‘The Joys Of Work’ – Excerpts of the book by Jake Heretic

Author’s history:

Baron Von Zubb A.K.A Rich Kid A.K.A Jake Heretic’s parents hailed from Stepney but by the time he was born they’d left that all behind and joined the ranks of northwest London’s middle classes. Nice, this rather bored our Baron so after being expelled from school, squatting, punk rock anarchism, heroin and general delinquency as chronicled in the book, Baron went to Asia for several years. There he worked as a small time smuggler, a tailors tout, a film extra and drug dealer.

He has traveled overland to Asia 3 times, smoking opium and drinking alcohol in the Ayatollahs Iran, visited the closed area in Pakistan that is now home to enemy number one Mr. Bin Laden and spent 3 months at The King of Thailand’s pleasure in Klong Prem jail.

He’s lived for months under trees on beaches and swam in the planets cleanest jungle streams in India and Malaysia

His long suffering partner Kay and him organized and actualized a small relief project in the immediate aftermath of Sri Lankas tsunami.

They now live in Brighton, have two nieces and a nephew to keep them sane, are trying to be middle aged and eat masalla dosa weekly.

They visit Asia every winter.


Here’s some extracts from the unpublished novel ‘The Joys of Work’, by Baron Von Zubb; the story of one kids journey from a nullifying suburban background to the revolutionary barricades of post Thatcherite Britain.

Via getting expelled from school, punk rock, squatting drugs, crime, autonomist politics, and the 1981 summer uprisings in Britain’s inner cities, the book chronicles an alternate history of the times.

Written as I travelled in Asia in the mid 1980’s, it was intended to be the first in a trilogy of books, the following two postulating alternate futures, ironically thanks to global warming, based on environmental and societal collapse.

My nomadic lifestyle meant that too many copies just got lost on the way so along with the rejections of ‘The Joys of Work’.

I called it a day.

Thanks to Mickey Penguin and all The K.Y.P.P. crew for putting this up.

Selected excerpts from the unpublished book:

pages 57 – 73 start here This link will drop you on page 57, just use the ‘next’ function to ‘turn’ the pages.

pages 157  – 172 start here This link will drop you on page 157, just use the ‘next’ function to ‘turn’ the pages.

pages 208 – 216 start here etc etc etc.

Please leave comments if you enjoy the excerpts> If you know of any publishers that may be interested in this kind of material, please get in touch

The following books are published, recommended and available:

A.K.A. Martin Wright: Anti Fascist Action street fights in London and elsewhere during the 1970’s > ISBN 094898435X

A.K.A Daniel Wright: Thieving, drug taking, homelessness in London, true account of Martin Wrights (above) deceased brother > ISBN 1871593212

A.K.A. Bob Blood And Roses: Early punk days in Australia, thieving, drug taking, homelessness in London, true account by Bob Short (not deceased, surprising if you read it!) > ISBN 9780975825846

A.K.A. Nick from Rudimentary Peni: Semi autobiography, shyness and fragile ego, punk, depression > ISBN 0952574403

A.K.A. Sian from The Lost Cherries / Blyth Power: Squatting in Brixton, gigs, crusties, lost loves, Tinsel and even Mickey Penguin is mentioned in this book > ISBN 1412026814

A genuine KYPP success story. Exactly six months after uploading excerpts of this manuscript for you to read and comment on (above) Jake finally gets these writings into print form. Go get it from lulu.com or alternative bookshops > ISBN 9781409245964

Published by


1985 – 1988 All The Madmen Records and Distribution
1988 – 1991 King Penguin Distribution
1989 – 2018 Southern Studios / Southern Record Distribution

164 thoughts on “‘The Joys Of Work’ – Excerpts of the book by Jake Heretic”

  1. It’s important to remember that the period we’re talking about was 8 or 9 years before the collapse of the Soviet Union. Despite us being opposed to its totalitarianism, it was still a left wing social experiment that had perservered for 60 years. I think much left wing utopianism evaporated with its collapse. And it is interesting to note how people growing up in such a regime still aspire toward personal and financial competition. It was common to speak with people who believed everything we were told regarding life in the eastern block was a conspiracy.

  2. If everyone was being so dishonest and inauthentic in those days then it was all a waste of time. Where was the fun in that?
    But as for London. The trying too hard bit is so true.
    Little people with big egos trying to be noticed.
    But the other side of it is, that because of it, big cities produce ideas, particularly cultural ideas.

  3. Jake: none of it was a “waste of time”, no, no, no. I really think there is something important and valuable in our stories. But to get to what is valuable, we must strip away the bullshit to arrive at what’s real. We find a similar idea in most mystical systems.

    The bullshit is in onion-like layers. My last comment about “dishonesty” really concerned taste in music and bands. Most, if not all of us had real tastes that had become hidden beneath layers of ideological correctness and crap. But this is the least important aspect of “dishonesty” and “inauthenticity”.

    Some of the politics was probably affected and therefore dishonest and inauthentic, but by no means all. Often, denial and self-delusion were there (which is psychologically, historically and culturally more interesting), along with inexperience and naievity (which are not). This is all to do with who we were or thought we were at a particular time and place.

    But beneath all that, the gold amid the base-metal, is a real moral outrage at the fucked-upness of the world, that we expressed, fervently, honestly, in the best way we knew how. For all its limitations, this, and our reaction to our inevitable disappointments through recourse to ideology, drugs, &ct, is a story well worth telling. The journey through life, the quest for knowledge of self and others, the most human and most real of all stories.

    Nic: I believe there is a “truth”, beyond time, beyond space, but it is ineffable and incapable of unambiguous expression in language, though knowable in other ways.

    What to do with academics? Well, Pol Pot and others would have had them shot. My more modest proposal is that they (we?) wean themselves from the cult of abstraction (I’m hardly innocent in this regard), and focus instead on what actual people did and said at particular times an places (“historical junctures”, as the lefty historians would have it). Hence my concern that our experiences, and our reflection thereon, don’t go by the wayside. Hence my interest in Jake’s book.

    Graham: I think not!

    Sam: absolutely, I remember part of my garb circa 66a being an authentic red ‘n’ black “Moscow Olympics 1980” t-shirt; okay, I’d splattered it with paint and penned obscenities over it, but the nostalgia for what might have been was still there, and what was Kronstadt but an argument (with bullets) about how best to procede. Hence my “oh really?” response to Fukayama’s silly ideological “End of History” abstraction in the early 1990s. Hence even now a muted enthusiasm for “the Idea that is Russia”.

    Still, “conspiracy” notwithstanding, this “left wing social experiment” left the world knee-deep in corpses, did it not? Those of us who are ex- (ultra-) lefties like to think we’re excused from the worst of history by the recourse to economic, sociological and psychological abstractions around the “perfectibility of man”, but not so.

    The Nazi-Fascist right also believed in the same, except that their terms of reference were different: eugenics, the Master Race, Strength though Joy, the Triumph of the Will. The pile of corpses still stinks the same. Before I’m accused of sounding anarcho-, I’d better add that the anarcho- pile of corpses is smaller only because they were less successful in their vision of “perfectibility”.

  4. I agree with you Mike that extremes of left and right tend to look the same. Through teaching art history for 10 years to kids who often couldn’t care less, it’s a fact that most utopianist modernism is still lost on a majority of the population over a hundred years after the fact. Abstract Expressionism for example, has failed to trickle down to the ‘average’ person. When I went to art school there were still very sharp divisions between ‘high’ and ‘low’ art. We were supposed to be blissfully unnaffected by the consumerist world we’d all grown up within. It’s a tough one though. If you accept human nature for what it is do you just cater for that and lose any bold failures that may be thrown up by extremist philosophies? We all (I imagine) went to comprehensive schools. How was the experience? Crap? Nice idea but the reality was that everyone recieved a mediocre education. My younger brother went to grammar school and recieved a pretty good one.

  5. “I agree with you Mike that extremes of left and right tend to look the same.”

    Omelettes and eggs. . . .

    “If you accept human nature for what it is do you just cater for that and lose any bold failures that may be thrown up by extremist philosophies?”

    Certainly not, Sam. The experiment, and the self-discovery it entails, is everything. Just so long as the experiment doesn’t involve clambering over piles of corpses, which in Art it generally does not.

    “Abstract Expressionism for example, has failed to trickle down to the ‘average’ person.”

    Ditto Eliotic Modernism in Literature. The po-mo cliche is thrown about by all and sundry who don’t even know what “mo” is/was, who understand nothing about the Modernists’ necessary revolt against Romanticism, and who have zero “historical sense”.

    Today as I was driving I was listening to “Europe Today” on the BBC World Service. The presenter, Audrey Carvell, was doing a feature on a recent petition by Turkish academics to get the Turkish to ‘fess up to the Armenian genocide. “But” she asked a political scientist signatory “it all happened more then ninety years ago, what’s the point in digging up the past?”

    I nearly hit the radio: the Nazi Holocaust happened sixty-odd years ago, so in less than thirty years it’ll be okay to forget it, right?

    “We all (I imagine) went to comprehensive schools. How was the experience?”

    Mine was utter shite. Back in my radical days I remember fuming at a quote from Enoch Powell along the lines of “whoso hasn’t studied Greek and Latin has any right to consider himself educated”; I saw it as the ultimate elitist slur on the great unwashed who’d struggled up into literacy over the past few generations.

    I still see it as an extreme statement, but now understand a kind of truth in it, a truth linked to “historical sense.” I’m too busy these days to bother with Greek, but in my 40s I had a fair old crack at learning Latin, just so Enoch can put it in his pipe and smoke it. Perhaps now a purgatorial Powell might consider Dr. Diboll at least half educated?

    My point is that ignorance is not bliss, and if we don’t strive to try to know, we’re lost. It doesn’t have to be Art, or Literature, or Languages, the University of Life might do, and ultimately the strive to know is perhaps futile, but it’s in the striving that we become.

    Consumerism has all but destroyed this in the West, in some ways it’s more rewarding teaching out here in the Middle East.

    Again here in willful ignorance is an area in which we were a “vanguard”: 1970s state schooling may have been crap, but an otherwise excellent higher education was freely (literally freely) available to us at that time. We chose to reject it out of arrogance, or ideological “purity”, or because we thought that revolution or nuclear obliteration was just around the corner, or because we were simply too wasted. Where we led in willful ignorance the next generation followed without even a will. I generalize of course. . . .

    2 a.m. local time, must abed (somethings never change)!

  6. For what it is worth, I have just read “The enemy of nature -the end of capitalism or the end of the world?” by Joel Kovel (second edition,2007) which I found inspiring and an antidote to depression. I will write a review and post here…meanwhile here is link to google books samples of text.
    AL Puppy


  7. The edited version of JOW is a little lighter: that’s to say we’ve made it a little less like a Shakespearean comedy.

    By putting some jokes in.

  8. Available .
    Send me your address and i’ll mail you one in the new year.
    Jah Pork has turned it into a proper read.
    AND its on myspace now too kids.
    Might even creep its way into all this sites contribiuters ‘freinds’ list…

  9. Yeah mate! I knew you already had a couple. Thats why I was goinna sort you out someink.
    I havent got a copy yet so wanted to check it first.
    You do have faith sir..

  10. seems like this one is as relevent today as the country riots, as it was in ’81….
    cheers j

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