Peaky Blinders

Blog Post

Annabelle Wallis

The Peaky Blinders were a gang based in Birmingham, England during the late 19th century and, to a lesser extent, in the early 20th. They were one of many urban youth gangs in the era. It’s now an original Netflix series in its third season. I recommend it highly for both the story and for the quality of the acting. Cillian Murphy (Thomas Shelby) delivers a masterful performance as the young leader of the gang, whose path toward violence was formed at the Battle of the Somme during the First World War.

The great actor Sam Neill (Inspector Chester Campbell) can always expected to deliver a stunning character and The Peaky Blinders is no exception. Annabelle Wallis  (Grace Burgess) stole the screen with her beauty and charisma.

The name Peaky Blinders is popularly said to be derived from the practice of stitching razor blades into the peak of their flat caps, which could then be used as weapons.

Sam Neill
As told in the film, Tomas Shelby, returned from World War One where he served as a ‘tunneler’, a particularly horrible job with a short life expectancy. His father (Tommy Flanagan) is a con-man and his mother was a gypsey. He now leads his family, which is turning from a street gang into organized crime under Tommy’s ruthless leadership. He is opposed by the gypsies (boat men) but makes a blood alliance, and then all he has to deal with is the Jewish mafia and the Italian mafia — and the British Government, which is the largest cartel of all. In the context of this story it is His Majesty’s Government that is the Red Right Hand.
I recommend the series. The third season begins May 31, on Netflix.

The Red Right Hand (song below) refers to the Protestant Orange Men who opposed the Catholic Irish Republican Army.  I lived that experience and insurrection as a young man,  living in Belfast…long before the film and long after the period covered by Peaky Blinders. That said, the vibe remained from long before in Northern Ireland – into the 1970’s.

The lyrics have a familiar cast to them for any of you who may have been part of the craft. I find them haunting, the damaged agents and the dead ones. Still it is and still the game remains whether or not I play a part.

“Red Right Hand”

Take a little walk to the edge of town
and go across the tracks
Where the viaduct looms,
like a bird of doom
As it shifts and cracks
Where secrets lie in the border fires,
in the humming wires
Hey man, you know
you’re never coming back
Past the square, past the bridge,
past the mills, past the stacks
On a gathering storm comes
a tall handsome man
in a dusty black coat with
a red right hand

He’ll wrap you in his arms,
tell you that you’ve been a good boy
He’ll rekindle all the dreams
it took you a lifetime to destroy
He’ll reach deep into the hole,
heal your shrinking soul,
but there won’t be a single thing
that you can do
He’s a god, he’s a man,
he’s a ghost, he’s a guru
They’re whispering his name
through this disappearing land
But hidden in his coat
is a red right hand

You don’t have no money?
He’ll get you some
You don’t have no car?
He’ll get you one
You don’t have no self-respect,
you feel like an insect
Well don’t you worry buddy,
’cause here he comes
Through the ghettos and the barrio
and the bowery and the slum
A shadow is cast wherever he stands
Stacks of green paper in his
red right hand

You’ll see him in your nightmares,
you’ll see him in your dreams
He’ll appear out of nowhere but
he ain’t what he seems
You’ll see him in your head,
on the TV screen
And hey buddy, I’m warning
you to turn it off
He’s a ghost, he’s a god,
he’s a man, he’s a guru
You’re one microscopic cog
in his catastrophic plan
Designed and directed by
his red right hand

This is continued – in a rather oblique way, on May 23 with a blog post, titled, “Interlude”.

13 thoughts on “Peaky Blinders

  1. I think that you'd enjoy it — the Italian mafia plays a bigger role in Season Two than they do in Season One…

  2. Smaller than George (The Dwarf) Stephanopoulos, Clinton employee and "objective" newsman?

  3. Excellent intro, LL. Thanks! This is grim history that we in the Anglo world rarely get exposed to, especially young Americans, but it's essential to understanding the genesis of our own nation, and even some of its current problems, I think.

  4. Blah, Blah, Blah, – fingers in ears – not listening. No spoilers. Ready to watch this on my Netflix.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to top