Glam Shebangsters – True Romance?


I submitted this piece around five years ago to a local reading group who at the time were discussing the topics of rising crime and gangsters ‘then and now’, and why some gangs are legendary. What and who makes that possible?

My choice was Bonnie and Clyde from the infamous Barrow Gang.


Glam Shebangsters – True Romance

What is it that captures the mind and hearts,
Of the adoring yet misinformed common people,
That gangsters, mobsters and other vicious upstarts,
Can conjure up to make their activities less bestial?
So often, so many are made into legends,
Turned so by the admiring and naïve folk,
Swept up into the tragically romantic end,
Yet ignorant to the death and gun smoke,

Often heard are the cries ‘They died believing’,
‘In what they were doing was right!’
Yet do they give thought to the grieving,
Of those left alone due to a murdering gun fight?
And would they feel so very much in awe,
If they too were caught up in a hail of death,
Riddled bloody by the machine gun of an outlaw,
And lay gasping and gurgling for their last breath?

Would they then as they lay dying and slain,
Think, yes l died for the cause of true romance,
Or perhaps would it strike them, they die in vain,
And had been slaughtered by ruthless hands?
The most famous couple to be glamorized,
And turned into heroes by a romantically fuelled public,
Was none other than Barrow and Parker stylized,
Into something akin to a modern day cult topic,

Public enemy’s number one were the Barrow gang,
Criminals that murdered their way through central USA,
During the early nineteen thirties Great Depression,
But captured the attention of the readership of the day,
The press having never changed from their day of creation,
And always sporting for a melodramatic story or two,
Were quick to display the news to the countries’ population,
By doing so, and with artistic license admiration grew,

For this gang of petty outlaws, robbers and criminals,
And let us not forget murderers to boot,
Gunning down needlessly twelve innocents in total,
Shooting their way out with groceries and loot,
Whilst mostly known today for bank theft and robbery
Their short-lived careers centred mostly upon small time,
Stores and gas stations of rural backwater country,
Cleverly spotted by Barrow as being the easier crime,

Yet glamour shebangsters they did become,
And all because of the snap shots taken in fun,
Of Bonnie Parker a sexually attractive bomb,
Pictured as a cigar smoking moll with a gun!
Had it not been for her apparent sex appeal,
And her love for the gun loving thug known as Clyde,
Would this couple been worthy of constant newsreels,
Back in the thirties of Americas’ depressing time?

Fact is, the snap shots taken and released,
To the gory seeking press of the day,
Made this couple as a legend exist,
In the minds of the readers then anyway,
For the press made them into the heroes they should never have been,
Highlighting their felonies like they were gallant Robin Hoods,
Turning them into celebrity stars of the silver screen,
And making everything they did look good,

So that it was not long before this pair of murderous misfits,
And their gang of deranged criminal minds,
Captured the imaginations of the readership,
During the Great Depression of the time,
Adventure, bravado and daring exploits,
Were soon to be the readerships craving for release,
From the economic decline due to political maladroit,
And so were born criminals that became the nations’ mouthpiece,

However, this does not make a hero or even a legend in my eyes,
It’s fine if you want to beat the administrative system,
But to do so and achieve it at someone’s’ demise,
Is far from awe striking, but just leaves me numb,
What is it, or what was it that caught the nation,
That time way back in the thirties,
When a band of ruthless miscreants,
Pleased so many, when they appeared in the weeklies?

And caught their attention oh so finely,
To worship and idolize such brutal enemies,
Who by their very presence alone broke so many moral boundaries,
And alluded the capture by the various posses,
What makes a legend is more the question,
That should be asked of those who deem the heroes,
Powerful entities to be reckoned with and spoken,
Of in future generations with so much in the way of kudos,

I was under the standing that it was about, what one,
Did in life, and how it was interpreted,
And whether it contained value as to what was done,
By others who deemed it ‘splendid’
So with that philosophical addition of measurement,
How could Bonnie and Clyde,
And indeed the antics of the Barrow gangs’ foulest intent
Give birth to such a legend worldwide?

In many ways l suppose it truly matters not now,
For despite such a short spanned career in crime,
These two hardened criminals were on show,
Daily by the eager to please press at the time,
Anything to competitively compete with the next quarter,
Was worth it in the long run,
Even if that involved glorifying the grisly darker,
Stories from the Americas’ greatest Depression,

Thankfully this gruesome duo and most of their gang,
Were soon stopped short of being around for way too long anyway,
For many died under the hail of death that sprang,
Forth from the federal guns of those days,
Ending the public enemy era for sure,
But sadly creating a heroic legend,
That lives on and on under the term of Glamour,
Shebangsters, that despite being dead never ever ends.

The Legend lives on …………

© Rory Matier 2013


6 thoughts on “Glam Shebangsters – True Romance?

  1. A great write up and poem. Making heroes out of villains is something done to make money by movies and tabloids. But in truth they were just nasty!

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