I finally found myself a copy of the Summer 1983 Dirty Realism edition of Granta magazine. The copy I picked up is old and slightly battered but I like it that way. On my search, I also saw that new copies were still available from Granta - which is surprising given that 1983 is thirty plus years ago - but if you're interested in getting yourself one, here they are.
Here's what it looks like:
Here's the back:
What's interesting on this is exactly how 'American' Dirty Realism was perceived to be at the time, but so far as I'm concerned it has also existed over here and always has - it just wasn't called that. Orwell's Down And Out In Paris And London was absolutely of the same spirit (albeit 50 years earlier), and somewhere in the not so distant past (around '58 I think) there also came Alan Sillitoe's novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning which a couple of years later became a film of the same name which is equally as brutal. If you're on the lookout for Real and Dirty with capital letters that mean something, they don't come much closer to the bone than that.
There's a lot of people out there who don't like this style of work. Maybe it's the kind of mirror nobody wants to hold up to their face because what's really happening is not what you want to hear - which is fine.
We all have different ways to get ourselves through the night.