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

Continue reading

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:

Continue reading