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

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A Sense of Style: Modzines

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

Crophead record roundup #6

Reconquesta: Valors Perduts LP

The eagle has landed. About time too, we’ve been waiting for months on end. Ladies and gentlemen, the second Reconquesta album is here.

“Judges of Oi always bore me”, sneers frontman Romani in ‘Real, dirty and raw’, the album’s sole English-language song. Yet here I am clothed in my righteous robe, a judge of Oi passing verdict. To be honest, ‘Real Dirty and Raw’ had to grow on me when an early version went up on YouTube last June. I get the lyrical sentiment: the band doesn’t like inoffensive pop Oi. But I wasn’t sure the alternative had to sound like early 90s Böhse Onkelz covering ‘High Voltage’ by AC/DC. To my taste, this felt too much like muscle-flexing and not enough like punching.

Reconquesta had the balance between punk, rock ‘n’ roll and romanticism just right on their split EP with Codi de Silenci a few months earlier, and I was hoping the album would not collapse under metal overkill. It’s not that I hate metal, it’s just that nine times out of ten, it pans out very badly when punk or Oi bands try playing it. Continue reading

In memory of Sigaro (1956-2018)

An obituary by Flavio Frezza, author of Italia Skins and editor of Crombie Media

Angelo “Sigaro” Conti was born in Rome in 1956 and became a skinhead in the early 80s. In the mid 80s, after the Italian skinhead scene had split into a far-right and a non-racist wing, he embraced the redskin tendency. Continue reading

Anti-skinhead lyrics #1

Inferno hailed from Augsburg, a medium sized city in ultra-conservative Bavaria. Although ‘punk’ in disposition, they were arguably one of the earliest full-on hardcore bands on the European continent, leaving the likes of Discharge in a trail of smoke. Continue reading

Down at the Vortex at midnight

40 years ago today, The Jam’s third album All Mod Cons hit the shelves.

The cover photograph saw Paul Weller sporting a French crop, white button-down shirt with sleeves turned up twice, steel grey cropped Sta Prest, white socks and chestnut brown monkey boots. A look that harked back to 1968 and screamed early skinhead — or ‘hard mod’ if you prefer that term. Continue reading

Making Oi! great again – Scotty Violence interviewed

Broken Heroes are one of the original 90s Jersey Oi bands, dating back to 1993. Their sound is raw, old skool, and their lyrics don’t compromise. They’ve gone through a few personnel changes, but their most recent is an all-star American Oi line-up featuring ex Armed Suspects singer Scotty Violence. In a world where some Oi bands are so watered down their piss is almost transparent, bands like Broken Heroes are perhaps more relevant than ever. Girth asked Scotty a few questions over email, and he was more than happy to oblige. What a pleasant chap!

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Couldn’t give a fuck, where’s me beer? An Interview with Steve Smith of Red Alert

redalertThe punk rock firmament glowed brighter on Wearside than most other English conurbations during the 1980s, with Red Alert, Red London and the Toy Dolls all sharing beers, band members and basslines on Oi compilations during its heyday. Sharpened by the experience of growing up amid the closure (or “managed decline”) of its shipyards during the Thatcher era, Red Alert saw themselves as Sunderland’s answer to the deserted Docklands’ Cockney Rejects and released a steady stream of EPs on No Future Records, calling it quits after their standout 1983 album We’ve Got The Power. By 1989 the band had reunited, though line-up changes inevitably followed over the years (bringing in the likes of Lainey from Sunderland punks Leatherface), as did a split LP with The Templars following a New York tour.
Continue reading

Freedom or a nice image? Codi de Silenci interviewed

cds_logoIt hardly escaped attentive readers that I consider the Catalan skinhead scene one of the most vital right now. Even casual visitors wouldn’t get the impression that it is just a historical re-enactment society: although all styles from the 60s, 70s and 80s through to today’s variations are present, tradition is merged with purpose and meaning firmly located in the now. Catalan nationalism has been a major international news item since last year, and although some Catalan skins I spoke to are more critical of it than others, it’s fair to say that largely, they are among its most passionate supporters.

Like Reconquesta, Rebelion and older groups such as Pilseners, Codi de Silenci are an Oi band that wear their Catalan patriotism on their sleeves. Rather than just being a lyrical feat, I would say this sentiment informs the way their music sounds and feels. And just as Codi de Silenci aren’t the kind of band that constantly rewrites the same songs about boots, booze and bovver, as interview partners they aren’t mediocrities with fuck all to say. Although bassist and prime lyricist Lluís Lacruz stresses that Codi de Silenci are an Oi band rather a political one, he’s offering real opinions and arguments that you’re free to embrace or knock down. Continue reading

To slave or scratch your arse? Menace’s first vinyl outing

On this day 41 years ago, Menace released their debut single, ‘Screwed Up’ b/w ‘Insane Society’.

Menace had formed at North London’s Hope & Anchor in 1976, emerging from the ashes of a pub rock band with the Spinal Tapesque name Stonehenge. They were a bunch of Irish kids who’d grown up in the seedy area around Kings Cross decades before it became gentrified. Like Sham, Sparrer and to some extent Chelsea, they were one of those transitional punk bands whose grittier ‘street’ stance pointed towards Oi. Continue reading