Margins: A film about skin and punk life in the Italian provinces

I dislike 99% of punk and skinhead movies – even the better ones usually only make me cringe. There are exceptions: I thought the US punks in the very watchable Green Room were authentic (the boneheads perhaps less so) and Russia 88 was both clever and funny. But Romper Stomper? Sid and Nancy? Farming? Give me a break.

For once, though, I didn’t have any objections to the way skins and punks were depicted in Margins (original title: Margini), the new movie by Niccolò Falsetti that’s out in Italian cinemas now and also seems to be doing the rounds at international festivals. Granted, the characters in Margins aren’t representative of skinheads or punks in general – they portray punks and skins in Italy, or more specifically in the provinces, and this they do very convincingly. Having only lived in Italy since 2020, I might miss some nuances, but the characters on screen talked, looked and acted very much like people I’ve encountered in real life in these past two years. Italy has its share of small dead-end towns where nothing ever seems to be happening for the one or two resident skins. But they have a car and a sleeping bag, and you meet them at every single gig within a 200-mile radius. They’re the kids that Margini is about.

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Steve Goodman: an early seventies skinhead in 1988 (video)

The clip below, taken from an 80s student movie, was kindly forwarded to us by the filmmaker himself with the promise that there’s “more to come”. It features an interview with an early 70s skinhead at the first International Ska Festival, which took place at the Brixton Fridge in 1988. The skinhead isn’t wholly unknown: Steve ‘Grogger’ Goodman, editor of the 80s skinzine Chargesheet, author of the subculture novel England Belongs to Me (1994) and writer of the film script Pressure Drop (which is apparently still for sale if you fancy making an OG skinhead movie).

He became a skinhead round about 1972, he says in the interview, which strikes me as an odd year to become a skinhead in London. The accepted narrative, after all, confirmed by countless original skins through the ages, is that the style began shifting towards suedehead by 1970 and then smoothie and bootboy in the following years. By 1972, the original skinhead look would have been seen as hopelessly outmoded by most Greater London kids, who were probably Bowie boys/girls by then.

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Golpe de Gracia: Ustela 12” EP

One thing I don’t like is when the small-scale music industry imitates the big music industry. It’s not the fact that people try to make some money to cover their expenses or pay their bills – that’s ok, we all need to live. The problem starts when everything becomes subordinated to ulterior ends. Oi bands from the continent that should be writing lyrics straight from the heart start to sing in bad English, hoping it will improve their chances of playing the festival circuit. Instead of expressing truthfully how they see the world in which they live, they rehash the most banal cliches they can think of: after all, if you leave it at commonplaces about ‘believing in yourself’ and ‘standing where others fall’ – basically the stuff that Mariah Carey songs are made of, but with gang vocals –, you won’t offend anybody.

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Daily Terror live in 1984 video

Someone posted this video on YouTube a couple of weeks ago, but since I can’t be sure that it will stay there, I added it to our own channel too. This is rough but, from my point of view, incredible footage that I’ve never seen before: Daily Terror live in Bingerbrück near Frankfurt in 1984 – so, about a year after Pedder Teumer’s transformation from punk to skinhead, and a few months before this line-up of the band split. As you can read in our Daily Terror band story, Pedder would go through a period of depression after the breakup, only to re-emerge with a new Daily Terror line-up the following year.

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Buzz Buzz and the Common Oi: Reaction EP

How’s that for a bizarre band name? The nice folks of Maximum Labour Records who sent me this slab of vinyl are certainly Oi historians: they have unearthed and remastered the demo tapes of a band from Brussels that had donned a skinhead image years before it occurred to any other Belgian punk band to do likewise. As early as 1980, Buzz Buzz and the Common Oi were seen on Belgian stages with closely cropped hair and – customary among first-generation Oi bands from the continent – more or less improvised skinhead gear. That’s early if you consider that it took the Germans and the French another year or two to get there – ‘Oi! The Album’ had only just hit the shelves.

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Bovver bags by Deidre from Philadelphia

Since I started writing for Creases Like Knives, I’ve had the chance to get to know some girls from the skin scene that I would have otherwise never had the pleasure of getting to know so well. They are girls I can spend an evening with, maybe go to a gig, meet in the street. But thanks to the blog, I also got to know girls I could never actually meet, because some of them live very far away.

One of them contacted us some time ago. She’s been an avid follower of the blog and wanted to let us know about her creations. And even though I’m not an easy person to please, I’ve fallen in love with them. Needless to say, I’m happy to support a skinhead girl who creates something real…

The creations I’m talking about are Bovver Brand bags, and their creator is Deidre Bovver, Swedish by birth but raised in Philadelphia. In the 90s, she was the singer of the band Bovver 96.

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Livorno Skingirl: an interview with Laura

It’s been a while since my last article for Creases Like Knives. Work and other matters got in the way, but I’m ready to start again, and I’ll do the best I can.

This time we go to Tuscany – Livorno, to be precise, which is located in the western part of the region. A port city overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea, Livorno is famous for its ‘cacciucco’ (fish soup), ‘ponce’ (an alcoholic drink derived from the British punch) and ‘Farinata’ (a cake made with chickpea flour) among other dishes. Livorno is also well-known for the hospitality of its inhabitants: the Livornese are an open-minded, quintessentially seafaring people who’ll welcome anyone (or almost anyone) who happens to stop by, and they know how to make you feel right at home even if you’re hundreds of miles away.

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Letter: A Crombie Can Get You Arrested

A reader’s letter in response to our old article on crombies has just reached us. We’d like to thank Dave from Liverpool for his anecdote:

“Thanks for the fascinating article.

My first crombie was made to measure from Burtons in early 1971. Just turned 15 and paid my Mum back 10 bob a week from my window cleaning round.

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The Germans are coming: an interview with Björn Fischer about Rock-O-Rama

It was 1980 in the centre of Cologne. The sign on the shop spelt ‘Rock-O-Rama: Rock ‘n’ Roll, Rhythm & Blues, Punk’. Inside, small handfuls of teds and punks were swapping suspicious glances while trying to avoid each other – not easy in a room that couldn’t hold more than 10 people. The burly man behind the counter, well into his 30s and sporting a quiff, a tache with friendly mutton chops and white ankle boots, put a record on: the first production of his very own Rock-O-Rama label, Punks Are the Old Farts of Today by Vomit Visions. For once, the bewildered teds and punks were in agreement: this racket was completely unlistenable.

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Good night, white pride: an interview with Jeff Schoep

Jeff Schoep was once described as ‘the most famous nazi in America’. From 1994-2019, he was the director of the National Socialist Movement, which – as names go – was one up from its forerunner organisation, the American Nazi Party (imagine a far-left organisation calling itself the ‘Commie Party of America’…). Schoep was a dedicated white supremacist for twenty-seven years. 

Our writer Gareth Postans first became aware of Jeff in Deeyah Khan’s documentary ‘White Right: Meeting The Enemy‘. He saw a man who didn’t look completely convinced and came across as lost, but intelligent. It was his friendship with Khan that made him question his beliefs. 

Jeff now runs Beyond Barriers, which is a non-profit organisation dedicated to a world devoid of ‘extremism’. Gareth asked him some questions via email, and he kindly replied very promptly. And because I have my issues with the catch-all term ‘extremism’ (which is why I’ve wrapped it in the most disdainful quote marks I could find), I sent him two follow-up questions to boot. Enjoy!

Matt Crombieboy

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