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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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 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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Story of a picture: Ulla Street Boys

‘Ulla Street Boys’ by Robin Dale was conceived as part of an ethnographic study of a post-industrial Teesside already in decline by the early 1970s. Sometimes referred to alongside his ‘A Spot of Bother’ taken during a match at Middlesbrough’s Ayresome Park ground, it has since come to define a profoundly regional take on suedehead. The boys, found on a terraced street corner in central Middlesbrough (the street still largely exists, save for the odd demolished part here and there), examine the camera as intently as it surveys them. An all too rare perhaps depiction of skinheadism in one of its more multiethnic settings, Andrew Stevens spoke to the Billingham-based photographer. Continue reading

Two-stroke in your veins and two fingers up at the law – Martin ‘Sticky’ Round

Dubbing yourself a “terrorist” of any sort may not strike many as particularly wise in the current climate, but for the ‘two-stroke terrorists’ of the 80s scooterboy movement, recognition of any kind would be welcome. Former Scootering magazine editor Martin ‘Sticky’ Round has made a living for himself documenting the scooter scene globally since those days. In his book Scooterboys: The Lost Tribe (Carpet Bombing Culture), he has set out to capture the hallmarks of one of Britain’s last truly working class subcultures which defies pigeon-holing on any other level.

Andrew Stevens (Vespa PX125) sat down with Sticky to discuss police harassment, flight jackets and the suedehead roots of 80s cut-down scooters. Continue reading

Everybody’s an Actor, Shakespeare Said: ‘pre-suedeheads’ in 1968

Flavio Frezza, author of Italia Skins and translator of George Marshall’s Spirit of 69 into Italian, introduces us to a rarely seen British gem. Originally published in Italian on Crombie Media.

everybody-actor-shakespeare-said-00111

Anyone into skinhead, mod, and related youth styles knows Bronco Bullfrog (1969), which was largely shot round Stratford E15 by Barney Platts-Mills. As is commonly claimed, the movie documents the transition from skinhead to suedehead, which was completed at the beginning of the following decade. Continue reading

Another Rebel Thread: an interview with Roger K. Burton

Having dressed film stars (Quadrophenia, Absolute Beginners, Young Soul Rebels) and countless music videos, it’s unsurprising that Roger Burton sought to not only document his time in the business but also the vast attire he’s amassed along the way. Rebel Threads (Laurence King Publishing) is that book, spanning the range of British youth subcultures from the war onwards and delving into the fashions which gave them their name. Continue reading

Do the monkey: Eastern Bloc boots for East End kids

We hope this article will shed light on questions you were always afraid to ask, for few topics are more divisive than monkey boots. However, Matt Crombieboy does not pretend that his stab at tracking the history of the boot is comprehensive. It’s just an attempt that heavily relies on word-of-mouth accounts – for few topics are more shrouded in mystery than the history of this fine footwear item. If you know more than he was able to find out, we’d encourage you to enlighten us. Continue reading

The quest for Sta Prest: Nik Louis of Ivy Threads interviewed

The quest for the perfect pair of sta prest trousers is as old as humanity itself. However, it was only during a brief period between 1964 and some time in the 1970s that Levi’s produced immaculate perma-crease chinos from poly-cotton. Since then, humankind has been forced to put up with plenty of inferior product. As readers of this blog may remember, we often end up bitterly disappointed even when we put our hopes up high.

What distinguishes Nik Louis‘s brand Ivy Threads of Boston is its founder’s impressive knowledge of the original garments and a fanatical perfectionism otherwise only known from Japanese denim manufacturers. Matt Crombieboy talked to him about his plans to reproduce the original Sta Prest of the 1960s. Continue reading

Greens for the concrete jungle: the OG-107

Spring is here – or so they claim – and summer’s hopefully just around the corner. Come July and August, you’ll want to wear something lighter and more comfortable than raw denim strides – unless you like sweating like a pig and catching skin diseases, that is. Sta-prest chinos aren’t great everyday trousers, especially if you walk a lot – but how about jungle greens? The Northern Avenger tells you how to pull off army fatigues in style even when you’re working as a manual labourer. Continue reading