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Among the Thugs by Alex Butler


Football match on Shrove Tuesday 1846 in Kingston on Thames | Public Domain

When news of the Astroworld disaster came, I had just finished Bill Buford's "Among the Thugs", an enthralling book detailing the mobs of British football fans. Although set in the 90s, the book's timelessness is evident throughout.


The selected passage depicts Buford's description of a mob mentality, the push and pull of a pulsing crowd. Brilliantly written, I knew I wanted to work with this passage in some way.


In my sonnet, I tried to convey a nightmarish sense of claustrophobia... A man slowly coming to grips with the massive, panicking crowd. As I wrote, I kept finding similarities with what I was hearing from the news... The tragedies of the Astroworld concert in Houston were too powerful to ignore...





Among the Thugs poem1
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Alex Butler is a nurse in the operating rooms at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, specializing in the trauma and oncology unit. He is an avid reader and writer, living in Somerville, where he enjoys cooking with his wife, Allison.