‘Scorcha! Skins, Suedes and Style From The Streets 1967-1973’ reviewed by Stewart Home

Scorcha! Skins, Suedes and Style From The Streets 1967-1973 by Paul ‘Smiler’ Anderson and Mark Baxter (Omnibus Press, 2021)

With words and images, Scorcha! sets out to document one strand of UK working class youth culture in the pre-punk era. The pictures provide a far more accurate depiction of late-sixties and early-seventies street style than slick fashion photos using models, stylists, make-up artists and professional photographers ever could. There are a slew of previously unpublished photos of ordinary kids all pilled up and with only a handful of places to go. Some of those in the pictures have also been interviewed – alongside a few pop personalities ranging from former BBC Radio One DJ Emperor Rosko to mod revivalist Paul Weller. Alongside this, there is record art and other promotional schlock I’ve seen before, but it provides needed context.

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Do You Remember The Days of 79?

No Jeans! No Greens! No Casuals! London Scooter Clubs 1979-1985
Roger Allen, Old Dog Publishing 2020

Driving a scooter through London wearing a parka in 1980/81 was seen by other youth cults as a provocative gesture. It was seen as an invitation to violence by skinheads, casuals and bikers that roamed the same streets. Soon these scooter-riding mods banded together in clubs united by a shared interest in scooters, as well as fashion and music, to present a united front against their enemies.

After visits up North, on scooter runs to Scarborough, a lot of these clubs started to drop the mod fashion and picked up on the scooter boy look of the Northern clubs. Many London mods didn’t get it and banned scooter boys from their venues with signs proclaiming ‘No Jeans!, No Greens!, No Casuals!’ in other words no scooter boys.

Roger Allen spent two years interviewing over 60 members of the clubs that existed within the London area between 1979 and 1985. The A23 Crusaders and The Paddington, The Wasps and The Viceroys, The Nomads and the Virgin Soldiers and all the 80 scooter clubs that made up this scene. Andrew Stevens spoke to him about the 337-pages strong result.

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