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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“A constructive rebellion”: A Wroclaw skinhead’s journey from brown to red


Investigating the history of Poland’s skinhead scene, you’re bound to get your hands dirty. That is to say, although the mid-80s beginnings were relatively apolitical (see our article on Kortatu’s visit to Warsaw in 1987), no neat separation between ‘boneheads’ and others is possible until at least 1992-93. Although the information flow from Western Europe to the Polish People’s Republic was somewhat hampered in the 80s, whatever made it through the Iron Curtain in the form of zines and tapes was happily absorbed. This included the likes of Blitz, Kortatu, Symarip and Angelic Upstarts – all of which received mention in the pioneering Polish skinzine Fajna Gazeta – but also Skrewdriver, provocative nazi posturing and ultra-violence against enemy tribes. All of these influences added up to a subculture made up of hooligan ex-punks, determined to make a name for themselves as the most fearsome youth cult of all.

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‘Scorcha! Skins, Suedes and Style From The Streets 1967-1973’ reviewed by Stewart Home

Scorcha! Skins, Suedes and Style From The Streets 1967-1973 by Paul ‘Smiler’ Anderson and Mark Baxter (Omnibus Press, 2021)

With words and images, Scorcha! sets out to document one strand of UK working class youth culture in the pre-punk era. The pictures provide a far more accurate depiction of late-sixties and early-seventies street style than slick fashion photos using models, stylists, make-up artists and professional photographers ever could. There are a slew of previously unpublished photos of ordinary kids all pilled up and with only a handful of places to go. Some of those in the pictures have also been interviewed – alongside a few pop personalities ranging from former BBC Radio One DJ Emperor Rosko to mod revivalist Paul Weller. Alongside this, there is record art and other promotional schlock I’ve seen before, but it provides needed context.

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The Power of Hawkins Astronauts

The lad who runs the Head’s Threads & Heavy Treads FB page – which I recommend – recently mentioned that someone was planning to compile a kind of database of all the different classic boot styles, brands and interactions. This, he says, would hopefully make it easier to trace back different boot models to the time periods when they were made.

I think that’s an excellent idea. To make a start, I thought I’d post some pics of various Hawkins Astronauts boots and shoes I’ve saved over the years. Most of them were listed on eBay or similar sites. You see, I have a bit of an obsession with Astronaut boots – I really appreciate their awkward, ugly beauty. But I find it impossible to establish what time period any particular pair dates back to, because there’s almost no info on Hawkins boots on the web. I can only vaguely guess the decade. Virtually the only thing I’ve ever seen written on Astros was an article on the old Skinhead Heaven website, which only mentioned in passing that Astronauts were considered the ‘skinhead apex’ back in 1969–70.

Hodges wearing Astronaut boots, 1980

Another big question is: who were Hawkins Astronaut 11-eye boots marketed at, apart from skinheads? They have a very distinct look that is definitely not ‘for everyone’ in the same way as the more universal Air Wair DMs are.

Whoever is planning to compile that database, feel free to use anything you see here, add it to your document, and build on the sparse information I’ve got. Good luck with your project!

If anyone knows more about the history of Hawkins Astronaut boots, can identify a style, or knows what year a pair might date back to, do tell us in the comments section.

Oh, one last thing: Astronauts were manufactured by G.T. Hawkins in Northampton (where Air Wair once was and Solovair is today), but came with a Dr Marten’s sole. There are more intricacies to the whole business structure, but I’d need a diagram to fully understand it, and I’m not sure I want to.
Matt Crombieboy

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What is Möh? A historical debate

Arguably, some chapters of skinhead history are best left forgotten but, conscientious historians that we are, we talk about them anyway. Today we want to find out: what is ‘möh’? The expression was often seen in German skinzines from the 80s, usually accompanied by drawings of bulldogs or super-skins.

If you listen to live recordings of German skinhead bands from about ‘84 or ‘85 onward, you’ll often come across this crowd chant:

That’s Daily Terror live in Schöppenstedt ’87, an event we have described at length elsewhere – and the chant you hear is spelled “möh, möh, möh” [phonetically: mø: mø: mø:]. It follows this simple melody:

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