Few subcultures are more visual than skinheads, and if we have any way of knowing the history of the skinhead cult in its entirety, it’s also thanks to those who have documented certain important periods in photographs. These photographs are testimony to the way things were – the faces, the places, the atmosphere, the style, the joys and tensions. Where would be, for example, without photographers such as Derek Ridgers and Nick Knight, who made skinheads their main subject – or Gavin Watson, who photographed what he also lived? Fortunately, they left that trace for us. And equally luckily, there are those who do the same thing today: leaving traces for the future, for the next generation of skinheads. Francesca Chiari spoke to Alexandra Czmil, a photographer based in the French city of Nantes.Continue reading
Tag: French skinheads
Paris on Oi!
French Oi has always had a special quality, hasn’t it? I first learned this when visiting family in my birth town Warsaw many moons ago and randomly buying a bootleg tape titled Son de la rue from a street market stall outside the Palace of Culture. It was the days of a flourishing black market, and on every street corner you’d find 4-Skins and Blitz pirate tapes democratically displayed alongside Metallica and Madonna ones. Son de la rue compiled some of the best cuts from the Chaos en France series – Komintern Sect, Snix, Camera Silens, you name it – and I’ve remained a fan of frog Oi ever since.Continue reading
Skinkorps story: an interview with Philippe Nicolas
Skinkorps – what’s your take on them? Asking Creases Like Knives contributors and friends, I get a broad range of views. “They had a bad reputation”, says one of them, “and some provocative attitudes too, but probably no interest in politics”. – “Ultimately, they were just a regular Oi band, no different to The Last Resort or 4-Skins”, argues another. – “They were one of the dodgier French 80s bands”, counters a friend. And a French acquaintance adds, “We pretty much take for granted that Skinkorps was a right-wing band”.
Whatever truth – or untruth – to each of these statements, it’s beyond dispute that Skinkorps from Rouen played some of the most bone-crushing Oi of the 80s. A typical Skinkorps song was mid-tempo to sluggish, featured a loud bassline that carried the tune along and a rough vocal with that arrogant, domineering intonation so characteristic of French bands from the period. The lyrics were often humorous, sarcastic, even cynical – too ambiguously so for some tastes. Continue reading
A skinhead in Paris, 1979-83
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 a dozen mates swapped their spiky hair and leather for clean-cut crops and MA-1 jackets. Continue reading