Modzines: Fanzine Culture From The Mod Revival, Eddie Piller and Steve Rowland, 2019 (Omnibus)
“The US Army parka, the trilby hat, the Harrington jacket, desert or monkey boots and a Fred Perry t-shirt made up the basic look. Small pockets of adherents sprung up in certain areas, like East London, Paddington and Waterloo, as they grew in number, these new mods began to coalesce into a scene.”
It may read like a casting for Call The Midwife extras, but in 1979 it was a chance meeting of some West Essex schoolkids in the queue for Who documentary The Kids Are Alright outside South Woodford’s ABC cinema which sparked a resurgence in the gospel of scooters, amphetamines, frenetic guitars and the written word, at least on the part of Modzines author Eddie Piller.Continue reading →
Skins: A Way of Life, Patrick Potter, 2018 (Carpet Bombing Culture)
Indefatigable is not a word to be thrown around lightly, unless perhaps you’re George Galloway bending a knee to the nearest tyrant. But is there any other for the sheer number of chroniclers of skinhead? It’s a rich and varied genre of texts, more often than not inches of girth in photography rather than analysis, as we’ve considered before, with its own standard-bearers and flops.
Where then does Skins: A Way of Life sit? Is it a Nick Knight, a George Marshall or a just a dud? I’m happy to report it’s none of the above, though it’s not going to win any prizes for analysis, that’s for sure. And why should it? Even before its release on Carpet Bombing Culture (who’ve already put out the likes of Derek Ridgers’ subcultural portraits), it managed to elicit its fair share of favourable coverage, though doubtless the upcoming Spirit of 69 anniversary played a part.
Much of the text forms a single-handed diatribe rather than an overview or potted history of skinhead since the days of 1969, not to mention being uneven in parts (plus don’t even get me started on the Adam and the Ants comment). Another coffee-table book perhaps, but as sure as Sweden gave us IKEA it also gave us Perkele. And like a copper’s knock on society’s windscreen when we shouldn’t be behind the wheel, Potter is one author reminding the publishing world that skinhead remains as worth talking about in print as well as ‘well-received’ BBC4 documentaries and the occasional Viceland feature.
As much as his last book Mods: A Way of Life documented that subculture as experienced on a thousand council estates, there are photos here you will have seen a million times and a satisfying number you may not have. Next year also sees the imprint put out former Scootering editor Martin ‘Sticky’ Round’s Scooter Boys, which should act as something of a triple-decker or proof of how the subcultures doubled up in the 1980s. StevoContinue reading →
In all possibility, you may think that when it comes to Richard Allen and the New English Library Skinhead titles there’s little more to be said, almost 50 years on. And like the steel-toed kick in the balls you’d clearly deserve, you’d be wrong, very wrong. Mark Sargeant (Sarge) has written for Scootering since the 80s – many post-decimal currency readers wouldn’t even know the name Richard Allen without the contribution of his spadework in bringing Skinhead to a new audience during that period. Continue reading →
First things first: Stevo originally did this interview in 2010 for another website, but he figured there’s no harm in reprinting it (with permission) here, as the book and author haven’t really been heard of since.
Children of the Sun was the debut novel of Max Schaefer, acclaimed when it was published in 2010 for its methodically well-researched tackling of 80s South London nazi skins, Nicky Crane, and the bizarre dabblings of the more well-heeled members of the far right. Continue reading →
The likes of the Cockney Rejects and East End Badoes have penned entire albums recently on the subject of East End gentrification, but for Stewart Home it’s a cause to fight. A one-time Neoist but always a novelist, a quick scan of his books since 1988 reveals a range of titles from The Assault on Culture to The Nine Lives of Ray the Cat Jones, via Blow Job and Cunt, naturally. Stevo met the crophead chronicler of pulp and punk at the foot of the Barbican and repaired to a nearby Spoons to talk Marx and mods.Continue reading →
Skinhead History, Identity and Culture
Kevin Borgeson and Robin Valeri, 2017 (Routledge)
Skinhead History, Identity and Culture is published by academic imprint Routledge in their Crime and Society series and at £110 a pop you may be tempted towards criminal enterprise just to afford a copy. Continue reading →
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 →
This is an ongoing, decade by decade, attempt to catalogue in 500 words or less the most notable skinhead books, starting with Richard Allen’s Skinhead in 1970 and ending on ST Publishing’s output until the turn of the century. Click herefor Part 2 – the 80s.Continue reading →