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

A rough guide to trucker jackets

The trucker jacket – or denim jacket, to some – is a staple of the skinhead and bootboy wardrobe that has been worn for generations. The Northern Avenger will not explore the entire history of the trucker jacket today, but he will provide a rough guide mainly to the models that were worn in the original skinhead era. Continue reading

Close Combat: local dialects and misbehaviour

I’ll be honest: there’s one aspect of skinhead culture I never really liked: subcultural self-pity. OK, so Mick Furbank’s famous ‘crucified skinhead’ design looks cool and always will. But the whole “so misunderstood & always blamed for everything” victim complex does get on my tits sometimes. How many more documentaries and Vice articles where we whine about being misrepresented as mindless thugs and racists? Come on. No black person ever gives a shit what I wear. Only privileged white liberals eye you with worry and suspicion. And so they should – because that’s what keeps them from co-opting our culture wholesale. After all, would you want skinhead to become as acceptable to them as punk is today? Continue reading

The Brest syndrome: a chat with Syndrome 81

Scientists agree that some of the best Oi and punk music is coming from France nowadays, and that’s increasingly becomibrng common knowledge on our shores too: just ask any man, woman or child on a London bus. If you follow the French scene closely, Syndrome 81 will not have escaped you. Hailing from the chilly and wet seaside town of Brest, the band’s first outing was their self-titled demo of 2013, followed by the monumental Désert Urbain EP, a split-EP, and a 7’ single. Continue reading

Come on Boro! An interview with Tom Loizou

As long-standing readers will remember, Creases Like Knives is based in north London’s Haringey borough – Spurs territory, but also where Coles Park Stadium, home to Haringey Borough FC, is located. Haringey Borough FC has been knocking about under that name since 1973, although its pre-history goes all the way back to 1907.

After last Saturday’s match against Brentwood FC, which Borough won 3–2, we had a chat with their hard-working manager, Tommy Loizou. He told us how hard it is to run a non league club, who his key players are, and about his transfer policy. 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 in typically elitist London fashion on crombie overcoats. 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

A Crombie christmas

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 ‘retro coat’ by Crombie in mint condition. Now I think real Crombies are the dog’s bollocks and an absolute must-have.” Whereas I once scoffed at the 4-Skins’ sarcastic putdown, “I wear a cheap crombie, and that’s about all”, now I sing along with conviction. Continue reading

Skinheads and racism in a German news article, June 1970

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‘London skinhead and cop’ – from Der Spiegel, no 24/1970

Below, you will find our translation of an article that was first published in the German news weekly Der Spiegel on 8 June 1970. As far as we’re aware, it’s the only time the press in that country reported on the original skinhead wave. It would be eight years before skinheads made another appearance in Der Spiegel, once again in connection with racism and street thuggery in the East End of London. Continue reading

A skinhead in Paris, 1979-83

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Paris skinhead band Swingo Porkies, early 1980s

While the original wave of skinheads remained a strictly British phenomenon – the closest the French came to mod were the minets – it didn’t take long for the late 1970s revival to cross the Channel. As the Sham Army turned concert halls into battlefields and skinheads began to proliferate across Britain again, a small gang of punks in a working class banlieue of Paris took note. Around 1978, Farid, Pierrot, Fan, Fabian and about a dozen of mates swapped their spiky hair and leather for clean-cut crops and MA-1 jackets. Continue reading