Choking On Pigeon’s Milk

The playwright Joe Orton and his lover and confederate Kenneth Halliwell were fined and jailed for 6 months in May 1962. Their crime? Improving the appearance of books borrowed from local library with a unique approach to collage pioneered by Halliwell. they also removed pages they liked and affixed them to the walls of their psychic sweatloadge at 25 Noel Road, Islington. It was here, 7 years later, when Kenneth would cave Joe’s head in before necking a fistful of Nembutal’s washed down with grapefruit juice. Their story was impressively realised in the film Prick Up Your Ears, and both John Lahr’s biography of Orton and his edited The Orton Diaries remain key documents for understanding the psychic weather of the times in which they lived and died.

A full gallery of the defaced books can be found here.


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