The Love Songs of Jack The Ripper. Bruce Robinson’s Epic Quest.

Could a popular composer and singer have been Jack The Ripper?

I’m a Robinsonologist rather than a Ripperologist but who can resist a thousand pages of closely researched non fiction by the creator of Withnail and I? The book, due in September, will detail his epic quest, started some time in the last millennium, an obsession perhaps deepened by his own Ripper film being scuppered by Johnny Depp’s From Hell.

It may solve one of history’s greatest mysteries. Whatever facts he has unearthed the prose will be more poetic than True Crime books generally are – just as his film scripts are more pleasurable to read than most, in addition to the great dialogue, the characters and the story.

They All Love Jack – Busting the Ripper Bruce Robinson b/w photos.

Michael Maybrick, brother of previous suspect James Maybrick, wrote light music, in collaboration with various lyricists, which is still performed today. The Holy City, one of many popular songs written as Stephen Adams, appears in a 1936 MGM movie, and is mentioned in James Joyce’s Ulysses.

This song is about Jerusalem but also references Freemasonry and the wisdom of Solomon, and Jesus as a descendant of Solomon and David. As a high ranking Freemason Michael Maybrick played the organ in a lodge, and was presumably able to derail an investigation into whatever nefarious deeds he may have committed – just as Jimmy Savile was protected, witness the strong Freemason turnout at his funeral.

Charlotte Church’s The Holy City was easier on my ear than the many stentorian male versions, which soon had my dear wife begging for mercy.

Michael Maybrick, singing without a microphone, would have had a powerful voice, a mix of bel canto and can belto.

The Three Tenors, with Church and holy places photos and info.

Biographical information is otherwise sparse: he may have been bisexual, the Maybricks were ‘cold and formal’. How would his brother’s poisoning and a notorious trial have affected him?
Most importantly, why would he stop killing? Serial killers generally don’t. Addictions get worse, tolerance requires stronger, more frequent doses. How could such a killer retire to become the Mayor of Ryde on the Isle of Wight?

Perhaps Bruce Robinson will address why there were no further Ripper murders or find further crimes that fit his modus operandi.

In the light of any new information, and the tendency for just about anything to become a musical (American Psycho?!) will we see a serious version of Spinal Tap’s Saucy Jack? (Which needn’t necessarily be ridiculous, see Sondheim and Tim Burton’s excellent Sweeney Todd).
Musicals aside, any Michael Maybrick film bio would feature They All Love Jack, a Stephen Adams song with lyrics about girls loving sailors – Jack Tars.

Can’t wait for September. If only to see Jonathan Woss interviewing Bwuce Wobinson about the Wipper.
Excellent summary of Bruce Robinson’s quest so far at
Informative Michael Maybrick/Stephen Adams piece by composer Derek Strahan
sheet music for They All Love Jack at

Though he doesn’t rate himself as a thespian, his perception perhaps skewed by harsh criticism at drama school and a sexual assault by Franco Zefferilli – Bruce Robinson’s skill with accents make him a great raconteur, although the stories are entertaining enough in print, see Smoking in Bed, conversations about screen trade misadventures, with Alistair Owen, a skilful interviewer.

Great screenwriting discussion here

2 thoughts on “The Love Songs of Jack The Ripper. Bruce Robinson’s Epic Quest.

  1. Footnote: I studied jazz and ‘light music’, although not as hard as I was researching squalour, hash, LSD and alcoholism. Which at least served me well when Bruce Robinson’s Withnail and I arrived. It’s supposedly as heinous as the Ripper murders mentioning your own work, but the Trappist monk approach is rarely successful in show business so: the least worst thing I ever did was Above The Clouds, now owned lock, stock, saxophone, pipe organ and lovely church echo by Naxos CDs, who got it out there for a fiver.
    It briefly nestled next to Mozart on daytime Radio 3, thanks to a John L Walters compilation, and then went the way of most music.
    Rough Guide to Jazz entry on Above the Clouds
    ‘This haunting duo album was recorded live and unedited in St Thomas’s Church, Clapton Common, London with Lodder playing the Church organ and Ramsden producing ravishing sonorities on the soprano saxophone.
    The lyrical brooding timeless atmosphere is sustained throughout.’
    You can hear 25 per cent samples of the whole thing here,
    thirty second registration
    Jazz UK on Above the Clouds
    A truly beautiful and original collection of Ramsden compositions, baroque and thirteenth century dance it won praises from The Wire to BBC music magazine with a heartfelt ‘amazing’ from Nigel Kennedy along the way.
    Brian Blain 2nd track

  2. Nail on head (and “hammered home”) . .
    Mayor of Ryde ? !
    Bruce ‘shit-pants’ (see his Thomas Penman book, which led to him discovering his ‘real name’:) Casriel doesn’t even mention it (or know about it?) . . .
    I’d like to (or at least part of me would) ‘believe’ the whole ‘conspiracy’ “shtick” ‘peddled’ by Mrs Robinson’s son, but ‘cock up’ keeps ‘rearing its ugly head’ (in my mind at least) . .
    I haven’t even got half way through the ‘narrative’ though . .
    Have you come across Felicity (Jane) Lowde’s blog on the subject?
    Some interesting ideas there (plus not a few spelling etc mistakes and general controversies) . .
    At the mo(‘meant’) I’m about 60/40 about those two . .
    One of them Has to be ‘wrong’ (or can they both be ‘a bit right’? Probs “non”) . .
    May ‘report back’ “anon” . .

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