From Mod to Bootboy: Scootering in the Seventies

It’s fair to say that scooters were one of the few staples of mod culture to survive intact as the subculture gave way to skinheads and bootboys. Many a self-respecting bootboy was pictured above their two-stroke brand of choice in the early seventies, and the presence of the mod revival later in the decade could give the impression that the scooterboy culture was all the rage throughout. But as Ashley Lenton (Classic Scooterist, Vespa News) writes here, scooterists were actually a dying force in the seventies and it was only thanks to a dedicated band that we can document it now. Continue reading

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PUNK BASHING TIME: AN INTERVIEW WITH ANDREW GALLIX

It was no less than Garry Bushell himself who wrote of “dreading well-meaning graduates with crops and tailor-made crombies” in Sounds when he met with the teenaged members of ‘Skins Against the Nazis’ in 1978. Stevo had a few less hang-ups about meeting a fully-fledged Professor at the Sorbonne in Paris to go over his new book Punk Is Dead (Zer0 Books), which in part deals with aspects of skinhead’s troubled history among punk.

But then Andrew Gallix, who also edits the eclectic and punked-up webzine 3:AM, was a little more gracious and even-handed than some of the book’s other contributors when it came to recounting his own experiences.

Continue reading

Italia Skins! An interview with Flavio Frezza

There are so many Italian skinheads living in London today, one wonders when they’ll start running out of them back home. Younger on average than the indigenous skinhead population, they infuse our scene with the kind of energy only a country shaped like a steel-capped boot could produce.

True enough, the relationship between the local tribes and new arrivals has sometimes been a bit… tense. To contribute to a better understanding between the two, we thought we’d find out more about Italian skinheads and their specific history. Who better to ask than Flavio Frezza, who has written a book called Italia Skins?

Crombieboy spoke to him about Italian skins past and present, and we’re proud to present the resulting interview:

PART 1 – From ‘nihilist punk’ to skinhead

PART 2 – Bands, politics & trouble

PART 3 – Today and tomorrow

Many thanks to Valentina G of Italian Skinheads for kindly letting us use her pictures. Oi Oi!

Italia Skins is out on Hellnation Libri/Red Star Press now.

Skankin’ Warsaw in 1979: when Magura brought 2 Tone to Poland

You may be surprised to read that a local variation of ‘the look’ was seen in Warsaw as early as 1979. Kryzys were one of the earliest Polish punk bands, and their drummer Maciej ‘Magura’ Goralski was the mod of the band. Continue reading

Malice in Sunderland: Trev HAGL on North East Oi!

Trev HAGL, to anyone outside of the world of Oi and North East punx, the name needs no introduction. For the rest of you however, Trev has valiantly kept the fires burning for Oi through thick and thin since the 80s, even when others packed up and went home. 

Editor of innumerable zines over the years, most notably HAGL (‘Have A Good Laugh’), which spoke truth to power during the fag-end of Thatcher and the dark days of Major, ‘stalwart’ doesn’t really do justice for a man who lives it as he sees it and generally spends his time in pursuit of well-crafted tunes, cheap beer and a good laugh (or ‘savage amusement’, another zine title).  Continue reading

Long live Eccles: rare Chelsea Shed Boys pictures resurface

Yesterday on the unofficial Chelsea FC forum, The Shed End, a photographer named David Nicolson posted a couple of rare Chelsea Shed Boys pictures, including of their notorious leader, Danny ‘Eccles’ Harkins.  Continue reading

Are these the earliest pictures of German skinheads?

The first picture, shot either in 1979 or early 1980, shows bassist Erwin Lieske of Hamburg punk band Kotzbrocken (not to be confused with Cotzbrocken from Cologne) playing live at Krawall 2000, a short-lived punk venue in the St Pauli quarter. Note two skinheads with shaved heads and braces standing behind him. This is a scan from an old book about punk, ‘Der Grosse Schwindel’ (authors: Jürgen Stark and MIchael Kurzawa, published in 1981 and long out of print).

1979-krawall-2000hirez Continue reading

Until the bitter end: The story of Daily Terror and Pedder Teumer

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Aside from die-hard fans of old-school punk from the continent, few readers will have heard of Daily Terror. Yet in Germany in the 1980s and beyond, they were an important punk band turned skinhead – and although some Oi bands were better known, Daily Terror were arguably the best the country had produced.

Truth be told, it’s hard for me to be objective, seeing as the matter is to a certain extent personal. Continue reading

Bring back the donkey jacket

Last week, I pontificated about crombie overcoats in typically elitist London fashion. Well, that has now prompted a response article from my Yorkshire bro, the Northern Avenger. Here’s his tribute to an unjustly reviled skinhead staple. Ladies and gentlemen, bootgirls and bootboys, I’m handing over to the Northern Avenger…

The humble donkey jacket: one of the mainstays of the British coal miner, binman, and other manual workers and lefties of years past – and (some) skinheads of course. It has a long history with the working class. I will try – and probably fail – to explain some of its history and relevance to the skinhead cult. Continue reading

I walked with a Crombie

About a year ago, I sneered that there was nothing “authentically skinhead” about owning a genuine Crombie. With no small amount of inverted snobbery, I suggested there was no point in getting one unless you were an “MP, diplomat or KGB agent“. Well, that was before I had one. Since then, I have sussed an unbelievable bargain for a black Crombie Retro Coat in mint condition. Now I think real Crombies are the dog’s bollocks. Whereas I once scoffed at the 4-Skins’ sarcastic putdown, “I wear a cheap crombie, and that’s about all”, today I sing along with conviction. Continue reading