William Lobban experiences, but in reading his book he has given the chance to comprehend.
This work isn't a story. This work isn't fiction. This work isn't always pleasant, but then again, William's life (as recorded in this book) seemed to be, for the most part, anything BUT pleasant.
I found William's autobiographical writing style to be honest, disturbing, heart-breaking, irritating, brutal, chuckle-making and sometimes joyful.
William tells it how it was. He covers nothing up. He spares himself no blushes and writes from the heart.
Read it and remember, don't judge a book by its cover.
William Lobban has artfully sketched an absolutely stunning account of surviving a colorful, but perilous, childhood that seriously rivals Frank McCourt's iconic bestseller, "Angela's Ashes". I could not keep the smile from my face while enjoying this story, even while painfully realizing that the tale he was weaving was the inevitable prelude to his descent into a life of crime. To those who love to proselytize that one's early childhood experiences and family DNA should not be taken into account upon criminal judgments and verdicts, I encourage you to read William Lobban's profound tale.
I especially appreciated the author's nuance in being able to share with the reader the love and kindness that he enjoyed in the hands of his beloved "Nana and Granda" even while realizing that their alcoholism and propensity for criminal activity cast such a dark cloud upon his future. He offers many dimensions to the people and situations involved. I found myself longing for a little more history. How did mother, Sylvia, meet William's father? After being born in prison to an incarcerated mother (A complete separate book could be written on this event) and being rescued by his grandparents, did his mother remain estranged from her parents for the seven years he lived in their home? Sylvia is a nightmare of a mother, but her story is a compelling one. Nurture vs. Nature...? William had everything going against him. Becoming an upstanding citizen would have been the anomaly. There are new scientific studies that show that extreme poverty and family upheaval can actually cause the brain of a young child to form incorrectly, quite a bit more complex than "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree".
I will be anticipating the rest of the story with much fervor. I am in the U.S. (California) and find the Scottish accent and slang that leaps from these pages enchanting. But, I am a "wee bit" concerned as the book and subject matter matures that the author may need to clarify some of the language. While little Billy sneaking out in the middle of the night and riding his bicycle with a "torch sellotaped" to his handlebars is whimsical imagery that is self explanatory and the playful " hob of a cooker", very colorful indeed, I fear that terms regarding the Scottish justice system, such as "impeachment" and "productions", may need to be explained to an American audience. Surely a good editor will take care of these issues.
This is truly a literary effort, so far. I hope that Mr. Lobban will expand his personal story and apply some soft touches to his difficult life events by continuing to include family members, friends, and definitely fellow prison inmates as he continues his journey (Think "Orange is the New Black"!). The painting with words approach that this author takes with his narrative is delightful, he is extremely talented.
This is a very well-written account of William's extraordinary life. The book, like the life, is rich in incident from the very beginning. The style is very engaging, with drama and humour alive on each page.
The real-life protagonist of the story begins as innocent victim of environment, is then naturally an active product of that environment; but ultimately he survives as a catalyst for change so that others may hopefully evade the Glasgow Curse.
What the book communicates about a life bespoiled by a cold and brutal beginning in Glasgow, and how it needn't be so, could apply to London and many other cities, in the UK and beyond.
My impression is of a book with potential to become a modern true-crime classic.
The Glasgow Curse by William Lobban gives the reader a great insight into a world that few really know and understand, but many love to talk about. If you want to get an experts insight into what the criminal world in Glasgow is like, or if you just want to read a great biography full of twists and revelations, read this.
In conducting research for the many true crime books I have written, I've never encountered a more gripping personal story than this one. William Lobban invites us into an inferno of criminality in Glasgow, Scotland, about which most American readers are innocently unaware. His colorful, intriguing narrative, filled with wonderful Scot tidbits not only confesses his own stunning conduct, but also unveils his extended family's adventures beyond the law. I believe Lobban has succeeded in what his iconic countryman, Robert Burns long ago wished for; "O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us!"
Brook Roger Nov 6, 2013
I find myself reading it with a smile on my face, trying to imagine the good old days in the streets of East Glasgow, folk selling mussels in the lanes, the kids out playing in the streets, and the horse a cart man. Then within a paragraph I am casually reading about a robbery at a Bingo hall with a sawn off shotgun and a meat cleaver.
William finds the humour and joy where it was able to be found and clearly he soaked it up. He describes the emotional connections with the good things going around the estate and the casual way he discusses armed robbery in the same paragraph as a day-trip to Largs in fancy motorcars with his Uncle Billy is exactly how the reader should connect with the author. It makes me truly understand that this is the life he was born into; a life where sawn-offs are as real and as common to William as day trips to Largs… moreover it's as normal to him!
I look very forward to reading more, and truly hope this humorous, yet chilling, book achieves its goal of helping others in Glasgow and beyond avoid the Curse!
Malcolm Archibald Nov 10, 2013
'The Glasgow Curse' opens with the author's tragic birth and childhood, where William Lobban explains, in a no-holds-barred fashion, exactly what boyhood was like in a Glasgow crime family. Anybody expecting to read of the romance of crime will be disappointed: this is stark reality where alcohol and violence control lives and children are confronted by horror on a regular basis. Lobban puts no gloss on Glasgow life; he does not try and hide the brutality of existence where life was ruled by a code of silence and murder was nearly accepted. Interwoven with the uncompromising words is a sense of sadness as the young life of Lobban is viewed by the mature man: there is a sense of paradise lost, a feeling of what could have been as a parent looks back on his own childhood.
'The Glasgow Curse' has the feeling of a book written by a good man who wishes that his life had been something else. It is certainly not a book in which a convicted criminal gloats over his exploits; more a warning to others of what could have been.
Strongly written and powerful, it is a book to make the reader think.