Today marks 20 years since the death of Reggie Kray. Instead of trying to grab your attention with some tawdry, salacious gossip, I wanted to talk about my grandfather's relationship from a different perspective: mine.
I can't quite imagine my grandfather in the company of two of the most notorious criminals of recent history, and I often wonder if he was frightened. As quite a private man, he hardly ever discusses his work with me, despite years of asking for details over the dinner table. One thing I know for sure is how fascinated he was by these two men desiring fame (rather than privacy like most criminals) and I was horrified to learn just how many he had met and spent time with. In a strange way, this fascination makes me feel very close to John, as I too share a fascination in the psychology of crime.
I had just turned ten when Reggie Kray died. I don't think I ever really understood who the twins were until my mid-teens, up until that point I only knew my grandpa made a living as a writer and had been very successful. Now, as an adult, I recognise John's work with the twins required a huge amount of bravery. I will never forget a time at university when I was tracked down by some criminology students who all told me about their love for my grandfather and his work on the twins - what a surreal experience in a student union bar on a karaoke night. A few years later I felt this immense pride again when I saw John's name attached to posters for Legend and during the final credits and many happy tears were shed.
As John approaches his 90th birthday, it is made plain to me that I certainly don't have a regular grandfather but I certainly have one who I feel immensely proud of.