Find below a little tale of solidarity among female teenagers in Dublin, originally published in the Sunday Independent (Ireland) on 19 April 1970 and transcribed especially for you.
Two things jump out at me: firstly, the girls’ overnight transition from ‘weirdo’ (hippie) to skinhead, and their continued friendship with hairies. This is somewhat at odds with the accepted notion of ‘working class skinheads’ versus ‘middle class hippies’.
Secondly, it was a different time indeed when 16-year-old factory workers could afford to go dancing in clubs “six times a week”.
Sociologists like Dick Hebdidge only ever got part of the story, if that. They imagined that the original skinheads wished to ‘symbolically recover the working class slum’ (or something along those lines) by sporting distinctly proletarian gear. In truth, their love of dressing up and living somewhat above their means was based on a good dose of optimism.
Never before had working class teenagers had any disposable income to speak of. Things seemed to be moving onward and upward. Given near full employment, it was easy to get hold of odd jobs and save up for your Levi’s Sta Prest or button-down Ben Sherman. School children were told that in the foreseeable future, we would only be working three days a week – and boring routine work would be fully automated.
It never happened, did it?
Girls boycott club over ‘Skinheads’ ban
Sunday Independent, 19 April 1970
Fifty teenage girls from Finglas are to boycott a Dublin beat club where they dance six times a week and spend about £2 each because the club has banned Dublin’s newest cult, “girl skinheads.” Seven irate 16-year-olds from Finglas who have been banned from the club, where they have been dancing regularly for the past three years, visited the Sunday Independent yesterday to make their protest and champion the cause of “skinheads”.
The girls, all with closely cropped hair, say they had all been “weirdos” (long-hairs) up to a month ago. Said Geraldine Powell, of Finglas Place, a factory worker, “Our mothers were always complaining that with long hair we were dirty, so we decided to get our hair chopped off for the summer. It is now neat and clean and fashionable”.
The girls said they had nothing against their “weirdo” former colleagues, and would not take part in clashes of the rival hair-lengths.
Roseleen Carroll, a cosmetic industry worker, of 52 Ballygall Crescent, Finglas, cut all the girls’ hair, and said she would be taking up the role of hairdresser for many more of her pals.
“We got banned from the club because we got our hair cut”. Chris Keenan, of 6 Casement Grove, Finglas West, added, “and we were out the other night. We dance in the club six times a week, and on admission charges, cigarettes, refreshments and cloakroom fees we spend about £2 a week. We all earn about £4 10s. per week”.
“The girls of Finglas are backing us”, said Marian Ural, of Ballygall Crescent, “and they will go on strike too and not dance at the club”. Helen Kenny, also of Ballygall Crescent, added: “We would not dance at any other clubs. We have been going there for three years and know the crowd there”.
Anna Mooney added: “We will not go back to the club, ever. We will not put our pride in our pocket”. Said Eileen Emerson, of 75 Ballygall Crescent: “We go with boys who are skinheads and weirdos, but we are definitely not looking for rows because we got our hair cut like this”.