Review: ‘Packing a Punch – Brief History of Skinhead Zines’

Packing a Punch is that rare thing: a documentation of 80s British skinzines completely without celtic crosses or crude drawings of glue-addled ‘super skins’. And it isn’t a coffee-table book either. Instead, it’s brogues, Jaytex and razor partings all over – the focus is on what the author considered the rightful heir of the original skinhead, namely the ‘sussed skin’ of the 1980s. This scene, from which George Marshall also emerged, was based around zines such as Spy Kids, The Bovver Boot, Tighten Up and The Suedehead Times. And the little book at hand that guides us through their evolution is a kind of zine too, written by someone who was part of it all. He’s still around today and as committed as ever.

The history kicks off with Skins, the original croptop zine edited by a Chelsea FC and Sham Army skin named John Smith from late ‘79 or early ‘80 – the exact date is hard to establish – and printed by the Last Resort shop in the East End. While reporting on contemporary stuff such as the Southall ‘81 riot, Skins also had an acute sense of tradition: there was always room for Motown, reggae and original skinhead history in its pages. Skins ran for five issues, the contents of which are all listed individually – a treatment awarded to all zines discussed in Packing a Punch.

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Zine review: Verbal #5

You’d have to go back quite some time to find proper skinzines like Hard As Nails, Zoot, Bovver Boot and the like. Back far enough, in fact, to the era before even the MP3 or dial-up modems.

Verbal, despite the aggro title, isn’t a ‘sussed skin’ zine in the vein of Hard As Nails, though it’s arguably as sussed as any of those earlier titles, and no one could deny that editor John King has more than earned his stripes as the novelist behind Skinheads and the Human Punk nights at the 100 Club, if not more. Continue reading

The Bovver Boot #2, 1986

 

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It’s no secret that the British ‘sussed skin’ movement of the 1980s is one of several sources of inspiration for this blog. Although we ultimately want to do our own thing rather than imitate, the combination of sharp style and smart politics is still an excellent starting point. Continue reading