Matt Houlbrook: mobile historian; beard growing, head shaving; occasional cycling.
Night clubs, dancing, champagne and nights in girls’ flats, with days at the races and generally going “on the bust” constituted my life. I lived from day to day taking no heed of the morrow, and if I had been asked at that time what the future held I should merely have replied that life was just the space between each different woman — the days merely entre actes of the nights.
All through my life it has happened that whenever I have tried to “make good” my past has always risen up and hit me in the eye. It is said that the past can be lived down, but the statement is a scandalous fallacy. “As you sow so shall you reap” is a hackneyed but very true saying. I have tried again and again to bury the past, but always the fact that I am Netley Lucas, ex-crook and ex-Borstal boy, has levelled me again to the foot of the ladder, a position which the world believes to be my due. The result has been that as the world refuses to allow me to rise to the eminence of respectability I have been forced to make capital out of my very notoriety — hence the publication of this book.