The Last Resort, Aldgate

Found in an old copy of Glaswegian skinzine, Spy Kids (#3, 1985): a pisstake on advertisement sheets from the famous East End clobber store, The Last Resort.

spykidsresort0004

Compare and contrast with the original:

lastresortshopsheet

Initially a punk clothes shop, The Last Resort changed its theme in 1978 when its owners, Micky and Margaret French, sussed an opportunity to become the Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood of the skinhead revival. The main reason would have been the shop’s handy geographic location in the East End. And indeed, the Last Resort became a popular hangout for young skins who had few other places to go.

1981 last resort shop 1

It soon acquired a poor reputation due to the quality of its clothes and customers, though. Many viewed the shop as a rallying point for out-of-towners trying to look hard, while others simply considered the clientele too boneheadish. Still, there are those who remember it fondly.

1983 last resort shot

Ordering from the shop by mail was not recommended, as the owners often kept the money without sending anything in return. It’s unlikely that the confiscated cash benefited ‘the cause’, for Micky’s professed nationalism was almost certainly a PR move.

Still, it was enough to get some people into trouble. Tony McGartnland of northern Irish skinhead band Control Zone, which contributed ‘Bloody Bouncers’ and ‘Johnny Johnny’ to the shop’s United Skins compilation, remembers:

“I recorded one of our rehearsals at a local youth club and sent the demo to Micky French in London. He rang me to say that he’d been playing the demos in his East London shop and that all the skins were asking who the band was. He thought we were great, so asked us to go into the studio and record three songs. We did, but it turned out that he dropped  ‘Left Right March’ because I told him it was about the H-Block campaign … We were told by French that we would see a draft of the album sleeve before it was released. He didn’t keep to his word, and as a result we were on an album that was basically adorned by union jack flags. We were worried about the response on the street, so we quickly withdrew from any further contact”.

(from Alex Ogg’s ‘No More Heroes – A Complete History of UK punk from 1976-1980’)

Control Zone soon went their separate ways, but now it looks like they’re back as an “anthemic, new-wave, punk & alternative rock band … with catchy hooks & big choruses”. Any skinhead connotations have been carefully avoided in the band’s official history on Facebook. Man’s gotta eat, I guess.

controlzonepic0004
Control Zone playing on the steps of Omagh Courthouse in July 1981

The shop also carried the first demo tape by house band The Last Resort, and French went on to publish their rough & ready posthumous debut album, Skinhead Anthems, which the band had originally recorded as just another demo. No prices for guessing what cut the Resort Boot Boys received from the proceeds.

Moreover, Micky and Margaret talked Ian Stuart into reforming Skrewdriver – initially as a ‘patriotic skinhead band’, then as an openly racist Creedence Clearwater tribute outfit. As the irony of fate would have it, Margaret left Micky for a Rastafarian a few years later.

That’s all for today, folks.

Crombieboy

 

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4 thoughts on “The Last Resort, Aldgate

  1. Pingback: The Last Resort live at The Pipeline, 2 April 2016 | creases like knives

  2. Hiya, does anyone have any photos of Mickey French and Margaret at the Last Resort? I was a close friend of Mickeys’ during the last years of his life and would appreciate seeing any pics of him in his younger days…..

    Like

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