For £7 I’d expect to find out who the bastard was, frankly. I am no wiser to the existence of ‘Saucy Jack’ today than I was yesterday, which leaves me disappointed. So disappointed I want to go and eviscerate a whore. I’d best not be disturbed though, cos if I am I’ll only have to go and find another one to vent my spleen on, like Jack did to them two tarts in one night. You know - the one who just got cut a bit and then the one who ended up all over the shop. Anyway, I digress.
Did I mention it was seven quid by the way? Seven quid. Think on that as you read this. I took my girlfriend with me so that was a total of fourteen pounds.
In the 1880s fourteen quid would have got you a slap up meal at Simpsons, a carriage to your club, some fine cigars, more port and brandy than you could possibly drink in one evening, a carriage home to whichever leafy square you lived in and enough left over to do it all again the next day. Or, if you preferred Whitechapel to the West End fourteen pounds would have kept you in the cheapest, rottenest old whores just itching to have their internals worn as Easter Bonnets for years. I know which option I’d go for, eh readers!?
The exhibition is in The Museum at Docklands in the docklands, in The London. I paid my fourteen fucking pounds and entered the exhibition, already sweating in anticipation.
I’ll be honest, some bits were quite good, but I’ll sum them up at the end. The exhibition has a lot of audio going on. And since it’s not divided up into small rooms very well it can get a bit blurred and noisy if you’re growing into an old codger like me whose hearing ain’t what it used to be what with all syphilitic beldams screaming their last cockney death rattles in my fucking ear at point blank. They all sound like Babs Windsor when you cut them, y’know.
Most of the audio comes from screens in the walls with various experts on things telling you shit. One is a young lady who works with prozzies and she guffs on about how awful it is to be on the game. Like we don’t know already. Apparently, ninetysomething percent of street walkers are just mad for the heroin or crack. Yes love, I know. What this has to do with a debonair murderer in a top hat and opera cape I don’t know. Also, apparently most prostitutes today are in constant danger of being bashed up, raped or murdered. Yes, I fucking know. Saying “and it would have been the same in Victorian Whitechapel” does not a mind-bending link make.
Another expert was a copper. He was talking about modern murderers of the serial killery type. Didn’t spend time on him. It didn’t look like he was about to put the finger on who The Ripper was so fuck him.
The last one was fucking great. Some middle aged harridan with a short haircut (know what I mean, boys?) banging on and on about how she hates all the interest in Jack the Ripper as no-one cares about the victims, it treats whores like non-people…etc etc. You get her drift. She’s a lesbian. She then whines on about how the East End should be remembered and celebrated for all sorts of other things other than suave top-hatted gentlemen who like to indulge in genital mutilation of an evening. She says that the East End is good because it is multi-racial. Whoop-de-fucking-do. Right, so I can go down Brick Lane and eat a damn good curry, or stop off at a Kebab House, or buy illegal bush-meat from a rotting suitcase full of dead monkeys…but can I stumble out of a hellish gin-house and trip headlong over the spread-eagled corpse of a mangled ‘unfortunate’ with a gaping hole where her fanny once was? No I fucking can’t. So stuff your multi-racial East End ‘full of artists’…like that’s a good thing…up your PC fanny. Anyway, she wasn’t paying attention in class because the East End was very multi-racial back then as well. At that particular time it was full to bursting with Russian Jews who were fleeing terrible persecution and that. So she’s talking out of her arse. Jack would’ve know what to do with her, oh yes.
The exhibits are a bit of a let down too. There’s a stuffed bloodhound which is the cutest dead thing I’ve seen ever. Well, cutest after that ten quid trick I left splattered all up the wall with her liver between her legs. You then read about this dog to discover than the reason it’s on display is because bloodhounds were not used in the case. Well that’s fucking useful then.
Then there’s the letters. These are potentially quite interesting. These are the ones that were sent to the pigs and some of them were signed ‘Jack the Ripper’, which is how he got his name. Some of them don’t have the same hand writing though, so as usual the fucking maniacs and copy-cats were all over the case like an unhelpful rash. Shades of ‘Tyneside Jack’ methinks. Anyway, you can’t read most of the letters due to the (admittedly beautiful) handwriting that was common at the time. Fucking hard to read if you’re used to type and bubble writing. There’s a few artefacts from life in the poorest parts of London of the time…matchboxes, stuff, things and that. There’s also pictures of the poor up on the walls, who look, to be honest, as if they fucking stink. I don’t want to sound insensitive but I know them prostitutes were cheap as chips and a bargain’s a bargain but who in their right mind would stick his cock up one of them? The smell must have been appalling. Much better to pay your money, cut them up and then get your money back if you ask me. Jack knew.
The exhibition doesn’t focus on the five women that we tend to think of today as Jack’s victims, but all eleven or so who were in the included in the case by the police at the time. It’s not hard to see why most were then dropped as supposed victims of the one killer though. Some were just stabbed and one got strangled although this might have been an accident while she was all pissed.
The biggest disappointment were the photos. Now, I know those fucking whores were innocent human victims of a terrible man, and I know we shouldn’t take voyeuristic pleasure in the sight of their mangled remains…but come on! For seven quid apiece I’d expect to see a bit more hot fucked-up Jezebel action. The girlfriend and I were steeling ourselves as we approached the walled off photo area (covered in warnings) only to find some crap that wouldn’t even give Peter Sutcliffe a heavy dick. There was each beldam lying in a coffin with not a wound on show. Well, there was that classic pic of Mary Jane Kelly on…and around…her bed. And another one’s face looking a bit out of sorts, but nothing you’ve not seen before. I know there’s other pics (and trust me, they’re red hot) but they’re not on show. What a let down. Like the whole exhibition actually.
There were some ‘quite good bits’. Here they are:
A lower jawbone with a nasty case of Phossy Jaw. Horrible gangrene of the jaw what match makers got. Christ that must’ve hurt.
A skull with all the signs of tertiary syphilis. Fuck me, look at the corrosion on that skull, she must’ve gone fucking mental by the end.
A recording of some old codgers taken in the very early 70s. They were all poor Eastenders and some old granddad remembers the murders very well. The way he talks about one of the women sounds like he knew her very well. Bet it was him the old fuck.
The postcards at the end for visitors who have been ‘touched’ to write thoughtful things on. I fucking love the British public. Some twats had written how awful life must have been for wanton fucking whores who were just asking for it back then. But I think it was foreigners who wrote them. I had a quick look and these were some of the ones I liked and can remember:
- I am a dinosaur!
- I’m glad he’s dead!
- I’m glad he’s probably dead because I’m a prostitute and can now go out on the game and get pissed on cheap gin in peace.
- I’m glad you pointed out that Jack the Ripper was so named because he was a murderer. Until now I had thought it was because he had terrible flatulence.
That’s it really, that’s the only really good bits. And you’ll notice they’re not that good. Still, it put me in the mood for a drink and light repast and I steered my good lady out of the museum to go and look for a bawdy gin-house and pie shop. There were too many people around though so I’m looking forward to seeing her later so I can get sexy with the kitchen knives and wear her tits as earrings.