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facebook ban Skinheads, Punks and Scooterists

Facebook ban skinheads . Symond Lawes
Symond Lawes event promoter, band manager and actor banned from facebook.

Since yesterday morning 8/6/2020 a mass of Facebook profiles have been taken down. This seems to be based on the keyword, as it has nothing to do with any personal views on the current protest movements, as this includes Jamaican musicians within the Skinhead subculture, a young mother living in Brazil Favela, event promoters in UK, Germany, band members, tattooists, people of all ages and backgrounds right across the world.

THE GREAT SKINHEAD REUNION BRIGHTON 2020
The Annual event brings skinhead subculture members together from across the globe. full production team including Reggae DJ’s banned
French Girls enjoying a drink at Skinhead Reunion brighton

Facebook has no customer service number or ways to contact them, but have all our personal data stored. Many people have become reliant on the platform for their businesses, personal diaries, addressbook and many more things. This is a serious infringement by the corporation

Among those names pulled down are Jamaican legend Monty Neysmith. 2tone artist of the Specials Neville Staple. Skinhead Reunion promoter and ex manager of Xray Spex Symond Lawes.

Monty Neysmith of the Pyramids Symarip banned from Facebook
Monty Neysmith of the Pyramids Symarip banned from Facebook
Isabelle Pradel Skinhead Girl, Sao Paulo Brazil banned from Facebook
Isabelle Pradel Skinhead Girl, Sao Paulo Brazil banned from Facebook
neville staple banned from facebook
instagram is awash with people banned from Facebook
instagram is full of people talking about losing their facebook profiles

Skinhead subculture started out as the first youth culture to bring jamaican youth and white British youth together in the mid 1960’s The favourite music of the time being ska reggae. In 1979 2tone then blended punk and reggae together to create the biggest boom of skinheads. Since then right wing groups have tried and failed to recruit. as the years have progressed the skinhead subculture is overwhelmingly a multi racial subculture spread as far away as South America and Indonesia which brings people of all backgrounds together. An example is the Sao Paulo scooter scene

Skinheads in Sao Paulo Brazil

15/06/20 Update. Although most accounts were restored within a few days, some are still banned. Symond Lawes has another full month ban for no apparent reason, he shared a BBC published photo of a protest, which included no hate speech

ONCE AGAIN AMERICAN MEDIA AND CORPORATIONS TAR US ALL WITH THE SAME BRUSH
Hundreds of anti-racist skinheads are reporting that Facebook has purged their accounts for allegedly violating its community standards. This week, members of ska, reggae, and SHARP (Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice) communities that oppose white supremacy are accusing the platform of wrongfully targeting them. Many believe that Facebook has mistakenly conflated their subculture with neo-Nazi groups because of the term “skinhead.”
The suspensions occurred days after Facebook removed 200 accounts connected to white supremacist groups and as Mark Zuckerberg continues to be scrutinized for his selective moderation of hate speech.
“We apologize to those affected by this issue,” a Facebook spokesperson told OneZero following the publication of our report. “These accounts were removed in error and have been reinstated. We are reviewing what happened in this case and are taking steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”
It’s unclear exactly how many accounts and Pages were disabled. British journalist Garry Bushell, who is also a musician and former manager of the punk band Cockney Rejects, tweeted on Monday that hundreds of Facebook profiles in the United Kingdom were taken down. On Reddit, members of the punk subreddit complained of a “Facebook Skinhead/Punk/Oi Mega-Ban,” theorizing that simply liking or following SHARP and other non-racist skinhead Facebook pages caused people to be locked out of their accounts. On Twitter, dozens if not hundreds of people reported the same — from users in the U.K., United States, Canada, Brazil, Chile, and Costa Rica.
Since the subculture intersects with various music scenes, bands and musicians were affected as well. That includes Neville Staple, Jamaica-born frontman of the well-known ska band The Specials. Staple has been referred to as the “original rude boy,” and is known for his legacy in the 2-tone ska community — a diverse musical genre with roots in Jamaica. “Please look into things before doing a general cull,” Staple tweeted on Tuesday. Staple regularly performs live music sets on Facebook, according to The Sun. (Facebook told OneZero on Wednesday that it has restored access to Staple’s personal account.)
Skinhead subculture emerged in 1960s working-class London, and has witnessed numerous waves and movements. There is no doubt that whiteness, racism, and fascism are associated with skinheads, and it is a fact that heinous acts of violence and murder have been committed by racists who associate with the subculture. At the same time, the Southern Poverty Law Center notes that “skinhead style first emerged as part of a non-racist and multiracial scene” and shares its DNA with ska, dancehall, and reggae — a heritage to which bands like The Specials are a testimony. Skinheads owe their heritage to Jamaican music traditions, and the subculture’s later adoption by white supremacists is viewed as antithetical to its origins. As such, there are two distinct skinhead subcultures alive today.
The account of Clara Byrne, singer of Brighton hard reggae band Dakka Skanks and a musician of color, was also temporarily disabled. Byrne’s most recent Facebook posts support Black Lives Matter and the uprisings against police brutality.
“The irony of banning [individuals such as Staple] on the grounds of suspected right-wing or racist promotion or support is particularly galling, and shows a complete lack of knowledge (and understanding) of British music in general, especially the multicultural 2-Tone movement,” said Guy Shankland, a British journalist at music magazine Vive Le Rock whose Facebook account was also disabled for 24 hours on Tuesday.
Facebook notified people that their accounts were disabled in a vague message, which OneZero reviewed. “You can’t use Facebook because your account, or activity on it, doesn’t follow our Community Standards,” it said.
Several people told OneZero that Facebook asked them to confirm their identities. In a separate message, Facebook said, “To help us check that this account belongs to you, we need a photo of your official ID.” In May, the company announced that it would begin checking the identities of accounts suspected of “inauthentic behavior,” which encompasses a host of violations such as harassment, using a fake account, and artificially promoting content.
“They wanted to see my ID before they would give me my account back,” said James of Brighton, England. “I refused — I don’t want Facebook having my driving license on file — and I consider myself apolitical within the skinhead scene, but overall I’m avidly anti-racist and so are my friends.”
However, some users report their accounts were reinstated without such verification.
Andy Laidlaw, a member of Edinburgh ska bandBig Fat Panda said his account was disabled on Monday and subsequently reinstated without him providing identification. (Though he did receive Facebook’s prompt to submit a form of ID.) “I’ve always been a fan of Facebook, but if there is no explanation I will definitely use it less,” Laidlaw said. “I still think [the ban] is to do with the term ‘skinhead.’ But not all skinheads are racist. Quite the opposite for the majority.”
Some of those impacted said they were relatively unbothered by the suspensions.
“As far as I’m concerned, it was a mild inconvenience and most people I know took it in stride and were joking about it after,” said Montreal musician Karl St-Pierre, who recently began fundraising for the DESTA Black Youth Network. “Compared to all of the events unfolding in North America and beyond right now, let’s just say having your Facebook disabled by mistake is of much less importance, y’know?”
Still, the suspensions speak to the fraught moment Facebook now finds itself in. Last Friday, the company removed 200 accounts reportedly linked to the Proud Boys and American Guard, which are white supremacy groups. Facebook said these accounts intended to ambush protests against the police murder of George Floyd. Earlier in the week, Facebook also removed “a handful” of accounts affiliated with Identity Evropa, another white supremacy group, for creating fake Antifa Twitter accounts.
The company’s content moderation system is notoriously porous, so it’s unclear whether, in an effort to scrub bad actors, it failed to distinguish the subcultures.
“I’m in skinhead Facebook groups because I share a love of Jamaican ska, reggae, and 2-tone music, however, the admin are pretty quick on stopping political conversations or anyone being hateful from what I’ve seen,” an individual whose account was removed by Facebook, and who requested to remain anonymous, told OneZero. “I think what Facebook has done is try to get rid of racists (which I absolutely agree with), but gotten rid of good people because we like similar music.”
This person also noted that, in recent days, they had posted support for Black Lives Matter on Facebook. Black Facebook users have previously accused the platform of deleting posts that discuss racism and locking their accounts what it incorrectly deems hate speech.
On Tuesday, a private skinhead Facebook Group with nearly 11,000 members changed its name to no longer contain the term “skinhead.” An admin of the group said in a post that the change is temporary, and is a response to Facebook’s mass suspension of accounts.
Even Facebook users who do not identify as anti-racist skinheads, but are affiliated with the music scene, say they were affected.
“It does seem that the ones who were disabled were all fans of the 2-tone/ska movement and on skinhead pages,” said Andy Davarias of Sutton, Surrey. “I myself am not a skinhead but I do love the culture and the music.”
Civil liberties groups like Southern Poverty Law Center define “racist skinheads” as a “frequently violent and criminal subculture… typically imbued with neo-Nazi beliefs.” They are separate, however, from the SHARP community or anti-racist skinheads who staunchly disavow white supremacist beliefs.
“If you look deep enough, you will find Facebook sites dedicated to [neo-Nazi] bands such as Skrewdriver, and some right-wing supporters still follow the 2-Tone, punk, and Trojan [Records] bands across social media, and still attend gigs,” said Shankland. “The ironic double standards of loving Jamaican ska while hating the very people who gave it to us still makes my skull spin.”
“We consider ourselves to have a different approach to what we term ‘Boneheads’ who seem to love extremist right-wing views,” said Essex DJ Pete Lacey, who is part of the SHARP community. “Racism is abhorrent to the skinhead culture.”
One of the biggest skinhead scenes now is in Bogota Colombia
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Soviet subcultures through vintage photographs: Hippies, punks, goths, and metalheads, 1980s

The subcultures in the Soviet Union, a country cut off from the West by the infamous Iron Curtain, were a form of open youth rebellion against ideological and cultural stagnation.

Stilyagi, goths, hippies, bikers, punks, rockers, and metalheads formed countercultures that often invited the wrath of the Soviet communist authorities. Their legacy is remembered by these pictures that show their radical self-expression, extravagant style, hairstyles, tattoos, and elaborate clothes.

The Soviet state media called these groups “non-conformists,” who were deliberately devoid of all the good qualities possessed by a Soviet citizen. They were even referred to as lazy parasites, dirty, leeches of society, and fascists.

The so-called stilyagi was a youth counterculture movement from the 1950s to the 1980s, with its main identification being the bright and eye-catching clothing that the Stilyagi wore. The literal translation of the word can be interpreted as ‘stylish’, or ‘style hunters’.
A stilyagi was primarily distinguished by snappy clothing—preferably foreign-label, acquired from fartsovshchiks—that contrasted with the communist realities of the time, and their fascination with zagranitsa, modern Western music, and fashions corresponding to that of the Beat Generation. English writings on Soviet culture variously translated the derogatory term as “dandies”, “fashionistas”, “beatniks”, “hipsters”, “zoot suiters”, etc.
Stilyagi greatly favored swing and boogie-woogie. Women wore dresses and high-heeled footwear, while men chose narrow checkered pants and shiny winkle-pickers. Though their style changed a bit over time, the Stilyagi always wore unapologetically bold colors and bright jackets.
The Soviet Union’s hippie movement grew up hand-in-hand with the arrival, through Eastern Europe, of Western records in several major Soviet cities’ black markets. While their American contemporaries were busy denouncing consumerism, Soviet hippies longed for American-style jeans and access to banned music.
The factors motivating Soviet hippies were subtly different than those experienced by their American counterparts. While American hippies rebelled against what they saw as a decadent and corrupt consumer culture in which they were forced to participate, Soviet hippies turned against a state that surrounded them with enforced conformity.

Hippies in the Soviet Union were stereotyped, arrested at concerts, and hassled for their drug use and Western values. But by turning to an international youth movement, they proved that East and West had plenty in common, long before the Iron Curtain fell.

The founder of Russian punk is considered to be Yegor Letov with his band Grazhdanskaya Oborona (Civil Defence), which started performing in the early 1980s. Letov also invented a word chanted by punk fans during concerts, Hoi (a mixture of the Oi! movement and the Russian profanity word Hui (literally penis)).
In the late 1980s, Sektor Gaza formed, reaching cult status. They created a genre called “Kolkhoz punk”, which mixed elements from village life into punk music.
Another cult band that started a few years later was Korol i Shut, introducing horror punk, using costumes and lyrics in the form of tales and fables. Korol i Shut became one of the best-selling and most highly regarded bands in the history of Russian Rock.
With banned foreign music growing in popularity, alternative genres, including heavy metal, became a fad among young Soviet citizens. Heavy metal bands like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Judas Priest, and Megadeth were popular among the rebellious Soviet youth. The followers were labeled as metalheads.
Another interesting subculture was the bikers. By the early 1980s, the number of young people riding motorcycles on the streets had grown noticeably. While Soviet bikers did not generally form criminal gangs, they did, however, happen to like some of the same heavy rock music as their Western counterparts and thus came to be called “rockers.”
Soviet rockers usually gathered in the evening on weekends, generally somewhere close to parks or other public spaces. They liked riding through the sleepy streets at night and thus became a subject of acute police interest. At the same time, police motorcycles were often outdated and quite often could not keep up with bikers.

 

 

 

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The original British Skinhead subculture in photographic portraits, 1970-1990

The skinhead subculture was born in England in the late 1960s as an offshoot of the mod culture. Skinheads were distinct from other British subcultures due to their uniform of boots, jeans, braces (suspenders), and the trademark shaved head.

Their style was an exaggerated version of the traditional unskilled laborer. One of the first scholars to research skinheads, sociologist Mike Brake, classified skinheads as a “traditional working-class delinquent subculture” and documented five traits that defined first-generation British skinheads: toughness and violence; football (soccer), ethnocentrism, Puritan work ethic; and a cynical worldview.

According to author Nick Knight, skinheads first appeared as a distinct youth subculture in 1968. He states in his book Skinhead, “In establishing their own style, the younger brothers of mods adopted certain elements of mod style, combined them with items from traditional working clothes, borrowed some influences from the West Indian blacks and became skinheads.”

Motivated by social alienation and working-class solidarity, skinheads were defined by their close-cropped or shaven heads (long hair was a liability in factory work and street fights) and working-class clothing such as Dr. Martens and steel toe work boots, braces, high rise jeans, and button-down collar shirts, usually slim fitting in check or plain.

In England, there were two waves of the skinhead cult. From its inception, the skinhead subculture was largely based around music. The first group appeared in the late 1960s as an offshoot of the mod subculture and largely died out by 1972.

The second wave arrived in the late 1970s and early 1980s. These skinheads differed from the first generation, in that they were not influenced as much by mod as they were by the growing punk and 2Tone Ska scenes in London.

Punk lent itself to violence through its embrace of aggressive music and teenage angst. Skinheads reflected this new influence by combining the exaggerated imagery of the original skinhead style with punk.

They took the boots and suspenders and jeans of the late 1960s and added closser-cropped hair, bomber jackets, and tattoos. The popularity of the 2Tone movement helped spread the look of skinheads to all parts of the United Kingdom.

Symond Lawes, a British skinhead notes, “I became a skinhead and there was only one other skinhead in my estate in 1978. By the following year, every kid in England was a skinhead.”

At the same time the subculture was growing, England was experiencing an influx of immigrants from India; the backlash to this wave of newcomers from the native British population was reflected in the skinhead subculture. Zeig Heiling and “Paki bashing” were sensationalized by the media.

The growth of the right-wing National Front and its recruitment of youth merely increased the amount of conflict present in the skinhead subculture. Punk shows and Ska shows were marred by skinhead violence. Even American newspapers covered the race riots that exploded in London in 1981.

While there is little doubt that North Americans, especially Canadians as part of the British Commonwealth, were exposed to skinhead subculture in the late 1960s and during the initial resurgence of this movement in 1978, it did not take hold as a youth cult in the United States until the arrival of punk.

Groups of youths in the early years of the American hardcore punk scene had shaved heads, but cannot be categorized as skinheads because they did not consciously adopt the lifestyle or dress that defines the subculture. Eventually, American youths began to emulate the skinhead style that was seen in the United Kingdom.

During the early 1980s, political affiliations grew in significance and split the subculture, distancing the far right and left-wing strands, although many skinheads described themselves as apolitical.

As a pro-working class movement, skinhead culture attracted those with nationalist beliefs, including violently racist or neo-Nazi elements.

In Great Britain, the skinhead subculture became associated in the public eye with the membership of groups such as the National Front and the British Movement. By the 1990s, neo-Nazi skinhead movements existed across all of Europe and North America.

Nowadays, few organizations, such as Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice, are attempting to fight back against supremacist skinheads and honor the diverse and multicultural aspects of the original skinhead subculture.

During the early 1980s, political affiliations grew in significance and split the subculture, distancing the far right and left-wing strands, although many skinheads described themselves as apolitical.

As a pro-working class movement, skinhead culture attracted those with nationalist beliefs, including violently racist or neo-Nazi elements.

In Great Britain, the skinhead subculture became associated in the public eye with the membership of groups such as the National Front and the British Movement. By the 1990s, neo-Nazi skinhead movements existed across all of Europe and North America.

Nowadays, few organizations, such as Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice, are attempting to fight back against supremacist skinheads and honor the diverse and multicultural aspects of the original skinhead subculture.

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The Great Skinhead Reunion Brighton Lineup June 10-11-12th 2022

BUY TICKETS HERE

The Great Skinhead Reunion is a 4 day Festival. Including Pre Party beach BBQ on Brighton Beach England Celebrating British Subculture

Line up for 2022. Once again we have a fantastic line up of acts

The Great Skinhead Reunion Brighton band Line Up 2022
The Pyramids Symarip, Legends of Trojan Records and founders of Skinhead Reggae, born in Jamaican formed in South London

Pyramids Symarip (also known at various stages of their career as The BeesThe Pyramids, SymaripSeven Letters and Zubaba) were a British ska and reggae band, originating in the late 1960s, when Frank Pitter and Michael Thomas founded the band as The Bees. The band’s name was originally spelled Simaryp, which is an approximate reversal of the word pyramids.[1] Consisting of members of West Indian descent, Simaryp is widely marked as one of the first skinhead reggae bands, being one of the first to target skinheads as an audience. Their hits included “Skinhead Girl”, “Skinhead Jamboree” and “Skinhead Moonstomp“, the latter based on the Derrick Morgan song, “Moon Hop“.

They moved to Germany in 1971, performing reggae and Afro-rock under the name Zubaba. In 1980, the single “Skinhead Moonstomp” was re-issued in the wake of the 2 Tone craze, hitting No. 54 on the UK Singles Chart.[3][4] The band officially split in 1985 after releasing the album Drunk & Disorderly as The Pyramids. Reforming as The Pyramids Symarip, after Monty did a solo show at The great Skinhead Reunion Brighton in 2019. Founder members Monty Neysmith, Mik Thomas and Frank Pitter got back together writing some new tunes and playing the original classics. In Skinhead history you cant really get more iconic than this band. While backing Prince Buster and Laurel Aitkin in the mid 1060’s a new subculture was forming from the Mods, shorter hair, big boots, termed Skinheads were now moving on from the RnB and Motown favoured, to a new underground sound coming into UK from Jamaican known as Ska. The band at that time known as the Bees and then Pyramids decided to make a concept album for this following turning Pyramids backwards came up with the name Symarip and Skinhead Moonstomp was released by Trojan records in 1970https://www.youtube.com/embed/seoG4-B7J9Y?feature=oembedPyramids Symarip perform Skinhead Girl at Madness House of Fun Weekender

TICKET LINK HERE

Splodgenessabounds

Splodgenessabounds

The band was formed over a cab office called Baron Cars in Queens Road, Peckham.

The band were originally fronted by Max Splodge and his girlfriend of the time, who was known as Baby Greensleeves.[3] The band won a recording contract with Deram Records after finishing runner-up in the 1979 Battle of the Bands contest, even though Deram was planning to cease all activities in the music markets outside of classical music. The band’s first release for Deram in 1980 was “Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps Please”.[3] The song was released as a triple A side vinyl single, along with “Simon Templer” (a pastiche of the theme tune of the TV seriesReturn of the Saint featuring the character Simon Templar) and “Michael Booth’s Talking Bum”.

“Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps Please” was the only song from that release that picked up any airplay, first from John Peel on his BBC Radio 1 show, and later on daytime radio as a novelty song. The song peaked at No. 7 in the UK Singles Chart in June 1980,[3] however the band members were unable to capitalise on their success by appearing on Top of the Pops, because the show was off the air due to strike action at BBC Television.

The follow-up to “Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps Please” was a cover version of “Two Little Boys[3] (a live version that appeared in the soundtrack to the 1981 filmUrgh! A Music War). It was a quadruple A-side, with “Horse”, “The Butterfly Song” and “Sox”. The initial copies of the single came with a cardboard boomerang, ‘guaranteed not to come back’. The band then performed on Top of the Pops, but the single only reached No. 26 in September 1980. Their eponymous debut album (released in January 1981 when the band was on hiatus) failed to chart.

In the band’s early days, they were noted for playing pranks. These included leaving Splodge stranded on top of a set of speakers for an entire set; supporting themselves when the support band failed to show by playing the wrong instruments badly at deafening volume levels; and a stunt where Splodge was rumoured to be held in Maidstone Prison and came on stage handcuffed to a prison officer. Splodgenessabounds’ stage show sometimes went to carnivalesque extremes. Police were frequenting their concerts, due to unsubstantiated reports of public nudity and “farting on demand” during renditions of “Michael Booth’s Talking Bum”.[4]

The group often made humorously grandiose press release claims, such as that their debut album would be a triple, including a side of “old material transcribed from their own cassettes, coupled with their ‘Pathetic Movements Manifesto’, and including a free Christmas tree with every copy.”[5]

Splodge got back into the studio – having lost the rest of his band in 1980 – with help from the Heavy Metal Kids, whose lead singer and guitarist Gary Holton was a friend of Splodge and sometime member of Splodgenessabounds. Their single “Cowpunk Medlum” (a medley of the theme song of the Western film High Noon, a section of “Ghost Riders in the Sky” and the TV series Bonanza) reached No. 69 in June 1981, but after this, Deram terminated the band’s recording contract.[3] Nevertheless, the new Splodgenessabounds (temporarily shortened to Splodge for legal reasons) released a follow-up single, “Mouth and Trousers”, along with the album In Search of the Seven Golden Gussets on the independent Razor Records.[3] Despite the single getting good airplay and favourable reviews (being a ska song rather than their usual punk style), without the backing of Deram Records, it became the first Splodgenessabounds single to fail to chart.

Splodgenessabounds made their name in the Skinhead world due to appearing on the second Oi compilation Strength Thru Oi! by Sounds magazine, marred with controversy unconnected to them of street punk acts in 1981

A new album, A Nightmare on Rude Street was recorded in 1991,[3] but sales and reviews were poor. Splodge continued the band with various line-ups also pursuing his career as an actor and bingo caller, as well as playing with Angelic Upstarts.[3]

In 1999, after going for a DNA blood test, Splodge discovered he was a direct descendant of Genghis Khan. Splodge penned five songs: “Genghis Khan”, “Lulluby of Mongolia”, “These Are the Things That Make the Mongols So Great”, “Too Mongolia” and “Mongols on the Streets of London” (written with Mat Sargent of Sham 69).

Two subsequent albums I Don’t Know (2000) and The Artful Splodger (2001) recorded and produced by Dave Goodman, were released by Captain Oi! Records. The albums sold well and the band did two UK and European tours, and also appeared in Canada and the United States.

A live show in Brighton was released on DVD in 2005 and featured Motörhead guitarist Würzel who often guested with Splodge, and also a joint single with John Otway, “No Offence – None Taken”, (available for download only).

In 2006, the band appeared on Harry Hill’s TV Burp, after being featured on Rock School with Gene Simmons. Splodgenessabounds performed at the end of the show, accompanied by Hill dressed as “The Demon”, Gene Simmons.

In 2008, Splodge recorded a new song; “You’ve Been Splodged”, this was released on an Oi compilation album.

In 2012, Splodge recorded a Christmas song that appeared on a punk compilation album called Cashing in on Christmas, which was released on Black Hole Records.

Splodge can still be found touring with Bad Manners and, in 2013, it was announced that Splodgenessabounds would play the Rebellion Festival for the 19th time since the Festival started in 1996 as Holidays in the Sun (HITS). Splodgenessabounds are one of only two bands (along with 999) to have played the festival every year. Max also hosts the bingo at the festival which opens the acoustic stage each day.https://www.youtube.com/embed/BLUE2jhgiXo?feature=oembed

Partial discography

Singles

  • “Simon Templer” / “Michael Booth’s Talking Bum” / “Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps Please” (Deram) – 1980 – UK Number 7
  • Two Little Boys” / “Horse” / “Sox” / “Butterfly” (Deram) – 1980 – UK Number 26
  • “Cowpunk Medlum” / “Brown Paper” / “Have You Got a Light Boy?” / “Morning Milky” – (Early copies came with a Flexi disc with “Yarmouth 5-0 (a parody of Hawaii 5-0) and Brown Paper (dub)) – (Deram) – 1981 – UK Number 69[6]

Studio albumsSplodgenessabounds (Deram) – 1981

In Search of the Seven Golden Gussets (Razor Records) – 1982 (as Splodge)

Nightmare on Rude Street[7] (Receiver) – 1991

I Don’t Know – 2000

The Artful Splodger – 2001[8]

DVD

  • Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps Please (Secret Records) – 2005

The Warriors South London
The band formed in late 1981 and recorded two tracks on compilation albums, did a couple of gigs and then Roi joined the 4-Skins, Arthur joined The Balham Alligators and that was that until a Last Resort reunion gig. An album was recorded but Roi owned the name, so we went back to The Warriors. The rest as they say is history. Out of the ashes of The Last Resort
The Warriors have been a front runner for the oi scene and with each album have stepped away from the Last Resort banner and have made a name for them self in the punk and oi scene
The Warriors are and always will be a non political band that stands for pride not prejudice 

A FIVE PIECE KICK ARSE BAND Genres Oi! Punk/Streetpunk. UK based in Kent originally from Herne Bay.

Oxblood New York City

Oxblood New York Oi!

Oxblood, The band started out in 1991.There was not much of an oi scene in New York city at the time. Some bands came and went until four die hards members, tired of no shows, no bands, but so much oi in their blood to start a band for themselves, and embark onto a journey that still continues today. A band that would go down and still is in the history of oi as the most infamous, angry, violent band around. In the beginning, the line-up consisted of Harry drums, Paul bass, Mac guitar, frank vocals. Harry left the band to pursue his tattooing career in 1994. Frank left right after that to pursue his Psychobilly band(TR6).So Mac jumped on vocals.Kev joined the band on drums in Febuary of ’96.After Frank’s departure of the band in ’94,he returned to his duties as the original vocalist in March of ’08. The current line up consist of Frank on vocals, Paul on bass, Kevin on guitar/drums and Alex (drums/guitar. Later frank moved to Texas. Despite this the rest of the band is still NYC. Aside from their big list of gigs that include European tours and all across the U..S. They still play underground shows . They also play a lot in Texas with Bobby on drums and Richard on guitars. In spite of their reputation, rumours and setbacks that they have encountered throughout the years, Oxblood is still alive and kicking. The gods of of oi are looking upon them and guiding them through thick & thin to the path of victory. “Hated & proud themes on our lyrics are a reflection of our everyday skinhead life in New York City. We sing about things we go through, like violence, being locked up, the New York Police Department, working by chance not by choice etc. Unlike other bands we don’t just sing about it, we actually live it. “We do many covers in our sets by bands like Criminal Class – soldier, Combat 84 – violence, Sham 69, 4skins, & other early oi French bands. Rose Tattoo-remedy etcCurrent lineup:vocals – Frankbass – Paulguitar – Richarddrums – Bobby Previous lineup:vocals – Frank/Macbass – Paulguitar – Mac, Alex, Dave, Joseph drums – Harry 

A band bogged by modern day internet inquisition for being a step back into old school Oi! which was a voice of the disenfranchised often violent youth culture of the 80’s. Although coming later, its bands like this that kept the fire burning as Skinhead subculture left the shores of Britain. From New York and have not played anywhere in Europe for over ten years and never UK

Judge Dread and his Seamen

 Judge Dread, was an English reggae and ska musician. He was the first white recording artist to have a reggae hit in Jamaica,[ and the BBC has banned more of his songs than those of any other recording artist, because of his frequent use of sexual innuendo and double entendres.”He sold several million albums throughout his 25-plus year career and was second only to Bob Marley in U.K. reggae sales during the 1970s”.[ Sadly Judge Dread died in 1998 , but was reincarnated in a beer hall in Germany and got his seamen together
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Geoffrey Oicott

Street punk band, Geoffrey Oi!Cott, formed in 2006, in Yorkshire UK.

“The myth goes – we were formed out of the Ashes of our local Boys Brigade brass band and were inspired by our love of Yorkshire, cricket, darts, women and beer OR Yorkshire, Yorkshire cricket, Yorkshire darts, Yorkshire women and Yorkshire beer – depending on who you ask.”

Their first album, The Good, The Bad & The Googly was released in 2008 to a fanfare of great reviews, including a review in porn mag Men Only.
The band toured UK and Ireland with Canadian hardcore outfit, Career Suicide that summer, before making their Rebellion debut in August 2009, their 1st of 11 consecutive appearances at Blackpool. They’ve also played the last two Rebellion Amsterdam festivals, plus a few appearances in Holland and Germany over the years. And plenty in the UK.

A second album, maybe their best, followed in August 2011. No One Hits like… LP was the last to feature the original line up, but included the walk-on music for darts player Garry Thompson, 2 times Lakeside quarter finalist, and the song got lots of BBC airtime, plus articles in National Newspapers.

August 2015 saw the release of their most recent LP, Sticky Wickets, and a 7” picture disk followed in August 2016, containing fans favourite song Fanny Batter On A Sticky Wicket.

Like most other bands the Covid pandemic put a halt to activity, but the lads were 2/3 of the way through recording their 4th innings, so at the end of 2021 sneaked into the studio to record 4 more songs and tidy up their new songs. Their 4th LP, “Carry On Oi!Cott”, is due for release in July 2022 on vinyl (CDs might be earlier, fingers crossed), and something resembling a tour is on the cards: Blackpool, Bramley, Bedford, Birkenhead, The Brudenell and Blackpool all confirmed. Maybe they’ll play other places not beginning with a ‘B’.

Discography:
Albums
The Good, The Bad & The Googly               2008
No One Hits like…                                                      2011
Sticky Wickets                                                            2015
Carry On Oi!Cott                                                        2022

Samira The soul of Ukraine

Samira has managed to escape Ukraine as a refugee

Samira is a singer from Ukraine with an amazing voice of soul. Previously fronting a band called the Kyviv all girl Ska Orchestra, but this concept band broke up two years ago, and with the outbreak of war Samira had to fight her way out of the country and into Romania as a refugee. We at Subcultz have been helping and supporting her and are now pleased to announce that she will be performing at the reunion this June, perfoming Ska and Soul tunes, a blend of her own work with some established dancehall bangers, in her unique style.

Samira singing with her previous band

The Skinflicks

The Skinflicks current members 2022

THE SKINFLICKS were founded after a hard drinking session in November 1997 with the mission statement to bring the sound of old English street punk and Oi! music to the streets of Luxembourg, Europe. The band soon found the sound they had been looking for and set out to conquer the world. The fun lasted until September 2002, when they decided to call it quits for a while.
Now, THE SKINFLICKS are back and bring their much-needed brand of traditional Oi-sounds to a stage near you!
The Skinflicks were Luxembourgs’ first and foremost Oi! and streetpunk band. Active from 1997 to 2002. (left to right on the picture:
Tom :guitar and backing vocals,
Laurent:drums
Jerome: Lead vocals and lead guitar
Patrick: bass and backing vocals).

Amaziah ‘ The girls of Jamaica’

Bringing you the genuine voice of Jamaica. Amaziah will be paying tribute to the ladies of Jamaican Ska and Rocksteady. Reaching number 6 in th UK Reggae charts in 2022 with her song ‘Pay your Dues’

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SKABOOZER UKRAINIAN FUNDRAISER, for Refugee women musicians escaping war

This event is to raise money for some of our girls trapped in Ukraine as the city came under attack. A few of the girls have escaped with just a bag of clothing, kids and a baby. Now homeless in mainland Europe, with an ever changing situation, we will be taking a van out to Europe directly after the event with much needed aid, size 8 girls clothes and meduim plus children and other essentials, please come to this event, have fun and do something, £10 tickets plus any donations you can do. This is very genuine i spoke to the girls as they were making their way to Romania with children and babies, they abandoned anything they couldnt carry and went by foot over the border to escape war. , bring along any donations of clothes, she asked for size 8 and medium, but all sizes will be donated to other girls. medical stuff, womens sanitary and animal supplies, everything is needed

Tickets available here

when i spoke to Samira last week she was being bombed as she was trying to escape Kyiv with some other girls, children and babies. for four days the girls struggled to make their way to the Romainian border. Some of the girls are still missing. We have arranged accomodation in Germany for the girls temporarily and hope to get them to UK. We at Subcultz were asked to be the agent for the previous Ska band the girls had formed, but had broken up prior to the war outbreak, we now plan to work with Samira to persue her singing career with UK musicians

IF YOU WISH TO DONATE MONEY YOU CAN USE FRIENDS AND FAMILY OPTION ON PAYPAL TO SUBCULTZ@GMAIL.COM (PLEASE PUT A NOTE -(UKRAINIAN CRISIS FUND). BANK TRANSFER PLEASE EMAIL US FOR DETAILS. IF YOU WISH TO DONATE CLOTHING MEDICAL, WOMENS AND BABIES PRODUCTS, ANIMAL FOOD PLEASE EMAIL SUBCULTZ@GMAIL.COM AND WE WILL LET YOU KNOW A COLLECTION DELIVERY POINT. ONCE THE VAN IS FULL WE LEAVE. PLEASE DROP PARCELS TO 131 VALLEY ROAD , PORTSLADE BN412TN IF YOU ARE IN UK. EUROPEAN PICK UP POINTS TO BE CONFIRMED

The girls and children sheltering under a road bridge from Russian bombers during the invasion of Kyiv
Some of the girls are still missing in Ukraine

This is the items badly needed, having spoken the Red Cross

Canned food – Pot noodles – Powder soup – Baby food – Nappies – Sanitary Products – Soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste – Power Banks and batteries – Small compact sleeping bags – PPE (overall, goggles, gloves, etc) – First Aid Kits. Women and childrens clothing, small toys, sweets, pushchairs, shampoos.

Please bring any of these items to our fundraising event or post/deliver to

Angie Larter 131 Valley Road, Portslade, Brighton, BN41 2TN

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Symarip Pyramid Jamaican Ska Legends

Symarip Pyramid are back, with original legends of Jamaican Ska. Monty Neysmith. Frank Pitter and Mick Thomas. Signed to Subcultz management the band set out for a few shows in 2019 , UK,  Spain, Belgium and Germany to sold out events after appearing at The Great Skinhead Reunion Brighton in 2018, which was meant to be a one off reunion for the band

Symarip Pyramid Mick Thomas, Monty Neysmith, Photo Symond Lawes 2019

Symarip (also known at various stages of their career as The BeesThe PyramidsSeven Letters and Zubaba) were a British ska and reggae band, originating in the late 1960s, when Frank Pitter and Michael Thomas founded the band as The Bees. The band’s name was originally spelled Simaryp, which is an approximate reversal of the word pyramids. Consisting of members from  West Indies  , Home of the legends of Jamaican Reggae Simaryp is widely marked as one of the first skinhead reggae bands, being one of the first to target skinheads as an audience. Their hits included “Skinhead Girl”, “Skinhead Jamboree” and “Skinhead Moonstomp“, the latter based on the Derrick Morgan song, “Moon Hop“.[2]

Symarip Pyramid Ltd edition 7″ Vinyl released on Subcultz Records

Landing as young immigrants into London from Jamaica in 1962 joining into the growing South London Reggae culture, spearheading the blending of black migrant and white London youth. Mods being the subculture of the time who followed RnB American Modern Jazz before the Skinheads replaced them towards the late 60’s, the band formed as the Bees to back leading singers Prince Buster and Laural Aitkin

Releasing the first and only pure Skinhead Reggae concept album Skinhead Moonstomp in 1970 with Trojan records

Symarip: Skinhead Moonstomp | Hi-Fi News
Skinhead Moonstomp Released on Trojan Records 1970.

They moved to Germany in 1971, performing reggae and Afro-rock under the name Zubaba. In 1980, the single “Skinhead Moonstomp” was re-issued in the wake of the 2 Tone craze, hitting No. 54 on the UK Singles Chart. The band officially split in 1985 after releasing the album Drunk & Disorderly as The Pyramids. The album was released by Ariola Records and was produced by Stevie B.

Pitter and Ellis moved back to England, where Ellis continued performing as a solo artist, sometimes using the stage name ‘Mr. Symarip’. Mike Thomas met a Finnish woman while living in Switzerland and relocated to Finland doing the groundwork for the Finnish reggae culture through his band ‘Mike T. Saganor’. Monty Neysmith moved to the United States, where he toured as a solo artist.

In 2004, Trojan Records released a best of album including a new single by Neysmith and Ellis, “Back From the Moon”. In 2005, Neysmith and Ellis performed together at Club Ska in England, and a recording of the concert was released on Moon Ska Records as Symarip – Live at Club Ska. In April 2008, they headlined the Ska Splash Festival in Lincolnshire as Symarip, and later performed at the Endorse-It and Fordham Festivals. Pitter and Thomas now perform in a different band as Symarip Pyramid. Their Back From The Moon Tour 2008–2009 was with The Pioneers. In 2009, to celebrate the rebirth of the band and the reunion of the two original members, Trojan Records released a compilation album, Ultimate Collection. Pitter holds all copyright and trademark rights for the name ‘Symarip Pyramid’.

To book the band and any further information subcultz@gmail.com

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The Crombie overcoat

The Winter Hero: From The Chesterfield to The Crombie

The hero of Winter dressing will always be the overcoat. Warm, luxurious and thoroughly practical, a beautifully tailored overcoat gives any wearer an air of stature and style.

What is an overcoat? Not to be confused with a topcoat, an overcoat is a tailored coat which is traditionally knee-length or longer. Made from a warm, heavyweight cloth, such as wool or a wool/cashmere blend, they can be either single or double-breasted. They usually feature a single rear vent.

The overcoat has been a key part of a gentleman’s wardrobe since it was invented in the late 18th century. They were often worn as formalwear to represent the wearer’s social status or as part of their uniform, both professional and military. The style of the overcoat hasn’t changed much since then, apart from some very subtle changes made according to whatever the trends are at the time.

18th century crombie 1

It was, for instance, very fashionable during the Regency period to wear form-fitting clothes, subsequently, the overcoats of the time were worn closely fitted to the body; usually double-breasted in style, with waist seams and a flared skirt. As the popularity of the overcoat grew and it became available to the working classes, the silhouette became looser, so as to accommodate their lifestyle.

There are several styles of overcoat, all variations similar but subtlety different.

The first I draw attention to is the Chesterfield. It became fashionable in the 19th century. It is said that the Earl of Chesterfield had this style of coat made by his tailor. But, whether he is actually the creator of the Chesterfield is debatable, purely because the similarity of it to other coats. The coat is available both in single-breasted and double-breasted. Quite often made in a woollen cloth with a herringbone pattern. It usually has a fly front and is knee-length or slightly longer. Some will have slanted flap pockets like a hacking jacket, including possibly a ticket pocket, and a welt pocket on the chest.

2 chesterfield.crombie 2

Another style is one that is not mentioned a great deal these days and owes it’s look and use to the Military. Called the British Warm, this coat is made of thick Melton wool like the Pea Coat. It has epaulettes and is double-breasted. Usually two flap pockets, and no ticket pocket. There is also a variant of this coat that usually comes in Cashmere. This one is usually longer and is similar in style to the Trench Coats that officers wore in WW1.

Next, we come to another variant, and that is one called The Covert. This coat is quite similar in style to The Chesterfield. It is slim-fitting, sits above the knee, and although has features in common with the Chesterfield, such as a fly front, the same pockets, such as the three flap pockets, and a chest welt pocket, and the inclusion of a velvet collar. It is the twill fabric, and the fact it can be worn all year round makes it popular. Originally it was a hunting or riding coat. On the inside of it, there is usually another large pocket level with the thigh, which was usually used for provisions or ammunition. So quite possibly that’s the reason why so many old-style “Gangsters” used to like wearing them.

Lastly, we come to the one style that has become well known especially in the UK, and that is The Crombie. Although in regards of style it has been around since the end of the 18th century. The brand Crombie didn’t produce coats of it own until as recently 1985. Crombie was essentially a fabric manufacturer, and their woollen mill was established in 1805 by John Crombie in Aberdeen, where it was able to produce a high-quality woollen fabric. John saw that it was good business to sell these fabrics they made directly to tailors, as well as other merchants.

By the mid 19th century its fabrics had become not only fashionable on Savile Row, but we’re being exported on a global scale. During the American Civil War, for example, Crombie’s booming business was able to provide the grey cloth used to uniform the Confederate Army, all while markets in Canada, Japan and Russia were getting well established, and all by the turn of the 20th century.

Crombie produced hundreds of miles of cloth for blankets and uniforms during both world wars. Between them, the Crombie family sold the business to Salts – a company named in honour of the entrepreneurial Yorkshireman Titus Salt, who built Saltaire and popularised alpaca. In 1958 Salts was subsumed into the Illingworth Morris empire, and later inherited by Pamela Mason, the ex-wife of James Mason. During the 1980s the group was acquired by Alan Lewis, the Conservative Party’s vice-chairman for business.

Skinheads at Piccadilly Circus London 1980. photo by Gavin Watson

Under Lewis, Crombie’s emphasis shifted: in 1985 the first Crombie-branded collection of coats and other wares were produced, and in the early 1990s production moved to Yorkshire. The collection of Crombie branded clothes is still going strong – garments include plenty of City and skinhead-friendly covert style coats, and what we would term The English Town overcoat. Which is tailored from thick woollen cloth.

There are different variations of this coat, and many other brands often do their own versions. Next for instance do a Crombie style coat called an Epsom. But, where it differs from the Crombie, is that it doesn’t have the welt pocket on the left chest. Any well dressed Mod, Skinhead or Suedehead, would be frustrated by this missing detail, I am sure. But for the chap who wants a coat to go to the races, or work in the city. It isn’t a bad coat. All of these coats do their job. They serve their purpose and keep their wearer clean and dry. So whether you are a Russian Spy, a Gangster, a Banker or a racing enthusiast, or just an average Joe. There is always an overcoat worth getting, and they always look smart and are perfect for when things get a bit chilly.

Top Image from Sunday Times Magazine (1971)

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Northern Irish Punk Rocker attacked in Berlin

Lead singer and Bass player of Mister Lizard. My very good friend and best friend of my sons was bashed by 5 guys with knuckle dusters last night in Berlin in Friedrichshain area. Completely Unprovoked attack other than him being a punk, and them casuals. He is a Northern Irish Punk, who cant speak German, and one of the nicest people I know

Adam was out with a few friends, when he was approached by an aggressive German who seemed to have a problem with Adams appearance, but not understanding the verbal confrontation Adam tried to communicate, but was then set upon by another four attackers armed with Knuckledusters

We believe the attackers could have been in Berlin in connection to a huge demonstration the following day 1st August 2020

“We left a bar and walked around the corner and a guy started shouting at us but we ignored them, then he ran up to us and I turned around and that’s when his friend hit me with the knuckleduster, screaming Antifa scum. His associates then joined in fully armed in an unprovoked ferocious attack, leaving Adam unconscious with severe head wounds.

Adam is the singer and bass player with his band Mister Lizard and has only recently moved to Berlin to play in the active Punk music scene of the city. Also a lighting tech for bands that include Slipknot. He has no political ties, but was wearing a small crossed out swastika badge on his hat, very commonly worn by punks ever since the 1970’s.

Mister Lizard singer Adam McConville attacked with Knuckledusters in Berlin

Berlin Police were called but were not interested in persuing any form of investigation. However we are appealing to anyone with information to contact us. This is an attack once again on our subculture. Most young people that get involved in subculture will at some point come up against bigotry and abuse, sometimes turning violent like the tragic case of Sophie Lancaster killed for being a Goth.

Mister Lizard Live in Leeds
https://www.facebook.com/misterlizardnoise/
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Life for the ‘feral thugs’ who killed a girl Goth Sophie Lancaster

A JUDGE attacked the “feral thuggery” blighting Britain yesterday as he jailed two yobs for life for the murder of a student.

SOPHIE Kicked to death in a park after being picked on by a gang because of her Goth clothing

SOPHIE: Kicked to death in a park after being picked on by a gang because of her Goth clothing

Sophie Lancaster, 20, was kicked to death by two drunken 15-year-olds as she tried to stop a “merciless” gang battering her boyfriend unconscious in a park.

Three other youths were jailed for assaulting him.

Judge Anthony Russell QC said tough sentences were necessary to curb increasing attacks by youths roaming the streets.

Fuelled by cheap alcohol, a gang of yobs set upon Sophie and 21-year-old Robert Maltby just because they wore distinctive Goth clothing.

Judge Russell said: “This was feral thuggery of a kind that is quite unacceptable. It raises serious questions about the state of society which exists in this country at the beginning of a new millennium which was heralded with such optimism.”

He added: “At least wild animals when they hunt as a pack have a legitimate reason for doing so – to obtain food. You had none and your behaviour on this night degrades humanity itself.

“Regrettably, cases where gangs of youths attack others viciously, sometimes using weapons, sometimes using their own brute force through their feet, are becoming more prevalent.

“Where such crimes are proved, severe punishment will follow.

“I want the message to go out loud and clear that cowardly thugs who resort to kicking others senseless are sentencing themselves to lengthy custodial terms.”

Preston Crown Court heard how Sophie and Robert were attacked last August as they walked home through Stubbylee Park in Bacup, Lancs.

Brendan Harris, 15, felled Robert with a punch before the others set upon him “like a pack of wild animals”.

Harris told how – as Sophie cradled Robert on the ground and urged them to stop – Ryan Herbert, also 15 at the time, kicked Sophie’s head “as though he was volleying a football in full flight”.

The pair continued to stamp on her head before leaving the couple for dead.

Their injuries were so severe that paramedics could not tell them apart.

After the attack the gang bumped into a witness, who said they were behaving in a “giddy way, hyperactive and bouncing around doing silly things”.

He added: “It was as though they were boasting about what they had done.”

Herbert told him: “You wanna see them, they are a right mess.”

Sophie, a gap-year English degree student who enjoyed writing poetry, slipped into a coma and died two weeks later.

Robert, a Manchester University art student, survived horrific head injuries. But he has been left psychologically scarred and is afraid to leave his house.

In a statement he told the court: “I have regressed to a child-like state and I am finding the world a terrifying place.”

Sophie’s mother Sylvia, 52, told the court: “Their actions are so heinous I can’t bring myself to think about it.

“My daughter’s last moments on Earth must have been a living hell. Not only did she witness Robert being kicked and stamped upon, but she died not knowing whether Robert lived or died after the vicious attack on him.”

Harris, who was found guilty of murder, was jailed for life and must serve 18 years before he can be considered for parole.

Herbert, now 16, who admitted murder, was given life with a minimum of 16 years, three months. Neither showed any emotion as they were led away.

Joseph Hulme, 17, his brother Danny Hulme, 16, and Daniel Mallet, 17, were handed indeterminate sentences after admitting causing grievous bodily harm with intent by attacking Robert.

The Hulmes must serve a minimum five years and ten months each. Mallet must serve at least four years and four months.

Outside court, Mrs Lancaster, who works with problem children, said: “No sentence could ever be enough.

“I feel I have a life sentence. They will be out before the end of their 30s.”

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The White Negro (Fall 1957)

Norman Mailer’s inflammatory 1957 essay on the original “hipsters.”Norman Mailer June 20, 2007

Norman Mailer and Jimmy Breslin conceding defeat after Mailer’s 1969 mayoral campaign. Photo © Mitchell Cohen (all rights reserved).
Norman Mailer and Jimmy Breslin conceding defeat after Mailer’s 1969 mayoral campaign. Photo © Mitchell Cohen (all rights reserved).

Norman Mailer ran in the Democratic primaries for mayor of New York City in 1969 with journalist Jimmy Breslin as his running mate (Breslin sought the nomination for President of the City Council). Their program called for New York City to secede from the state of New York. Political power was to devolve to the city’s neighborhoods. The Mailer-Breslin slogan was “The Other Guys are the Joke.” Dissent published many of Mailer’s controversial articles, including “The White Negro” (Fall 1957), which is reprinted below, and Mailer served on Dissent’s editorial board for more than three decades. The photograph above was taken by a seventeen-year-old campaign worker who had then never heard of Dissent, Mitchell Cohen, who now co-edits the magazine. Mailer died November 10th at the age of 84.

The White Negro

Superficial Reflections on the Hipster

Our search for the rebels of the generation led us to the hipster. The hipster is an enfant terrible turned inside out. In character with his time, he is trying to get back at the conformists by lying low. . . . You can’t interview a hipster because his main goal is to keep out of a society which, he thinks, trying to make everyone over in its own image. He takes marijuana because it supplies him with experiences that can’t be shared with “squares.” He may affect a broad-brimmed hat or a zoot suit, but usually he prefers to skulk unmarked. The hipster may be a jazz musician; he is rarely an artist, almost never a writer. He may earn his living as a petty criminal, a hobo, a carnival roustabout or a free-lance moving man in Greenwich Village, but some hipsters have found a safe refuge in the upper income brackets as television comics or movie actors. (The late James Dean, for one, was a hipster hero.) . . . it is tempting to describe the hipster in psychiatric terms as infantile, but the style of his infantilism is a sign of the times, he does not try to enforce his will on others, Napoleon-fashion, but contents himself with a magical omnipotence never disproved because never tested. . . . As the only extreme nonconformist of his generation, he exercises a powerful if underground appeal for conformists, through newspaper accounts of his delinquencies, his structureless jazz, and his emotive grunt words.—“Born 1930: The Unlost Generation” by Caroline Bird, Harper’s Bazaar, Feb. 1957

american Hipsters 1950’s

Probably, we will never be able to determine the psychic havoc of the concentration camps and the atom bomb upon the unconscious mind of almost everyone alive in these years. For the first time in civilized history, perhaps for the first time in all of history, we have been forced to live with the suppressed knowledge that the smallest facets of our personality or the most minor projection of our ideas, or indeed the absence of ideas and the absence of personality could mean equally well that we might still be doomed to die as a cipher in some vast statistical operation in which our teeth would be counted, and our hair would be saved, but our death itself would be unknown, unhonored, and unremarked, a death which could not follow with dignity as a possible consequence to serious actions we had chosen, but rather a death by deus ex machina in a gas chamber or a radioactive city; and so if in the midst of civilization—that civilization founded upon the Faustian urge to dominate nature by mastering time, mastering the links of social cause and effect—in the middle of an economic civilization founded upon the confidence that time could indeed be subjected to our will, our psyche was subjected itself to the intolerable anxiety that death being causeless, life was causeless as well, and time deprived of cause and effect had come to a stop.

The Second World War presented a mirror to the human condition which blinded anyone who looked into it. For if tens of millions were killed in concentration camps out of the inexorable agonies and contractions of super-states founded upon the always insoluble contradictions of injustice, one was then obliged also to see that no matter how crippled and perverted an image of man was the society he had created, it wits nonetheless his creation, his collective creation (at least his collective creation from the past) and if society was so murderous, then who could ignore the most hideous of questions about his own nature?

Worse. One could hardly maintain the courage to be individual, to speak with one’s own voice, for the years in which one could complacently accept oneself as part of an elite by being a radical were forever gone. A. man knew that when he dissented, he gave a note upon his life which could be called in any year of overt crisis. No wonder then that these have been the years of conformity and depression. A stench of fear has come out of every pore of American life, and we suffer from a collective failure of nerve. The only courage, with rare exceptions, that we have been witness to, has been the isolated courage of isolated people.

II
It is on this bleak scene that a phenomenon has appeared: the American existentialist—the hipster, the man who knows that if our collective condition is to live with instant death by atomic war, relatively quick death by the State as l’univers concentrationnaire, or with a slow death by conformity with every creative and rebellious instinct stifled (at what damage to the mind and the heart and the liver and the nerves no research foundation for cancer will discover in a hurry) , if the fate of twentieth century man is to live with death from adolescence to premature senescence, why then the only life-giving answer is to accept the terms of death, to live with death as immediate danger, to divorce oneself from society, to exist without roots, to set out on that uncharted journey into the rebellious imperatives of the self. In short, whether the life is criminal or not, the decision is to encourage the psychopath in oneself, to explore that domain of experience where security is boredom and therefore sickness, and one exists in the present, in that enormous present which is without past or future, memory or planned intention, the life where a man must go until he is beat, where he must gamble with his energies through all those small or large crises of courage and unforeseen situations which beset his day, where he must be with it or doomed not to swing. The unstated essence of Hip, its psychopathic brilliance, quivers with the knowledge that new kinds of victories increase one’s power for new kinds of perception; and defeats, the wrong kind of defeats, attack the body and imprison one’s energy until one is jailed in the prison air of other people’s habits, other people’s defeats, boredom, quiet desperation, and muted icy self-destroying rage. One is Hip or one is Square (the alternative which each new generation coming into American life is beginning to feel) one is a rebel or one conforms, one is a frontiersman in the Wild West of American night life, or else a Square cell, trapped in the totalitarian tissues of American society, doomed willy-nilly to conform if one is to succeed.

Jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong signs autographs in the Blue Note nightclub in Chicago in 1948.

A totalitarian society makes enormous demands on the courage of men, and a partially totalitarian society makes even greater demands for the general anxiety is greater. Indeed if one is to be a man, almost any kind of unconventional action often takes disproportionate courage. So it is no accident that the source of Hip is the Negro for he has been living on the margin between totalitarianism and democracy for two centuries. But the presence of Hip as a working philosophy in the sub-worlds of American life is probably due to jazz, and its knife-like entrance into culture, its subtle but so penetrating influence on an avant-garde generation—that post-war generation of adventurers who (some consciously, some by osmosis) had absorbed the lessons of disillusionment and disgust of the Twenties, the Depression, and the War. Sharing a collective disbelief in the words of men who had too much money and controlled too many things, they knew almost as powerful a disbelief in the socially monolithic ideas of the single mate, the solid family and the respectable love life. If the intellectual antecedents of this generation can be traced to such separate influences as D. H. Lawrence, Henry Miller, and Wilhelm Reich, the viable philosophy of Hemingway fits most of their facts: in a bad world, as he was to say over and over again (while taking time out from his parvenu snobbery and dedicated gourmandise), in a bad world there is no love nor mercy nor charity nor justice unless a man can keep his courage, and this indeed fitted some of the facts. What fitted the need of the adventurer even more precisely was Hemingway’s categorical imperative that what made him feel good became therefore The Good.

So no wonder that in certain cities of America, in New York of course, and New Orleans, in Chicago and San Francisco and Los Angeles, in such American cities as Paris and Mexico, D.F., this particular part of a generation was attracted to what the Negro had to offer. In such places as Greenwich Village, a ménage-à-trois was completed—the bohemian and the juvenile delinquent came face-to-face with the Negro, and the hipster was a fact in American life. If marijuana was the wedding ring, the child was the language of Hip for its argot gave expression to abstract states of feeling which all could share, at least all who were Hip. And in this wedding of the white and the black it was the Negro who brought the cultural dowry. Any Negro who wishes to live must live with danger from his first day, and no experience can ever be casual to him, no Negro can saunter down a street with any real certainty that violence will not visit him on his walk. The cameos of security for the average white: mother and the home, lob and the family, are not even a mockery to millions of Negroes; they are impossible. The Negro has the simplest of alternatives: live a life of constant humility or ever-threatening danger. In such a pass where paranoia is as vital to survival as blood, the Negro had stayed alive and begun to grow by following the need of his body where he could. Knowing in the cells of his existence that life was war, nothing but war, the Negro (all exceptions admitted) could rarely afford the sophisticated inhibitions of civilization, and so he kept for his survival the art of the primitive, he lived in the enormous present, he subsisted for his Saturday night kicks, relinquishing the pleasures of the mind for the more obligatory pleasures of the body, and in his music he gave voice to the character and quality of his existence, to his rage and the infinite variations of joy, lust, languor, growl, cramp, pinch, scream and despair of his orgasm. For jazz is orgasm, it is the music of orgasm, good orgasm and bad, and so it spoke across a nation, it had the communication of art even where it was watered, perverted, corrupted, and almost killed, it spoke in no matter what laundered popular way of instantaneous existential states to which some whites could respond, it was indeed a communication by art because it said, “I feel this, and now you do too.”

So there was a new breed of adventurers, urban adventurers who drifted out at night looking for action with a black man’s code to fit their facts. The hipster had absorbed the existentialist synapses of the Negro, and for practical purposes could be considered a white Negro.

To be an existentialist, one must be able to feel oneself—one must know one’s desires, one’s rages, one’s anguish, one must be aware of the character of one’s frustration and know what would satisfy it. The over-civilized man can be an existentialist only if it is chic, and deserts it quickly for the next chic. To be a real existentialist (Sartre admittedly to the contrary) one must be religious, one must have one’s sense of the “purpose”—whatever the purpose may be—but a life which is directed by one’s faith in the necessity of action is a life committed to the notion that the substratum of existence is the search, the end meaningful but mysterious; it is impossible to live such a life unless one’s emotions provide their profound conviction. Only the French, alienated beyond alienation from their unconscious could welcome an existential philosophy without ever feeling it at all; indeed only a Frenchman by declaring that the unconscious did not exist could then proceed to explore the delicate involutions of consciousness, the microscopically sensuous and all but ineffable frissons of mental becoming, in order finally to create the theology of atheism and so submit that in a world of absurdities the existential absurdity is most coherent.

Beatnik Bongos

In the dialogue between the atheist and the mystic, the atheist is on the side of life, rational life, undialectical life—since he conceives of death as emptiness, he can, no matter how weary or despairing, wish for nothing but more life; his pride is that he does not transpose his weakness and spiritual fatigue into a romantic longing for death, for such appreciation of death is then all too capable of being elaborated by his imagination into a universe of meaningful structure and moral orchestration.

Yet this masculine argument can mean very little for the mystic. The mystic can accept the atheist’s description of his weakness, he can agree that his mysticism was a response to despair. And yet . . . and yet his argument is that he, the mystic, is the one finally who has chosen to live with death, and so death is his experience and not the atheist’s, and the atheist by eschewing the limitless dimensions of profound despair has rendered himself incapable to judge the experience. The real argument which the mystic must always advance is the very intensity of his private vision—his argument depends from the vision precisely because what was felt in the vision is so extraordinary that no rational argument, no hypotheses of ‘oceanic feelings” and certainly no skeptical reductions can explain away what has become for him the reality more real than the reality of closely reasoned logic. His inner experience of the possibilities within death is his logic. So, too, for the existentialist. And the psychopath. And the saint and the bullfighter and the lover. The common denominator for all of them is their burning consciousness of the present, exactly that incandescent consciousness which the possibilities within death has opened for them. There is a depth of desperation to the condition which enables one to remain in life only by engaging death, but the reward is their knowledge that what is happening at each instant of the electric present is good or bad for them, good or bad for their cause, their love, their action, their need.

It is this knowledge which provides the curious community of feeling in the world of the hipster, a muted cool religious revival to be sure, but the element which is exciting, disturbing, nightmarish perhaps, is that incompatibles have come to bed, the inner life and the violent life, the orgy and the dream of love, the desire to murder and the desire to create, a dialectical conception of existence with a lust for power, a dark, romantic, and yet undeniably dynamic view of existence for it sees every man and woman as moving individually through each moment of life forward into growth or backward into death.

III
It may be fruitful to consider the hipster a philosophical psychopath, a man interested not only in the dangerous imperatives of his psychopathy but in codifying, at least for himself, the suppositions on which his inner universe is constructed. By this premise the hipster is a psychopath, and yet not a psychopath but the negation of the psychopath for he possesses the narcissistic detachment of the philosopher, that absorption in the recessive nuances of one’s own motive which is so alien to the unreasoning drive of the psychopath. In this country where new millions of psychopaths are developed each year, stamped with the mint of our contradictory popular culture (where sex is sin and yet sex is paradise), it is as if there has been room already for the development of the antithetical psychopath who extrapolates from his own condition, from the inner certainty that his rebellion is just, a radical vision of the universe which thus separates him from the general ignorance, reactionary prejudice, and self-doubt of the more conventional psychopath. Having converted his unconscious experience into much conscious knowledge, the hipster has shifted the focus of his desire from immediate gratification toward that wider passion for future power which is the mark of civilized man. Yet with an irreducible difference. For Hip is the sophistication of the wise primitive in a giant jungle, and so its appeal is still beyond the civilized man. If there are ten million Americans who are more or less psychopathic (and the figure is most modest) there are probably not more than one hundred thousand men and women who consciously see themselves as hipsters, but their importance is that they are an elite with the potential ruthlessness of an elite, and a language most adolescents can understand instinctively for the hipster’s intense view of existence matches their experience and their desire to rebel.

Before one can say more about the hipster, there is obviously much to be said about the psychic state of the psychopath—or, clinically, the psychopathic personality. Now, for reasons which may be more curious than the similarity of the words, even many people with a psychoanalytical orientation often confuse the psychopath with the psychotic. Yet the terms are polar. The psychotic is legally insane, the psychopath is not; the psychotic is almost always incapable of discharging in physical acts the rage of his frustration, while the psychopath at his extreme is virtually as incapable of restraining his violence. The psychotic lives in so misty a world that what is happening at each moment of his life is not very real to him whereas the psychopath seldom knows any reality greater than the face, the voice, the being of the particular people among whom he may find himself at any moment. Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck describe him as follows:

The psychopath . . . can be distinguished from the person sliding into or clambering out of a true psychotic state by the long tough persistence of his anti-social attitude and behaviour and the absence of hallucinations, delusions, manic flight of ideas, confusion, disorientation, and other dramatic signs of psychosis.

The late Robert Lindner, one of the few experts on the subject, in his book Rebel Without A Cause—The Hypnoanalysis of a Criminal Psychopath presented part of his definition in this way:

. . . the psychopath is a rebel without a cause, an agitator without a slogan, a revolutionary without a program: in other words, his rebelliousness is aimed to achieve goals satisfactory to himself alone; lie is incapable of exertions for the sake of others. All his efforts, hidden under no matter what disguise, represent investments designed to satisfy his immediate wishes and desires
. . . The psychopath, like the child, cannot delay the pleasures of gratification; and tins trait is one of his underlying, universal characteristics. He cannot wait upon erotic gratification which convention demands should be preceded by the chase before the kill: he must rape. He cannot wait upon the development of prestige in society: his egoistic ambitions lead him to leap into headlines by daring performances. Like a red thread the predominance of this mechanism for immediate satisfaction runs through the history of every psychopath. It explains not only his behavior but also the violent nature of his acts.

Yet even Lindner who was the most imaginative and most sympathetic of the psychoanalysts who have studied the psychopathic personality was not ready to project himself into the essential sympathy— which is that the psychopath may indeed be the perverted and dangerous front-runner of a new kind of personality which could become the central expression of human nature before the twentieth century is over. For the psychopath is better adapted to dominate those mutually contradictory inhibitions upon violence and love which civilization has exacted of us, and if it be remembered that not every psychopath is an extreme case, and that the condition of psychopathy is present in a host of people including many politicians, professional soldiers, newspaper columnists, entertainers, artists, jazz musicians, call-girls, promiscuous homosexuals and half the executives of Hollywood, television, and advertising, it can be seen that there are aspects of psychopathy which already exert considerable cultural influence.

What characterizes almost every psychopath and part-psychopath is that they are trying to create a new nervous system for themselves. Generally we are obliged to act with a nervous system which has been formed from infancy, and which carries in the style of its circuits the very contradictions of our parents and our early milieu. Therefore, we are obliged, most of us, to meet the tempo of the present and the future with reflexes and rhythms which come from the past. It is not only the “dead weight of the institutions of the past” but indeed the inefficient and often antiquated nervous circuits of the past which strangle our potentiality for responding to new possibilities which might be exciting for our individual growth.

Through most of modern history, “sublimation” was possible: at the expense of expressing only a small portion of oneself, that small portion could be expressed intensely. But sublimation depends on a reasonable tempo to history. If the collective life of a generation has moved too quickly, the “past” by which particular men and women of that generation may function is not, let us say, thirty years old, but relatively a hundred or two hundred years old. And so the nervous system is overstressed beyond the possibility of such compromises as sublimation, especially since the stable middle-class values so prerequisite to sublimation have been virtually destroyed in our time, at least as nourishing values free of confusion or doubt. In such a crisis of accelerated historical tempo and deteriorated values, neurosis tends to be replaced by psychopathy, and the success of psychoanalysis (which even ten years ago gave promise of becoming a direct major force) diminishes because of its inbuilt and characteristic incapacity to handle patients more complex, more experienced, or more adventurous than the analyst himself. In practice, psychoanalysis has by now become all too often no more than a psychic blood-letting. The patient is not so much changed as aged, and the infantile fantasies which he is encouraged to express are condemned to exhaust themselves against the analyst’s non-responsive reactions. The result for all too many patients is a diminution, a “tranquilizing” of their most interesting qualities and vices. The patient is indeed not so much altered as worn out—less bad, less good, less bright, less willful, less destructive, less creative. He is thus able to conform to that contradictory and unbearable society which first created his neurosis. He can conform to what he loathes because he no longer has the passion to feel loathing so intensely.

The psychopath is notoriously difficult to analyze because the fundamental decision of his nature is to try to live the infantile fantasy, and in this decision (given the dreary alternative of psychoanalysis) there may be a certain instinctive wisdom. For there is a dialectic to changing one’s nature, the dialectic which underlies all psychoanalytic method: it is the knowledge that if one is to change one’s habits, one must go back to the source of their creation, and so the psychopath exploring backward along the road of the homosexual, the orgiast, the drug-addict, the rapist, the robber and the murderer seeks to find those violent parallels to the violent and often hopeless contradictions he knew as an infant and as a child. For if he has the courage to meet the parallel situation at the moment when he is ready, then he has a chance to act as he has never acted before, and in satisfying the frustration—if he can succeed—he may then pass by symbolic substitute through the locks of incest. In thus giving expression to the buried infant in himself, he can lessen the tension of those infantile desires and so free himself to remake a bit of his nervous system. Like the neurotic he is looking for the opportunity to grow up a second time, but the psychopath knows
instinctively that to express a forbidden impulse actively is far more beneficial to him than merely to confess the desire in the safety of a doctor’s room. The psychopath is ordinately ambitious, too ambitious ever to trade his warped brilliant conception of his possible victories in life for the grim if peaceful attrition of the analyst’s couch. So his associational journey into the past is lived out in the theatre of the present, and he exists for those charged situations where his senses are so alive that he can be aware actively (as the analysand is aware passively) of what his habits are, and how he can change them. The strength of the psychopath is that he knows (where most of us can only guess) what is good for him and what is bad for him at exactly those instants when an old crippling habit has become so attacked by experience that the potentiality exists to change it, to replace a negative and empty fear with an outward action, even if—and here I obey the logic of the extreme psychopath—even if the fear is of himself, and the action is to murder. The psychopath murders—if he has the courage—out of the necessity to purge his violence, for if he cannot empty his hatred then he cannot love, his being is frozen with implacable self-hatred for his cowardice. (It can of course be suggested that it takes little courage for two strong eighteen-year old hoodlums, let us say, to beat in the brains of a candy-store keeper, and indeed the act—even by the logic of the psychopath—is not likely to prove very therapeutic for the victim is not an immediate equal. Still, courage of a sort is necessary, for one murders not only a weak fifty-year old man but an institution as well, one violates private property, one enters into a new relation with the police and introduces a dangerous element into one’s life. The hoodlum is therefore daring the unknown, and so no matter how brutal the act it is not altogether cowardly)

At bottom, the drama of the psychopath is that he seeks love. Not love as the search for a mate, but love as the search for an orgasm more apocalyptic than the one which preceded it. Orgasm is his therapy— he knows at the seed of his being that good orgasm opens his possibilities and bad orgasm imprisons him. But in this search, the psychopath becomes an embodiment of the extreme contradictions of the society which formed his character, and the apocalyptic orgasm often remains as remote as the Holy Grail, for there are clusters and nests and ambushes of violence in his own necessities and in the imperatives and retaliations of the men and women among whom he lives his life, so that even as he drains his hatred in one act or another, so the conditions of his life create it anew in him until the drama of his movements bears a sardonic resemblance to the frog who climbed a few feet in the well only to drop back again.

Yet there is this to be said for the search after the good orgasm: when one lives in a civilized world, and still can enjoy none of the cultural nectar of such a world because the paradoxes on which civilization is built demands that there remain a cultureless and alienated bottom of exploitable human material, then the logic of becoming a sexual outlaw (if one’s psychological roots are bedded in the bottom)
is that one has at least a running competitive chance to be physically healthy so long as one stays alive. It is therefore no accident that psychopathy is most prevalent with the Negro. Hated from outside and therefore hating himself, the Negro was forced into the position of exploring all those moral wildernesses of civilized life which the Square automatically condemns as delinquent or evil or immature or morbid or self-destructive or corrupt. (Actually the terms have equal weight. Depending on the telescope of the cultural clique from which the Square surveys the universe, “evil” or “immature” are equally strong terms of condemnation.) But the Negro, not being privileged to gratify his self-esteem with the heady satisfactions of categorical condemnation, chose to move instead in that other direction where all situations are equally valid, and in the worst of perversion, promiscuity, pimpery, drug addiction, rape, razor-slash, bottle-break, what-have-you, the Negro discovered and elaborated a morality of the bottom, an ethical differentiation between the good and the bad in every human activity from the go-getter pimp (as opposed to the lazy one) to the relatively dependable pusher or prostitute. Add to this, the cunning of their language, the abstract ambiguous alternatives in which from the danger of their oppression they learned to speak (“Well. now, man, like I’m looking for a cat to turn me on ..“), add even more the profound sensitivity of the Negro jazzman who was the cultural mentor of a people, and it is not too difficult to believe that the language of Hip which evolved was an artful language, tested and shaped by an intense experience and therefore different in kind from white slang, as different as the special obscenity of the soldier which in its emphasis upon “ass” as the soul and “shit” as circumstance, was able to express the existential states of the enlisted man. What makes Hip a special language is that it cannot really be taught—if one shares none of the experiences of elation and exhaustion which it is equipped to describe, then it seems merely arch or vulgar or irritating. It is a pictorial language, but pictorial like non-objective art, imbued with the dialectic of small but intense change, a language for the microcosm, in this case, man, for it takes the immediate experiences of any passing man and magnifies the dynamic of his movements, not specifically but abstractly so that he is seen more as a vector in a network of forces than as a static character in a crystallized field. (Which, latter, is the practical view of the snob.) For example, there is real difficulty in trying to find a Hip substitute for “stubborn.” The best possibility I can come up with is: “That cat will never come off his groove, dad.” But groove implies movement, narrow movement but motion nonetheless. There is really no way to describe someone who does not move at all. Even a creep does move—if at a pace exasperatingly more slow than the pace of the cool cats.

IV
Like children, hipsters are fighting for the sweet, and their language is a set of subtle indications of their success or failure in the competition for pleasure. Unstated but obvious is the social sense that there is not nearly enough sweet for everyone. And so the sweet goes only to the victor, the best, the most, the man who knows the most about how to find his energy and how not to lose it. The emphasis is on energy because the psychopath and the hipster are nothing without it since they do not have the protection of a position or a class to rely on when they have overextended themselves. So the language of Hip is a language of energy, how it is found, how it is lost.

But let us see. I have jotted down perhaps a dozen words, the Hip perhaps most in use and most likely to last with the minimum of variation. The words are man, go, put down, make, beat, cool, swing, with it, crazy, dig, flip, creep, hip, square. They serve a variety of purposes, and the nuance of the voice uses the nuance of the situation to convey the subtle contextual difference. If the hipster moves through his night and through his life on a constant search with glimpses of Mecca in many a turn of his experience (Mecca being the apocalyptic orgasm) and if everyone in the civilized world is at least in some small degree a sexual cripple the hipster lives with the knowledge of how lie is sexually crippled and where he is sexually alive, and the faces of experience which life presents to him each day are engaged, dismissed or avoided as his need directs and his lifemanship makes possible. For life is a contest between people in which the victor generally recuperates quickly and the loser takes long to mend, a perpetual competition of colliding explorers in which one must grow or else pay more for remaining the same, (pay in sickness, or depression, or anguish for the lost opportunity) but pay or grow.

Therefore one finds words like go, and make it, and with it, and swing: “Go” with its sense that after hours or days or months. or years of monotony, boredom, and depression one has finally had one’s chance, one has amassed enough energy to meet an exciting opportunity with all one’s present talents for the flip (up or down) and so one is ready to go, ready to gamble. Movement is always to be preferred to inaction. In motion a man has a chance, his body is warm, his instincts are quick, and when the crisis comes, whether of love or violence, he can make it, he can win, he can release a little more energy for himself since he hates himself a little less, he can make a little better nervous systern, make it a little more possible to go again, to go faster next time and so make more and thus find more people with whom he can swing. For to swing is to communicate, is to convey the rhythms of one’s own being to a lover, a friend, or an audience, and—equally necessary— be able to feel the rhythms of their response. To swing with the rhythms of another is to enrich oneself— the conception of the learning process as dug by Hip is that one cannot really learn until one contains within oneself the implicit rhythm of the subject or the person. As an example, I remember once hearing a Negro friend have an intellectual discussion at a party for half an hour with a white girl who was a few years out of college. The Negro literally could not read or write, but he had an extraordinary ear and a fine sense of mimicry. So as the girl spoke, he would detect the particular formal uncertainties in her argument, and in a pleasant (if slightly Southern) English accent, he would respond to one or another facet of her doubts. When she would finish what she felt was a particularly well-articulated idea, he would smile privately and say, “other-direction . . . do you really believe in that?”

“Well . . . No,” the girl would stammer, “now that you get down to it, there is something disgusting about it to me,” and she would be off again for five more minutes.

Of course the Negro was not learning anything about the merits and demerits of the argument, hut he was learning a great deal about a type of girl he had never met before, and that was what he wanted. Being unable to read or write, he could hardly be interested in ideas nearly as much as in lifemanship, and so he eschewed any attempt to obey the precision or lack of precision in the girl’s language, and instead sensed her character (and the values of her social type) by swinging with the nuances of her voice.

So to swing is to be able to learn, and by learning take a step toward making it, toward creating. What is to be created is not nearly so important as the hipster’s belief that when he really makes it, he will be able to turn his hand to anything, even to self-discipline. What he must do before that is find his courage at the moment of violence, or equally make it in the act of love, find a little more of himself, create a little more between his woman and himself, or indeed between his mate and himself (since many hipsters are bisexual), but paramount, imperative, is the necessity to make it because in making it, one is making the new habit, unearthing the new talent which the old frustration denied.

Whereas if you goof (the ugliest word in Hip), if you lapse back into being a frightened stupid child, or if you flip, if you lose your control, reveal the buried weaker more feminine part of your nature, then it is more difficult to swing the next time, your ear is less alive, your bad and energy-wasting habits are further confirmed, you are farther away from being with it. But to be with it is to have grace, is to be closer to the secrets of that inner unconscious life which will nourish you if you can hear it, for you are then nearer to that God which every hipster believes is located in the senses of his body, that trapped, mutilated and nonetheless megalomaniacal God who is It, who is energy, life, sex, force, the Yoga’s prana, the Reichian’s orgone, Lawrence’s “blood,” Hemingway’s “good,” the Shavian life-force; “It”; God; not the God of the churches hut the unachievable whisper of mystery within the sex, the paradise of limitless energy and perception just beyond the next wave of the next orgasm.

To which a cool cat might reply, “Crazy, man!”

Because, after all, what I have offered above is an hypothesis, no more, and there is not the hipster alive who is not absorbed in his own tumultuous hypotheses. Mine is interesting, mine is way out (on the avenue of the mystery along the road to “It”) but still I am just one cat in a world of cool cats, and everything interesting is crazy, or at least so the Squares who do not know how to swing would say.

(And yet crazy is also the self-protective irony of the hipster. Living with questions and not with answers, he is so different in his isolation and in the far reach of his imagination from almost everyone with whom he deals in the outer world of the Square, and meets generally so much enmity, competition, and hatred in the world of Hip, that his isolation is always in danger of turning upon itself, and leaving him indeed just that, crazy.)

If, however, yon agree with my hypothesis, if you as a cat are way out too, and we are in the same groove (the universe now being glimpsed as a series of ever-extending radii from the center) why then you say simply, “I dig,” because neither knowledge nor imagination comes easily, it is buried in the pain of one’s forgotten experience, and so one must work to find it, one must occasionally exhaust oneself by digging into the self in order to perceive the outside. And indeed it is essential to dig the most, for if you do not dig you lose your superiority over the Square, and so you are less likely to be cool (to be in control of a situation because you have swung where the Square has not, or because you have allowed to come to consciousness a pain, a guilt, a shame or a desire which the other has not had the courage to face) . To be cool is to be equipped, and if you are equipped it is more difficult for the next cat who comes along to put you down. And of course one can hardly afford to be put down too often, or one is beat, one has lost one’s confidence, one has lost one’s will, one is impotent in the world of action and so closer to the demeaning flip of becoming a queer, or indeed closer to dying, and therefore it is even more difficult to recover enough energy to try to make it again, because once a cat is beat he has nothing to give, and no one is interested any longer in making it with him. This is the terror of the hipster—to be beat— because once the sweet of sex has deserted him, he still cannot give up the search. It is not granted to the hipster to grow old gracefully—he has been captured too early by the oldest dream of power, the gold fountain of Ponce de Leon, the fountain of youth where the gold is in the orgasm.

To be beat is therefore a flip, it is a situation beyond one’s experience, impossible to anticipate—which indeed in the circular vocabulary of Hip is still another meaning for flip, but then I have given just a few of the connotations of these words. Like most primitive vocabularies each word is a prime symbol and serves a dozen or a hundred functions of communication in the instinctive dialectic through which the hipster perceives his experience, that dialectic of the instantaneous differentials of existence in which one is forever moving forward into more or retreating into less.

V
It is impossible to conceive a new philosophy until one creates a new language, but a new popular language (while it must implicitly contain a new philosophy) does not necessarily present its philosophy overtly. It can be asked then what really is unique in the life-view of Hip which raises its argot above the passing verbal whimsies of the bohemian or the lumpenproletariat.

The answer would be in the psychopathic element of Hip which has almost no interest in viewing human nature, or better, in judging human nature from a set of standards conceived a priori to the experience, standards inherited from the past. Since Hip sees every answer as posing immediately a new alternative, a new question, its emphasis is on complexity rather than simplicity (such complexity that its language without the illumination of the voice and the articulation of the face and body remains hopelessly incommunicative). Given its emphasis on complexity, Hip abdicates from any conventional moral responsibility because it would argue that the result of out actions are unforeseeable, and so we cannot know if we do good or bad, we cannot even know (in the Joycean sense of the good and the bad) whether unforeseeable, and so we cannot know if we do good or bad, we cannot be certain that we have given them energy, and indeed if we could, there would still be no idea of what ultimately they would do with it.

Therefore, men are not seen as good or bad (that they are good-and-bad is taken for granted) but rather each man is glimpsed as a collection of possibilities, some more possible than others (the view of character implicit in Hip) and some humans are considered more capable than others of reaching more possibilities within themselves in less time, provided, and this is the dynamic, provided the particular character can swing at the right time. And here arises the sense of context which differentiates Hip from a Square view of character. Hip sees the context as generally dominating the man, dominating him because his character is less significant than the context in which he must function. Since it is arbitrarily five times more demanding of one’s energy to accomplish even an inconsequential action in an unfavorable context than a favorable one, man is then not only his character but his context, since the success or failure of an action in a given context reacts upon the character and therefore affects what the character will be in the next context. What dominates both character and context is the energy available at the moment of intense context.

Character being thus seen as perpetually ambivalent and dynamic enters then into an absolute relativity where there are no truths other than the isolated truths of what each observer feels at each instant of his existence. To take a perhaps unjustified metaphysical extrapolation, it is as if the universe which has usually existed conceptually as a Fact (even if the Fact were Berkeley’s God) but a ract which it was the aim of all science and philosophy to reveal, becomes instead a changing reality whose laws are remade at each instant by everything living, but most particularly man, man raised to a neo-medieval summit where the truth is not what one has felt yesterday or what one expects to feel tomorrow but rather truth is no more nor less than what one feels at each instant in the perpetual climax of the present.

What is consequent therefore is the divorce of man from his values, the liberation of the self from the Super-Ego of society. The only Hip morality (but of course it is an ever-present morality) is to do what one feels whenever and wherever it is possible, and—this is how the war of the Hip and the Square begins—to be engaged in one primal battle: to open the limits of the possible for oneself, for oneself alone because that is one’s need. Yet in widening the arena of the possible, one widens it reciprocally for others as well, so that the nihilistic fulfillment of each man’s desire contains its antithesis of human cooperation.

If the ethic reduces to Know Thyself and Be Thyself, what makes it radically different from Socratic moderation with its stern conservative respect for the experience of the past, is that the Hip ethic is immoderation, child-like in its adoration of the present (and indeed to respect the past means that one must also respect such ugly consequences of the past as the collective murders of the State) . It is this adoration of the present which contains the affirmation of Hip, because its ultimate logic surpasses even the unforgettable solution of the Marquis de Sade to sex, private property, and the family, that all men and women have absolute but temporary rights over the bodies of all other men and women—the nihilism of Hip proposes as its final tendency that every social restraint and category be removed, and the affirmation implicit in the proposal is that man would then prove to be more creative than murderous and so would not destroy himself. Which is exactly what separates Hip from the authoritarian philosophies which now appeal to the conservative and liberal temper—what haunts the middle of the Twentieth Century is that faith in man has been lost, and the appeal of authority has been that it would restrain us from ourselves. Hip, which would return us to ourselves, at no matter what price in individual violence, is the affirmation of the barbarian for it requires a primitive passion about human nature to believe that individual acts of violence are always to be preferred to the collective violence of the State; it takes literal faith in the creative possibilities of the human being to envisage acts of violence as the catharsis which prepares growth.

Whether the hipster’s desire for absolute sexual freedom contains any genuinely radical conception of a different world is of course another matter, and it is possible, since the hipster lives with his hatred, that many of them are the material for an elite of storm troopers ready to follow the first truly magnetic leader whose view of mass murder is phrased in a language which reaches their emotions. But given the desperation of his condition as a psychic outlaw, the hipster is equally a candidate for the most reactionary and most radical of movements, and so it is just as possible that many hipsters will come—if the crisis deepens—to a radical comprehension of the horror of society, for even as the radical has had his incommunicable dissent confirmed in his experience by precisely the frustration, the denied opportunities, and the bitter years which his ideas have cost him, so the sexual adventurer deflected from his goal by the implacable animosity of a society constructed to deny the sexual radical as well, may yet come to an equally bitter comprehension of the slow relentless inhumanity of the conservative power which controls him from without and from within. And in being so controlled, denied, and starved into the attrition of conformity, indeed the hipster may come to see that his condition is no more than an exaggeration of the human condition, and if he would be free, then everyone must be free. Yes, this is possible too, for the heart of Hip is its emphasis upon courage at the moment of crisis, and it is pleasant to think that courage contains within itself (as the explanation of its existence) some glimpse of the necessity of life to become more than it has been.

It is obviously not very possible to speculate with sharp focus on the future of the hipster. Certain possibilities must be evident, however, and the most central is that the organic growth of Hip depends on whether the Negro emerges as a dominating force in American life. Since the Negro knows more about the ugliness and danger of life than the White, it is probable that if the Negro can win his equality, he will possess a potential superiority, a superiority so feared that the fear itself has become the underground drama of domestic politics. Like all conservative political fear it is the fear of unforeseeable consequences, for the Negro’s equality would tear a profound shift into the psychology, the sexuality, and the moral imagination of every White alive.

With this possible emergence of the Negro, Hip may erupt as a psychically armed rebellion whose sexual impetus may rebound against the anti-sexual foundation of every organized power in America, and bring into the air such animosities, antipathies, and new conflicts of interest that the mean empty hypocrisies of mass conformity will no longer work. A time of violence, new hysteria, confusion and rebellion will then be likely to replace the time of conformity. At that time, if the liberal should prove realistic in his belief that there is peaceful room for every tendency in American life, then Hip would end by being absorbed as a colorful figure in the tapestry. But if this is not the reality, and the economic, the social, the psychological, and finally the moral crises accompanying the rise of the Negro should prove insupportable, then a time is coming when every political guide post will be gone, and millions of liberals will be faced with political dilemmas they have so far succeeded in evading, and with a view of human nature they do not wish to accept. To take the desegregation of the schools in the South as an example, it is quite likely that the reactionary sees the reality more closely than the liberal when he argues that the deeper issue is not desegregation but miscegenation. (As a radical I am of course facing in the opposite direction from the White Citizen’s Councils—obviously I believe it is the absolute human right of the Negro to mate with the White, and matings there will undoubtedly be, for there will be Negro high school boys brave enough to chance their lives.) But for the average liberal whose mind has been dulled by the committee-ish cant of the professional liberal, miscegenation is not an issue because he has been told that the Negro does not desire it. So, when it comes, miscegenation will be a terror, comparable perhaps to the derangement of the American Communists when the icons to Stalin came tumbling down. The average American Communist held to the myth of Stalin for reasons which had little to do with the political evidence and everything to do with their psychic necessities. In this sense it is equally a psychic necessity for the liberal to believe that the Negro and even the reactionary Southern White eventually and fundamentally people like himself, capable of becoming good liberals too if only they can be reached by good liberal reason. What the liberal cannot bear to admit is the hatred beneath the skin of a society so unjust that the amount of collective violence buried in the people is perhaps incapable of being contained, and therefore if one wants a better world one does well to hold one’s breath, for a worse world is bound to come first, and the dilemma may well be this:
given such hatred, it must either vent itself nihilistically or become turned into the cold murderous liquidations of the totalitarian state.

VI
No matter what its horrors the Twentieth Century is a vastly exciting century for its tendency is to reduce all of life to its ultimate alternatives. One can well wonder if the last war of them all will be between the blacks and the whites, or between the women and the men, or between the beautiful and ugly, the pillagers and managers, or the rebels and the regulators. Which of course is carrying speculation beyond the point where speculation is still serious, and yet despair at the monotony and bleakness of the future have become so engrained in the radical temper that the radical is in danger of abdicating from all imagination. What a man feels is the impulse for his creative effort, and if an alien but nonetheless passionate instinct about the meaning of life has come so unexpectedly from a virtually illiterate people, come out of the most intense conditions of exploitation, cruelty, violence, frustration, and lust, and yet has succeeded as an instinct in keeping this tortured people alive, then it is perhaps possible that the Negro holds more of the tail of the expanding elephant of truth than the radical, and if this is so, the radical humanist could do worse than to and brood upon the phenomenon. For if a revolutionary time should come again, there would be a crucial difference if someone had already delineated a neo-Marxian calculus aimed at comprehending every circuit and process of society from ukase to kiss as the communications of human energy—a calculus capable of translating the economic relations of man into his psychological relations and then back again, his productive relations thereby embracing his sexual relations as well, until the
crises of capitalism in the Twentieth Century would yet be understood as the unconscious adaptations of a society to solve its economic imbalance at the expense of a new mass psychological imbalance. It is almost beyond the imagination to conceive of a work in which the drama of human energy is engaged, and a theory of its social currents and dissipations, its imprisonments, expressions, and tragic wastes are fitted into some gigantic synthesis of human action where the body of Marxist thought, and particularly the epic grandeur of Das Kapital (that first of the major psychologies to approach the mystery of social cruelty so simply and practically as to say that we are a collective body of humans whose life-energy is wasted, displaced, and procedurally stolen as it passes from one of us to another)—where particularly the epic grandeur of Das Kapital would find its place in an even more Godlike view of human justice and injustice, in some more excruciating vision of those intimate and institutional processes which lead to our creations and disasters, our growth, our attrition, and our rebellion.


Norman Mailer is a longtime contributer and former board member of Dissent.

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Trouble with Skinheads at UB40 Gig

Skinheads: the cult of trouble

Skinheads streaming out of Camden Town underground tonight look hard and they know it. The crop is the style, but it can also be the weapon: it’ll nut you if you look too long or you don’t step out of the way, if you’re wearing the wrong uniform or follow the wrong team. Outside the Electric Ballroom four Special Patrol Group men stand staring at the line of skinheads waiting to pay £3.00 to see UB40, staring at the anti-fashion parade.

The smart look is sta-press trousers, Ben Sherman shirts and polished Dr Martens. The tougher look is a short-sleeved shirt displaying the tattoos, bleached Levis with the braces hanging loose round the legs. The real hard cases have tattoos on their faces. One has a small cross on each cheek. Most of the girl skins look really young, about 13, and are dressed like the boys in shirts, jeans and boots. But some wear short skirts, like one black skinhead girl who’s got brown monkey boots over black fishnet tights.

The police point and giggle at all the girls in mini-skirts. Now and again they try to show who the real tough guys are by frogmarching the odd skinhead to the back of the queue.

Skins: the image is white convict, the music is black. (Remember Norman Mailer’s article on the cult of hip, ‘The white Negro’?) Groups like UB40 – the name comes from the DHSS code for the unemployed – are now called two-tone because they put black and white musicians together to play ska, an early form of reggae coming out of Jamaica, and popular with the first wave of British skinheads in the 1960s.

It is not just skinheads who are into two-tone. Punks, Rastas, rude boys (skins in mohair suits), and a few long-hairs, are here too. But inside the Electric Ballroom, this huge and airless hall, it’s the skinheads who make the atmosphere charged . . . . There’s a loud crack and heads turn. But it’s just a skin who’s finished his can of Coke and smashed it on the floor.

A skinhead tries to make an art form out of machismo. He walks chin out military style, with a duck-splayed swagger. He sucks hard on his cigarette, chews his gum with a vengeance. He doesn’t smile too much, unless he’s with his mates at the bar. The only time a skin looks somehow vulnerable is when he’s dancing – never with a girl, always either alone or with other skins – with his eyes half-closed, dipping his shoulders rhythmically. Skinheads are great dancers.

‘It’s just fashion, innit?’ says a 16-year-old from South London, watching his mate zap the Space Invaders in the bar, rocking gently to the reggae of Reality, the warm-up band. Two girls – one has MINI-SKIN N4 DODGER painted on the back of her army-green jacket – run full-tilt through the bar; scant regard for drink or bodies. Skin girls aim to be as street-tough as the boys. They strut to the front of the queue at the women’s toilets. No one complains.

Although skin boys don’t hang out with the skin girls, every now and again a boy will just waltz up to a girl, kiss her violently for a couple of minutes, before moving off wordlessly. Girls are okay for kissing and fucking, but you don’t talk to them, not in public anyhow. These boys, with their POW haircuts and markings, their enamel Union Jack badges, their polished boots – these boys don’t get too upset if they’re taken for fascists. Fascism is a laugh.

A boy in a red Fred Perry tennis shirt greets his friend with a Nazi salute, grinning. Another skinhead wandering round the bar has WHITE POWER written in blue on his T-shirt. A black roadie for UB40 stops and scowls at him, but the white supremacist ignores the challenge, walks on by.

At 10.30, UB40 come on stage and there’s a rush from the bars as the skins make for the front of the hall. Two Rastafarians and six whites in this band. ‘This is one of our Rock Against Thatcher numbers,’ says the frontman. A few half-hearted cheers. ‘Are there only 50 people here into Rock Against Thatcher?’ He gets a bigger cheer. A drunk skinhead staggers through the packed dance floor, trying to kick the guy running away from him, before giving up the chase and collapsing on the floor. Everyone ignores him. Be cool.

The final encore over, the lights come on, and the plastic pint pots are ceremoniously crunched. West Ham skins sing ‘Wembley’ (pronounced Wemballee) on their way out, throwing down the gauntlet to the Arsenal.

It’s not picked up. It’s been a quiet night, after all. Police are back on duty outside as the dancers spill out, dripping with sweat this warm night, and traipse down the street for the underground train home. Home to their parents, most of them, though there is one last pleasure to be squeezed out the night: to chant and sing and look tough on the tube. Scaring the straights is half the fun.

It always has been. Seat-slashing Teds, mass-rioting mods and rockers, football thugs, skinheads, drug-taking hippies, foul-mouthed punks . . . Sub-editors write headlines, politicians fire moralism from the hip, youth movements come and go.

Skinhead first arrived in the late 1960s. It was a sort of male working-class backlash against mods grown too narcissistic, effeminate and arty. Football fans discovered a style. I remember 4,000 Manchester United skinheads on the terraces at Elland Road, Leeds, in 1968. They all wore bleached Levis, Dr Martens, a short scarf tied cravat-style, cropped hair. They looked like an army and, after the game, went into action like one.

Skinheads never really disappeared from the football terraces. But the clothes, like skinhead music (soul, ska, home-grown rabble-rousers like Slade), went out of fashion, until the punk movement turned style inside out, starting in late 1976. A new generation of skins started following the band called Sham ’69. ‘If punks are about anarchy, then skinheads are the most anarchist going,’ Jimmy Pursey, the band’s frontman, once told me in his Hersham flat, above a bookie’s. ‘They fight, run riot, don’t give a fuck about anything.’ Pursey withdrew from the Rock Against Racism carnival in Brixton later that year because he feared that his supporters might smash the whole thing up. Sham ’69 folded the next year.

Mark Dumsday never liked Sham ’69 anyway. He has been a skinhead for two years, he is 18, and moved to London a years ago after working on a fairground in Southend, his home town. He now lives in a short-life ex-council flat in King’s Cross. He gets £23 a week from social security.

It’s five in the afternoon. We’re sitting in front of a black and white portable TV, here in the living room of this fourth-floor flat in Midhope House. Mark says he usually gets up around two, watches television, then goes out for a drink, or to a gig, or whatever. His father is a welder. His mother works for Avon cosmetics.

‘When I was at home,’ he says, ‘I didn’t get on very well with them. Now it’s sweet. All right now. They don’t mind me being a skin. They quite like it, like the haircut, think it’s tidy.’ He’s looking at the TV. Shots of bikini-clad women on Caribbean beaches. The Eversun commercial.

Why did Mark first get his crop? ‘I dunno. I used to hang around with bikers, the Southend Hell’s Angels. In August ’78, when I came off the fair, I had a crop. It was something different at the time. At Southend there was only about ten of us. Now there’s loads of ’em.’

The tattoo on his right arm is a caricature of a skinhead. ‘Most skins have got this one,’ he says, pointing to it. ‘Or a lot of the BM [British Movement] skins have got the phoenix bird.’ Pictures of Debbie Harry and Olivia Newton-John on one wall, and of the West Indian reggae artist, Peter Tosh, smoking a joint on another. ‘Yeah, I like a blow. I don’t know any skinheads who don’t.’

He left school at 16 without taking any exams. ‘I was hardly ever there. Used to bunk off all the time.’ He’s thought about getting a job as a despatch rider, but he’s happy enough on the dole. He has no girl friend. ‘I don’t bother going out with them,’ he grins. I ask him why it is that skinheads always hang out in all-male groups. Is it that they don’t know how to talk to girls? ‘That’s rubbish,’ he says. ‘Anyone can pick up a bird. Anybody.’ But Mark has never picked up a skin girl. ‘I think a girl with a crop looks silly.’

Skinhead isn’t fashion, he says; but he’s not sure what it is at all. What does he get out of it? ‘Not a lot.’
Two young Glaswegian women, both with dyed blonde hair and one of them tattooed, arrive with shopping bags. ‘They’re just staying here,’ says Mark. ‘Ain’t got nowhere else to go . . . ‘ No, the only thing that’s kept skinheads going is it’s not commercial, like punk was and mods are. I want to stay one till I’m 21.’ Why? ‘Dunno. Stuck it out two years. Might as well make it five. If I quit, I’ll probably turn biker.’

A lot of the skins who used to live on this estate are now inside, but Mark has stayed pretty clean. ‘I only have one offence against me. For possession.’ Of drugs, that is – ‘speed’, amphetamines. ‘I’ll have it occasionally, not very often. A lot of skins are into glue, but I’ve never done that. If you can’t afford the right stuff, don’t do that.’ The television picture distorts. Mark gets up, fiddles around with the aerial, which is stuck in the grille of a gas fire. One of the Glaswegians notices a mark on the back of his head. She asks him what it is. ‘Scar,’ he says. A woman on the box, now in focus, reckons the boa constrictors are very popular pets now. Mark sits down again.

Life here, the way he tells it, is one long struggle against the law. ‘The Old Bill were up here the other night. Took me curtains away to analyse them. Went right through the place. They went downstairs and asked this geezer, “Is that bloke upstairs a nutter?”

A prostitute who lived on this estate was murdered. Most of her body was found in Epping Forest; police expected to find the rest here, in Midhope House. ‘The cop was saying, “You did it, didn’t you? I think you done it.” I just laughed.’ Mark says he did know the prostitute. ‘Didn’t like her either.’ A sudden strong smell of varnish as the two women start painting their nails.

‘Yeah,’ Mark continues. ‘You do get a lot of aggravation from the Old Bill. In Southend I’ve been nicked twice for things I never done. My mate kicked in a rockabilly and I got put in a cell for 24 hours for that . . . and here they just stop you on the street, RO you. Give it all out on the radio. See if they’ve got warrants out for your arrest.

‘I’ve been beaten up the Old Bill. There was me and another guy, me mate, he ran away. They took me home, found a starting pistol. Then they got me in the back of the car. Twisting my neck and punching my mouth. Bastards they are . . . and you get a lot of DS [drug squad] at gigs. Round here the DS are easy to spot, just old geezers. But at gigs some of ’em are really young. I was at Dingwalls [also in Camden Town] the other night and suddenly the DS was all around us.’

Mark, the letters of his name tattooed on his four fingers, flicks a hand over his crop, asks me if I want a cup of tea? Skinhead crops come in four categories, from grade one to grade four. Mark’s is grade one, the shortest. He has to get it cut every three weeks.

Over the tea Mark says he has no time for mods (‘just a load of wimps’), Teds, rockabillies or Asians. Why Asians? ‘I don’t like Pakis and I don’t know any skinheads who do. Pakis just don’t mix. You’ll see one of them,’ he points to the Peter Tosh poster, ‘with a white man. Never see a Paki with one. Paki-bashing is all part of the cult anyway.’

There is an Asian band in south London called Alien Kulture who take gangs of Asian youth with them wherever they play. Mark had said he thought ‘niggers are okay, I like the music.’ But he just shakes his head about Alien Kulture: ‘I don’t think they’ll last. I don’t think they’ll last five minutes. A Paki band? I never heard of such a thing.’

Tonight Mark is going to see Madness, the all-white ska band, at the Lyceum. Madness are darlings of the British Movement and National Front skins: somebody’s going to get hurt tonight. Mark himself says he isn’t into fascism, and he isn’t into violence. ‘I don’t fight unless someone provokes me.’ But what is it then that provokes skins to punch, kick, nut and razor? ‘It’s just the cult. Skins are trouble, aggro, Paki-bashing, the lot. The cult is trouble.’

Choose your own cult and live inside it. Skinhead is trouble. The cult is big in London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester. In Glasgow and Belfast, punk is still the biggest youth movement. In the country as a whole, the ‘heavy metal’ revival is in the ascendant (loud rock from the likes of Saxon, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard). No one is really too sure what is happening in the youth culture. Fascist skins, left-wing skins, and yet more skins who just like the clothes and the music? A psychedelia revivial, a rhythm-and-blues revival? Black skins and white rude boys? Asian rock bands?

I take a train up to Bradford. Bad Manners are playing at the university. Bad Manners are from Stoke Newington. All white apart from the drummer, they say they got to know ska sounds hanging out in the local black clubs. The lead singer, Doug, has been a skinhead since the first time round, in 1968. ‘I’m the leader,’ he says, elongating the vowels to fake dumbness. ‘I’m the one who encourages all the violence at the gigs. I think you haven’t had a good gig unless you’ve had a good punch-up’. He smacks his ample fist into his palm and laughs.

The accent, like the clothing, is constructed from the cartoon worker, the Jak navvie. Skinhead style takes the bourgeois caricature of its class (dumb and violent) and makes it yet more extreme. Shave off the hair to emphasise brainlessness and criminality, make the head ugly and lumpen. Wear boots to emphasise drudgery and violence. A donkey jacket, like the one that Doug wear on stage, completes the look.

Active in a housing co-op in Stoke Newington, Doug is smart all right, he knows all about the parody and he has no time for racist gig-wreckers, but what can he do except make jokes about it? Trapped by his chosen style, the farthest he can go is to say, ‘Well, anyone who votes NF, they’re not too clever.’

The band are changing and tuning up in a lecture room. The tables are littered with empty bottles of Stella Artois, the remains of pasties. ‘I’m tough, I’m rough’, shouts out one of the band, sub-Clint Eastwood. ‘I’m mean, I’m clean’, screams someone else.

The boys from Stoke Newington, living on £25 a week and touring the country, are having a good time. After an American football-style huddle they rush out to play. No violence, of course, at a college gig. Bradford seems a lot further than 200 miles from London where, the next day, I have an appointment with the National Front.

I ring the bell and the front door is opened cagily by a fat man with greased back hair and an army-surplus jumper. Joe Pearce, the organiser for the Young National Front, and editor of their magazine, Bulldog, shows up. He looks every inch like a college boy, which he was till he was forced to abandon his course on polymer technology at the South Bank poly. His medium-length brown hair is well groomed. He wears a green car-coat and beige flares. He says he’s told the NF skins to meet us down at the pub. We live Excalibur House, the National Front’s Shoreditch headquarters.

Proud of the Front’s impact in the youth culture, Joe Pearce boasts of widespread support among heavy metal fans and mods, as well as skins. ‘Like the mod movement in the East End is NF. There’s a link between the glory boys and the NF, the gang that used to follow Secret Affair and now follows the Cockney Rejects. They’re the ones that have mod tattooed in the inside if their lip.’

The first skin to arrive is Gary Munford from Ealing YNF. He was first a skinhead in 1970, when he was twelve. Since then, he’s been a suedehead and a soul-boy. ‘I used to go down the discos, wear pegs and American bowling shirts. It was such a posy scene. I was spending about £30 a week on clothes. And then there was all the niggers at the discos and white slags hanging about with them.’

The few black people in this bar start finishing off their drinks. Another crophead sits down at the table. He’s wearing an army-camouflage flying jacket. I ask him what he does for a living? ‘Demolition,’ he says, with a mechanical chuckle. His name is Alex Barbour.

The recent National Front march in Lewisham was 80 per cent skinhead. What’s happened to the older support? ‘More important you have the young support. Look at the police running away, like they did at Bristol. Older people aren’t prepared to take that violence. Young people have got the bottle to go out there and . . . ‘ Gary Munford clenches his fist, adorned with punching rings.

‘If there’s going to be a ruck, skins’ll be the first ones in, they’ll steam in. Except I do disagree with them going down to Brighton and Southend and beating the shit out of each other, when they could be beating shit out of more constructive people, mentioning no names.’ His friends laugh.

Tony Duck and Rita Hope, from Haringey YNF branch, finally turns up. He is an unemployed electrician, and she works at Swan and Edgar on Piccadilly. He thinks a lot of recent skin converts are ‘just a bunch of wallies who’ve learnt how to chant Sieg Geil at gigs. They’re the sort of people who’ll grow their hair and start going round with blacks again.’ Tony says that, in his branch, there are two full paid-up black members. ‘It’s because they really want to go home.’

Gary Munford says his girl friend is in the Front. ‘She;s been on marches with me. But a lot of the time the blokes tell the birds not to come. There’s gonna be a riot.’

‘Half of us can look after ourselves just as good as you lot anyway,’ says Rita Hope. Even here, in the backwoods of the NF, some cracked reflection of a women’s movement: a woman’s right to ruck.

Jeering at this notion of physical equality, Gary Munford recalls a time he arrived at a march with 14 skins, to find 200 Anti-Nazis blocking their path: ‘We got all the girls behind us, said keep walking, then just ran at them shouting, “White youth unite.” They all just turned and ran. Whatever anyone says, our blokes have got more bottle.’

‘The birds of the reds are worst,’ says Rita Hope.

There is a vicious feel to those East End streets, where all the white boys are skins, which is absent in Somers Town: the small triangle between St Pancras, Euston and Camden. There is no reason to go through Somers Town, unless you happen to live in one of those blocks of council flats that comprise the neighbourhood. At around a quarter to four, boys are pouring out of the local school, Sir William Collins, an all-boy comprehensive. The blacks walk home with the blacks, the whites with the whites.
Two white skins, Andy Sophocleous and Steve Rawlinson, both 13, say that out of 165 boys in their year, about 70 are skins. They reckon the school is all right: ‘Same as all schools really. Some parts you like, and some you don’t.’ What is it they don’t? ‘Some of the teachers. Some of ’em are grumpy. Don’t let you have any fun in class. Kids work best if you can have a laugh, too.’

The Great Skinhead Reunion annual event in Brighton

Andy is carrying a school-supplied acoustic guitar. ‘I want to be in a band when I’m a bit older.’ I ask him what his parents said about him becoming a skin? ‘Well,’ he pauses. ‘I walked in after my first crop. and my Dad goes, “Oh, what? You think you’re a trouble-maker now?” And our teacher, Mr Malinson, he sort of goes to me and him,’ pointing to Steve, “‘If I saw you two on the street, if I was a cop, I’d pick you up before two normal kids.” For sus, like. People can get the wrong idea because of the hair.’

‘My mum don’t like it,’ Steve says. ‘Thinks you’re going out just for trouble . . . Best ti be normal if you think about it. Then you don’t get beaten up by no one.’ Steve and Andy aim to keep out of trouble. That’s why they don’t go to gigs. ‘There’s trouble on the train. They won’t let you on ‘cos they think you’ll vandalise everything. On buses they can make you sit downstairs.’

Moved on, stopped, questioned, denied entrance – skinheads these boys reckon, have a lot to put up with. ‘Yeah, they get a hard time, especially from the police, and quite a few teachers. One teacher suspended a skin. He had a swastika shaved into his head. I think that’s bad as well,’ Andy says. ‘I think he should have gone home. He would have got into a lot of trouble with the coloured kids, anyway. He would’ve got beaten up. The school’s roughly half and half, a few more whites . . . ‘

They’re getting a bit fidgety. It’s 4.20 and the football is on, live from Rome, at 4.30.

Down through Somers Town, over the Euston Road (a territorial divide for the gangs round here), and again on into King’s Cross. Just down the road from the Midhope House, where Mark Dumsday lives, is a youth club called the Tonbridge Club. Open 6 to 10, six days a week, it’s the hang-out for local kids too young or too poor to go drinking and dancing. They come here to play table tennis, snooker and pinball, listen to records. Most of the boys here, too, are skinheads. One of them, Michael, tells me he’s up in court next week for not going to school. He’s 15. Why did he get a crop? ‘Dunno. Just like the music, reggae and ska. And I’m into me own band, play bass. Get the name of the band down. It’s called Youth Cult.’

Another skin, Eric McQueen, takes Bob Marley off the turntable and puts on the Sex Pistols single, Anarchy in the UK. Eric is living in a hostel for juvenile delinquents in Westbourne Grove. ‘Well, it started at primary school, see,’ he says. ‘I used to fight all the time. I went to a hostel in Chapel Market and then they put me in Stratford House, a remand home, for six months. From there I went to a community house. Spent a year there, and then I got a job. I’ve had seven jobs since I left school, in shops, factories, decorating, everything.’

And what’s the idea of this place he’s in now? ‘Sort your life out,’ he smiles. ‘It’s all right. Ain’t got many rules, except you got to be in by 12 on Saturdays.’ Eric is 18. He has only had his crop, which is dyed blond, for two months.

Eric tells a couple of young girls who’ve sidled up that he gets about £8 a day from his social worker. They look impressed. I ask him how he got the scar on his left ear? ‘Some nutter.’

Hugh Byrne, who’s also 18, has a crop which is starting to grow out. He’s out of work. ‘He’s a good artist,’ says one of the girls standing by a bar which sells Kit-Kats and Coke. ‘Skinhead is just the thing round this area,’ High says, with the air of someone bored with the whole idea. ‘Used to be a lot of mods round here too, ‘cos the star of Quadrophenia, Philip Daniels, used to live round here. Half the skins round here used to be punks or mods.’

One local skin gang, about 40 strong, have recently given it all up, Hugh says.’They’ve all changed to normal ‘cos they were always getting picked on and that. I used to get picked up by the Old Bill a lot.’ Is that why he’s letting his hair grow? ‘No. Not really. It’s only been two months. I can’t be bothered to get it cut.’

Post-skins. like Hugh, and his friend, Tony French, all describe themselves as having gone ‘normal’ once they’ve let their grow out. Tony French, who now looks like a King’s Road smoothie, used to be involved in all the gang feuds round here. ‘No reason,’ he says. ‘Something to do.’

Reasons? Anyone interested in reasons (for skins, for punks, for Rastas) should take a walk through the meaner city streets, then turn on the TV. ‘We want a riot.’ You must have heard the skinhead chants. ‘We are evil.’ The straight world, the Rastas call it Babylon, is threatened with style: a sneer, a strut, a beat that has soul . . .

The teenagers at the Tonbridge Club start drifting off home at around nine. Youth Cult are playing London Calling down in the basement.

article from 26 June, 1980 by Ian Walker.

Ian Walker

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Shane Meadows wants to make This Is England ’00

10/5/2020

Film still of This Is England in 2006
Film still of This Is England in 2006. Picture: Moviestore Collection/Shutterstock

The director has revealed he’d like to to make another instalment of the series, which is set at the turn of the millennium.

Shane Meadows wants to do another series of This Is England.

Every year we celebrate the Skinhead subculture on Brighton Beach with The Great skinhead Reunion Event

The 47-year-old director – who previously helmed the 2006 film and its TV spin-offs – has revealed he’s eager to return to the series with a new instalment, set around the turn of the millennium.

Speaking to Andrew Shim – who played Milky in the series – in his Shimmy’s Corona Diaries YouTube series, Meadows shared: “I don’t know when but I’ve got This Is England ’00 in my head, the millennium one, because I sort of thought it would be nice, because when did we shoot the last one? Was it 2015, 2016?

“So, you’re obviously five years away and I don’t massively want to copy the film ideas, but if I went back I’d love to do a millennium one.”

READ MORE: This Is England Set For Final Film?

Shane Meadows at the 2016 Bafta Awards
Shane Meadows at the 2016 Bafta Awards. Picture: Mike Marsland/Mike Marsland/WireImage

Meanwhile, Stephen Graham – who famously played the fearsome Combo in the franchise – has turned his hand to comedy in new Sky One sitcom Code 404, but admitted he wasn’t sure if he could pull it off.

Speaking during a special junket from lockdown he revealed: “At first, I was quite nervous, actually.

“I said to Danny [Mays], ‘I can’t do this mate, I don’t really know what to do here’. And he was great with me because he’s such a generous actor anyway and a lovely fella. He was like, just do what you do, play it normally… just find the truth in it. I was like, ‘Okay’. And then that’s when I kind of found my place in it.”

Stephen Graham also recently took part in an interview with The Chris Moyles Show and let Pippa show off her best Scouse accent:Pippa shows Stephen Graham her questionable scouse accent!Watch Pippa in action here.Share

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Millie Small dies in London

“To all friends of Jaelee, Jaelee has asked me to write this and I do so with the heaviest of hearts. Earlier this afternoon Jaelee’s mum, the beautiful and vivacious spirit that was Millie Small passed away. Millie suffered a stroke over the weekend after a suffering a serious haemorrhage in her brain and was taken to Charing Cross Hospital in London on Saturday. Unfortunately the haemorrhage was such that team at the hospital was unable to remove the liquid around her brain and her condition has unfortunately been in decline since Saturday. Earlier today her doctors took the decision to take her off life support as there was no chance of a recovery and she passed away this afternoon. The team at the hospital did a fantastic job to make sure she was comfortable and peaceful in her last few days and Jaelee was at her side until the very last moments. I saw Millie briefly at the start of lockdown from a safe distance when I dropped off some supplies for her; she was her usual effervescent self, full of warmth, smiles and life so this has come as a real shock. I’m sure Jaelee will want some time and space to come to terms with everything so if you have a message for her let me know and I will pass it on.”

Milie Small with husband and child
Millie Small a legend of Jamaican Ska and Reggae

My Boy Lollypop was a favourite for many Skinheads in the UK a song many thought dedicated to them and sung by girls to their Skinhead Boyfriend for decades

The star was most famous for her hit single My Boy Lollipop, which reached number two in both the US and the UK in 1964.

It remains one of the biggest-selling ska songs of all time, with more than seven million sales.

Island Records founder Chris Blackwell announced her death and remembered her as “a sweet person… really special”.

It was Blackwell who brought Small to London in 1963 and produced her version of My Boy Lollipop, showcasing her childlike, high-pitched vocals.

“I would say she’s the person who took ska international because it was her first hit record,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

“It became a hit pretty much everywhere in the world. I went with her around the world because each of the territories wanted her to turn up and do TV shows and such, and it was just incredible how she handled it.

“She was such a sweet person, really a sweet person. Very funny, great sense of humour. She was really special,” said Blackwell.Skip Youtube post by El enano trapecista

Born Millicent Small in Clarendon, south Jamaica, she was one of seven brothers and five sisters, raised on the sugar plantation where her father was an overseer.

At the age of 12, she won a talent contest at the Palladium Theatre in Montego Bay; and by her teens, she was recording for Sir Coxone Dodd’s Studio One label in Kingston.

There, she teamed up with reggae singer Roy Panton, and they became one of the island’s most prolific duos, scoring a major hit with We’ll Meet.

Blackwell took an interest in the singer after releasing some of those records in the UK on his fledgling record label, Island, and brought her to London in 1963.

Small was enrolled at the Italia Conti Stage School for speech training and dancing lessons; and she toured the UK before cutting My Boy Lollipop with a group of London session musicians (Small claimed Rod Stewart played the harmonica solo, but he has denied being present at the recording).

Released in February 1964, it made her an international star, and helped popularise ska music around the world.

“It is the ska equivalent of Elvis’ Heartbreak Hotel or the Sex Pistols’ God Save The Queen – the disc that popularised a sound previously considered to be on the margins of mainstream consciousness,” wrote music historian Laurence Cane-Honeysett in Record Collector magazine.

Millie Small
Millie Small was given a hero’s welcome when she returned to Jamaica after the success of My Boy Lollipop

However, Small was unable to replicate the success of My Boy Lollipop, scoring only one further hit, a soundalike called Sweet William, later the same year.

But she continued to tour and record, and appeared frequently on 1960s pop shows like Juke Box Jury and Ready Steady Go.

“My life seemed very normal to me – even though I was only 17, I took fame in its stride,” she told the Express in 2016.

After leaving Island in 1970, she recorded for legendary reggae label Trojan Records, where her first single was a cover of Nick Drake’s Mayfair.

However, it was the b-side that attracted greater attention. Called Enoch Power, it was a defiant response to Enoch Powell’s inflammatory, anti-immigration “Rivers of Blood” speech that captured the mood of the UK’s Caribbean population.Skip Youtube post by lanman31337

Soon after that single, and the accompanying album Time Will Tell, Small stepped away from music, saying “it was the end of the dream and it felt like the right time”.

In later years, she lived in Singapore and New Zealand before returning to London, where she concentrated on writing, painting and raising her daughter.

When My Boy Lollipop was re-released in 1987 to mark Island Records’ 25th anniversary, the singer gave a rare interview to Thames TV, where she revealed she had, at one point, been penniless and sleeping rough in London.

However, she took the hard times in good grace, explaining: “That’s all experience. It was great. I didn’t worry because I knew what I was doing.

“I saw how the other half live. It’s something I chose to do.”

In 2011, Jamaica’s Governor-General made Small a Commander in the Order of Distinction for her contribution to the Jamaican music industry.

The singer is survived by her daughter, Joan, who is also a musician based in London.

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Harrington Jacket an icon of British Fashion design

Harrington decades of cool

The Harrington Jacket, and The Roll Call Of The Cool

When, it comes to the Harrington Jacket, I feel a sense of pride. I am from the North West of England. I was born in Salford and was brought up in Greater Manchester. For those that don’t know – the versatile and simply smart casual jacket originated in the form as we know it, in Manchester, the metropolis that was at the centre of England’s textile industry and had been, since the industrial revolution.

I mean, if you look at the Twentieth century, and if you had to pick out one British-designed garment that has transcended numerous decades, and had earned its right as a favourite amongst sportsmen and Hollywood greats alike, and infiltrated its way into the wardrobe of fringe subcultures, the Harrington jacket, simply stands taller than any other.

harrington jacket a222

It is impossible not to talk about the Harrington jacket and not begin by paying homage to its originators of the style of this classic and extremely wearable garment, Baracuta.

Baracuta was founded in 1937 by James and Isaac Miller in Manchester, they “designed the G9 (The G stands for Golf) when they set out to create a functional rainproof jacket for the English modern working man,”

The company is inextricably linked to the Harrington jacket. In the same year, it was founded, the brand released the iconic G9, which then only became known as the ‘Harrington’ after the rise of US TV soap opera Peyton Place, in which a character – Rodney Harrington played by Ryan O’Neal – would often wear the style.

peyton place mia farrow ryan oneal

John Simons, the purveyor of American classic styles is considered to be the most influential man in Britain with regards to Ivy Style, and quality garments plays a part in this tale of the Harrington jacket. As aforementioned, there was a character in Peyton Place played by Ryan O’Neal called Rodney Harrington. Legend has it, that Simons would handwrite cards to go in the window next to the garments on show. He would write for example “The Rodney Harrington Jacket” when displaying a Baracuta G9 in his shop window. After doing this a few times the writing of the name was shortened simply to “The Harrington”

My first Harrington i got in 1979 whilst collecting for a Scouts charity sale, it had a hole in the arm so i sewed a ska patch over it, i was the proudest skinhead on Earth”. Symond Lawes
Picture by Gavin Watson

The Harrington jacket’s original purpose was to be worn in the great outdoors. Traditionally, its shell is a water-repellent poly-cotton blend with an umbrella-inspired vent on the back to aid the run-off of rainwater so one’s trousers don’t get wet. There are also two slanted flap pockets with concealed buttons and an elasticated waistband and cuffs to keep you dry. The collar is a double-button, stand-up, Mandarin-esque collar which can be snapped shut to stop the incoming rain. There is also a central fastening zip. Overall, it’s incredibly lightweight, yet its signature element is the tartan lining of Lord Lovat, a British commando and chief of the Fraser Clan, who gave Baracuta’s founding brothers permission to use his family’s colours in 1938. Since then, this has remained an unchanged feature on Baracuta Harringtons. Why? Because according to Paul Harvey, a designer at Baracuta, “firstly it must be simple and not follow fashion. Secondly, proportions and balance are vital to such a simple design. Thirdly, it has to feel right. The simplicity of the jacket asks nothing of you and that means you feel totally comfortable wearing it.”

harrington jacket advert

It’s a simple design and the look has been worn by many that have become style icons. Movie and music legends alike have been known to wear Harrington jackets. It’s no surprise that stylists from many different backgrounds have gravitated towards wearing a G9, or more recently Harrington jackets that have been manufactured by other manufacturers. For it is a testament to this garment that it has been copied widely, as its influence is such that it is the epitome of cool. When you see James Dean, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and the King of Cool Steve McQueen wearing a Baracuta, it makes you want to buy into that coolness. When you see the Mods, Skinheads, Britpoppers and indie artists looking cool in Harrington’s you acknowledge that sense of style for an easy to wear, sharp and understated look.

From cheaper ones to ones that are much more expensive. They are in various different fabrics. I have three Baracuta’s. One is in the traditional water repellent fabric, one that is in Chambray cotton, and another is a rare lightweight summer one, that is in red polyester and has a mesh Fraser tartan lining. I also have a Harrington style jacket by Two Stoned, that has the legend “The Two Stoned Rodney Harrington Style Jacket” on the label, and had been purposefully aged to look vintage and has several “Northern Soul” patches on it. I have a vintage US college version of a Harrington made by Haband of Patterson, New Jersey which is more like the Baracuta G4, and a black Leather G9 style Harrington I wear in the autumn and winter that is made by Charles Caine.

Rebel Without a Cause natalie wood james dean harrington g9 coat

Harrington’s are functional, comfortable, and timeless. The functionality is what appeals to most men, and the knowledge that when you slip one on, you instantly join that roll call of the cool. Of course – Harrington’s look great on women also. As when the fairer sex chooses to wear masculine clothing to subvert style norms, so they choose items that men have looked up to and admired. In affect reaffirming that they too can join that roll call, and show that they also like the functionality, comfort, and design that has a history that is broad, long and full of cultural identity.

Harrington’s are here to stay for it is the jacket that is made for both work and play.

harrington jacket female
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David Paul Greenfield Stranglers Legend dies from Covid19

David Paul Greenfield (29/3/49-3/5/20)

We are deeply and profoundly saddened to announce the untimely passing of keyboard legend Dave Greenfield on the evening of 3rd May 2020. Following a stay in hospital for heart problems, Dave tested positive for the Covid-19 virus last Sunday but he sadly lost his battle last night. Dave had been an ever present in the band since joining in late 1975 and his keyboard wizardry was world-renowned over his 45 year career in The Stranglers. Dave was a lovable, friendly and eccentric character who always had time to chat.

We have received the following tributes from Dave’s fellow band members JJ, Jet and Baz as well as Sil the band’s manager:

“On the evening of Sunday May 3rd my great friend and longstanding colleague of 45 years, the musical genius that was Dave Greenfield, passed away as one of the victims of the Great Pandemic of 2020. All of us in the worldwide Stranglers’ family grieve and send our sincerest condolences to Pam.” – JJ Burnel

“We have just lost a dear friend and music genius, and so has the whole world. Dave was a complete natural in music. Together, we toured the globe endlessly and it was clear he was adored by millions. A huge talent, a great loss, he is dearly missed.” – Jet Black

“We lost a true innovator, musical legend, and one of my dearest friends today. The word genius is bandied around far too easily in this day and age, but Dave Greenfield certainly was one. We stood together on the same side of the stage for 20 years, laughed, joked and shared our lives in the way that only band mates can. I’ll miss him forever. Our thoughts and hearts are with his wife Pam, and to the millions of fans who worshipped at his altar, he’ll never be equalled.” – Baz Warne

“We are all in shock, Dave was a kind, generous soul who had time for anyone and everyone and it has been my privilege to have known him as both a close friend, his tech and manager for over 40 years. Our thoughts are with Pam at this sad time” – Sil Willcox

He is survived by his wife Pam and we ask you to respect Pam’s privacy at this very sad time.

Fly straight Mr G, fond adieu xx

very sad news, another punk legend gone. Peaches was one of the first 7″ singles i ever owned (nicked off my sister) and one of the very first to have swear words on it. for a 12 year old kid in 1977 oh S**t and Bummer were oh so shocking. Then Duchess still stands as one of my all time favourite punk songs. RIP to a Legend

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Richard Hell & The Voidoids

“More Heroes” – Spotlight on Punk: Richard Hell & The Voidoids

by Luca Morettini Paracucchi -April 9, 20200185

The Voidoids
richard hell & the voidoids

“More Heroes” is a column dedicated to the discovery of the biggest names that have made the history of punk, many of which are not adequately known as they deserve. Today the spotlight is on Richard Hell & The Voidoids.

The third attempt is the right one

Richard Lester Voices “Hell” Meyers was born in New York in 1976. Although active for a short time, they are one of the most influential groups of the first wave of American punk. Hell (whose pseudonym is inspired by the opera “A Season In Hell” by the French poet Arthur Rimbaud) had previously been bassist and founder of two other big names of those years: Television and Heartbreakers . Both experiences ended due to the constant clashes with those of those bands who will be the leaders, respectively Tom Verlaine and Johnny Thunders.

Finally, the third attempt to start a band proves to be the right one and thus the Richard Hell & The Voidoids are born. Accompanying the bassist are guitarists Robert Quine and Ivan Julian and drummer Marc Bell.

“Blank Generation” and “Destiny Street”

The group signs a contract with the Sire label and in 1977 they debuted with the epochal “Blank Generation” , a milestone of the first American punk which sees in the title track a real generational anthem and of all punk (song already played in the times of Television and Heartbreakers) in which Hell’s poetic vein and literary influences emerge. Noteworthy is also the work of Quine and Julian in which their passion for rock’n’roll and jazz emerges.

Cover of the 1990 reissue of “Blank Generation”. The original featured Hell with a bare chest and “You Make Me ____” written on his chest.

Immediately after the release of the album, the band goes through a difficult period in which they abuse drugs. They participate in a tour of England by shoulder to the Clash which however will leave them dissatisfied with the English punk scene. The internal balance between the various members does not hold and in 1978 Bell left the group to join the Ramones, assuming the pseudonym of Marky Ramone. In 1979, on drums Frank Mauro released the 45 rpm “The Kid With The Replaceable Head” . Shortly thereafter, Julian also leaves, disappearing from the music scene.

We have to wait until 1982 for the second rehearsal of Richard Hell & The Voidoids, who now see Fred Maher on drums and Juan “Naux” Maciel on the second guitar. But ” Destiny Street” , released for the Red Star label, however good a album it becomes, becomes the last piece of the band’s history which effectively ends its adventure in the same year. Some reunions will follow during the 90s, but never with the original lineup. The latter met once in 2000 to record the unreleased track “Oh” which will be included in a compilation.

Subsequent careers

Over the years Hell has ventured as a writer, poet and sometimes actor acting in several films, including “Desperately Seeking Susan” with Madonna. Very few record rehearsals, following his retirement from the world in music.

The poster for the film “Desperately Seeking Susan” by Susan Seidelman.

In 1992 he was in the supergroup named Dim Stars where he found Quine and which included Don Fleming of Gumball and Steve Shelley and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth.

Quine has collaborated with many artists, first of all Lou Reed. He committed suicide in 2004 with an overdose of heroin. The previous year, his wife’s disappearance had led him into severe depression.

Curiosity

Richard Hell is considered by many to be the inventor of the famous punk look made of bristly hair, studs, chains and ragged clothes. Look taken from Malcom McLaren (manager of the Sex Pistols) and his wife, the stylist Vivienne Westwood.

In 1980 the film “Blank Generation” was released starring Hell, the band and a young Carole Bouquet.

Recommended songs:

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Red London


“this is England”
Year:  1984
City:  Sunderland
Label:  Razor
Format:  CD, LP
Tracks:  13
Time:  34 min.
Genre:  rock
Style:         Oi!

Red London record cover This is England

RED LONDON is an English punk band formed in Sunderland in 1981, influenced by The Clash, Angelic Upstarts and The Jam. The band named themselves after a Sham 69 song. By 1983 they were signed to Razor Records. Their first release was the “Sten Guns in Sunderland” EP in 1983 followed by the “This is England” LP in 1984. Since then they have recorded for various labels both in the UK and abroad, and toured Europe including Germany, Poland, Belgium, Holland, France, Italy, and Spain as well as playing occasional gigs in England. Nowadays the band play some concerts from time to time. The release we have here was made by the label “Step-1” and include the first EP plus the debut LP. Is probably the best known work of the band, but Red London made more albums very recommended and always combining Oi! music with melodic voices and political lyrics. The four members declared themselves as socialist, libertarian and internationalist, inspired by the british SWP. Record label called “RedStar 73” has made the first re-issue on vinyl format and If somebody wants to buy it can go HERE. Later in 2016 was a new re-issue with remastered sound and some changes in the artwork made through italian label “Radiation Ressiues” just on LP format. Red London disbanded in 2002 and they are come back in 2018, touring in UK and Europe.  Discogs  ,  Lastfm  ,  Download  ,  Myspace  ,  Facebook , Wikipedia

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The Casualties and the trouble with punk rock

‘I just wish that more energy were used to protest the real culprits of misogyny and sexism, rather than punk bands,’ one fan wrote, as if the two are mutually exclusive

The Casualties

When I was a teenager, I often went to see a friend’s punk band play shows at an all-ages basement bar in Guelph.

He was a year younger than me, played bass, and had a bright green mohawk that stood about a foot high. The singer was a bit older and went to a different school; he wore his hair in liberty spikes. Most of the kids who went to these shows had the types of hairstyles that required Elmer’s glue to make stand on end, but not me: I had blonde highlights and a bob.

When you’re a teenager, the way you style yourself assigns you membership into a tribe that usually corresponds with what type of music you like, but at the punk shows I went to, this coding didn’t necessarily apply. As soon as I paid my cover and walked downstairs, I belonged. Punk rock is good like that, or at least it’s supposed to be: as long as you categorize yourself as some type of outsider, you’re part of the scene. Punk rock is always there for you. So it’s not hard to declare an unwavering loyalty to the scene, the fans and — most importantly — the people in the bands that comprise it.

On Thursday, Toronto’s Mod Club announced that it would be cancelling an upcoming show by punk group The Casualties due to allegations of rape against the band’s singer, Jorge Herrera. The cancellations are nothing new. A couple months after The Casualties announced a Canadian tour, 13 dates in total have been scrapped.

Allegations about Herrera have circulated for years, most notably in the form of a blog post on the website Put Your Damn Pants On by a woman named Beth who claims she was raped by Herrera when she was 16 years old, and he was about 26. Since then, a number of websites and blogs have been flooded with the comments and responses of those who claim similar experiences with Herrera; one Tumblr page compiled a list of 28 victims.

STORY CONTINUES BELOW

The backlash to these allegations has been toxic. The band’s management has used a particularly heinous line of defence, claiming that it’s NOT VERY PUNK ROCK to believe the women accusing Herrera of rape: “Unfortunately, people have been quick to judge and have not taken the time to think that they are not only slandering a singer from a punk band, but also a father, husband and family man,” a statement on the Casualties’ Facebook page read earlier this week.

“The mob has lit the torches and wants to see blood. Not a thought is wasted that it could hurt an innocent,” the band said in a statement in February. “We will not stand by while an innocent man’s life is being ruined. The only thing Jorge can be found guilty of is playing in a punk band.”

The fans are right there with them, maintaining that there’s a difference between being punk and being capable of rape. “Stay strong and stay f–kin’ punk y’all,” wrote one fan, while another assured the group that “The real punx we gonna stay with you guys!” Worst of all: “I just wish that more energy were used to protest the real culprits of misogyny and sexism, rather than punk bands,” a commenter wrote, as if the two are mutually exclusive.

A similar rationale permeates the discussion surrounding Bill Cosby. In her defense of him, Cosby’s former co-star Phylicia Rashad evoked the comedian’s “legacy” as a champion of diversity. Jill Scott did the same (though she distanced herself from her remarks recently), as did rapper Chuck D just a few weeks ago. Surely, hundreds of thousands of people who grew up with Bill Cosby thought the same: that a childhood hero, a moral arbiter, a beloved comedian with a proud legacy as a Black entertainer could not also be a monster, because if he is, what does that say about all of us who loved him?

When a scheduled NXNE concert by rapper Action Bronson was yanked off a public stage in downtown Toronto due to a petition crying foul over his misogynistic lyrics, the outcry was similar, but more simplistic: if you don’t want to hear it, just stay home. “It does seem like you’re trying to placate a bunch of soccer moms instead of your actual target demographic by booking the cleanest rapper you could think of,” a comment under NXNE’s announcement of Shad as Bronson’s replacement during the fest. “What the hell,” another said. “This is Toronto. It’s music. It’s art. If someone is offended well … f–k em. They don’t have to be there.”

The comments aren’t just an attempt to silence those standing up against misogyny and sexism, but a shaming: how dare you call into question something I believe in? How dare you take this away from me?

I don’t really like The Casualties; my experience with punk rock was always a little wimpy. But growing up, I drifted in and out of the punk scene in my hometown because even if I never felt quite like I was part of it there was no sense that I was unwelcome. Everyone I ran into at shows was a little bit of a weirdo like me, and they were there because it was a supportive environment. And I knew a lot of people who liked The Casualties.

But you can be an outcast — and speak for outcasts — and still do garbage things. Punks aren’t just punks; they’re people. And anyway, it’s not like the punk rock community is immune to the pratfalls that pervade every other community.

It can be difficult to reconcile that our heroes, mentors and idols do terrible things, not least of all because of a sense that their wrongdoings are somehow reflective of ourselves. And so the impulse to doubt or lash out against accusations is sometimes born of an impulse to keep ourselves comfortable. It’s an impulse that is, by definition, harmfully closed-minded. And that’s not very punk rock.

Rebecca Tucker
Rebecca Tucker

The Casualties were formed in 1990, with original members Jorge Herrera (vocals), Hank (guitar), Colin Wolf (vocals), Mark Yoshitomi (bass) and Yureesh Hooker (drums). The members aimed to return to what they viewed as the “golden era” of street punk, embodied by bands such as The Exploited and Charged GBH which they believed had disappeared by 1985.[3] During the early years, the lineup was fluid, with several changes.

In early 1991 Hank left the band, to be replaced by Fred Backus on guitar to record Political Sin in March 1991 for the Benefit for Beer compilation.[4] Soon more changes were in the works, with new guitarist Fred heading off to school. C Squat’s Scott temporarily filled Fred’s shoes until he returned a short time later. During this period, guitarist Hank filled in for a couple of shows, and Steve Distraught also played briefly with the group on second guitar. The Casualties stabilized long enough to record the first demo in the fall of 1991 and the 40 oz Casualty EP in the spring of 1992, and was building up a fan base in their hometown of New York City. At the end of 1992, Mark and Fred left the band and were replaced by Mike Roberts on bass and Jake Kolatis on the guitar, followed by the departure of Yureesh and Colin in 1994, to be replaced on drums by Shawn, while the band went down to a single vocalist.[1994 sees the recording of the 4 song EP, Drinking Is Our Way Of Life, however it would not be released. The songs would later appear on the Casualties “early years 1990-1995” CD in 1999. In 1995, the band’s second release, the 4 track A Fuckin’ Way Of Life E.P. was released on Eyeball Records. After recording A Fuckin’ Way of Life, Shawn left the band, and Marc Eggers (nicknamed Meggers) of the Rivits became the regular drummer. The line-up of Jorge, Jake, Mike and Meggers continued until 1997.

In 1996 the Casualties became the first American band to appear at the “Holidays in the Sun” Festival in London. 1997 saw the release of the band’s debut album, For the Punx is released on Tribal War Records, and the band embarks on its first American tour with The Varukers. Mike (the bassist) left the band in 1998, to be replaced with Johnny Rosado, from The Krays. They released their second LP that year, Underground Army, and begin a world tour.

Line-up
David Rodriguez – lead vocals (2017–present)Jake Kolatis – guitar (1993–present)Rick Lopez – bass (1998–present)Marc “Meggers” Eggers – drums (1995–present)
Past line-up
Jorge Herrera – lead vocals (1990–2017)Colin Wolf – vocals (1990–1994)Hank – guitar (1990–1991)Fred Backus – guitar (1991–1993)Mark Yoshitomi – bass (1990–1993)Mike Roberts – bass (1993–1997)Johnny Rosado – bass (1997–1998)Yureesh Hooker – drums (1990–1994)Shawn – drums (1994–1995)
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Neo nazis in Sweden attacked by a Polish woman

The photograph by Hans Runesson

A Woman Hitting a Neo-Nazi With Her Handbag (Swedish: Kvinnan med handväskan, lit. “The woman with the handbag”) is a photograph taken in Växjö, Sweden on 13 April 1985 by Hans Runesson. It depicts a 38-year-old woman hitting a marching neo-Nazi with a handbag. The photograph was taken during a demonstration of the Nordic Reich Party supporters. It was published in the next day’s Dagens Nyheter and a day later in some British newspapers and sparked a discussion in Sweden about “violence unleashed against innocent demonstrators.”

Runesson’s photograph was selected as the Swedish Picture of the Year (Årets bild) 1985 and later as the Picture of the Century by the magazine Vi and the Photographic Historical Society of Sweden.[1]

The photograph was produced using gelatin silver process and editioned by gallerist Pelle Unger.[2] Twelve copies, three AP and three PP has been produced in the size 58 by 80 centimetres (23 in × 31 in) and price ranges between €3000–6000.[3]

A statue was later erected for Danuta Danielsson

Danuta Danielsson, the woman in the photo, committed suicide, jumping to her death from a water tower, two years after the photo’s release, due to the unwanted media attention she received as a result of the photo’s popularity.[4] She was born in 1947 and moved to Sweden after marrying a Swedish man she had met at a jazz festival. She was of Polish heritage and her mother had been imprisoned in Majdanek concentration camp during World War II.[1][5][6] A local artist, Susanna Arwin, expressed desire to raise a life-sized statue of Danielsson but it was ultimately decided against for two reasons, the first being that council members in Växjö were concerned such a statue could be interpreted as promoting violence and the second being that Danielsson’s surviving family reported that they would be unhappy with Danielsson memorialized in such a manner.[5][7][8][9][10] Seppo Seluska, the man in the photo, was a militant from the Nordic Reich Party.

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A CLOCKWORK ORANGE

BEHIND-THE-SCENES OF ‘A CLOCKWORK ORANGE’: STANLEY KUBRICK AND HIS DROOGIE BUDDIES  

“I’m going out with my droogs to the cinny to shove a pooshka into the grahzny bratchny.”

A round up of some behind-the-scenes photos from the set of Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, 1971.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

1. Mick Jagger originally bought the movie rights for $500.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

2. Tim Curry turned down the role of Alex.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

3. As well as Jeremy Irons.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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4. Contrary to popular claims, the film was never banned in the UK, it was withdrawn by Stanley Kubrick himself.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

5. The film was released again in the year 2000 after Kubrick’s death.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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6. Kubrick’s first cut ran almost 4 hours.

Kubrick's first cut ran almost 4 hours.

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7. All unused footage was destroyed per Kubrick’s request.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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8. One of only two X-rated movies to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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The other being Midnight Cowboy (1969).

9. Malcolm McDowell’s eyes were anesthetized so that he could film without too much discomfort.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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10. Nevertheless, his corneas got repeatedly scratched and was temporarily blinded.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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11. The doctor standing over Alex as he is being forced to watch violent films was a real doctor.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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12. Kubrick had the Korova’s milk dispensers emptied, washed and refilled every hour.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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As the milk curdled under the studio lights.

13. The sped-up sex scene was originally filmed as an unbroken take lasting 28 minutes.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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14. The final scene was done after 74 takes.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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15. Gene Kelly was deeply upset about the way “Singing in the Rain” had been portrayed in the film.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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16. It is often claimed that Malcolm McDowell nearly drowned while being waterboarded. This is not true.

It is often claimed that Malcolm McDowell nearly drowned while being waterboarded. This is not true.

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During this scene, there is a barely perceptible microcut, in which Malcolm McDowell was able to use the oxygen mask that was hidden in the water.

17. It is said that Stanley Kubrick made this movie because of the failure of Waterloo.

It is said that Stanley Kubrick made this movie because of the failure of Waterloo.

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After he completed 2001: A Space Odyssey, he had planned to film a movie about Napoleon Bonaparte’s life, but his financial backers pulled out.

18. The rape scene was so difficult for the actress originally cast in the role that she had to quit.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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19. She was later replaced by Adrienne Corri, who told McDowell: “Well, Malcolm, today you’re going to find out I’m a real redhead.”

She was later replaced by Adrienne Corri, who told McDowell: "Well, Malcolm, today you're going to find out I'm a real redhead."

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20. Pink Floyd’s “Atom Heart Mother Suite” was going to be used in the opening scene.

However, because Kubrick wanted unlimited license to determine what portions or edits of the song he used, the band turned him down.

21. The album cover is still visible on a shelf in the music shop scene.

The album cover is still visible on a shelf in the music shop scene.

22. The band Heaven 17 was named after a fictional pop group in the film.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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23. Stanley Kubrick and Malcolm McDowell would play table tennis while recording the narration.

Stanley Kubrick and Malcolm McDowell would play table tennis while recording the narration.

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And Kubrick never beat McDowell…

24. The film’s synthesized score features the first ever use of a vocoder.

The film's synthesized score features the first ever use of a vocoder.

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25. After the film’s release, composer Walter Carlos became Wendy Carlos via a sex-change operation.

After the film's release, composer Walter Carlos became Wendy Carlos via a sex-change operation.

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26. The doorbell at Alex’s house plays the first four notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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27. Stanley Kubrick handled the promotional campaign, including the trailer, posters, ads, etc.

Stanley Kubrick handled the promotional campaign, including the trailer, posters, ads, etc.

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28. The car used by Alex and the droogs was the “Adams Probe 16,” one of three ever made.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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29. Nadsat, the fictional language spoken by Alex and his droogs, is a mix of English, Russian and slang.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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Nadsat Dictionary.

30. The snake was introduced by Kubrick when he found out Malcolm McDowell had a fear of reptiles.

The snake was introduced by Kubrick when he found out Malcolm McDowell had a fear of reptiles.

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31. Malcolm McDowell was 27 at the time of filming. Alex is 15 years old (17 in the latter half).

Malcolm McDowell was 27 at the time of filming. Alex is 15 years old (17 in the latter half).

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32. Korova Milk Bar was the only set built for the film.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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This film was shot almost entirely on real locations.

33. Warner Bros highest grossing film of 1971.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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34. There are many references in popular culture based on the film’s story and visual elements.

There are many references in popular culture based on the film's story and visual elements.

What a brilliant masterpiece!

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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The End.

34 Things You Might Not Know About "A Clockwork Orange"

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Mods v Rockers! The beach battles that rocked Britain in 1964 – and terrified bank holiday tourists

50 years ago the nation was shocked by violence which accompanied our first true youth culture. One man at the notorious Brighton brawl looks back on the chaos

The bank holiday began with tourists flocking to the coast but ended with them fleeing for their lives as Mods and Rockers turned beaches into battlefields.

Fifty years ago, in the spring of 1964, simmering rivalry between the groups reached a flashpoint as they clashed repeatedly on seaside piers and promenades across the country.

But the worst of the violence was seen in Brighton, as families were trapped in a shocking showdown which sparked moral panic about the state of British youth.

Tony Edwards was 18 and one of the first band of Mods to arrive on the Sussex coast that day. He says: “The Rockers had outnumbered us for years but leading up to 1964 we’d grown in numbers – now it was payback time.

“When we arrived on the beach there were just a few Mods and a big group of Rockers in the middle. Within about 90 minutes the beach filled up with hundreds of Mods.

“Then someone on our side threw a pebble at them and within a few seconds they were just being blitzed. I saw one guy who’d been cut on the head with blood running down his face.

“In the end the police had to charge on to the beach and escort this group of Rockers off the seafront, which must have been humiliating. They were tough men and we were just little kids poncing around in fancy clothes.

“But we weren’t going to take their c**p any more. It was the holidaymakers I felt sorry for. They looked terrified.”

You’re coming with me, son: Police arrest youths on Brighton beach (Image: PA)

Tensions had been rising for some time. The Rockers were usually in their 20s or 30s; Elvis-loving bikers rooted in 1950s Teddy Boy culture.

The teenage Mods’ culture, which flourished in the early 60s, was based on continental clothes, Italian Vespa and Lambretta scooters and the music of soul and jazz musicians.

They first clashed that spring on the March bank holiday in Clacton. At the Essex resort 97 people were arrested and the battle lines were drawn.

After that, trouble flared from Bournemouth to Margate, up to the bank holiday of August 1964. But Brighton’s Whitsun clash was the most notorious, thanks to sensational headlines and its immortalisation in Mod flick Quadrophenia.

Battles ran well into the night but although there were weapons – knives, chains and makeshift knuckle dusters – most scuffles involved fists and boots.

Tony, once branded King of the Mods in hometown Reading, says: “There were quite a few scuffles. I got into a few myself and nearly got arrested.

“I kept out of it most of the time but we would rush over and watch if something did kick off. We saw the action on top of the aquarium, a scene which is famous.

“In the middle were these Mods with deck chairs bringing them down on the heads of Rockers.

“But a lot of injuries came from the sense of panic and all these crowds running around. It was bedlam.

“A Mod got pushed through a window and got so badly cut he was pouring with blood. It was really nasty and there was this copper holding this lad and he was quite emotional: ‘For Christ’s sake, just look at this!’ he said.

“It was an accident, the crowds pushed him through, but word spread that a Rocker did it – and that fired us up more.”

The Mods got much of the blame for the violence but 68-year-old Tony, now a dad of three and a grandad of two living in Cornwall, blames the Rockers and police.

He says: “The police were very heavy-handed. There was panic about Mods but it was misplaced. All we wanted was to have a good time. Music and clothes were our passion.

“There was probably a hardcore of violent people, Mods and Rockers, who just used it as an opportunity for a fight.

“But it was the Rockers who went to Brighton knowing there was going to be trouble. They went there looking for it – and they certainly found it.”

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Punk Rock Promoter Ron Watts

RON 

RON WATTS PUNK PROMOTER 
Friday 17th November 2006, 30 years since Punk detonated, and I had the pleasure of sharing a few drinks with Ron Watts in my home. Ron promoted many of the early bands, and organised the now legendary Punk Festival at the 100 Club on the 20th and 21st September, 1976. Ron’s just published a great book which documents those heady and (for those lucky enough to have been there) exciting times. I switched on the tape recorder, put some wine on the table and off we went, talking about our mutually favourite subject. Music! I hope people will find this interview as interesting as I did, he’s a top bloke with some great memories.
Rob Maddison, Tamworth, 19th November 2006. 100 Watts, a life in Music. Written by Ron Watts and forward by Glen Matlock. ISBN 0-9543884-4-5. Available from Heroes Publishing, the Internet (it’s on Amazon) or even a bookshop!
RM) Ron, firstly, why did you write the book?
Ron) I was approached by the publishers, who said “would you be interested in writing your life story”. I thought about it, for about two days, and then thought yeah. Yes, I’d do that, you know what I mean.RM) How on earth did you remember everything?
Ron) Most of it was in the house, still. I just had to find all the old diaries and booking sheets and things, and it jogged my memory, you know. RM) You kept all that stuff, then Ron?
Ron) Well, yes, I suppose you would, really, wouldn’t you. To be honest, I sold some stuff off at auction, about 10 years ago, when I was skint. One thing was the Sex Pistols contract from the Punk Festival, which was handwritten by Malcolm McClaren.RM) Who bought it?
Ron) I think it was the Hard Rock Café in Central London, to put up on the wall.RM) When’s your next promotion Ron?
Ron) Well, I haven’t been promoting for a while, but it’s in my blood, and people are expressing an interest in me doing something. I’ve got 2 venues lined up for the new year, look here for news, come February. We’ve venues in Oxford Street and High Wycombe, but can’t say too much at this point!! These gigs are to be known as Ron’s part 1 and 2…RM) Who are you promoting?
Ron) What I did in 1977. RM) What, new “Punk” bands, such as The View etc?
Ron) No. Same bands I did in ’77. Same bands in the same place. Some of them are reforming, I’ve been on the bone mate!!RM) Who are you still in touch with from those days, Ron?
Ron) Virtually everybody. People from the Sex Pistols, met some of the Clash quite recently, Damned I’m still in touch with, no end of people. RM) Glen Matlock wrote the forward to the book and is obviously a decent bloke.
Ron) Glen is a nice bloke, and definitely part of the Pistols, but is his own man.RM) Did you ban Punk?
Ron) No. Punk was banned around me, and while it was banned at one venue, I still considered doing it at another, the Nags Head in High Wycombe. At the first opportunity for it to go back into the 100 Club it went back in. It’s a false supposition to suggest I banned it. It was banned because the police and Oxford Street traders association objected to Punks standing in queues outside their shops waiting to get into the club. At this time Oxford Street was the premier shopping street in Europe. I’d be getting complaints, so would go out into the street and try and get people to move out of shop doorways etc, but as soon as I went back in the club they’d be back in there. And of course there’d been some real bad violence. When a girl loses her eye that’s a pretty serious thing. You have to remember that I didn’t own the club, I just promoted there. Simple as.
RM) Did Sid Vicious throw the glass that injured the girl’s eye?
Ron) Well, I presume so, the barman saw him do it. He didn’t know Sid from Adam, but he pointed him (Sid) out and told me it was him that threw it. I don’t think Sid meant to hurt anybody, except the Damned! If it had caught Captain Sensible on the head he’d have liked that! Funnily enough I was down at the 100 Club a couple of weeks ago, and Michelle Brigandage, who took some of the photos in the book, was telling me that she was actually sat with the girl who lost her eye. Apparently she was an art student from South London, never wanted any publicity and was broken hearted, as anyone would be who lost an eye, especially at that age. She was only 19 at the time. Michelle was sat with her when it happened, she was her mate, and it’s the first time I’ve had a real chat about it. She said herself that though she accepts that it was Sid who threw the glass, he hadn’t intended to do that. But at the same time, he had thrown the glass with malice, and might’ve done even worse damage to someone else, you never know. So in one sense, he’s exonerated to a degree, and in another sense he’s still a malicious Pratt.
RM) Was there any collusion to get Sid off by discrediting the barman’s story?
Ron) No, but so many people went down with him, to the police station, and said he didn’t do it that the CPS probably thought 250 against 1 and dropped it.RM) Were you surprised by Sid’s eventual demise?
Ron) No. You know, his mother, Ann Beverley moved up to Swadlincote, near here. She got some money from Sid’s estate, and the Pistols gave her some money. She got a cheap house and a few bob in the bank, and when she’d run through that she topped herself. As for Nancy, the police weren’t looking for anybody else, but we don’t know, do we.RM) Ron, how proud are you of your role in Punk, and could it have happened without the 100 Club?
Ron) Yeah, it would’ve happened anyway. It might have happened in a different way, but I suppose the traumatic birth it got, and the big hand it got via the Punk festival etc helped, otherwise it might have taken a bit longer. RM) Could it have started in any other city other than London?
Ron) I think it needed London. It gave it the credibility. It might have happened somewhere else, and it might have been more interesting if it had happened, say, in Liverpool or Newcastle or somewhere, but it would have taken longer to be accepted, and London would have taken longer to accept it.RM) I suppose the Pistols, who catalyzed the movement were a London band, and people like Paul Weller, Pete Shelley etc always say the seeing that band is what galvanised them.
Ron) Yes. They were the catalyst. We needed to have them in the Capital, playing in the middle of the Capital. It was always going to be a shortcut for them, you know. So yes, it would have still happened elsewhere, but in a different way.
RM) Whose idea was the 1976 Punk Festival at the 100 Club?
Ron) Mine. My idea, yeah. I approached Mclaren, as I knew that I needed the Pistols to headline it. And the Damned, they said that they wanted to do it, and The Clash agreed immediately, then we had to cast around to find some more. The Manchester bands were got down by Malcolm (Mclaren). Siouxsie approached me direct, although it wasn’t much of a band. Then, the Stinky Toys were volunteered by Mclaren, although I’d never heard of ‘em, and hardly anyone’s heard of ‘em since! Never mind, they got on eventually on the second night!RM) I read in the book that the Grande Piano on the stage got used like a climbing frame. Were you actually liable for damages if things got broken?
Ron) The piano wasn’t going to get moved off the stage. It always stays there. Thing is, you’ve got to remember that it was a running, 7 nights a week club, for Jazz and Blues mainly, and the piano was a part of all that. The owners of the club left me to it for my nights, very seldom that they were there, even. If the place had been wrecked, it would’ve been down to me, I’d have had to pay for all the damage, you know.RM) Punk 77’s owner wondered if you thought the Banshees sounded as bad as he thought they did?!
Ron) Well, in ’76 they weren’t really a band, you can’t comment. What they were doing was performance art, just getting up onto the stage and doing something off the top of their heads. They didn’t know any songs, and it sounded like it. It was weak, it was weedy. Sid just about tapped the drums. Siouxsie was doing the Lords Prayer and stuff like that. You couldn’t say it was a gig, or a rehearsed act, it was just people, getting up and trying to do something. I let them do it, you know, I might have done something like that at their age. I don’t think Siouxsie really lived up to her reputation, if you like. Well, not initially. RM) I didn’t like them, but the Banshees went on to become very skilled, musically.
Ron) Yes. By then she’d recruited some good blokes. She’s been living in France for a long time now, I don’t see her.
 
RM) Were the early Punks, like Siouxsie, middle class students? If so, how did they feel when Punk was taken up by the masses?
Ron) No. The early Punks were solidly working class. There was the art college mob, they weren’t numerically very strong, but they were the most vivid people, because of their appearance. They set the standard, the tone, you know? But immediately behind that, by the time of the punk festival of ‘76, the bulk of the audience was being formed by young, working class people and they took it to their hearts at once. RM) Were the movements roots biased towards the fashion element or more towards the music side, or was it one package?Ron) The fashion and art side, you know, was where Siouxsie was coming from. They took it very seriously, it was a new movement and they only had the one band to start with. It was very arty, but it was an art movement that worked. If you’d been there the first night I put the Pistols on, I think it was March 30th 1976, and you saw the Bromley Contingent coming in! They didn’t all come at once, they come in dribs and drabs. Each time, it was breathtaking and jaw dropping just to see them walk through that door.RM) Were contemporary Londoners shocked by the appearance of the early Punks?
Ron) Initially, yeah. They’d got used to it by the end of that year. But initially, like in the early months, absolutely.RM) The summer of ’76 is famous for its heat wave. I bet you’ve great memories of it?
RW) In that summer, and remember that it was the hottest, the best summer in living memory, it was the summer, people still talking about it now, and nothing was happening, everybody was asleep, you know. Anyway, this New Zealand film crew turned up to capture London. They’d been dispatched from Auckland to film London, in the summer. They were bright enough to cotton on to the movement, and they were haunting me! I mean, they got so many yards, so many miles of film, some of it’s not even been seen yet. All the main punk films, like the Rock ‘n Roll Swindle, The Filth and the Fury, were relying on their footage. They were amazed when they got their first, full on, Bromley Punk. They could not believe it. They said “You guys are 200 years ahead of New Zealand!” RM) Were you interested about the politics in Punk?
Ron) I tried to keep it at arms length. I wasn’t interested in sub-divisions.RM) What about The Clash?
Ron) Didn’t know that they were! (political). I think they were just trying to make it, I mean, they latched on to it. The Pistols had got a lot of the market wrapped up with their attitudes, so The Clash had to find some attitude, and they probably cooked it up with their manager, I reckon. What attitude can we have? Well, the Pistols have got this, that and the other and they found the one that they could go for. RM) I’ve read that the purists hated them, but I loved The Jam. They flirted with politics early on, and then really got involved, with Paul Weller joining Red Wedge later.
Ron) The Jam were some of the biggest winners out of Punk. There was such a lot of talent in that band. That band was so tight.RM) Did you get more involved with them once they’d started to get bigger?
Ron) They wanted me to help them with their American tour, by going ahead from city to city publicising it. But this was ’77, and I was amazed that their manager John Weller had asked me, and I would’ve loved to have done it. But, I was at the height of my promoting career, and I realised that. So I said “No, I’ve got to stick with this.”
RM) The Jam always felt like a band that, as a fan, you had a stake in.
Ron) I tell you what, they did a show for me at the 100 Club, when they’d been doing really huge venues like the Hammersmith Odeon. They’d always said, when we get there, we’ll come back and do one. They ended up doing three for me. One at Wycombe Town Hall, one at the Nags Head, which is a pub, you know! And, the 100 Club. They were really good like that, and I appreciate what they did for me and I love ‘em to bits.RM) It’s weird that there was all that acrimony between those people, and even stranger that Rick, and now Bruce, are playing in a Jam tribute band. (The Gift).Ron) Good drummer. I think, and this is my opinion, as I’ve no proof of it, that the girls all used to go for Bruce Foxton. The band was great, and they knew the band was great and they loved Paul Weller. But, in their hearts they all fancied that they’d get off with Bruce Foxton. When I did the box office at the 100 Club, there’d be all these girls turning up in school uniforms. I’d be saying “How old are you?” and the answer was always “19!” Am I really going to sell these girls tickets?!RM) I read somewhere, years ago, that Sid Vicious and Paul Weller had a fight after arguing about the Holidays in the Sun/ In the City riff. Did you hear that one?
Ron) No. I can’t see that. Paul Weller was from a tough, working class background. A fight between him and Sid Vicious would have lasted about 8 seconds. He would have dealt with Sid in no time at all. It didn’t happen. Sid would need to have been tooled up, and I’ve had to fight him 3 times when he was. And I’m still here. Sid came at me with a chain, once. I confiscated it, and wish I still had all these weapons, as I could put them up for sale at Christies, couldn’t I?! And I saw Sid with a knife, threatening Elle, the singer out the Stinky Toys with it. I took that off him and gave it to Malcolm Mclaren. Wish I’d kept it. RM) Ron, did you have much to do with Rock Against Racism (R.A.R)?
Ron) Only in as much as I endorsed it. And, I wouldn’t have any racist behaviour, as it says in the book, in any of my venues. I just wouldn’t. No way, I mean my bouncers were black, a lot of my acts were black, and I wasn’t going to have it. There were a few occasions when it surfaced, and I did the natural thing and let the black guys sort it themselves.RM) Empowerment?
Ron) Yeah. At Wycombe Town Hall, the British movement guys were having a go at my bouncer, Gerry. One black guy against twenty or thirty of them, so I said to him “I’ll take your position, don’t be long, go down the pubs and get your mates.” And he come back in with a dozen big black lads. I said to them, “Look, you’re here to look after Gerry, not to kill these white guys.” So, Gerry stood in front of them, and there wasn’t a word out of them again! They moved out of the way, and went down the other side of the hall, these bullies. They saw the odds evening up a bit, and given the other 8 or 9 bouncers I had stood in the hall, we would’ve murdered them.
RM) Jimmy Pursey went on-stage with The Clash at R.A.R in Victoria Park. Was this damage limitation on Pursey’s behalf? He seemed to get his fingers burned when the Skins affiliated to Sham 69.
Ron) Exactly. And I don’t think he liked that one little bit. See, now, Jimmy Pursey is another guy, like Paul Weller and Joe Strummer, probably all of them at that time. Underneath he was a much nicer person than the media, and the world, would realise and portray. He was an alright geezer and he caught the wrong end of the backlash. People were believing what he was portraying and singing about, and that wasn’t necessarily him!RM) Did Sham 69 dance a bit to close the flame? They could be perceived as “rabble rousing”, if you like.
Ron) They were looking for something to hang their stick on, if you like. The Pistols found it in one. Joe Strummer looked around with The Clash and thought about it and did it, you know. The Jam done it through their potent mix of soul and punk, and I think Jimmy Pursey thought he’d go with the hard boys in the East End. The skinheads, and the mobsters and the ruffians, you know. RM) Musically, Sham 69 were similar to the Pistols…
Ron) Yeah, closer than some. I liked Sham 69, they were alright. I think Pursey is another guy who hung his hat somewhere, and that hat got on the wrong peg.
RM) How fast did Punk spread throughout 1977?
Ron) Well, it got going in ’76. The Wycombe Punks, because they had me to promote at the Nags Head, got their first Sex Pistols gig there on September 3rd, which was actually 3 weeks before the 100 Club Festival. They were on the case really early. In ’76, Wycombe and the surrounding towns were full of Punks. By the end of that year, they even had a black Punk in Wycombe, a guy called Marmite. He had black hair, with a silver zigzag stripe in it. By ’77, it was all up and running everywhere. By January or February 1977 almost everyone under the age of 18 or 19 was a Punk.RM) When did the press really get hold of it?
Ron) Then. But they were on to it before the Bill Grundy Show, the Punk Festival was before that show and from then it was just….you know. I used to get phone calls, from NBC and CBS in America asking if anything’s going on, or coming off, could you let us know.
RM) That’s odd, being as the Americans claim to have invented Punk!
Ron) They were a year or two ahead. It’s like most things. It’s like the Blues. We had to take the Blues back to America for White America to know about it. Cream, Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, those sort of people. RM) America’s too big and too diverse. It couldn’t host youth movements like Punk and 2-Tone.Ron) No. It had to come from somewhere else. I mean, in New York it was a club scene, in Britain it was a national scene. RM) What did you think of those American bands?Ron) Some of them were really good. I didn’t think New York Dolls were as good as bands like Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers. They were probably the best Punk band I ever saw, actually.
RM) And Blondie?
Ron) Well, Blondie. The bass player, Nigel was a guy from the Nags Head. Tigger, we used to call him. That was his name round Wycombe. He played at the Nags Head before he was in Blondie. I’ve got to say that Tigger and Blondie didn’t get on. Maybe she fancied him, and he didn’t fancy her!

RM) He would’ve been the only British male in the late ‘70’s who didn’t, then?!
Ron) Perhaps he knew something we didn’t!RM) Back to the serious stuff, Ron. The Clash flew to Belfast, had some nice photos taken near some barricades and murals. Then they flew home. No gigs played. What do you think about all that?
Ron) Well, it’s up to them. Sometimes, promotional events can take over. You can be wise after the event, it might have sounded like a good thing at the time. Who knows, I mean, it might have been sincere. I didn’t see them as a band who had very political motives outside of the publicity. I’m not saying they didn’t have a heart, but sometimes publicity sows a life of its own, you know.RM) If they’d played, this would never have been an issue with people over the years.
Ron) No, but they would do benefits and things, R.A.R, and one just before Joe died, for a fireman’s benefit. RM) It’s ironic. The Pistols and Strummer/Jones last gigs in England were both strike fund benefits. And the Pistols, apparently, never cashed their cheque from that Christmas Day one.
Ron) I wasn’t a party to any of that, but yeah, that was a good gesture. A lesson. A guy came down to interview me, and he lived near Joe Strummer. Lived in the same village and he was a long time journalist. He said that he thought that Joe Strummer had a lot of heart, and it was very typical of him that he’d go out and do a benefit as The Clash, but commercially would only do The Mescalero’s.

RM) Back to the Pistols, now Ron. What was their early live sound like?
Ron) I’ll tell you something now that I’ve never told anybody before. Musically, when the Pistols started, I thought that they were, or sounded like, a youth club heavy metal band. Not the songs, or the vocals, or even the presentation but the actual sound of the band. It wasn’t a weak sound, but it wasn’t particularly pokey. Within three months, they’d perked it up a lot.
RM) How big an influence was Dave Goodman to their sound?
Ron) He brought a lot of stuff to them. He gave them a lot of advice. He’d make them sound a lot more pokey, he’d get them to do things. I spent a lot of time with Dave Goodman, as when you’re a promoter, you’re there to open it up. And Dave used to arrive early, you know, he’d arrive at four in the afternoon. I’d give him a hand in with some of the gear, and we’d spend some time together as we’d be the only ones there for a couple of hours. I’d be answering the phone and stuff, doing other things like that, but I got to know that guy. He never actually spoke to me about Punk. He mentioned the Pistols, but he never actually spoke about the Punk movement. I wish I’d recorded all those conversations!RM) Did you always fill the 100 Club?
Ron) Well, after the first couple of months, it filled out, yeah. I mean, the Pistols didn’t pull a crowd for about their first six gigs. We’re talking about 50 – 80 people, the Bromley Contingent and a few interested parties!

RM) Some people must’ve come in to watch the Pistols out of curiosity? Maybe just walking by the club, then deciding to see what was going on in there, and finding their lives would never be quite the same again?
Ron) Yeah, I think that younger people who come down to see it would change. They’d come down the first night with long hair and flares, and by the third night they’d seen them they’d come down in drainpipes and Punk haircut, you know?

RM) What about the other clubs, Ron, like the Roxy?
Ron) Went to the Roxy, yes, many times. It was a bit of a pokey hole actually. The Roxy didn’t last long. The Vortex I went to. The stories I used to hear about that place! It was more of a disco crowd, actually. Rent-a-Punk, you know? It wasn’t for the faint hearted, not very savoury! RM) Did you get to read many of the fanzines?
Ron) Yeah, I did. I used to see them all. We had one out in the Home Counties called the Buckshee Press, which is a piss take of the Bucks Free Press, of course there was Sniffin’ Glue, we used to see that at the 100 Club all the time. There were others, too, I came across them all over the place, actually, some of them were just one issue, you know, and just a couple of pages.RM) Did you know Mark Perry and the music hacks the time?
Ron) Yeah, I knew Mark. Caroline Coon, too. Caroline has been very kind to me in her books, and things, you know. In fact she blamed me, or congratulated me for the whole of Punk in one of them, special thanks to Ron Watts, and that’s nice! Caroline was the first dedicated journalist who wanted to see Punk happen. And, I’m glad in a way that it happened for her, too, because she put her money on the table, you know? Same as I did. She ran that Release thing, which got all the hippies out of jail for cannabis. She was ahead of her time, I mean seriously, you can’t lock someone up for 6 months for smoking cannabis! RM) Changing tack again, Ron. What did you think of Malcolm Mclaren?
Ron) I like Malcolm personally. No doubt, you know, I’m not just saying that. On first impressions he looked like an Edwardian gentleman. He’d got that off to a tee, I’d never seen anyone look like him, actually. I never had any bad dealings with him, and he was always very straightforward.RM) People either loved or loathed Mclaren. John Lydon isn’t a fan.
Ron) Yeah, I think it was more of a financial thing, but I mean, John Lydon should also remember that without Mclaren he probably wouldn’t have been in them. Mclaren set the scene going, I was the first to pick it up, from that, before recording deals, but he never stuffed me like he stuffed the record companies. They made a lot of money, initially.RM) Did the record companies drop the band so willingly because it was Jubilee year?
Ron) Well, the Pistols were full on and did it. I mean, “God Save The Queen” become one of the biggest selling British hit singles, didn’t it? It’s still selling now! And they wouldn’t let it on the shelves, would they. Bless ‘em! RM) You were on the legendary ’77 boat trip up the Thames, when the Pistols played and Mclaren got arrested. What was that like?
Ron) It was lovely! You should’ve been there, honestly. The band were ok, they just did their normal gig. I enjoyed seeing people that you wouldn’t expect, talking to each other. When you’ve got the boss of Virgin, that business empire, talking to Sid Vicious, can you imagine what sort of conversation they had?! I’d loved to have taken a tape recorder in there! RM) Do you think the police raid on the boat was planned?
Ron) I tell you what, I was amazed at that. I was actually on deck, and the boat was going downstream, back towards Westminster Pier. The Pistols were playing, and it got a bit jostley. You know, a bit of charging about in a small space ‘cause it wasn’t very big, the boat, really. So, I went out on to the deck by the railings, and a couple of other people come and joined me. There was plenty of food and drink, and I had a beer and a chicken leg or something, you know. And I’m looking and I can see these two police boats, and they were a way off. Downstream, I could see two more police boats, and they were a way off, too. I carried on eating the chicken and drinking the beer, looked round, and they were all there, together, at the same time! I mean, the degree of professionalism was just amazing! And then they were on that boat, in force, like about twelve or fifteen coppers, in moments. The boat was quite high sided, but they were up there. And you know what they were doing, they were up there and on that boat and we were escorted into the Westminster Pier basin.RM) Then Mclaren was nicked. Do you reckon he did just enough to get the publicity of an arrest without being charged with anything serious?
Ron) I saw that. He got a lot of press out of it, yeah. He knew. Everybody turned to me, to try and sort it all out. One of them was a Countess!
RM) Ron, you mentioned that no other bands were on the boat. Was there a real rivalry between these new bands at the time?
Ron) The Jam were the young upstarts according to the Pistols, you know. The Clash were their biggest rivals at the time. The Damned, they had no time for.RM) Why don’t The Damned get their due credit? In my opinion, they should.
Ron) I don’t know. A lot of people say they’re just a Punk cocktail act. You don’t see a lot about them, and yet they were the first to get a single out and they could play. Scabies could play. Brian James come up brilliant, but then he’d have done anything, if they’d have asked him to join Led Zeppelin he’d have done that, and Captain (Sensible), well I like Captain.RM) Buzzcocks were, from what I’ve heard on bootlegs, a bit rough to start with. They really hit a rich seam once they got up and running.
Ron) If the Buzzcocks could make it, anybody could. I wasn’t impressed, really. But what’s in the future’s in the future, you never know what is at the time. They blossomed.

RM) And Magazine? Did you rate them?
Ron) Yeah, I did. Brilliant guitarist, John McGeoch. And Penetration, they were a good band, and X-Ray Spex.

RM) Which bands are you the most pleased to have seen play?
Ron) Well, I mean, it’s all of them. But where do you start?! Alright, the Pistols and The Clash, definitely, yeah. The Jam – pleased to see them anywhere, anytime. I did enjoy the Damned at an early stage, but they’re not in the top 5. And Sham 69, and The Heartbreakers.RM) I heard “Pretty Vacant” on the radio in my car earlier today, and I got the old goose bumps. Does any of the music from that time affect you the same?
Ron) All the early Pistols stuff, yeah!RM) What’s your view on Punk and Reggae getting married?
Ron) Yeah, if people want to get together and cross pollinate ideas, then that’s alright. It was the underbelly, twice. You had the white working class and the black working class responding to each other at last! RM) Some Punk bands who had a go at playing Reggae were better than others. Ruts, SLF and of course The Clash all cracked it in their own styles…
Ron) The worst Reggae act I ever saw, were The Slits. Actually, probably just the worst act! RM) Do you think that Punk and Reggae blending in ’77 was the root of Two Tone?
Ron) Yes. I’m sure it came out of that. I used to have a lot of Reggae acts on in that club, aside from Punk and the Blues and everything. I’d put on Steele Pulse, or an American Blues artist like Muddy Waters, as long as it was what I liked.
 RM) Your best front men and women?
Ron) I’m thinking about this one…The best oddball front man was Wayne County. Best front woman, from what I saw, Faye Fife.RM) You rate Faye Fife over Poly Styrene?Ron) You’re putting me on the spot there! I’d put them equal for different reasons. Faye used to put on a great act. They were perennially at the club and at the Nags Head. Because I had so many venues, when they were coming down again, I needed to know, because that’s three bookings to give them. It was always like, “get your diary out, mate, when you coming down?” If I gave them three bookings, they’d come down, and they could fill it out with other stuff, do the rounds. X-Ray Spex were good, too. Really good band. The Rezillos are still going, actually.   RM) I watched a documentary on TV the other night about that Stiff Records tour. The one where they hired a train from BR.
Ron) They did the first night for me, at High Wycombe, yeah. There were some funny people there! Wreckless Eric was at the Punk thing I did in Blackpool this year. It took me about an hour to recognise him. I kept looking and looking and vaguely remembered him. Not a nice bloke. RM) Here’s the last one, Ron. Punk lit a fuse for many people. I’m one (albeit two years late), the other people who contributed questions to this interview are others and there’s millions more. As Ed Armchair puts it, his fuse is still burning to this day, and has affected virtually every aspect of his life since it was lit. Do you have the same feelings about Punk as we do?
Ron) Yes. I got going through that and it still survives. My first love in music was, and is, Blues. I see a lot of similarities between Punk and Blues. They both come from the underbelly of a society, and they’ve both triumphed against all the odds. They both spoke for their people of that time and place. They’ll reverberate forever. Punk freshened up a stale music scene and the Blues were the bedrock for twentieth and twenty-first century music.RM) Ron, thanks for your time and best of luck with your new projects.END
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Sex Pistols funded by KGB

SEX PISTOLS WERE FINANCED BY USSR TO ‘DESTABILIZE WESTERN WORLD’, ADMITS EX-KGB AGENT

sex-pistols

Alexandrei Varennikovic Voloshin, a retired KGB agent, has admitted this week on National Russian Television (NTV) that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was behind the creation of the 1970s punk scene and financed major punk bands such as the Sex Pistols, the Clash, and the Ramones.

The USSR government at the time spent “hundreds of millions of rubles” on this covert operation destined to “create utter chaos” and “pervert the Western youth to nihilist, anti-establishment and anti-American ideologies” he explained in an hour-long interview broadcast on national television.

Famous punk songs of the legendary punk band the Sex pistols were even scripted by a team of psychologists and war propagandists of the USSR.

“I am an anarchist”, “God save the Queen the fascist regime”, “No future” and other nihilist and anti-establishment lyrics were intended to unleash a wave of cynicism towards authorities, promote the use of heavy drugs and entice the youth with revolutionary, counter-establishment ideas.

kgb-agent

The 1970s punk subculture movement was allegedly financed by the USSR, says ex-KGB agent, Alexandrei Varennikovic Voloshin

The retired KGB agent claims the maneuver was extremely successful.

“We understood at the time that music was a powerful means of propaganda to reach the youth”explained the 77-year old man.

“Our mission was to use teenage angst to our advantage and turn the baby boomer generation of the West into a decadent, pro-drug and anti-establishment culture that would create uprisings and bring Western democracies into utter chaos.

We even infiltrated mainstream radios to promote their music and reach millions of people every day” he admitted, visibly proud of the accomplishment.

“For many of us in the KGB, infiltrating the 1970s punk scene was one of the USSR’s most successful experiments of propaganda to date” he acknowledged during the interview.

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Punks burning a U.S. flag in the early 1980s, influenced by the punk music scene which was allegedly financed by the USSR

Some experts openly admit Punk nihilism, which was expressed in the use of harder, more self-destructive drugs like heroin and methamphetamine, pushed United States President Richard Nixon into the War on Drugs, a campaign of prohibition of drugs, military aid, and military intervention, with the stated aim being to define and reduce the illegal drug trade within America and around the world.

Its long been talked about how the Russians and Americans used many tools in the cold war to try to cause destabilisation. In UK extremist groups such as the Irish Republican Army, National Front, Socialist Workers party are all rumoured to have recieved funding from Russia, to create divide and ultimately civil war or revolution.

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Gavin Watson. British Subculture Photographer

Symond. Skinhead Trafalgar Square 1980. Gavin Watson

“What makes Gavin’s photos so special is that when you look at them, there’s clearly trust from the subject towards the photographer so it feels like you’re in the photo rather than just observing’.”

— Shane Meadows

BIOGRAPHY

Gavin Watson was born in London in 1965 and grew up on a council estate in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. He bought a Hanimex camera from Woolworths in his early teens and began to take photographs. Upon leaving school at the age of sixteen, Watson moved back to London and became a darkroom assistant at Camera Press. He continued to hang out and photograph his  group of skinhead friends in High Wycombe.

The ‘Wycombe Skins’ were part of the working-class skinhead subculture brought together by a love of ska music and fashion. Although skinhead style had become associated with the right-wing extremism of political groups like the National Front in the 1970s, Watson’s photographs document a time and place where the subculture was racially mixed and inclusive. His photographs were published in the books Skins (1994) and Skins and Punks (2008), and the director Shane Meadows cited them as an inspiration for his film This is England (2006)

Skinheads Jumping. micklefield Estate. Gavin Watson
Skinheads at West Kensington Tube Station. Gavin Watson
Skinheads at Dingwalls Camden Town. London 1988. Gavin Watson
Wycombe skinheads. The Anchor 1987. Gavin Watson
Ealing and Wycombe skinheads London 1984. Gavin Watson
Skinheads and Rudeboys High wycombe. Gavin Watson
Skinheads High Wycombe. Gavin Watson
Shaun and Kev. skinheads and Rudeboys High Wycombe. Gavin Watson
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Mods Of Your Generation Interview – Gary Shail – 40th Anniversary Of Quadrophenia

Mods Of Your Generation Interview – Gary Shail – 40th Anniversary Of Quadrophenia MODS OF YOUR GENERATION·WEDNESDAY, 10 APRIL 2019

 It is a massive pleasure & honour to feature an interview with English actor, director, producer and musician Gary Shail on “Mods Of Your generation”. Best known for his role as “Spider” in the iconic cult movie Quadrophenia that many of us still admire and talk about today. This year (2019) marks the 40th anniversary of the film which is a massive milestone for everyone involved. The fact that its still talked about today makes it even all the more great. Gary is a great guy who has attended a lot of events over the years in aid to raise money for charity. We asked Gary about his own event coming up called QUAD 40 and about his career and experiences filming Quadrophenia & Jack the Ripper. We also discussed his book “ I think I’m on the guest list” published in 2015 and his Christmas song “ Modding up my Christmas list ” (2017) and more. Gary has done a variety of interviews throughout the years so it was difficult to ask him questions that he hadn’t been asked before, however I hope you enjoy the interview as much as we enjoyed asking the questions. Make sure not to miss out on the anniversary celebration of the movie on Brighton Pier August 25th 2019 for more information go to www.quad40.co.uk#ModsOfYourGeneration

 (1) I have heard you are a huge fan of the Regents a four-piece band based in Essex heavily influenced by the original mod spirt of 1964. Are there any other new bands influenced by the mod scene who you are also a fan of? Yes I’m a big fan of ‘The Regents.’ I’ve known Sea Jays the lead singer since he was 16yrs old and he definitely has the right attitude. Mind you, he has always had the right attitude! Another young band I am really impressed with are ‘The Lapels’ who I saw play in Derby at a MOTM event the year before last. They completely blew the roof off the place, and nobody wanted to go on after them! The drummer was only 14yrs old at the time I think, and I watched them play with his mum! (2) You were just 18 when you were cast to play spider in Quadrophenia. I am sure you have been asked this many times before but did you think Quadrophenia would become the phenomenon it is today at the time of filming.  Of course I didn’t know that I’d still be being asked questions about a film I was in 40yrs ago, but, I think we all knew at the time that it was definitely something special (3) On Christmas 2017 you released a song called “Modding up your Christmas list” to become number one. Have you any plans to do this again in the future. “Very catchy tune by the way LOVED IT” HAHAHAHA..My Mod Xmas Song? Well, I actually got a hell of a lot of flak for doing that by certain people who shall remain permanently nameless. But it was great fun to do, and a lot of people loved it, especially the kids. I had people sending me videos of their children doing dance routines in their living rooms, which was brilliant! But no, I don’t think I’ll be the next Cliff Richard. 

Modding Up My Christmas List- 2017 (Official Video) (4) You have been involved in many MOD and Quadrophenia events over the years. Is this something you enjoy being part of and do you have any memorable moments from any of the events that stand out. Yes I do enjoy all the events I get asked to. Over the years I must have met thousands of people who love Quadrophenia, and it’s always a great feeling when my presence can actually help to raise money for a worthy cause. Some of the funniest memories I have are probably un-printable, but trying to get a kebab in Stoke at three in the morning with Alan May (The Glory Boy Radio Show) doing Withnail & I impersonations sticks firmly in my memory! (5) Your character in Quadrophenia had many memorable quotes in the film. What is the one that fans mention the most? Always the one about getting a gun!  (6) Your book “I think I’m on the guest list” published by New Haven publishing LTD in 2015 was highly regarded and recommended. I found the book to be a very funny memoir of your life and the extraordinary people you have worked with and met throughout your career. Can your briefly describe the book to someone who has not yet read it. The book was actually written because of Gary Holton (The Rocker who beats Spider up) Gary and I became really good mates after Quadrophenia, and actually formed a band together called ‘The Actors.’ But when Gary sadly died in 1985 I never spoke to the press or anyone else for that matter about it. Then I was contacted 30yrs later by someone who was writing a book about him and wanted a contribution from me. I wanted to put the record straight about a few things, so I agreed. The publishers of the book loved what I’d written, so I was offered a publishing deal for my own story. I thought I’d better do it myself before I was dead and some other twat was ‘putting things straight’ about me! It’s certainly not your average autobiography I think, and later on this year I will be doing an Audio Version with a soundtrack, which will be totally different to anything you’ve ever heard I hope. 

 (7) Many fans of Quadrophenia have expressed an interest in a follow up to the film. Is this something that you would support? or like myself do you feel it is best left alone. There has always been talk of a “follow up” But I can’t see that ever happening. It’s always interesting to hear some of the Ideas of what our characters would have been doing in later life though. I think Spider would’ve become a hit-man for Ferdy’s drugs cartel!  

 (8) You are a huge fan of Trojan records, what is your favourite track, album or artist under the Trojan label. Yes I grew up with the Trojan record label, and one of the first artists I remember driving my parents mad with was Desmond Dekker. But I’ve always loved reggae and had a very respectable collection of Jamaican Pre- Releases by the tender age of 13. Last November, I was proudly invited by Neville and Christine Staple to their 50th Trojan Anniversary weekend at ‘Skamouth’ In Great Yarmouth where I actually met ‘The Pioneers’ who were about 100yrs old. They could still cut it though!  (9) This year (2019) marks the 40th anniversary of Quadrophenia (film). To celebrate this, you have organised, and event called Quad 40 in Brighton on the 25th of August 2019. Tell us a little bit about what to expect from the event and where fans can buy tickets. It’s actually on the 25th August Johnny! Yes I have hired Horatios Bar on Brighton Pier from 12 noon ‘till midnight on Sunday the 25th August. And I can tell you now that I never thought I had this much bottle to actually try and pull something like this off. It’s a logistical fu**ing nightmare, but I’m actually really enjoying it. I’ve spoken to almost all of the other cast members of Quad who have all promised to attend (work permitting) but trying to get us all in the same country together is hard enough, let alone on a bleedin’ pier! On that morning before the actual party, Quadrophenia is being honoured with ‘The Brighton Music Walk Of Fame Plaque’ to be unveiled at the pier entrance, so it would be great if there were a few mods about. Tickets and details available at www.quad40.co.uk

 (10) A question received by Jimmy Hemstead follower of Mods of Your Generation and Blogger at MOD TV UK “HI Gary in your younger days was you ever a mod and did you ever own a scooter, can you tell me when and how you got into acting and why please?” Hi Jimmy, love all your art-work by the way!No, I was far too young to be a mod; I was born in 1959, so I was only 5yrs old in 64 and the only scooter I owned was made by ‘Chad Valley.’I never had any ambitions to become a professional actor at all when I was a youngster, but somehow found my way into drama school at the age of 12, thanks to my parents and a couple of Comprehensive High School Teachers who probably just wanted me just out of the way!Quadrophenia was my first professional job when I left. (11) Do you have any plans to release more music, Books etc or what are you doing now that we can look forward to in the future? Yes, I will definitely be writing another book I think, but not part 2 of my autobiography, that would just be a bloody diary. It will probably be about my time working in the advertising industry in the 1990s. You think actors and musicians are crazy? They’ve got nothing on advertising people! Musically though, I never really stop. I had a solo album out last year called ‘Daze Like This’ (see below) which a lot of people liked, and I guested on ‘The Transmitters’ debut album which was great, although I hear that they have now split up. I’ve also recorded a couple of tracks with Steve ‘Smiley’ Barnard which are on his ‘Smiley’s Friends’ albums, and I’m back in the studio in a couple of months with ‘The Regents’ for their new album. I’m always writing though, and will hopefully record some of my own stuff probably next year now.

Title track from the album “Daze Like This” (12) Do you keep in touch with any of the main characters of Quadrophenia 40 years on? Yes, I see quite a lot of Trevor Laird (Ferdy) and I’ve recently been working with Toyah. Hopefully I’ll be seeing the others soon  

 (13) What do you regard as your biggest achievement in your career or what are you most proud of? I actually don’t think like that. Everything that keeps me off of the unemployed statistics is an achievement these days! I am extremely proud of my family though, and very recently became a granddad to a beautiful baby girl called Ellie May. I’m very proud about that! (14) In 1988 you appeared as the tough pimp “Billy White” in the tv series of “Jack the Ripper”. Sir Michael Caine also appeared in the series as Chief Inspector Frederick. Caine was a huge influence on British Culture in the 1960’s and referred to by many as a style icon.What was it like working with such an influential person in British pop culture? Making ‘Jack The Ripper’ in 1988 was like a dream come true, and working on a film with Sir Michael Caine was an experience I shall never forget. He was so interesting to watch, whilst he was working on camera, and I learnt a great deal from him. Everywhere you looked on that set there was something extraordinary going on in the acting stakes. Lewis Collins, Armand Assante, Susan George, Jane Seymour, Lysette Anthony, Ray McAnally, Hugh Fraser, Ken Bones etc etc.They were all giving it their all. I was just glad I gave it mine!  

 (15) Finally, How would you like to be remembered?  Just to be remembered at all would be nice!             Again it was a massive privilege to interview Gary shail and a big thank you to followers of “Mods Of Your Generation”, Please continue to show your support.  Please like & share the “Mods Of Your Generation” Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/modsofyourgeneration/ interview conducted by Johnny Bradley for “Mods Of Your Generation”interview (C) 2019 to Johnny Bradley & “Mods of your Generation”                                         

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Mods Of your Generation Interview – Sam Q’s NightPatrol – ‘Mod Bossa’

MODS OF YOUR GENERATION·WEDNESDAY, 24 JULY 2019· 

 SAM QURESHI is an Alto Saxophonist and Composer of Jazz, Mod Bossa & Latin soul. He was born in Pakistan, grew up in Birmingham and has lived in Manchester since 1997. He is a talented & dedicated Jazz Musician with over 35 years working with some big names in the music industry. He has an interesting and exhilarating story to tell. Mods of your Generation are excited to feature him an interview.

Mods took their name from Modern Jazz in London 1958 becoming the phenomenon we know and love today. The culture spread throughout the united kingdom and worldwide, effecting fashion trends in many countries adopting Italian scooters such as Vespas and Lambrettas and tailored suites. It was an essential part of The Swinging 60’s. The original Mods of this exciting new subculture frequently attended Jazz clubs listening to Charlie Parker, Stan Getz and Miles Davis – New Mods are listening to Sam Q catalogue in the same way however some are sceptical and not aware about its original roots. Whether it’s the chill-out Bossa Nova set in the lounge or the late night hot sambas to dance the night away. It has become the re-Birth of The Cool. Sam Q’s Night patrol are the essential sound to take you on a journey back to the roots of the Modernist culture and how it first began.   

1) can you explain the Concept of Jazz Music /Bossa Nova in terms of Mod Culture? It’s the pure History of the UK and Worldwide birth of the Mods. It began in London in the late 50’s at the Jazz Clubs at the time. I guarantee you the members of The Who, The Kinks, Paul Weller will be big Jazz fans – and the former would have been attending Jazz/ Bossa Gigs in the Swinging 60’s -They will have original Blue Note Records in glorious Vinyl of the Jazz/Bossa Nova Masters such as Miles Davis, Stan Getz and John Coltrane. Jack Kerouc in his book ‘’On The Road’’ documented it as ‘’The Beatnics Generation’’ – you can read this blog on my website also https://spinningwheelrecords.com/modbossa

2) Do you think your music would sit in with Modern Day Mods? Yes! I think they are fed up of the norm bands – There are some really cool Mod bands out there for both old and young Mods these days . I think the ‘’New Mod’’ would really dig the sound of ‘Sam Q’s Nightpatrol’’ with the hybrid Latin sounds that Ive invented coupled with infectious rhythms and catchy melodies, it’s a very cool and stylish vibe and they would recognise and identify with their sub culture no problem. Of course, Ska and Northern Soulies also would latch on the Saxaphone influence straight away. My Vinyl EP ‘’Peles Groove’’ proves this with the demand being so great I had to manufacture another run. 

3) Who are the band members of Sam Q’s Nightpatrol? Your not going to believe this but I must have worked with over 100 Musicians since the birth of my Latino adventure called Nightpatrol some 10 years ago!! Jazz musicians are hard to hold as they are in so much demand and they tend to keep moving on with alternative projects. But this gives me such a emphathy with for example the great Saxaphonist John Coltrane and other greats from the 1960’s – as it was the same problem with the quartets he tried to establish. Eventually finding his classic quartet of Garrison, Tyner and Jones. I have used many vocalists worldwide on my compositions also – the greatest musician I used on my ‘’Birdbrain’ and ‘’Secret Bossa Nova’’ tracks is Gibi Dossantos of the Sergio Mendes Band. On my current EP ‘’Lucky Charm’’ I have introduced a young Swedish Girl on vocals called ‘’Maya’’ – I love to nuture and develop- Also my most regular musician bassist Mike Crumpton. 

4) Do you find this movement of musicians very difficult to cope with? The opposite is true. It keeps everything very fresh and new. I always have a nucleus of great musicians available who know my stuff – Although I do strive for my Spiritual line up. My idea is to introduce a new vocalist every 12 months – To give others a chance of breaking through in the music Industry – I think this is important also destroys that old fashioned image of a regular band line up- It’s great when I’m going to do a gig people wondering ‘’will it be Maya or Vanessa or Taylor on Vocals tonight etc’’ – When I tour different countries I will introduce local singers there for example in Los Angeles Fernanda Franco who sang on ‘’Love Spring Fountains’’ in Spain ‘’Almudena Moldes’’ who is the singer on ‘’Birdbrain’’ 

5) What is a typical Sam Q’s Nightpatrol gig like? We normally do 2 sets – The first is what I call the ‘’cool set’’ a selection of gentle Bossa Novas from the Jobim Songbook – as well as many originals both instrumental and vocal. This really relaxes the audience as they get prepared for the later set. It really puts their mind on the alpha levels, of course the alcohol also helps to! The 2nd set is the ‘’hot set’’ fast Bossas and Sambas and the joint really is jumping believe me!! Dancing on the tables. Now who says they don’t like Jazz. 

A live performance of Sam Q’s Night patrol in Manchester UK at Bar 21 playing ”Peles Groove” 6) How important is it to play the Bossa Nova Standards and can you name some of them? I think its very important to play a few standards at each gig as this educates the audience onto the birth of the genre and how they relate to my compositions. The music biz can also see how equally my originals sit with the ‘Masters’ of the past which of course wins me gigs and Record Deals. Proof of this is how well my music is being accepted by the Brazillians themselves and currently been offered a Tour of Brazil. The classic Jobim Tunes I will play are ‘’Desafinado, Wave,Corcovado’’ to name a few we also do the Classic Sergio Mendes ‘’Mas Qu Nada’’ 

7) Your sound seems to be accepted by a much wider audience than the normal Latin Jazz threatening to break commercially – Proof of this is 2 of your past Managers – Can you tell us a little bit about them both? A tear comes to my eyes as they have both now passed away. The great Joe Moss who managed The Smiths and Johnny Marr saw me playing a gig by pure chance in Manchester some years ago and immediately wanted to work with me. I was actually playing in a ‘’Indie Rock’’ venue and instead of the punters leaving they were phoning their friends to get to the venue and we got 5 encores. He saw a parallel with the Indie Music movement of Manchester in the 80s when all the major labels said it would never sell. Joe proved them wrong.. The Smiths sold millions. Joe loved my style of Bossa Nova and encouraged me to keep pushing on a regular giging circuit, ofcourse he would represent me to the Majors and prove them wrong a second time haha.. Bruce Replogle who worked with manifold commercial bands over the years including US Manager for John Lennon heard a few of my tracks on New York Radio Station and instantly phoned me and sent me a management contract – He called us ‘’The Beatles of Bossa Nova’’ – I miss them both dearly.

8) Tell me more about the Major Interest currently and why you think this is? I think Latin Music has come into the forefront of Commercial Music today – Its influence is very apparent such as massive hit Justin Bieber ‘’Depacito’’ – Every week a major seems to release a Latin inspired track – Of course back in the 60s The Beatles touched on this with the Latin inflected ‘’and I love her’’ – But clearly today and now they are searching for the flagship of Bossa Nova – People from Sony, Universal and Warner are actively making contact with me – Im talking right now with Universal Music LA about a potential US Tour to follow up our Brazilian Tour next year. On my Social Media and websites stats you see them monitoring every move I seem to make!! I recently signed a Publishing deal with the original David Bowie and Black Sabbath Team which is another strong indication. 

9) Tell me about your previous releases including your current release ‘’Lucky Charm’’? I have recorded to a high level 8 albums/EPs and recently formed my own label ‘’Spinning Wheel Records’’ to accommodate the business sides. Albums have completely different musicians and vocalists on them as I touched on in a previous answer. They are digitally distributed via Imusica in Brazil who power all the Latin releases worldwide so Im very proud of this. From ‘’How To Steal The World’’ to ‘’ Magnetic Lunchbox’’ to the current ‘’Lucky Charm’’ they seem to be rocking the Industry and music lovers Worldwide. The Vinyl EP ‘’Peles Groove’’ is doing fantastically well in the marketplace. The current ‘’Lucky Charm’’ features vocalist ‘’Maya’’ and is 2 originals and 2 classic Bossa Nova side by side. It includes ‘’The Girl from Ipanema’’ and my original ‘’Magpie and the Squirrel’’ 

10) You were a professional Busker for years and was spotted by Paramount Pictures. How else did busking Jazz in the streets help with your musical development? My busking years started in Birmingham in the early 1990s – and I continued when I first arrived in Manchester in 1998 – It helped me establish my first gigs in Manchester as many Bar owners saw me playing – Busking is a very special artform there’s nothing like it to master your instrument 30 minutes of Busking is equivalent to 4 hours practice!! When you learn something standing in the streets you will never forget it and Studio Session work becomes a doddle. Any fool can go into a Studio with a recording team and high-quality equipment and made to sound good. But busking is the REAL deal the Public aren’t stupid, and they will know immediately if you don’t have the talent. I busked jazz, no backing tracks, and kept the punters happy. I must have played over 1000 tunes across the board, never planning my sets just blowing my Sax and let the spirit take me where it wanted to go. Paramount Pictures Scouts were walking though Manchester during their filming of the remake of ‘’Alfie’’ and approached me to appear in the production as a New York street busker – which was great but but NOTHING beats the feeling when a small child of 4 years of age comes and dances in front of your playing when you are busking and the parents film and put a few pennies in your box. That’s true musical success!! 

11) Tell me about your School Days and your friends growing up? I was 13 years old and sneaked into a Pub in Birmingham in 1978. On my way out I was set about by National Front members in their early 20’s – To my rescue a group of lads black/white in their late teens who turned out be a starting out UB40. Afterwards they took me to their rehearsal room, a shabby old cellar. 12) How did UB40 Influence your musical career? They had learned their instruments from scratch and influenced me to do the same and join the band, but I was still a school kid. I used to play truant from school and watch them rehearse and go to their gigs. I loved watching them develop their reggae sound and how music could deliver such a powerful political message, they were the forefront of the Rock against Racism movement in the early 80s and played with all the Ska Two Tone bands like The Specials, Madness and The Selector. Also, this was my first flavour with the Mods who had adopted 2 Tone at that particular time. In Birmingham I was regarded as the 8th member of UB40 Sax player Brian Travers bought me my first Saxaphone.

England World Cup Anthem Song 2014 Written by Manchester Jazz Musician Sam Qureshi for the Brazil World Cup 2014. 13) Who was your greatest influence to become and succeed as a musician? In one word my Mum. She was my inspiration and kept me going when I easily could have given up. She was my rock in the Industry and I always got my strength from her. She passed away 4 years ago, but I can feel her by my side every single day.      Check out Mods Of Your Generation via the link below https://www.facebook.com/modsofyourgeneration/ Interview by Johnny Bradley – Mods of Your Generation interview (c) Johnny Bradley & Mods Of Your GenerationPhoto (c) Sam Qureshi

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Punk Rock: A Jewish History

From its emergence in the 1970s, punk rock was a movement which concerned itself with the present. Its hallmarks were rock ‘n’ roll, a do-it-yourself attitude and a good sense of humor. As it spread from the U.S. to the U.K., it would also come to include a distinctive political sensibility. Many of the early punks were young people who actively sought to distance themselves from their upbringings, from any kind of ethnic ties, and to form new identities through their art.

Given the punk attitude of leaving the past behind and forging a new way forward, it seems counterintuitive to connect punk rock with Judaism. Yet punk, like many art forms to come out of New York City, has deep roots in Jewish history. From its origins with Jewish musicians in the 1970s to modern-day Jewish punk bands, the histories of Jewish culture and punk rock are deeply intertwined.

Many of the people involved in the original punk scene in 1970s New York were the children of working- and middle-class Jews. Their backgrounds ranged from overtly religious to secular and culturally Jewish, but all of them were formed by their Jewish backgrounds and would in turn bring those influences to their music and performances. These included not just musicians—such as Joey and Tommy Ramone, Chris Stein of Blondie, Lenny Kaye of the Patti Smith Group, Richard Hell, and all of The Dictators—but also managers, photographers, club owners and more. Punk might not exist as we know it without the Jewish club manager Hilly Kristal, founder and owner of CBGB, the club where many New York punks performed for the first time. Nor would it have made it to the U.K. without Jewish manager and Sex Pistols founder Malcolm McLaren. Jewish record company executives like Seymour Stein recorded the music, while Jewish photographers like Bob Gruen documented the scene for posterity.

However, despite the large Jewish presence in early punk, many were reluctant to discuss their Jewish heritage. Like many Jewish entertainers, quite a few punks took on less Jewish-sounding stage names (like Thomas Erdelyi and Jeffrey Hyman, who became Tommy and Joey Ramone, respectively), while others had their names changed by their parents in childhood, in order to better fit into the American middle class (as with punk godfather Lou Reed, whose father changed the family name from Rabinowitz). Some even went as far as denying or refusing to discuss their Jewish heritage. While for some this may have reflected their discomfort with their Jewish identities, many more undoubtedly did it as part of embracing punk’s freedom to recreate oneself. “The tabula rasa aspect of punk is one of the most important things about it,” says Vivien Goldman, who was a music journalist covering punk in the U.K. in the 1970s and is now the author of Revenge of the She-Punks, a book on women and punk. Although Goldman’s Jewish background is certainly important to her—her parents were Holocaust survivors, and she is a first generation British citizen—she believes that “to be a punk was to liberate yourself from what had gone before.”

This seemed to be the predominant belief among punks of the 1970s on both sides of the Atlantic. Jewish culture was rarely at the forefront of punk music, even if its creators were quietly Jewish behind the scenes. Some offhand references to Jewish culture crept into the occasional song, but these were “few and far between and largely subterranean,” says Michael Croland, author of the books Oy Oy Oy Gevalt!: Jews and Punk and Punk Rock Hora: Adventures in Jew-Punk Land. These references were largely secular and easy to miss, such as The Ramones’s reference to “kosher salamis” in the song “Commando.”

Quite a few punks took on less Jewish-sounding stage names—like Thomas Erdelyi and Jeffrey Hyman, who became Tommy and Joey Ramone.

Something that did become part of the imagery for many early punks—Jews and non-Jews alike—was, counterintuitively, Nazi imagery. Young punks were known to wear swastikas and, particularly in the New York scene, collect Nazi memorabilia. The reason for this can seem difficult to grasp. “They weren’t serious [about being Nazis],” says Goldman, however she also adds, “I didn’t like it, and a lot of us didn’t like it.” One reason for the use of the swastika by U.K. punks, as Goldman and others have speculated, is that it was a way to rebel against their parents, the generation that had lived through World War II and had yet to stop talking about it. In America, Steven Lee Beeber speculates in his book The Heebie-Jeebies at CBGB’s: A Secret History of Jewish Punk that the use of Nazi imagery was a means for Jews to take back control of the narrative, to control former Nazi property, to play with it and poke fun at it as they pleased.

Starting in the 1980s, punk underwent a series of musical and cultural changes. By this point, many of the best-known original punk bands had either broken up or evolved their sound to fit punk’s new commercial market. However, their early work had permanently changed the music world, especially for young people, with new punk bands arising and the genre spawning new offshoots such as post-punk and new wave. Punk was disseminated beyond its original scenes, leading the musical style to be adopted for new purposes. This included, for the first time, Jewish punk bands who embraced their Jewish identity in their music, rather than relegating it to the background.

According to Croland, the first such band was Jews from the Valley, which arose from the L.A. punk scene in 1981. At the time, they were still somewhat of an outlier. While new punk bands like Bad Religion and NOFX carried the 1970s torch in having Jewish members while not making most of their music about Judaism, Croland says that Jews from the Valley began when “one guy was screaming along to ‘Hava Nagila’ one day and thought, ‘I should distort that and put that into a song.’” That guy was Mark Hecht, and the song and the band both became known as Jews from the Valley, and thus began the short-lived career of the first Jewish punk band. Their music incorporated well-known Jewish songs such as “Hava Nagila,” original songs with Jewish themes, and a good dose of Jewish/punk humor and offensiveness. The band broke up after just a couple years, and at the time, it seems there were no other bands making punk music explicitly Jewish.

The 1990s saw punk undergo yet more major changes. In the early and mid-90s, punk (or pop punk, depending on who you ask) became radio-friendly, with bands like Green Day and The Offspring mainstreaming the genre. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, many pop punk bands rose to fame. The other major punk revolution of the decade was Riot Grrrl, a movement which combined punk rock style and aesthetics with feminist politics. Though women had been present in punk scenes since the beginning, feminism was now being brought to the forefront of punk politics, and all-female punk bands such as Bikini Kill were rising to prominence. On a somewhat smaller scale, Jewish identity also became a more prominent feature of punk, helped by the fact that Jewishness was becoming a more acceptable topic in popular music at large (a trend which Croland partially credits to Adam Sandler’s “Chanukah Song”). Though there was not—and is not—really a Jewish punk “scene,” the 1990s was the first time that multiple Jewish punk bands came into existence simultaneously.

Probably the most prominent example of such a band was the Australian group Yidcore. Formed in 1998, they put their Jewish identity at the forefront of their music and performances, albeit not in a particularly serious way. “They were all about shtick,” says Croland, “whether that was drinking Manischewitz wine out of a shofar, getting into food fights on stage with hummus or bagels or falafel, or using their songs to try to woo Natalie Portman.” They drew on the traditions of the early punk scene, not just in musical style, but also in their love of humor and irony, while adding an in-your-face Jewish twist which early punk bands lacked. The group stayed together for over a decade, becoming perhaps the best-known Jewish punk band.

In the 21st century, punk has splintered into many styles and subgenres, including the further development of “Jewish punk” and “punk-influenced Jewish music” as genres unto themselves. With punk so well integrated into the musical mainstream, it is hard to point to an insular “punk scene” such as that of 1970s New York, but instead, punk and its offshoots have spread out, both stylistically and geographically.

MoshiachOi

Moshiach Oi! performing at the book launch for Michael Croland’s Punk Rock Hora in March 2019 (Credit: Shloyo Witriol)

While Jewish punk continues to be a niche genre, several bands have carved out an unabashedly Jewish space in the modern world of punk. Moshiach Oi! is one such band. Formed in 2008 and still active today, the band performs songs with an overtly religious bent, made to showcase its love of Torah. In the realm of cultural Jewishness, The Shondes has become a successful punk band that is open about its Jewish roots. “I came into playing rock music through Riot Grrrl and queercore—radical punk movements that helped shape my aesthetics and politics at a really formative age,” says Louisa Solomon, the band’s singer. The Shondes’ music combines rock and radical politics with references to Jewish proverbs and melodies, a combination which came naturally. “We write as full people informed by all of our experiences,” says violinist Elijah Oberman. “Jewishness is one part of that, just as our experiences as queer or as women or trans/non-binary people are. Jewish stories and ritual are a part of how we’ve come to be who we are, and so are Jewish melodies.”

The Shondes True North

The Shondes at a seder in their new Passover-themed music video “True North” (Credit: Jeanette Sears)

The Shondes

The Shondes

Similarly, punk—both its aesthetic and its attitude—has permeated more traditional forms of Jewish music, including klezmer and simcha music. Younger musicians like Daniel Kahn grew up with punk as part of their musical taste. Kahn has taken aspects of punk and made them part of his klezmer-based repertoire, creating a self-described “radical Yiddish punkfolk cabaret.” Similarly, bands such as Electric Simcha have adapted aspects of punk to simcha music—traditional Jewish music played at celebrations such as weddings. Just as punk has influenced non-Jewish forms of music, forming such genres as pop punk, so too have there been multiple punk-y variations of Jewish music.

The fact that punk has been and continues to be influenced by Jewishness (and vice versa) speaks to the core concerns at the center of both cultures. In discussing why Jews continue to be drawn to punk, Oberman gets to the heart of one of their most essential similarities: “Jews are taught to wrestle with G-d, and to me that also means wrestling with our texts, our rituals, our traditions. When even the things you hold most sacred are always up for debate, I think that can lead to a level of comfort with deep questioning of how things are or are supposed to be. Pretty punk, yeah?”

Written by: BRIANNA BURDETSKY

List of Punk Rock Jews:

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Chuck D of Public Enemy on The Clash

The Clash and Chuck D
Image captionChuck D on The Clash: “They taught us to fight for what really matters”.

When Public Enemy frontman Chuck D was introduced to the righteous punk of The Clash, he didn’t get it.

“I thought they were a bunch of people with brand new music that were whining about their existence,” he tells the BBC.

“I didn’t think their problems were as severe as black people’s problems, but oppression is oppression and abuse is abuse.

“At that age I didn’t know how much their pain was. I do now.”

What the rapper later discovered was a band who were unafraid to take artistic chances, filing front-line reports on the poverty, boredom and lack of opportunity facing the British working class.

Fiery and idealistic, their music nonetheless seemed alien to a hip-hop fan in Long Island… until Chuck D’s friend Bill Stephney told him Public Enemy should be the rap equivalent of The Clash.

“The idea was that we were going to do something that would have a level of intellectual heft,” Stephney later recalled.

“It would have some substance to it, but it had to rock the party.”

The song that first made Chuck D “pay attention” to The Clash was The Magnificent Seven – unsurprising, given that it was itself inspired by the boombox rap of Grandmaster Flash and the Sugarhill Gang.

Built around a loping bass line (played by Norman Watt-Roy of the Blockheads) it saw Joe Strummer pick apart the human cost of capitalism, as he chronicled a day in the life of a minimum wage supermarket employee.

The Clash
Image captionThe Clash originated from the punk scene but quickly outgrew it

The combination of rap and a social message made a big impression; and Chuck cannily noted that reporters often talked about The Clash’s message as much as their music.

“They talked about important subjects, so therefore journalists printed what they said, which was very pointed,” he told NBC earlier this year.

“We took that from the Clash, because we were very similar in that regard. Public Enemy just did it 10 years later.”

Musically, Public Enemy were just as revolutionary, with cacophonous soundscapes that relied on avant-garde cut and paste techniques, brutal beats and the squeal of police sirens.

But of all the qualities they shared with The Clash – from attitude and lyrical urgency to musical innovation – Chuck says the most important was “fearlessness”.

Both bands fought for social and racial justice, and both faced criticism for their depictions of police brutality: The Clash on Know Your Rights and Public Enemy on Fight The Power.

But they remained staunchly, defiantly independent – even though, in The Clash’s case, they were signed to (and in some cases strait-jacketed by) a major international record label.

Chuck D suggests that most modern acts lack that spirit.

“Bands today want to sell out,” he says. “They’re not pressured to stay broke and unknown and unpopular.

“They want to be popular and known and able to make a living… so it’s hard to tell young people to stand up for something and not worry about being paid.

“And who can blame them? As you grow up, you gotta work. They want to be able to do their music and art and make a living at it and you gotta honour that.”

Public Enemy
Image captionChuck D and Public Enemy – the band he once described as an “information portal”

If you think the firebrand rapper sounds like he’s mellowing out, you’d be right.

Whereas once he declared: “Elvis was a hero to most / But he never meant [expletive] to me,” the 58-year-old no longer agrees with The Clash’s 1977 manifesto, “No Elvis, no Beatles or Rolling Stones”.

“Time has erased the golden idols and the only thing that fights against time is the proper curation of their works,” he says, presumably with one eye on his own legacy.

His own contribution to preserving The Clash’s legacy comes in an eight-part podcast, produced by Spotify and BBC Studios, which follows the punk heroes from their origins at the 1976 Notting Hill riots, to their clashes with the National Front, their struggle for creative control and their later experiments in funk, jazz, reggae and dub.

“It’s the story of a band that changed everything,” he says.

“They taught us to fight for what really matters – and to do it as loud as hell.”

Stay Free: The Story of The Clash is available now on Spotify.

Check out Subcultz event, The Great Skinhead Reunion Brighton

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Interview – The Kite Collectors

Mods Of Your Generation – Interview – The Kite Collectors MODS OF YOUR GENERATION·SATURDAY, 21 DECEMBER 2019 The band is based in Wiltshire UK and formed 2013, taking their main inspiration from the music of new wave and the 1960’s. The result is a mixture of influences and attitudes with a quality blend of infectious energetic melodies that literally fizzles in the ears. The band have attracted a huge fan base and the new album is greatly received by many. The band stopped gigging to concentrate on their studio work and “Never Look Down” is the result of the last 18 months. The album is superb and is instantly one of my favourites of 2019. Every song is relevant to the daily struggles of life and the lyrics bring some understanding, comfort and peace.Robby Allen the lead vocalist and song writer captures the true struggles of daily life in many of the tracks. A great example of this is the song “The Ballad of Mental health Issues” Making the tracks clear and relevant to the listener.Robby Allen has been an advocate of the mod/garage scene for many years. He found success in the late 1980s with garage rock outfit The Mild Mannered Janitors. Support slots include The Stone Roses, Inspiral Carpets, The Prisoners, The Prime Movers, Steve Marriot, The Godfathers, Zoot Money, Graham Day and the Forefathers with many more.Buddy Ascott (Chords) and two-time KCs producer Sam Burnett (Back To Zero) referred to drummer Pete Summerfield as one of the best out there. We aren’t going to argue and certainly agree. Everyone who contributed to this from the sound engineer Keith Holmes who worked on some of “The Yardbirds re-masters to Robby Allen and the whole band, I would like to thank you all for providing me with some great music to listen to and cherish. 

The Kite Collectors Promo – Never Look Down 

When was the band formed?

I started work on the first album in 2012. The first version of the band was formed in 2013 in Wiltshire, UK.

Where does the name Kite Collectors come from?

The original idea behind the Kite Collectors was to be like John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers in which I would be at the centre of it and bring in people to augment it. They would be the ‘kites’ that I collect. That was what the first album ‘Mildred’s Tree’ was. The main addition to it was my former bandmate from The Mild Mannered Janitors Steve Duffield (he also played in the Beta Band and now with Steve mason). He is a brilliant bassist with a talent for finding bass melody. Towards the end of that first album I also roped in Pete Summerfield to play drums. I had seen him play live a number of times and asked him to be in a band before but he was always busy doing other things – then I got lucky and he said yes. I added Dave Roe on guitar and Bryn Evans on organ; bassist was a young lively lad called Tom Williams. We had one practice and then did our first gig. That was it really – after that we started travelling the country playing – building up a really loyal set of followers. 

The Kite Collectors live
The Kite Collectors live

The new album “Never Look Down” is dedicated to the Glory days Choir. Who are they?

In 2015 I was travelling back from work and was thinking about call and response songs – I wanted one for the people who spent their hard earned cash in coming to see us. Something I could dedicate to them. So, I wrote Glory Days. I sang it into my phone in a traffic jam and then finished it when I got home. There’s so much that we moan about in life but I think it’s important to also remember that we have good days too. We’ve lost a lot of friends recently because we are now at that age where time and illness catches up. It’s just a call to remember that some days are great, especially when we’re together and that one day we will look back on these days with fondness too. These are our glory days. We call those who follow the band the ‘Glory Days Choir’. 

Tell me about some of the bands musical influences?

John Mayall, Small Faces, The Who, The Beatles, Medway sounds like The Prisoners and the New Jersey sound of The Smithereens; mix in a little classical music from Mendelsohn and you have what I write. Steve Marriott was my music hero though – my favourite song of all time is Tin Soldier. I got to support Steve 3 or 4 times in the 1980s. He was playing with the Packet of Three. I remember when he had just sound checked (which consisted of him touching the jack lead and saying ‘yeah, that’s alright,’) he started playing a keyboard. I was sitting on the edge of the stage with my music hero behind me playing blues licks on the organ and I thought that music life couldn’t get much better than that. I was chuffed when he remembered my name next time we played with him – although he did tell me to ‘fuck off’ out of the dressing room later the same night because I kept interrupting him with requests from people to sign stuff. 

kite collectors live at The Fiddlers Elbow
kite collectors live at The Fiddlers Elbow

What inspired you to write & record the new album?

After a gig in London I got quite ill, really bad actually – mental health wise. On the way home in the car, curled up in the footwell; I realised that I needed a break. I was feeling a bit broken. I said to Pete and others that we wouldn’t gig anymore and kept talking about the Sgt Pepper model – where you write and record but don’t gig it.I started building up songs and demos again and I did consider putting them out as a solo thing. But – Pete is such a brilliant drummer I didn’t want to do it without him. He is also like part of my sanity in music. He is a bit crazy but with me he is often the reasonable one – like the adult. He brings so much energy to the songs. The whole feel of the album is one of creating space for all of the elements to stand out. It also meant convincing Pete to be more repetitive in the beats he plays – he found it a challenge but does it brilliantly. It’s basically me and him and a few guest singers. I play everything apart from the drums.We recorded 24 songs – I always have loads more than we need for an album. I have never stopped writing. I’ve had more time to play with these tracks than I did with the previous album (Shockerwick 135). It has been more like it was with Mildred’s tree or Clockface. I enjoyed the process and freedom much more. 

What is the meaning behind the new albums music & lyrics?

Window World starts with a big Hammond Organ sound. It’s like those big classical pieces that are meant to make you think ‘wow – it’s started’. I love the way it stays on the last chord of the intro and the Lesley amp sound pulsates. We wanted to keep it really airy. Not fill the space too much – that’s why it is organ, bass and drums at first. The electric piano comes in later and the guitar not until the solo. Like a lot of the album it talks about a relationship. The contrast between people and that awful cynicism that can set in – that’s in the line: ‘I gaze upon the sun and feel the rain’.This is Me Again was a quick song to write – many are. I sat down with my Rickebacker 330 and just started thrashing at it – simple chords in which I could paint a picture of normal life. It’s a comment on the mundanity of life and how we navigate it. Wayne Lundqvist Ford is singing backing on it and does a great job.Let it Reign had a weird start. I was thinking about the way Steve Duffield does a little shuffle on stage when he plays bass – I’d just seen him with Steve Mason. I then wrote around that movement he does. When I was doing the guide vocals one of my dogs barked and I liked it – so I kept it in and looped it at the beginning. What I like most about the song is the way the bass stays on one note for the first part and the guitar chords change over it. I also messed around with percussion – sometimes it sounds a little out of time but then comes round in time. It’s uncomfortable then comfortable again in a sequence over the chorus. It’s another relationship story – mostly about how little we listen to partners sometimes.Fly Away was an older song that I brought forward and re-recorded. I asked Anne-Marie Crowley from the Speed of Sound to do the backing. I knew she would do a great job so just left her to do what she does best. It really zips along and has a great 1960’s feel.Hallelujah Goodbye is a bit strange. It was another older song that I re-recorded. It’s a bit psychedelic I guess as I’m just playing with words and phrases. Sometimes things don’t make much sense but the words just fit in the melody. I wanted the regular chugging sound like a helicopter in it and that was achieved through a trance keyboard sample and piling on effects to get where it is now. It acts as additional percussion.Soothing is an out and out three minute three-piece band wonder. Bit of feedback and then smack – straight into it. It’s good to crank the amps up and just let Pete go nuts on the drums.In Strawberry Time Again I wanted to tell a fuller story about someone remembering a complete and brilliant weekend at a cottage with their partner who is left full of regret that in the end it didn’t work out because they didn’t say the things they wanted to. Later they go back to the place but end up just getting drunk and falling asleep in a barrel in a garden. The versus are in mono and then switch to stereo for the chorus. The song ends with a mass of swirling backward guitars and Pete thumping his way round the kit.The Ballad Of Mental Health Issues was written on the piano – I don’t do that very often. I was wary of exposing these mental health elements of myself to friends and the Glory Days choir in this way but, I think people are more accepting of anxiety and similar issues now and I wanted to speak about mine. I orchestrated around the song with strings. The vocal is prominent in the mix because although the music sounds great we wanted the words to stand out above all.

The Kite Collectors – The Ballad of Mental Health IssuesYou is a nightmare. That was how I saw it – as a really bad dream. There is so much trivia in life that we just get stuck in a loop about. That’s what the solid guitar and hypnotic drum is about – that brain loop where it just won’t shut up and you’re almost screaming at yourself that none of it actually really matters. But you don’t listen to yourself. John Armstrong from Speed Of Sound did backing on this – He has a great unusual singing voice and I layered it and put it through a bunch of effects to make it sound like an ethereal keys sound.Take Me With You Please has the feel of a Smithereens song I think; that New Jersey sound. I love Pat Dinizio – he was heavily into The Beatles, as am I – and I guess that comes through. It’s driven by an acoustic guitar and jangly Rickebacker. The person it is describing is trying to reassure them self that the person they want will want them – even though friends are talking the possibility of it down.A Form Of Hello was written around a drum loop and a repeated jangly Rickenbacker riff. I added a harsher sounding guitar beneath it to give it an edge and then we took the loop out and Pete replaced the beat with his own. It has some weird stuff going on underneath from sounds and effects I was playing with at the time – including playing a spring on an old desk lamp with violin bow and then a drumstick.I was a little concerned about the song ‘pretending’ because it has a double meaning. It is about someone considering suicide – that’s what it means by ‘don’t be too keen’.; but metaphorically it’s also about being on the edge from a mental health or stress point of view. At the end of the song there is quite a lot going on with guitars and strings and flutes – the idea was that although the e-piano riff at the end continues going, the other instruments would be added as it progressed. It builds up to that last organ chord.Icy You is quite psychedelic. It had a simple premise – one guitar riff throughout that sounds like it is three different guitar riffs by changing the sound of it. The vocal melody for each verse is also completely different. It was like I had to write three songs with one tune – I loved the difficulty of that. Pete plays a very mechanical beat too – a challenge as he is usually a bit of an animal on the kit!Never Look down is very personal. It’s about the advice you get from a loved one that you now miss because geographically or physically they are no longer around you. It’s sort of about their positive impact on you and the lessons you learn and take forward. It’s parents, grandparents, friends that accept your ‘character’ and help you.

Where do you find inspiration for your music and lyrics?

From the things I listen to, things that people say and how I feel. Sometimes I work on a song for weeks on and off and sometimes it just appears out of nowhere. There is a song called Tell Me it’s Real (on Icon Paradox) that I started and I turned a recorder on and sang it. It came out fully formed. I then listened back and wrote down what I had sung. The song wonder (on Clockface) came because of that famous photo of the little boy on the beach who had drowned. I didn’t write about that as such but it set a feeling that inspired the song.

The Kite Collectors – ‘Wonder’ (Clockface Promo) 

The band have had so many great reviews and have worked with various people throughout the years – tell me about some of those people?

Two that had a massive affect were not band members but on the production side of our stuff – that often gets overlooked and so I’d like to mention them. A fantastic talented guy called Keith Holmes mixed and Mastered the new album – he was with me for the Box Dwellers ep too and came in to try and save Shockerwick 135 which was in trouble till he came along. We worked very closely on the sonic feel for the new album. Sam Burnett (Back to Zero) mixed and mastered Clockface – he completely bought into the story and worked so hard on it with us. He also worked on Glory Days single.

The Kite Collectors: Album Shockerwick 135 

Have you any future gigs or charity events coming up?

We’re going to get back out there in 2020 although we don’t intend to play quite as much as we were before. Do some special things that we’re hoping to announce soon. Have fun and meet great people.

The Kite Collectors – Inside Out – Dublin Castle – 19th October 2013 

What has people’s reaction been to the new album?

It’s been great. We’ve tried to push things forward a bit more. So, some elements on it are different – you can’t stand still and just do the same thing. Sam Burnett once talked about ‘progressive mod’ and I completely understand what he means. You can still have that core that sits at the centre of what you are musically and sub-culturally; and then you push at it. It’s not easy selling music these days but the glory days choir is wonderfully loyal and we are continuing to gain new members to it.

What can we look forward to and expect from the Kite Collectors in the future?

We’re going to get out gigging to promote the new album – where and when will be on our facebook page I guess. Hopefully people will come and see us and have a chat – which we love to do. We will have a new bassist and Dave Roe is going to return on lead guitar. I’ve been writing an album for Katie Hallam (Fay Hallam’s niece) with organist/orchestrator Dave Pinching; Pete is going to play drums on it. I’m also working on other new material that I will hopefully have another guest vocalist for in the New Year. The Kite Collectors available catalogue can be ordered through Paisley Records. Support real, original music. http://www.paisleyrecords.com      Copyright © Mods Of Your Generation, Johnny Bradley 2019, All Rights Reserved. Logo & Image Credit The Kite Collectors & Chips 2019. No part of this review may be reproduced without the permission of the authors.

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Author Andy Morling – “Mod Ghosts”

Mods Of Your Generation – Interview – Andy Morling – “Mod Ghosts”

MODS OF YOUR GENERATION·WEDNESDAY, 11 DECEMBER 2019

 Mod Ghosts a first book by new author Andy Morling who grew up in a working class family in the Suffolk market town of Ipswich. This book resonated with me in so many ways, it is a detailed account from many people who grew up in urban Britain featuring first hand accounts from the people who influenced a Mod Revival together with period and present day photographs. The book explains each individuals account on discovering how mod changed there outlook on life, How it shaped their existence and identity. Showing how it lead them from young teenagers into adulthood. Each persons interpretation of mod is different and it means something different to many who attach themselves to the phenomenon. Each persons account is different but it doesn’t mean its not mod. The book also highlights the places these people grew up in and how modern Britian has changed somewhat forty years on. The thing most interesting thing about the book is how the subculture affected people in many different ways and the different experiences each individual had growing up in the respective hometowns across the UK.  

 As mod continues to evolve and many young people discover the scene today each person brings their own adaptation. Despite the book being called “Mod Ghosts” the subculture has stood the test of time were others have faded. I highly recommend this book and its definitely something you need as part of your collection. This book is everything I want to say about mod but don’t have the intelligence, intellect, and vocabulary to explain. I wanted to find out more about the man behind the concept and was excited, honoured and privileged to interview him.INTERVIEW BELOW 

What is the main concept of the book?

 Mod Ghosts is the first product from The Mod Project which I began in 2016. The thinking behind the broader project is to offer a series of slightly different perspectives on the Mod experience. My ambition is to follow up the book with further multimedia sub-projects hopefully including film and the visual arts.To answer your specific question, the idea behind Mod Ghosts was threefold. Firstly my aim was to identify and contrast iconic photos of original and revival Mods with shots taken at precisely the same location in the present day. I’ve always been very attracted to these ‘then and now’ type image comparisons and, as a lifelong Mod, this was a natural choice in terms of subject matter.I’ve been doing this on Twitter for a few years now and, in time honoured fashion, the positive reaction led me to consider publishing a book. As a child of the sixties, my thinking was that books are somehow more permanent than social media. I’m not sure that’s actually true but either way, I really wanted the memory of these places and these people to endure.In addition to the photographic comparisons in the book, I was also lucky enough to secure first hand accounts from revival Mods by way of interview. Each story was unique and fascinating and I hope this adds context and a human dimension to the atmosphere created by the photos. In simple terms, I wanted to illustrate how both the urban settings and the people depicted in the photos have changed over the last four decades.The third and final element of the book is my own commentary on the Mod phenomenon. Quite apart from the external, visible signals of Mod observance, for me, Mod has been a powerful internal driving force. A philosophy. Astute readers of the book will no doubt notice references and quotes from the great Stoic philosophers from ancient history. I’ve long believed that Stoicism captures the very essence of Mod. I would hazard a guess that this is the first time this school of thought has featured in a book about Mod! As a friend of mine said in jest recently, the Romans were the first Mods.I also wanted the book to capture some of the lasting emotional impact of the subculture on me as a person. Sounds a bit introspective and indulgent, I know, but I hope at least some of that resonates with many others. I’m also an opinionated old sod so I had one or two controversial views that I simply had to surface! 

This book highlights how mod changed the life of those who followed it. Why was it important to tell their story?

I’m under no illusion that Mod Ghosts isn’t the first book to tell the story of those who were there during the Mod revival. In fact, its not even the first this year. With the very greatest respect to those featured in the book, what I wanted to do with Mod Ghosts was to focus on the lives of the subculture’s more ordinary participants from across the country.By the start of the 80s, every village, every town and every city supported a population of Mods. These folk made the movement the culture tour de force it was to become. These were the last generation truly to have experienced youth subculture in its purest sense so their experiences need to be recorded. They are also good people whose lives have been shaped to some extent by their experiences forty summers ago.Forging an identity from the assimilation of musical, stylistic and other cultural cues in early adolescence was standard fare for those of us born in the sixties. I think sometimes we fail to appreciate what an unusual trajectory this is for our 21st century counterparts. For that reason alone, I think these are stories worth telling.

The book covers accounts from various people throughout the UK. I imagine this meant a lot of travelling. What was that like and did this become challenging?

Fortunately I was able to carry out interviews by correspondence so travel wasn’t an issue in that regard. Where I racked up the miles was in identifying the locations for the period photos and then taking the present day shot. There were one or two Homer Simpson moments when I arrived home after a day on the road only to find that i hadn’t quite captured the correct angle or, in one notable case, I’d taken a fantastic photo of the wrong house. I’m indebted to John Gale for saving me from having to make a third long trip to Hastings in as many months for a few shots I’d totally messed up twice previously. 

Why was it important for you to tell the story of the people but also the places in which they grew up, discovered the subculture and attached themselves to it?

I think we are all the product of the place of our birth and upbringing. The history and culture of these places imprints itself on our personality, attitudes and beliefs more than we recognise. Location leaves a trace on our DNA. I like to think of it as the human equivalent of terroir in wine production.So in the book I wanted to contextualise the lives of these young Mods by telling a small part of the history of the geographical backdrop of their young lives. I’m particularly fascinated by the spiritual artefacts that attach themselves to certain places. Tens of thousands of special moments lived by tens of thousands of ordinary people leave a palpable feeling in a single place over the course of history. Hard to explain satisfactorily but I find it mind boggling. I particularly enjoyed researching the historical origins of the legendary Phoenix in London’s West End. I don’t think I’ll ever walk past the pub again without thinking of its near and very distant past. 

A lot of books highlight how the mod scene grew in London. Did you purposely choose how the mod scene affected many of those beyond a particular place?

As our political and cultural capital it was impossible to ignore London when writing about Mod. I take my hat off to the influential London based figures that gave the rest of us this wonderful thing and those that have written so eloquently about them.But yes, it was a conscious decision also to focus on the small town Mod experience. I lived my Mod life in nondescript town in Suffolk with fewer than 100 others of a similar persuasion for company. The passion and commitment we provincial peacocks had to Mod’s core principles was in no way diminished as a consequence. I was never a face by any measure, not even in my home territory of central east Ipswich, but I certainly gave it all I had. I think the same can be said for those whose story I had he privilege to tell.

The book demonstrates how the urban landscape has changed over many years. Why was this an important factor to depict through photography showing the places then & now?

As I said earlier, I’ve always enjoyed comparing ‘then and now’ images. The urban environment has changed dramatically in the last forty years, particularly with the slow collapse of high street retail, the decline in the pub trade and the cultural vandalism of the working class home. I wanted to say something about this pictorially. Few of the present day photographs illustrate an improved landscape so I also wanted to stimulate conversations between the generations about why this might be. I don’t have the answers but I hope my book will at least pose the questions. 

Why do you think mod means so much to many different people and why it has stood the test of time from a small group of young teenagers in the 60’s to become a worldwide phenomenon?

That’s a tough question. In the blurb to the book I say that it is the capacity of Mod to change with people that ensures its continuing relevance today. What I mean by that is that Mod remains accessible, even in middle-age, in a way that no other subculture can manage. I enjoy the knowing glance of recognition when my eyes meet those of a fellow Mod on a crowded underground train in London, for example. The signals are generally subtle but we both know instantly. I love that about Mod. It’s not about parkas or patches but about heavily nuanced influences and vanishingly small stylistic cues.I talk at length in the book about the way in which Mod provided a robust platform from which to launch into adult life. From my own perspective, I believe my life would have been very, very different had I not discovered Mod. I think this is the same for many of my peers. The continuing value of a comparatively sophisticated appreciation of music and clothing and a broader sense of style should not be underestimated. 

The book has already had many great reviews in a few short weeks of being published. What has people response to the book been like?

Truly humbling. I’ve been genuinely staggered by the enthusiasm with which the book has been received and the kindness of the comments made about it. As a first time author rather than an established name in Mod literature, an investment in my book was always going to be a leap into the dark financially. I’m extremely grateful to those who are open-minded enough to make that leap and I hope the content of the book repays their faith. My aim all along was to offer something a bit different and something that is beautiful to look at and own. I’ll be more than happy if I’ve managed to achieve those things alone. 

Can we expect any further books, projects or anything else in the future?

Oh yes. I’m already planning Mod Ghosts 2 and as I mentioned at the start of the interview, I hope to take the concept into other areas such as film, television, photography and maybe even poetry and fine art. Watch this space.Despite a healthy catalogue of Mod related books in recent years, I still believe there is more to be said about this thing of ours. I’m less interested in showcasing the razzmatazz of Mod culture and the bigger ticket aspects of the scene. For me it’s all about the ephemera and those beautifully elusive, almost indefinable subtleties that give Mod it’s unique meaning. 

Is there anything else you feel you’d like to highlight about the book?

It would unforgivable if I didn’t thank the wonderful people that allowed me to tell their stories in words and pictures. To John and Ed Silvester, John Gale, Dave Ratcliffe, Billy Drinkwater, John Nicholson and Del Shepherd, I thank you all. True gentlemen each one. Many more contributed original photographs for which I’m eternally grateful.I also really appreciate the opportunity to have this interview and I wish you continuing success with Mods Of Your Generation.

To get your copy of the book use the link belowhttps://modghosts.co.uk/product/mod-ghosts/Like & share there Facebook page belowhttps://www.facebook.com/Mod-Ghosts-202944413598062/  Copyright © Mods Of Your Generation, Johnny Bradley & Andy JM 2019, All Rights Reserved. No part of this review may be reproduced without the permission of the authors.

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The Grenadiers- New Album ‘Salute’ Review & Interview

Mods Of Your Generation Interview – The Grenadiers- New Album ‘Salute’ Review & Interview

MODS OF YOUR GENERATION·TUESDAY, 18 JUNE 2019

Band Line upLead Vocals/Songwriter – Kevin SaneElectric Guitar – Gary CochraneBass Guitar – Matt HillRhythm Guitar – David Nevard

ALBUM REVIEW – ‘SALUTE’

lead vocals and songwriter Kevin Sane from ‘The Grenadiers’ approached Mods Of Your Generation and wanted us to review their new album and feature in an interview. He kindly sent me a copy before its release. The band are in the progress of setting up social media platforms to promote the album and are seeking out a drummer to add to the line up. The band are also looking for a manger so that they can focus on their songwriting. Their previous album ‘Mr. Cribbins released by Detour Records received a lot of great reviews from fans and magazines appearing in The cult shindig and Heavy soul Fanzine magazine. The new album is just as great as the last with soulful 60’s melodies and a Rock n Roll riff. There is definitely a punk element in there too. While first listening to the album it is straight away apparent that the band are heavily influenced by The Kinks & The Small Faces. The lyrics are superb with a very British sound and feel like many people could relate. Tracks such as Ruby, Scooter Boys, No More Bets are ones that stand out. I highly recommend this album and wish the band ongoing success as they plan to promote the album and start building up a fan base. The album will be available on Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play & Deezer from 19th July 2019.

INTERVIEW – THE GRENADIERS

(1) What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?

 usually I sit down with a cup of tea and answer questions but on this occasion I am out of tea bags. have to settle for fellow birds coffee. the last gig I went to which I absolutely loved was watching The Stranglers play at the Cambridge Corn Exchange in 2017 . brilliant band . 

(2) Which subcultures have influenced you?

which subcultures have influenced me. A lot of the time its from the 60’s and late 70’s early 80’s. very into Elvis Costello. I am a Big David Bowie fan but I love the music from the band The Cars. 

(3) A song and band that has inspired you?

The song” Drive” by The Cars inspired me to write Crying out, its one of those universal songs that touch the soul.

(4) Where do you find inspiration for your song lyrics & music?

a lot of time my own experiences and watching or watching TV. 

(5) How and when was the band formed?

The Grenadiers actually was a band I formed in Aberdeen. The Name came from my home town of Colchester being it has always been an Army barrack town

(6) Why the name ‘The Grenadiers’ and who come up with it.

The Name came from my home town of Colchester being it has always been an Army barrack town . it has its own military tattoo each year where all the different regiments parade down the high Street. 

(7) Your first first EP which featured songs such as Mr cribbins/ Kosha / Mrs Raven/ Pillars Of The Lambeth Row/ Toy Grenadier. All are a great sound, how would you describe the bands style.

Its different and diverse . there are songs that are clearly heavily inspired by post new wave and then on the other spectrum we do quite a lot of 60’s inspired music.

(8) your first EP was released by the label Paisley archive records. Are you still signed to them?

know we are not currently signed to paisley archive records at the moment. 

(9) The Band were invited to open up for The BlockHeads at Colchester Arts Centre. Which I briefed for the band was a huge honour. Can you tell me a bit about that?

The blockheads gig was amazing an absolute buzz. The Arts Centre was completely packed to the medieval rafters and the noise from the place. The atmosphere was electric. The Blockheads still cut the mustard and we played a blinding gig. I think Big Boys Don’t cry had its first performance that night and we nailed it. We couldn’t unfortunately stick around to enjoy the blockheads as we had to 2 gigs booked in one night so we played that gig in Colchester high street after our set list finished. An absolute great night, You just cant beat playing live really. 

(10) The first EP had a lot of great reviews and was well received and featured in the music magazine Shindig. How did that feel?

The review in shindig magazine was weird . having your music reviewed then next to it you see Ziggy Stardust @ The spiders from mars on the same page. we are very proud of the Mr Cribbings EP. I wish now looking back it should have been called “Pillars of The Lambeth Row” but never mind.

(11) Your new album will be released soon. Where can fans buy or download it.

The release date for the album will be Friday 19th July on all online stores. I tunes / Spotify/ Instagram /apple music. Its our first album and all the songs have something appealing in themselves.

(12) Have you got any future gigs coming up and what’s next for the band?

Playing live is the next stage. Already have a true professional bass player by the name of Matt Hill and Gary Cochrane who are former members of the mod influenced group ‘Pure Mania’. Along with Dave Nevard, when we find a suitable drummer I think it wont be too long before our next gig will be announced. 

(13) Who produced the new album Salute?

Two tracks ‘Ruby’and ‘Big Boys don’t cry’ were produced by Greg Haver at Modern world Studios near Wales. He has produced man of the Manic street Preachers material and they have recorded many of their material there. The rest of the tracks were produced by myself and David Nevard (Rhythm Guitar – The Grenadiers)  I wish The Grenadiers & Kevin Sane all the best for the future   check out our other interviews and please like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram @mods_of_you_generationInterview conducted by Johnny BradleyMods Of Your GenerationInterview (c) Mods Of Your Generation 2019  

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Punk Is Coming Back To Save The Planet

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Modern Rap, The New Punk Rock attitude

There are few things more exhilarating than being stuck in the middle of a mosh pit during a JPEGMAFIA show.

On stage at this year’s Primavera Sound festival in Barcelona, the 30-year-old US rapper’s topless body, dripping with sweat, contorts urgently as he channels the aggression of the crowd into brutal bursts of movement that sit somewhere between an intoxicated Iggy Pop and an irate DMX.

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With vocals that quickly shift from gentle to vicious, the artist, real name Barrington Hendricks, raps rapidly like a machine gun, with lyrics, couched in internet speak, that are often scathingly satirical. One of his songs is called I Might Vote 4 Trump, while on his typically experimental new album, All My Heroes Are Cornballs, he raps, as a black man, about wanting to be adopted by Madonna and merrily drinking the tears of “rednecks”.

JPEGMAFIA (Credit: David Hanes-Gonzales)
JPEGMAFIA (Credit: David Hanes-Gonzales)

JPEGMAFIA is a scathingly satirical artist with a sound that incorporates thick waves of distortion and screaming synths

But the fact he does all this over ugly, uneven beats, built around thick waves of distortion and screaming synths, means Hendricks could just as easily be categorised as punk rock as hip-hop. Free the Frail, one of his new LP’s standout tracks, speaks directly to punk’s anti-capitalist values, as Hendricks claims: “I don’t rely on the strength of my image”.

Back in the 1980s, rap and punk were both genres that got frowned upon by the elite just for being what they were – JPEGMAFIA, aka Barrington Hendricks

In Barcelona, as dozens of teenagers enthusiastically bang heads to songs with subversive titles such as I Cannot Wait Until Morrissey Dies and Digital Blackface, it’s easy to draw a parallel between Hendricks and the bold onstage personas of legendary anti-establishment acts like The Sex Pistols or The Clash, artists who also knew how to channel youthful angst into something euphoric and liberating.

Hendricks is happy to indulge in the comparison. “Back in the early 1980s when rappers couldn’t perform in the fancy venues because the police were too racist and scared, it was the punk venues letting them in to perform,” he tells BBC Culture. “I guess race was the big thing separating [rap and punk] in the general public eye, but they were both resilient genres that got [frowned upon] by the elite just for being what they were. They gave a home to outsiders. I [have] always felt like they were just the same thing, but both wrapped up in a different way.”

Growing up, he explains, he was equally enthusiastic about political rappers like Ice Cube and Chuck D as hardcore punk bands like Bad Brains and Fear. “I saw Fear perform live at a young age, so I guess you could say I draw from that same energy.”

Modern punk heroes

Today, JPEGMAFIA is one of dozens of young rappers and rap acts drawing heavily from the DIY ethos of punk rock to create music to be moshed to. The likes of Death Grips, Run The Jewels, Denzel Curry, Danny Brown, Sheck Wes, Rico Nasty, Ski Mask The Slump God, and Travis Scott (who was arrested back in 2017 after the police accused him of inciting a riot at one of his shows) perform with the same transgressive vigour of 1970s punk icons. When Sheck Wes plays the stirring Mo Bamba live, it recalls the renegade firecracker spirit of Nirvana’s iconic Smells Like Teen Spirit video.

In the UK, snarling Northampton rapper Slowthai thrillingly struts around the stage like a modern-day Sid Vicious. He blasts what he sees as the toxicity of Brexit Britain in a way that’s pure punk provocation. It’s no surprise, for example, that he carried around a fake severed head of Prime Minister Boris Johnson during his performance at last month’s Mercury Prize amid ugly beats inspired just as much by Gang of Four as Dizzee Rascal. His punk-ish rap peers include Scarlxrd and Master Peace. On the other hand, you could also point to the hip-hop influence of lo-fi British punk bands like Idles and Sleaford Mods as a sign of the convergence between the two genres.

Slowthai
Slowthai the new face of British Punk Rock

UK rapper Slowthai is like a modern-day Sid Vicious, blasting what he sees as the toxicity of Brexit Britain (

Prolific Long Island producer Kenny Beats, real name Kenneth Blume III, has worked with many of the aforementioned artists, helping shape the punk-rap sound that’s currently ruling the underground. He believes the fact more and more rap artists are gaining a penchant for primal screaming and ugly production is simply a reflection of our times. “The other month I played a show just 24 hours after there were two mass shootings here in America,” he says. “The planet is literally on fire, so what more can an artist like Rico Nasty do but scream? It’s instinctual to rappers at this particular moment. It’s how they process the world.” He says he’s currently producing a record for hardcore punk band Trash Talk “that’s pure thrash with no electronic drums, but that way of working isn’t too dissimilar from when I work with JPEGMAFIA or Slowthai.”

A 21st-Century protest

In this age of social media, where people fire off snarky political opinions every couple of seconds, Kenny believes that anti-establishment protest music can have trouble cutting through. To have a real impact, it’s less about what you say than how you say it. “You need to make people think about society in a less literal and more primal way,” he says. “It’s about using the least amount of sounds to make the most amount of noise and energy, and making a bass stab really feel like you’ve been punched in the face. A lot of the rap I produce really has that kind of punk essence. When I work with JPEGMAFIA he asks me for the worst beat possible as I guess a rapper that makes something that’s raw and ugly and chaotic is definitely going to stand out and feel more human right now, because things aren’t pretty out there.”

Rico Nasty, real name Maria Kelly, is a 22-year-old Maryland rapper every bit as enigmatic and hell-raising live as JPEGMAFIA – the fact she’s pushing similar buttons as a woman makes her, arguably, even more important. On songs like Bitch I’m Nasty and Rage, which are both produced by Kenny Beats, who also guided the music on her most recent album Anger Management, Kelly attacks the gnarly guitars and cutting drums with real venom, every word delivered like she’s face-to-face with her worst enemy. Sometimes she just starts screaming in between bars.

I’ll see straight guys moshing with the gay guys and I love that – Rico Nasty, aka Maria Kelly

Evoking the DC comic book character Harley Quinn, her bold onstage look is about reclaiming the colours white female punk artists wore before her and showing her fans, many of whom feel like outsiders, that they can be anything they want to be. It’s quietly revolutionary.

“If you come to a Rico Nasty show you’ll see all kinds of people, dancing together as one in the mosh pit,” she explains. “I’ll see straight guys moshing with the gay guys and I love that. A lot of these people aren’t able to let out their anger in the real world without being demonised, particularly black women, but they can at my show and to my songs. It’s a safe space to let out all the rage, and that’s healthy. It’s like group therapy.”

In a world with infinite choice, thanks to streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music, Kelly believes fans expect more from their favourite artists – because, if their interest palls, they can quickly move on to something else. By embodying the fearless punk values of her hero Joan Jett, she can ensure she lives up to their estimations, she says. “They gotta see me go crazy on stage or I’m not doing my job! it’s all about showing emotions because they paid good money to see you and they don’t want to just see me stand still. You’re the person who made their favourite song so you should be performing until your voice cracks [like the punk artists voices’ used to do].”

(Credit: Works Of Ace)

Rico Nasty is a 22-year-old Maryland rapper who embodies the fearless punk values of her hero Joan Jett (Credit: Works Of Ace)

It’s something Hendricks very much agrees with. Punk in the 1970s was a reaction to the overly conceptual progressive rock that bands like Pink Floyd and Genesis were releasing. The Sex Pistols’ two-minute songs, which used a minimal amount of chords played as shoddily as possible, were in stark contrast to the stadium rock that some young people found pretentious.

Similarly, Hendricks believes the reason rap with punk sensibilities resonates right now is because the melodic ‘trap’ sound that has dominated the radio for so long is also starting to become stale. Hip-hop fans could be looking for something to counter the neatly produced club trap anthems by stars like Drake and Migos, which means music that’s more unhinged and doesn’t read from a script, and artists who enjoy giving their all on stage and are comfortable making people feel, well, uncomfortable.

“So much of rap sounds the same, and that’s okay, but that means some people want something that can be the complete opposite too. We’re entering an era where you have to leave a part of yourself on the stage and really make the crowd move. People aren’t going to just accept your presence or you miming to a song; you have to really do your job, you know? Maybe that’s where [punk-rap] comes in. I feel like this is the only time this sound really has a chance to break through into the mainstream.”

Two genres united

But if punk-rap makes sense for this particular cultural moment, it’s hardly a new phenomenon. As John Robb, the author of Punk Rock: An Oral History – and a rock legend in his own right as lead vocalist in post-punk band The Membranes – points out, rap and punk first became intertwined in the 1980s, a time when The Clash experimented with a rap edge on The Magnificent Seven.

He believes Public Enemy were the first band to really bring the two different audiences together, with their rough, hard-hitting boom-bap sound resonating with both black kids in the inner cities and white kids in the suburbs. The fact that, in the 1980s, iconic producer Rick Rubin would split his time between producing new albums for hip-hop acts like Run DMC and The Beastie Boys and hardcore bands like Slayer and The Cult, also helped to create links between the two cultures.

“Public Enemy were really the first band to resonate with both camps,” says Robb. “Chuck D was a huge fan of The Clash and I know from speaking with him, he studied all of the punk bands. I saw them on the Anthrax tour and Public Enemy blew this hardcore band right off the stage. I’m sure every white punk fan in the audience became a rap fan after that.”

These kids live in such a distorted world that the music is lying if it isn’t distorted as well – John Robb

As the 1990s arrived, hip-hop’s punk sensibility was further enforced by in-your-face acts like Ice Cube, DMX, Onyx, and Rage Against the Machine. Then, although he’s easy to mock now, Atlanta rapper Lil Jon also spliced genres to innovative effect with ‘crunk’, his southern rap take on punk, which prioritised uncomfortably loud horns and repetitive screams. It’s no surprise that Denzel Curry, one of punk-rap’s most prominent artists, channelled Lil Jon’s trademark “what” screams on his 2018 song SUMO | ZUMO. “Lil Jon was definitely a pioneer for some of the punk-rap acts we see now,” agrees Kenny Beats. “He showed you could scream on a song and still have a hit on the radio. He even sampled [US heavy metal guitarist] Randy Rhoads, so it was obvious he knew what he was doing.”

But Lil Jon was hardly an anti-establishment renegade, more just someone who found a sound that stood out from the norm. It was around a decade ago that punk-rap really returned with a vengeance, via authentic anarchist acts like Tyler the Creator’s Odd Future collective. The Los Angeles group weren’t afraid to release incendiary singles where hooks were built around calls to burn schools, among other things, while beats were both manic and minimalist. They lived the punk life they rapped about, hanging out at skate parks and dingy clubs in three-day-old clothes. This DIY spirit made them feel like the black Sex Pistols. And Kanye West borrowed punk elements for his brilliantly bleak 2013 album Yeezus. On it, he took Odd Future-style industrial sonics and made them more palatable for the mainstream, sampling post-punk bands such as Section 25 and offering up riotous tirades like Black Skinhead.

(Credit: Alamy)

Kanye West also went punk on his brilliantly bleak 2013 album Yeezus (Credit: Alamy)

But Kenny Beats believes one of the most important songs in this new age of punk could be Look At Me by XXXTentacion – the controversial Florida rapper, real name Jahseh Onfroy, who was shot dead last year at the age of 20, while facing multiple criminal charges. The 2017 song features uncomfortable levels of distortion and unhinged vocals as Onfroy, then just a teenager recording in his bedroom with a cheap microphone bought on eBay, refers to himself as the new Kurt Cobain. Peaking at 34 on the Billboard 100, it was the moment punk-rap showed it could really be a force on the pop charts.

“Whatever you think [about the person and the allegations], there’s no denying Look at Me was one of the most punk-rock moments in a long, long time,” says Kenny Beats, when asked why the song resonates so much with the current generation of rap fans. “You play it in a room and people are ready to riot. XXX sounds like a scary cult leader rapping over the worst sounding MP3 I’ve ever heard, but everything about that song bottles this idea of being young and not giving a damn. It’s the reason why you hear distorted drums on an Ariana Grande song or people putting out two minute singles. Its influence is everywhere. It doesn’t have a message, but that’s what makes it have one somehow.”

People get upset that the old rock ‘n’ roll attitude doesn’t exist anymore, but it’s right there in front of them – JPEGMAFIA, aka Barrington Hendricks

As conversation rages around Brexit, Trump and global warming, there is a feeling among some young people that they are paying for the sins of their parents and have inherited a world that is teetering on the edge. It’s in this context that the darker punk-rap sound has resonated deeply, says Robb. “These kids live in such a distorted world that the music is lying if it isn’t distorted as well.”

However, he’s keen to point out the impact of the internet in making this style of music popular too: “You’ve got to remember that genre boundaries don’t really exist like they did before. With streaming, every genre cross-pollinates into the next and you just hop from one thing to another. That makes it easier for punk-rap to thrive than it could in the 1980s or 1990s, as back then, everything had to be a hit on a radio. Now, you just put it on Soundcloud and it gets a million views and kids will treat like you like a rock star.”

So often, Hendricks says, he reads “lazy” articles from white music journalists speculating when guitar-driven punk is going to make a comeback and “save music”. Yet he believes this is a blinkered question founded in racism – critics are unwilling to acknowledge that punk never went anywhere, but its spirit is now embodied by hip-hop, and phallic guitars have been replaced by dusty 808 drums.

“[Rock music] is stagnant, yet here we are in 2019 still clinging on to this old idea of what rock ‘n’ roll is. People get upset that the old attitude doesn’t exist anymore, but it’s right there in front of them: we’re the new rock stars”.

  • By Thomas Hobbs
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British Actor – “The Original Daddy” & “King Of The Rockers” – John Blundell

Mods Of Your Generation – Interview – British Actor – “The Original Daddy” & “King Of The Rockers” – John Blundell

MODS OF YOUR GENERATION·SATURDAY, 14 DECEMBER 2019John Blundell is a Britishactor, best known for playing ‘Daddy’ Pongo Banks in the controversial production Scum and its film adaptation.Blundell played Banks in both the banned 1977 BBC version and the cinematic remake of the production two years later. His character was the ‘daddy’ (i.e., the self-appointed head inmate via use of force, violence and intimidation) of the institution until he was overthrown in a bloody attack by Carlin, the lead character played by Ray Winstone. He also appeared in Quadrophenia as the Leader of the Rockers (again in a film with Ray Winstone). He is an absolute gentleman, Mods Of Your Generation wanted to find out more about his role in these two iconic films. Its a privilege to call him a friend and an honour to have him as a Mods Of your Generation follower. 

What fond memories and amusing stories can you remember from the filming of Quadrophenia?

I spent three weeks in Brighton on the set. One of my fondest memories is that the whole cast stayed in the same hotel, and you could come down in the morning for breakfast, and hear the then unknown Sting, playing the piano, and Phil Daniels playing guitar, along with Toyah jamming, and at that time , being so young, just taking it all for granted. 

Did you enjoy working with Phil Daniels and Ray Winston again after filming with them in Scum?

Ray, Phil and I had filmed the original Scum, 4 years earlier, which was a Play for Today for the BBC, and banned by Billy Cotton. We then went on to make the film SCUM, 6 weeks after QUADROPHENIA. In those days, we all hung about together, and all got on really well. 

You played Pongo Banks in Scum & the leader of the rockers in Quadrophenia they have both become British cult classics. How does it feel to be part of these timeless iconic movies?

I have been very lucky and privileged to be part of both Scum and Quadrophenia. Obviously not knowing that up to date, they would have stood the test of time, and become iconic films.

How did you get into acting and was that something you always wanted to do growing up?

It was never my intention to become an Actor. However at 10 years old, my primary school drama teacher Anna Scher, started the Anna Scher Children’s Theatre, of which I was a Founder member, for Children who could not afford Stage School like Barbara Speake’s, Italia Conti etc. , charging us 50 pence a lesson, and free for the Children, who could not afford that. When word went around the film industry, that there was a Drama Club in Islington. The BBC came around along with the Children’s Film Foundation, to name but a few. So that is where it all began and took off. 

What can you recall working with Quadrophenia director Franc Roddam?

Franc Roddam the Director of Quadrophenia, came to Ann Scher, to watch our group performing improvisation, on a class night. And that is where he saw Phil Daniels, Trevor Laird and myself. A few weeks later, Franc asked me and Actor Ray Burdis, to meet him at Pinewood Studios, to do some improvisation with a guy that he has found from a modelling advertisement, called Gordon Sumner. Afterwards Franc, asked us about our opinion about this guy, as he thought he would be great for the part of Ace Face. We said he looked unusual m. Little did we know that we had talked ourselves out of a part. A few later, this guy called Sting would hit no. 1, with his group the Police, and become a global Superstar. The rest was history. 

I heard from a mutual friend that they were a few accidents riding the motorbikes in Quadrophenia. Can you tell me about some of the stories?

There was one big accident, involving myself and the rest of the Rockers, in the scene where we chased Chalky off the road. After the film crew cleared the lane, where we were filming, a farmer pulled out his lorry out onto the road, unbeknown to the film crew. So at 35 miles an hour, Gareth Milne, the Stunt man, who was to my far left, rode straight into the truck at full speed, which caused a domino effect, of all 30 Bikers crashing.I myself drove into a big bush, to protect myself and my Biker girl Linda Regan, who was riding pillion. Leaving the both of us with only sprains, but other with much more serious injuries. Hence Linda up till this day, still tells everyone that I saved her life, which is a really lovely thing to say. Franc to this day, still says he wishes he had kept the footage of the crash.

Where you a fan of The Who and had you listened to Quadrophenia before being cast in the movie of the same name?

I was not really a Fan of the Who, at that point, but after meeting Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend, I found them to be, down to earth and just a couple of the lads, who just happened to fly into Brighton beach by helicopter. Lol.

Apologises if this ruins your hard man reputation as the “King of The Rockers” and the original daddy but I heard you’re a northern soul fan. If this is true tell me about some of your favourite records and some of your other musical tastes?

Yes that’s right I do enjoy Northern Soul, for eg. listening to Legendary artists like Frank Wilson – Yvonne Baker- Tobi Legend. My taste is pretty varied, and I also like a lot of Rap Music. Snoop Dog, Dr Dre era. Giving away my age there. 

What other acting roles have you been involved in that fans may not be aware of?

From my early years aged 10 I had done so much work, I cannot remember, as i never kept track. The only ones I can remember are on my IMDB. I also do so many Commercials that at one time, my Agent Anna Scher named me ‘’The Commercial King’’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgRnNx7J1mQ&feature=youtu.be

2019 marked the 40th anniversary of Quadrophenia, you were invited to join the celebrations at an event in Runcorn. How was it reuniting with some of the cast 40 years on and what was fans attending the events response to meeting the king of the rockers?

I have always over the years, bumped into the Quadrophenia boys, who attended Runcorn. And it is always as if we had only seen each other yesterday.As I was the only Rocker, at Runcorn, I was not sure, how I would be welcome by the Mods. But to my surprise, I was blown away by the love and respect, that was shown to me , by everyone who attended. I could not have asked for more. I would like to say a special thank you to Rob Wright, who organised the event, and took such good care of me and Mercina. We had not met before, but we are now friends. 

What are your plans for the future and are you working on anything we can look forward to?

I enjoy writing Comedy scripts, simply as a hobby. But the best thing about being retired, is as you all know by now, for anyone who has read my Facebook page, is that I get to spend 24/7, with the love of my life Mercina.

Copyright © Mods Of Your Generation, Johnny Bradley & John Blundell 2019, All Rights Reserved. No part of this review may be reproduced without the permission of the authors.
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Sheffield’s post-punk explosion: synths, steel and skinheads

Music

In the late 70s, the city’s bands set out to create the sound of the future – while trying to avoid getting beaten up. Jarvis Cocker and other leading lights recall a revolutionary scene

Daniel Dylan Wray

Phil Oakey of the Human League performing in Sheffield in 1980
 Phil Oakey of the Human League performing in Sheffield in 1980. Photograph: Martin O’Neill/Redferns

Sheffield in 1977 had a slight feeling of being the city of the future,” recalls Jarvis Cocker. “I didn’t realise that it was all going to go to shit. It was Sheffield before the fall.”

That pre-fall year is the starting point for a new box set: Dreams to Fill the Vacuum: The Sound of Sheffield 1977-1988. Familiar names appear – Pulp, Heaven 17, the Human League, ABC – but they are joined by a wealth of other acts, such as I’m So Hollow, Stunt Kites, They Must Be Russians and Surface Mutants, spanning punk, post-punk, indie and electronic with that droll outsider energy particular to South Yorkshire.

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In 1977, Paul Bower was producing a local fanzine, Gun Rubber, and playing in the Buzzcocks-indebted 2.3. Like Cocker, he recalls the late-70s as being a time of optimism and flux. “There’s this myth of northern miserablism, that everything was shut down and shit,” he says. “But it wasn’t – that came later. It was a really interesting, bustling and creative time.”

Sheffield had plenty of dirt-cheap “little mester” workshops, once used by master craftsmen working in the city’s cutlery industry, and these provided room for bands to move in and experiment. Bower’s band 2.3 shared a space with the Future, an early incarnation of the Human League that featured Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh along with Adi Newton before he formed Clock DVA. “We were enamoured with the New York scene,” says Ware. “In our own little way we were imitating the Exploding Plastic Inevitable.” Bower describes it as: “Andy Warhol’s Factory in the land of Bobby Knutt.”

The pioneering industrial and electronic outfit Cabaret Voltaire had been active since 1973. “They were the godfathers of Sheffield’s new music,” says Simon Hinkler, who played in bands such as TV Product and Artery, as well as producing early Pulp. “You can’t overstate how important they were.” Ware echoes this. “They were our mentors,” he recalls. “Their methodology and lifestyle was something we aspired to. Not so much musically, but as a template for doing your own thing.”

Cabaret Voltaire on stage in the late 70s
 Cabaret Voltaire on stage in the late 70s: the band are credited with kickstarting the Sheffield scene. Photograph: Ray Stevenson/Rex/Shutterstock

Cabaret Voltaire took on Western Works, another old cutlery factory, as their studio. While Ware looked to New York for inspiration, Cabaret Voltaire’s Richard H Kirk was more interested in Germany. “Kraftwerk and Can had their own spaces,” Kirk says. “We thought that was the perfect model. You could be there 24/7 without having to worry about the clock or some idiot engineer not knowing what to do with you.”Advertisement

The Great Skinhead Reunion Brighton. first line up announcement, tickets available now

“The environmental influences were very strong,” says Jane Antcliff-Wilson of I’m So Hollow. “Industrial and austere – steeped in working-class history. Imagination and vision were left to run wild in this bleak landscape.”

By 1978, an explosive flurry of music was coming out of the city. “Punk was year zero and Sheffield really took that to heart,” says Cocker. “They said: ‘Right, we’ll invent the music of the future.’ The Cabs and the Human League really did do that.” It was enough for people to move to the city because of it. Jake Harries of the industrial punk-funk band Chakk was one. “This music didn’t sound like it came from anywhere else,” he recalls. “There was an otherness to it. Sheffield sounded like the place to be – it was electronic, strange and inspiring.”

Not everyone warmed to peculiar new sonic explorations such as Cabaret Voltaire’s heavily deconstructed cover of the Beatles’ She Loves You. “This guy stormed out and physically grabbed me,” says Bower. “He’s screaming: ‘You’ve got to stop them. It’s sacrilege, they are destroying the Beatles.’ I said: ‘Yeah, that’s the point.’” Kirk thrived on the friction. “We went out of our way to pour petrol on the fire,” he says. “We knew people had never heard anything like what we were doing. It was meant to be confrontational.”

The throbbing intensity of Artery’s live shows were as terrifying to some as they were thrilling to others; Clock DVA got banned from venues after their first gig; during one gig, I’m So Hollow were thrown off stage after just two songs. The debut Human League show went down surprisingly well, even if their new singer hadn’t mastered his role yet. “Midway through the gig, Phil Oakey walks off stage, straight through the audience with his high heels on,” remembers Bower. “Comes up to the sound desk and says: ‘How’s it going?’ I said: ‘Fine, Phil, but it’s traditional for the singer to stay on stage during the gig.’”

Because of the conflict that would arise at shows, the Human League began performing with a Perspex shield around them. “Paul Morley wrote it was some extemporisation around alienation in contemporary society,” recalls Ware. “No, it was to stop skinheads gobbing on the synthesisers.”

Heaven 17
 After the Human League split in two in 1980, one half went on to form Heaven 17. Photograph: Virginia Turbett/Redferns

Things got bleaker in the 1980s under Margaret Thatcher, even if some of the music got shinier and major-label attention followed. After the Human League’s 1981 album, Dare, made the revamped band world famous, major labels flocked to the city “signing groups in a bid to cash in on the scene”, says Newton. “We [Clock DVA] signed with Polydor but I consider this a low point, because innovation became secondary to commerciality.”

While pop stardom visited many, it seemed to evade one person. “The 1981 John Peel session Pulp did convinced me that I was going to be a teen star,” says Cocker. “But the 80s were depressing. The city was falling apart and our first album sold virtually nothing. I was crestfallen.” Violence was also an inescapable part of going out during this period. “It was like Pac-Man,” says Cocker. “You had to pick your route and avoid the beer monsters. Violence, or the threat of it, was a constant thing.” One night he had a pint glass land on his head; on another he was beaten up for wearing a patent leather mac. “I put two fingers up at them thinking my bus was about to leave, but it wasn’t, so they just got on it and smacked me.”

However, when the city was in sharp decline and the musical buzz of the early 80s was wearing off, Chakk did something crucial: “We signed with MCA and had them agree that we could build a recording studio out of our advance,” says Harries. FON Studio (named after a piece of local graffiti that read Fuck Off Nazis) was the result. Located in an old karate studio above a metal works, countless bands from across the UK recorded there. Richard Hawley’s teenage group Treebound Story was one. Rob Gordon, who would later co-found Warp records, found himself producing indie bands there in 1986 via a Youth Training Scheme. “It was obvious he was a genius,” recalls Hawley. “We were just kids but he made us sound amazing. He even tolerated us dropping acid, taking all our clothes off, playing the bongos and making a racket.”Advertisement

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“It was a brave thing to do,” Cocker says of FON. “Sheffield was not going anywhere and it showed solidarity. They could have just taken the money and scarpered.” It was a combination of pride and practicality, according to Harries. “We thought it was crazy Sheffield didn’t have a large recording studio considering how much great music it produced. Plus, the country was divided at the height of Thatcherism. We wanted to bring some money from London to where we lived.”

Jarvis Cocker of Pulp in 1991
Jarvis Cocker of Pulp in 1991

FacebookTwitterPinterest Jarvis Cocker in 1991. Pulp formed in 1978 but had to wait till the early 90s before tasting success. Photograph: Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images

Over at Western Works, Cabaret Voltaire’s new neighbour was a bagpipe-playing Scotsman who was building and selling nuclear fallout shelters. “There was a rising sense of fear,” recalls Kirk of the time, one no doubt intensified for the people of South Yorkshire, given it was the location for the harrowing 1984 nuclear apocalypse TV drama Threads.

Even as the socio-political climate grew gloomier, that original spark of autonomy and ambition remained alight, says Hawley. “Even with all the shit going on from those horrible fuckers, a lot of magical stuff happened. Beauty came out of some very difficult situations.” Ware links this mentality to the city’s history. “There is pride in craft in Sheffield that runs through everything – from cutlery to engineering. It’s in our blood.”

Not all bands could contain their steam. “Artery had an intensity that was up there with Joy Division,” says Cocker. “But they didn’t have a Factory Records or a Tony Wilson. They got stuck in Sheffield, got frustrated, got off their heads, and lost it.” 2.3 had a single out on Fast Product before the Human League or Gang of Four, but collapsed. “We were like the Commitments but worse,” Bower says, likening the group to the dysfunctional Irish band from Roddy Doyle’s novel. “By 1979, it was like: ‘Screw it.’”

But others did make it, of course. The days of Cocker and co dodging pint glasses have been replaced by city-wide adulation, an irony not lost on them. “One day, some people were chasing me and Jarv down the street to get our autographs,” Hawley says. “Jarvis turned to me and said: ‘It’s not that long ago since the same people were chasing us down the road trying to kill us.’”

• Dreams to Fill the Vacuum: The Sound of Sheffield 1977-1988 is out on Cherry Red

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The Isle of Wight International Scooter Rally Site move announced

VFM, the organisers behind The Isle of Wight International Scooter Rally have announced today (read the press release below) that the August Bank Holiday rally will be relocating for 2020. The main hub of the rally has been at Smallbrook Stadium for the last two decades but the redevelopment of the site and the granting of planning permission for a new multi-million-pound ice rink (to replace the perfectly good existing one located right in the heart of Ryde town) at the site means it’s no longer able to cope with the size of the rally.

Sandown Airport

Isle Of White Scooter Rally main site moves

It’s a positive move though, the rally will be held at Sandown Airport, located just 1.2 miles out of the pretty seaside town. The huge grass field site boasts plenty of room for campers (and camper vans etc), hardstanding for the trade area, a cafe, an aircraft hanger (which will be utilised as a northern soul room), there will also be a marquee for the main evening entertainment and the site will also have the best washing and shower facilities brought in for the weekend.

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Moving to that side of the island (it’s just 6 miles from Smallbrook) will also mean there’s more chance of getting B&B or hotel accommodation, as long as you get in quickly. Get on to Booking.com as soon as you’ve read this, there’s also a Premier Inn in Sandown. Coaches will be laid on so rally goers can explore this ‘new’ town and still get back to site, although it is within walking distance.

We’ll bring you more information as we get it but hopefully, this move will get people excited for August Bank Holiday once again. It may still be the same little island across The Solent but it’s a whole new place for most of us to explore.Click here for the latest on Booking.com

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Madness have a dig at Boris Johnson and the Eton elite

FIRST PUBLISHED IN NME

“The Eton Boys are undefiled/ The Bullingdon Boys, running wild”

Madness
Suggs and co. have a dig at Boris Johnson in the lyrics to their new song. CREDIT: Getty Images

Madness have released ‘Bullingdon Boys’, their first new song in three years – and it features lyrics aimed at Boris Johnson and his Eton cohorts – listen to it below.

The pioneering ska band’s snap release is a “barbed swipe at the charlatans, rotters and chancers at the top of the tree who have done their best to take the shine off 2019,” according to a press release.

Inspired by the fact that 19 of the 54 UK Prime Ministers have come from Eton, the new song takes aim at Johnson, who was educated at Eton College before going on to study at Oxford, and his peers with anti-Tory lyrics.

“The Eton boys are undefiled/ The Bullingdon Boys, running wild,” Suggs sings on the chorus. “And England slides into the mist/ No hope they’ll cease nor desist.

Other lyrics include: “They’re making England Great Again/ But make way for the bagmen/ When everything’s been sold and bought/ We’ll soon be off the life support.

The song’s artwork features what is assumed to be a group of Eton students donning a variety of masks, including Halloween villain Michael Myers and Porky Pig. It includes the tagline: “Don’t get bullied by the Bully Boys.”

Madness

Accompanied by a supercut video that features scenes from Clockwork Orange, the Batman TV series and The Riot Club, you can listen to ‘Bullingdon Boys’ below:

Earlier this month, Madness performed a show in London where fans were given the chance to pay the same entry price as they did 40 years ago.

Madness Electric Ballroom 2019. Credit Symond Lawes

The Camden Town legends played the Electric Ballroom on November 17 – 40 years to the day since they launched the legendary Two Tone Tour at the very same venue. Tickets were just £2.50 (plus booking fees).

There’s nothing new about musicians having a go at Eton EliteWill Lavin “meanwhile, Boris Johnson has received a backlash for declaring that he’s a fan of The Clash.

The revelation came from a new general election campaign video in which the Prime Minister is seen walking around the Conservative Party headquarters answering questions.

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Scooterboys 1980’s The lost tribe of British youth culture

THESE fascinating pictures show a little-known youth tribe called Scooterboys, who roamed the country during the 80s and 90s.

The group was dubbed as “the lost tribe of British youth culture”, however tens of thousands of scooter riders insist they collectively rejected that label.

 Scarborough sea-front in 1983 during the period when Scooterboy overtook Mod in numbers
Scarborough sea-front in 1983 during the period when Scooterboy overtook Mod in numbersCredit: John Stevens / Carpet Bombing Culture
 The classic ‘80s Scooterboy look was an MA1 flight jacket covered in rally patches
The classic ‘80s Scooterboy look was an MA1 flight jacket covered in rally patchesCredit: Greg Hollingdale-Cooper / Carpet Bombing Culture

Interesting pictures reveal the freedom Scooterboys had 30 to 40 years ago, showing rallies taking place in Hampshire and Dorset.

The photographs are featured in Scooterboys: The Lost Tribe book, created by Martin “Sticky” Round.

The book paints a picture of what the youth tribe experienced in their customised Vespa and Lambretta scooters as they set off on adventures each weekend.

The book mentions the shared experiences of riots, local hostility and police harassment, which built strong fraternal bonds that lasted a lifetime.

Scooterboys were members of a 1960s mod subculture, who rode motor scooters and wore anoraks, wide jeans, and boots.

One recent photograph shows crowds of scooterists in the Isle of Wight, while another takes you back to  the 1970s and shows how the youth tribe compared to today.

 Riders boarding the ferry after the riot at Isle of Wight 1986
Riders boarding the ferry after the riot at Isle of Wight 1986Credit: Piggsy / Carpet Bombing Culture
 Isle of Wight pictured in 1984 - probably Britain's biggest ever rally
Isle of Wight pictured in 1984 – probably Britain’s biggest ever rally
 Scooterboys chilling at Margate National Rally in 1990
Scooterboys chilling at Margate National Rally in 1990Credit: Dave Chapman / Carpet Bombing Culture
 Scooters and Soul music have lived a conjoined existence since the 1960s, but intricately airbrushed photo-realistic murals are typically Scooterboy
Scooters and Soul music have lived a conjoined existence since the 1960s, but intricately airbrushed photo-realistic murals are typically ScooterboyCredit: Carpet Bombing Culture
 Before political correctness it was acceptable to ride a paint splattered chop called 'Time of the Month'
Before political correctness it was acceptable to ride a paint splattered chop called ‘Time of the Month’Credit: Nick Purser / Carpet Bombing Culture
 A Scottish scooterist guards his club’s matching airbrushed crash helmets
The Great Skinhead Reunion Brighton June 5-6-7 2020
The Great Skinhead Reunion Brighton June 5-6-7 2020. Hit the picture for tickets

20A Scottish scooterist guards his club’s matching airbrushed crash helmetsCredit: Carpet Bombing Culture

 Scooterboys loved highly tuned street-race scooters such as these DTC-painted Lambretta GPs
Scooterboys loved highly tuned street-race scooters such as these DTC-painted Lambretta GPsCredit: Sticky / Carpet Bombing Culture
 After the 60s Mods came Skinheads, Suedeheads and Smoothies. In the early 70s the customising fashion was the accessorised Lambretta ‘skelly’
After the 60s Mods came Skinheads, Suedeheads and Smoothies. In the early 70s the customising fashion was the accessorised Lambretta ‘skelly’Credit: Sticky / Carpet Bombing Culture
 Steve Maw’s Lambretta chopper ‘Illusion’ at Great Yarmouth in 1985
Steve Maw’s Lambretta chopper ‘Illusion’ at Great Yarmouth in 1985Credit: Stuart Lanning / Carpet Bombing Culture
 Scooterists from Hampshire and Dorset explore Girvan in Scotland
Scooterists from Hampshire and Dorset explore Girvan in ScotlandCredit: Nick Purser / Carpet Bombing Culture
 Vespa cutdown ‘Little Rascal’ pictured at Morecambe
Vespa cutdown ‘Little Rascal’ pictured at MorecambeCredit: Piggsy / Carpet Bombing Culture
 Scooterists at the end of the Isle of Wight ride-out in 2012 respond to DJ Tony Class
Scooterists at the end of the Isle of Wight ride-out in 2012 respond to DJ Tony ClassCredit: Sticky / Carpet Bombing Culture
 Classic early-80s Scooterboy style in Brighton
Classic early-80s Scooterboy style in BrightonCredit: Mike Lovell / Carpet Bombing Culture

Symond And Nev Wycombe Skinheads 1981. Photo Credit Gavin Watson
 When Scooterboys built radical projects it often meant use of an angle grinder and welder
When Scooterboys built radical projects it often meant use of an angle grinder and welderCredit: Carpet Bombing Culture
 Custom Lambretta named after the Jam record as Funeral Pyre
Custom Lambretta named after the Jam record as Funeral PyreCredit: Nick Purser / Carpet Bombing Culture
 Getting stopped by the police was an occupational hazzard
Getting stopped by the police was an occupational hazzardCredit: John Stevenson / Carpet Bombing Culture
 The Alcoholic Rats all-girl scooter club at Great Yarmouth
The Alcoholic Rats all-girl scooter club at Great YarmouthCredit: Jo Jackson / Carpet Bombing Culture
 The book's cover, depicting a police check of riders attending Redcar National rally in 1985
The book’s cover, depicting a police check of riders attending Redcar National rally in 1985Credit: Carpet Bombing CultureIf you have photos and stories to tell or want to add to this, we would love to hear from you and add them to the site. Please email subcultz@gmail.com
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Camden Skinhead

Hello. I want to share with you my recollections and memories of the skinhead scene that I have always been a part of. At the moment I am recovering from falling off some scaffolding, so this has given me time to get to grips with modern technology and given me a chance to reflect for the first time on the subject of Skinhead culture and share with you some of the stories and memories of the past from like minded people which has been prompted by hearing the interview with Symond Lawes on the Brighton skinhead reunion recorded some time ago.
I will start by telling you about myself. I’m a 50 year old skinhead and bricklayer now living in Wendover, Bucks. I grew up around the Camden Town/Somers Town area of London.
When I was a kid, kicking a ball around at night, my mum always said: ‘Be home before the Mods come out!’

This was around 1969, she was referring to the lads, who would have been Mods, who had inherited the same patches outside the local pubs that their elder brothers hung around some years earlier.My parents still called them Mods, and I always thought of Mods as being the the elder statement of skinheads. These were previously the 7/6d’s, that have now come of age. We knew which families they came from, and who they were, and our families knew their families and so on. There were some real tough families in the area at that time. By this time the groups that my parents remembered were growing up, getting married, they were joining the Army and working for Her majesty ( GPO) or staying at one of her Hostels. (HMP Pentonville was near my home)The GPO tower was looming over us, like a calling card, it was a respectable career to aspire to and a lot of us did end up going to Mount Pleasant GPO, after being kicked out of school.
But a further aspiration, was to join the local gang. I was way to young for this at the time but I would look out of my bedroom window, with envy watching this group, evolve from 1968 onwards. I will never forget the sound of the the light buzzing of scooters as the gang rode their inheritance from their older brothers. They were a group of lads who had this tough but smart look about them, They wore mostly denim jackets, with Crombies ¾ length coats, boots and braces. The gals didn’t have the skinhead feathered hair cuts, like they did later. Some of them looked a bit like the Toyah Wilcox character in Quadrophenia. Most of the girls had Crombies but looked feminine but they still looked like Sixties Mod girls, with kilt type minis, they wore their hair in a shoulder length style that hinted at skinhead look. It was a bit like a flat mullet, with a fringe, that looked like it had been cut around a saucer template.
You always looked out for “Names” on the skinhead scene. “Names” who were hard enough to have been kicked out of the local boxing gyms. The word got out amongst the scene. They were always tough Jamaican offspring kids, and they were ALWAYS part of the group. These kids where always in the mix, as some of the top boys, but in many ways smarter. “wiv the threads” a right proper mixed bunch who always fought and hung around together, Skinheads or mods, peanuts, however they were, they were the was the only group you would ever see with blacks kids.

In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson’s Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Somers Town like this:

SOMERS-TOWN, a chapelry and a sub-district in St. Pancras parish and district, Middlesex. The chapelry is a compact portion of the metropolis; lies between New Road, the Regent’s canal, and the Great Western railway, 2 miles NW of St. Paul’s; occupies ground which was mainly unedificed so late as 1780; and has a post-office‡ under London NW, and an S.-Police station. Pop., about 14,500. The living is a p. curacy in the diocese of London. Value, £300. Patron, the Vicar of St. Pancras. The church was built after designs by Inwood, at a cost of £14,291.—The sub-district extends beyond the chapelry, and comprises 184 acres. Pop. in 1851, 35,641; in 1861, 39,099. Houses, 3,907.

Some of the lads dressed smarter then the others, the way they dressed reminded me of the slick character in the 70’s TV show “Please Sir” some of the black lads had the Tennis Fred Perry shirts, and braces with “Peyton Place jackets. My mum wanted to see me dress like that, as she fancied the film actor Ryan O’ Neil.
She seem eager to see me in one of those outfits, more then any other form of attire. Later on most of the Jamaican kids were smartly dressed in tonics and loafers especially on music nights and at that time they had the same inner London accents as most of them had come over in the 1950’s when they was babies and a few of the younger lads was born in the UCH the same as me.
On youth club nights I would hear the sound of the club in the Cumberland Market down in NW1. This was mixed with the turn out of the dads and older lads coming out of the Kings Head opposite my house. At the time I didn’t know what the stuff they were playing was, but it had such a infectious bounce to it, and it echoed all around my room at night. I used to tuck my head under my eiderdown. I felt so spellbound by the rhythms and beats. So much so, that I would wake up with it almost resonating like an exact recording in my head the next morning.

This would stay with me for life. Later on I discovered exactly what it was and that it was the ska/rocksteady music. The ska would be played at the early part of the night just as it was getting dark, and the sound would be taken down a level later in the evening with the Rocksteady beat. At the time I was too young to get involved and my nearest encounter of rubbing shoulders with this crowd, was seeing these older kids break away from the group and go on the march to Highbury, on Saturdays. The older lot headed for the boozers and then the North Bank, while we went to the West Stand with my dad,and my mates who all had older brothers in the ranks so with that and the fact that there parents knew mine and who’s boy I was!
As I got older, I would go around me mates gaffs, a lot of their elders had left home to start families. It was almost the unwritten law at that time, that the elder brothers room should remain untouched, and that included record collections. For me, at the time that was heaven. I understood that ska was the main stay amongst Skinhead record collections, although a lot of skinheads at the time, did listen to other stuff apart from reggae there was a popular local band called “The Action” that locals still followed also nearly everyone of them had “Who” and “Small Faces” poster or disc, and also would you believe: “A Kind Of Blue” by Miles Davis. which his brother always called his “Shagging music.”

I thought it was a kind of dance at the time and I remember being glad to see those records and posters as it kind of blessed what I thought was a guilty secret of mine, my love of “The Who.” In a way it wasn’t that strange, as we all gravitate to a kind of group or music that attracts us and that was the whole Mod ancestry! It wasn’t quite the mainstream but it was heavy enough to be called Geezers music but it never crossed over to hippiedom which I always thought of as being “THEM” the group you never want to be with. I inherited a hatred of them, not so much the music coz there was a lot of “Blues” which I always loved, and that’s when I started to get more knowledgeable about this kind of music, as I knew that it was the root of ska, a Jamaican take on the blues that they had heard from the Southern states. So this also gave it a blessing to like “The Blues” as well.

My dislike for hippies came from the fact that they all seem to talk posh and they always seemed to be moaning in middle class accents and I despised those military wing greasers.The music consisted of “geezer rock” or white English men who played “Soul” and “Blues” that came out of “Rock” getting it slightly wrong. This was a style that developed by mistake. This clashing together of styles seem to repeat itself later on with Punk which I embraced quickly as soon as I was old enough to welcome it all but I had always being a Skinhead or Suede head since the time I tried to dress like guys from 1968 and 1969.

I have never been anything else as my age stopped me being a Mod. Then Punk came along and there was no way I was going to wear flares and attend concerts with the hairy ones on ice at Wembley!!! I’m pleased to say, that I have lived my life as a skinhead, and never succumbed to wearing flares no matter how out of step I was with the early to mid 70s.
I would also like to touch on something that Skinhead/Suede head discussions seem to overlook, This is when I started to hang around music venues the remainder of Skinheads from early days to the early mid 70s suede heads, were influenced by “Glam Rock” although it was from the less feminine side such as Mott the Hoople and Steve Harley. There seem to be the pre- punk, side which was full of the skinhead types, and that was “Pub Rock”. There were so many of us in our group, we would make our way up to Tally Ho boozer in the north end Kentish town, to see the bands that played there, that included all of us and those who were old enough to get in “legit”.

We were all part of the old gang of would be skins. This time more of them were wearing DMs, and crombies, with either a No2 or slightly grown out suede head haircuts. This was still the family “Skin” very much so, and this was the heavier aggressive sound that was for working class inner Londoners, or any other cities youth. We could relate to it.. it was our Generations “The Who.” I sounded out all of these bands, pre-punk even trying to get down to that London in Essex hotspot which was Southend. I thought Dr Feelgood were fucking magic. My mates started to hunt through those record collections to find stuff like it and in hindsight we enjoyed Kersal Flyers Brinsly Shultz etc….. I loved all that stuff. By then of course we’d turn up trying to get in to gigs (I was still too young by the way) to any gigs that we thought was of that ilk, but once we got to them and heard them there was something more unhinged about some of those bands: “London SS” and the “101ers” need I say more that was my introduction into punk and then for a year or two I indulged my self into it.
I met up with mates all over London, that I knew from Boxing Gyms by way of boxing, regular trips down to the Bridgehouse, when it was in Barking Road also it was only a short walk down to the “Roxy” it was close to us and we used to just to hang out there. We Heard that “Dee Generate” out of “Eater”, was our age so we thought: “Let’s ave some of that.!” Some of the punks were a bit creepy, and a bit too arty, for my liking, but I went with it. There was some crumpet, but the girls were all weird wiv suspenders and stuff, and their knockers were sticking out of bin liners!
This was great for a kid my age, especially the at the “Roxy” the mighty Menace at “The grope and wank her” (Hope and Anchor yes we used to think it was funny!!!!!!) We would chat to Charlie Harper at the George Roby,there was this lesbian down the west end. We used to go and hang around with her with an added idea I was gonna cop an eyeful, but that turned out to be the only place a lot of bands were able to play, thanks to the then Tory run GLC so although I did do a lot of growing up in experiencing ways of female flesh. It wasn’t the lesbo orgy I was expecting.
I will like to add, that at times we could feel a change happening, felt a ruck coming on, there were more swastikas, appearing with some of the punks. My jeans were scruffier but I still wore my black “Peyton Place” jacket and me Fred Perry tennis shirt we used to call em, not polos, they was well cheap then down Petticoat lane or Roman road. I always wore me DMs, and my hair was a bit above No2, I was a punk, but I always stayed a skinhead,too so the Swastika was a symbol that we despised. We grew up with parents and grandparents that had experienced it.

Half the streets were still corrugated fenced up, from Bomb sites, back in the days of me observing original skins I used to read read battle picture library and War picture library, those booklets, you know the kind of thing I mean. I used to have dreams of single handedly wiping out Nazis. I used to go to bed thinking that there was an army of rapist, Nazis hippies and coppers, and Narkie Grasses. and how I can dispose if them.It also was a symbol of The Grease, another reason why we hated them, because of their treachery of wearing what Nazis wore. although we hated “The Filth” and any establishment figure,, we were still working class British people and we was not that rebellious. So I resisted wearing that stuff but we was always up for a ruck people tend to think or want to believe it was the far left that was bovver boys when it was the opposite. I hate politics in music or subcults ,that’s why I don’t hold wiv no S H A R P stuff, but I will say this, we never saw a Tory never mind supported them.

Everyone came from Labour voting working class families,, so we knew what we wasn’t, but never dwelt on what we were or what we were going to be. I hated politics and what’s great about being a skinhead then and at now my age is that it’s like being in stir “You don’t ask questions.” The nonces will be found out and dealt with at some point, and a skinhead gathering is the same for anyone on both sides. Both far extremes will feel marginalised eventually and this it started out as a youth sub culture, and we have taken it with us. It’s what you feel, being a skinhead is all about, and it is what brings us together. As it’s the furthest thing away from being a 14 to 15 year old Mod. Skinhead, Rude Boy in the 1960s, suede head 1970s is politics. Thats what your mum and dad talk about, and as I still haven’t grown up nor do I want to I am a old but proud pathetic old git, and I won’t never change!
Going back to attitude. Well, We did speak in a way that isn’t talked now, but even your hard line trade union lefty activist would be slaughtered by the speak Gestapo now!!! it was another time, there was paki – bashing by gangs of mixed black and white youths especially after the arrival of Ugandan Asians not because of colour but because they were new and strange and our ignorance wasnt enlightened by the lack of integration and not willing to embrace, the culture,, unlike the Irish around our way which was a massive wave of families and for young people the West Indians shared there fashion and music it was ignorance and for us, the it was an overwhelmingly important pastime of fighting. This could be amongst any inner city youth Asians were just another group to ruck with, nothing more or less, as far we were concerned! As a group, privately who knows or cares what your views was away from the the lads was,, there was and there wasnt, least among us anyway and especially skinheads who were the hardest lot of the roughest manors, but I am sure Teds, Rockers, fuck even some working class hippies that went along for the trip as it were spoke like that,or picked on someone or something they didn’t understand that they felt weary of amongst not just kids but everyone at that time.

Most skinheads got a bashing from other skinheads most people amongst us was working class, and most of them were skinheads, or related to skinheads. I recall skinhead battles tales amongst the groups , and later on, about area gangs, they didn’t think in terms of London boroughs, just London areas and it was all very Territorial, for example there was Somers town, were I was, Kentish town, Upper Holloway Archway,Clarkenwell ,Shorditch/Hoxton/ Dalton, Queens Crescent, Camden town, then going eastwards there was Stoke Newington, Clapton and then the East End, Bethnal Green, Mile end , Wapping, Stepney, go further east and you get Canning Town, or West Hammersmith, Chelsea Fulham and Shepherds Bush.

Or you might know guys from these areas from work in the centre or boxing club circuit, or gigs, and you would talk and have a laugh but if you were meeting for a ruck then you be knocking shit out of each other if they were representing the area, and further to that, you might have a West Ham or Chelsea supporter in your local gang who would fight with you if you were called out by another manors lot but as they were mostly Arsenal around our way any friendship went at for that fixture. same goes for an Arsenal supporter from Fulham he’d be rucking his mates at football and come Saturday you looked at the scarf not the person that’s what how mad it was I have been told about it from older skinheads that I used to admire when I was looking at them from my bedroom window, fuck some of these guys are in there 70s now.

It was slightly different when I turned the age to shag and ruck but not that far off, but you get me gist !!! so I think Asians at the time got more of ribbing then a hiding it was other groups but most people would unite if they saw greasers setting on a skinhead or what you deemed as one of your ownAs for the Hambourgh tavern I’ve got my own views on that I was there although not for long we couldn’t get to it, but I remember feeling so fucking angry, to see skins that look like they were on the side of the the filth again it was whipped up by both right and left, press and lay politicians and more so the music press who hated the thought of working class council kids being a force, I don’t blame the Asians, they were young fuel filled lads protecting their area or what was force fed to them,they were young like us and was up for a ruck, like any group of whipped up teenage lads, we wanted to go down here or there and make some working class noise and have a few pints. I’m not a conspiracy weirdo, but there was so many reasons why the fucked up middle class left, the fucked up Nazi right wing plus the broadcast media and music press caused that, as the latter didn’t like something that was based around youth led pastime angst and they didn’t like something that they didn’t make or break because it was real and not manufactured, it was something that we could enjoy and dictate what happened with it. It served our purpose, it gave birth to the boneheads that have soiled a working class culture and ruined the fledgling stages of young rock n roll bands,And took away a good deal of their income at a time when they should of been making it good. We could enjoy a good few years of live working class punk rock, seeing as it was taken away from its own manufacturers and given to people who could enjoy it it started going down hill after the Clash signed to CBS it was salvaged and put to good use but the press wanted it dead. These days we can relax with it as our first love and enjoy the Ska and rocksteady that we adopted, and still love, through our own choice as Middle Aged skinheads, that the music press didn’t intend us to love and there’s fuck all they can do about it!!! I’ve got through a whole pack of 20 smokes, in the time it’s taken to do this, didn’t realise the time, that’s more then i get through in three days, but I have enjoyed sharing this with you all…. as you can tell I can go on for ever about this…

Those days were right proper heady,, faces were on stage,in bands that you knew from  seeing them around the chippy/ newsagent in tobert street,,or the youth club, and you know faces from school ,, punk , Arsenal ,especially (Arsenal/Highbury grove ) school , most of the locals around our way went to William Collins ,, I was expelled from secondary schools,, St George’s in St. John’s wood, Highbury grove, ect , only two weeks at William Collins,
I was used to seeing loads of local faces being on telly,, in bands, you took it for granted,(Pauline’s people then Grange Hill)  70s corona drink ads,ect ,, i stopped noticing,,
people from Anna Scher and all that!!! and so on,,but I know who your talking about now ,Low Numbers, they were in the Dublin castle,,i recall ,seen em with Madness,( or invaders, cant remember what stage they were at, the time) loads of us started bands, we loosely played,,,,but nothing proper,,, some bands went further then others,,we were called THE St Pancres Chronical   after the local Rag, but we were shit,,, I played guitar but every time I picked i it up , I just ended up playing Blues,,,bending notes,,,and sounding to much like Heavy Rock?,, I was fine with it, but it pissed the rest off,,,so we decided to stick to being in the crowd watching/ listening,
,,coz I knew people from other  schools in other manors , we kind of broke away from Cumberland market faces , except for four mates in  Robert st,,,and The Crown Flats,local people became  just another face  ,,you recognised ,and the families they came from,,, and who your dad and grandad drank with,
,There was a local crooner  type who  went of to the Army,,, geezer called Gary Driscoll,, he was the first local I knew off, that was dragged up there!! To get noted,,
,my ole man used to be mates with the landlord,of the Dublin castle ,then a Irish fella called Barney Finley,,I was. Mates with his boy Raymond,, they passed it on to the present family,,in the late 60s ,we used to run about in there  after lock up,  two o clock on Sunday afternoons, coz we’d often go to  av sunday dinner with them!!so it was only right I would later make that me local,, so  i witnessed the start of all that too,,was lucky Spose living between West End and Camden Town,
,,I was able to get into clubs in soho,,in the late 70s coz me dad knew all the faces and names ,Jimmy  and Rusty Humphreys  ect,, that’s why I was able to hang about  the latest clubs, being younger,me dad ran an electrical repair /retail shop ,,in Berwick street,called Friel and Francis ,with me uncle Bob (pic,on the front of oasis album), would you believe,, the first parking metre in Westminster was unveiled outside the shop,and  a young spiv that hung about in and out was Alan Suger came down  parked his van with hilivery   A .M .S .TRADING,,marked on the side,coz he knew the press would be snapping, me dad used to sell his car Ariels,(cute ,, got to love that)  anyway they  used to rig up the sound in Ronnie Scott’s,
I used to bunk of whatever school I was in ,to work on Berwick street market,,,
,we used  wheel the sack barras to pick up the veg  and stuff from around what was to become the Roxy before the fruit and veg moved across the river,, John Holt used to have something to do with it ,  I remember , it was converted  from that,,,so that’s why I familiar  to it to hang around there,,later,,, coz I was a cocky little shit, and coz Eaters drummer was from the sticks and was our age , we dint want him to out do us ,to be part of it all.. ,  i knew Id be looked after,,by someone that would be to hand,,if it got to heavy we could UP any older punk that snarled at our presence,,when they did, we was quick to take of our young punk head , and say “we ain’t fucking punks were skinheads”,,,you tossers,,, although we were at the time,,, lot of the older punks were from the sticks,, so when we got snarled at ,, we’d give it  our “( we’re from here,you ain’t  and you don’t know what’s around the corner on the way out ,)
,,the other local connection was my grandads drinking buddy ,who liked drinking with riff raff,was Constance Lambert, he used to live up Park Village East and come down to The Victory ,in Albany St ,he used to drink like a gooden apparently , corse he pegged it before I or the The Who was born,so he dint see his sons  success ,!

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Scooter Squabble

Scooter Squabble

Despite its reputation as Hog heaven, the birthplace of Easy Rider and the whole Hells Angels bike club thing America has always had quite a healthy scooter scene. Believe it or not Harley Davidson even produced their own range of scooters in the 1960s.

Here we zip back to around 1960 and join the San Francisco based Pioneer Scooter Club on what is described as a Motor Scooter Squabble. To our eyes it looks just like a Sunday ride out so maybe our American readers can put us straight as to whether the word squabble is commonly used
to describe a gathering. Interestingly enough when researching this we found that squabble is the collective noun for a gang of midgets. You live and learn!

So take a look back at some lovely Vespas, Lambrettas and slightly more exotic brands that found their way across the Atlantic back in the late 1950s. Now what would the collective noun for a bunch of scooter riders be?

scooter san fransisco
scooters, san fransisco
scooters, golden gate bridge, 1960's
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Bootboys Chile

Well Bootboys began in April after finishing with my previous band (the bandio). I searched everywhere a guitarist until I found Chuleta members of a psychobilly band. He supported my project to make oi! British,we started writing songs with electronic drums because in my city is very difficult to find a good drummer .Then  a friend joined us, helping in the chorus  and keeps us in the band supporting at all times. After we made our first demo called “my beers, my fights” in a small study because in my city is very high the cost of a professional recording studio. After a while we recorded our first video clip, there were many problems  recording the video: infighting at the time, By the way we do feel proud to be the first skinhead  band in Chile recording a video clip (“beers everywhere”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Yf0qggsTUI). After that we played in our city and then in the capital of my country. Until that moment  the guitar and bass was recording by Chuletabut finally  we found a bassist from another city called Karlos, and today we are joined by a drummer named Bryan who is from the capital.. Now we have  the second demo called “kings of the streets” and soon will record our second video “skinhead rock” and new Bootboys’s proyects.greetings from chile!

buenos bootboys comienza en el mes de abril despues de aver terminado con mi reciente banda (the bandio)busco a un guitarrista por todos lados hasta que encuentro a chuleta ex intregrante de una banda psychobilly que apoya mi proyecto de realizar oi! britanico empezamos a crear temas con bateria electronica.porque en mi ciudad muy dificil de encontrar un baterista decente, en los ensayos llega un amigo nuestro que nos ayuda en los coros y se queda con nostros en la banda apoyando  en todo momento,  despues realizamos nuestro  primer demo llamado” mis cervezas ,mis peleas” donde  el chuleta graba guitarra y bajo en un estudio pequeño porque en mi ciudad es muy alto el costo de un  estudio de grabacion profesional.despues de un tiempo grabamos nuestro primer video clip donde hubo muchos problemas al grabar el video por peleas internas en el momento ,nose sentimos orgullos en  ser la primera banda skinhead  de chile en grabar un video clip(cervezas por todas partes)despues de eso logramos tocar en nuestra ciudad y en la capital de mi pais ,y se nos une una bajista de otra ciudad llamado karlos ,con el realizamos el segundo demo llamado “reyes de las calles” y hoy en dia  se nos une un baterista llamado bryan que es de santiago y pronto grabaremos nuestro segundo video “rock skinhead” y nuevos proyectos con bootboys.saludos desde chile!

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Great Skinhead Reunion Brighton Information

BUY TICKETS

Great Skinhead Reunion Brighton 2022 Line up

Line up so far 9-10-11-12 June 2022

Established in 2011 The Great Skinhead Reunion Brighton was designed to bring Skinhead back home to where it was born in the 1960´s When the Mods and Rockers came to Brighton and hit the headlines, establishing their own youth culture. From those early Mods came the Skinheads, who embraced the new music coming in from Jamaica known as Ska. The Jamaican immigrants to the UK mixing with British working class kids with style and attitude, to form a new youth culture.

The Great Skinhead Reunion poster

The second wave of Skinhead began to build in the mid 70´s with the birth of Punk Rock in 76, this time musically the Skinheads adopting the Punk rock sound and aggro of the football terraces, Working class bands forming and putting out their own angry antisocial messages in music, frightening the media into a frenzy of misinformation, who promoted the image of hyper violent bootboys and girls on the loose. This was a time of major political unrest in the UK and extremist groups tried to recruit within working class culture, often targeting Skinheads and football supporters, in the hope of win one, win them all pack mentality.

By 79 The skinheads were on the fightback and in London with bands like Madness and Badmanners, linked with British Midlands such as Coventry bands The Specials. The Selector and The Beat and created the 2tone label, which firmly mixed black and white youth together against this media onslaught.

In 1981 came the next wave. Oi! music was unleashed by Sounds magazine, bringing back the angry streetpunk energy and protest into the Skinhead subculture, once again giving the media and movie makers something to chew on.

Over the years the pendulum swung back and forth, but against all the odds Skinhead in its genuine form found its way across the world, connecting the Working class of Britain with mainland Europe, during the cold war even into communist Eastern block, then across to USA, South America, and in modern times, Indonesia to pretty much every westernised nation.

At the Great Skinhead Reunion Brighton you will find the most genuine, real and very friendly welcoming event in Skinhead history. Real people who have lived the life, mixing with new faces just coming in. We actively search for new acts to showcase and tour. We reunite old bands and give them a stage to play, we encourage scene DJ´s from across the worldwide scene, to play and network. Together all of us taking the scene forward, learning from previous mistakes, without selling out our principals of a true Working class subculture. The reunion invites everyone to attend, be you a skinhead or just someone wanting to be part of the event, interested and wanting a great fun weekend. We also actively support charities every year.

United We Stand!

TICKETS

FULL 3 DAYS EVENT, YOUR WRISTBAND IS VALID THROUGH OUT, YOU CAN USE IT FOR AS LITTLE, OR AS MUCH AS YOU WANT. THE EVENT WILL SELL OUT.

WRISTBANDS GIVE YOU FULL ACCESS TO ALL THE EVENT, THREE FULL DAYS AND NIGHTS OF ENTERTAINMENT, 12 BANDS, 10 DJ’S PLUS A  SPECIAL PRE PARTY  BEACH BBQ ON THURSDAY PRE PARTY

The line-up maybe subject to change, as so many band members and dj’s are involved, alcohol, world wars and famine can be unforeseen, but the Great Skinhead Reunion, is more about coming to Brighton to see all your friends and making some more, for 3 full days of mayhem.

SKINHEAD ONLY HOTELS .

Add to your experience, by getting a room in our Skinhead only hotels. Conveniently located, with a short walk to the venue, and no moaning neighbours to worry about. The rooms vary in size and cost, to fit your needs. all within an easy walk to the skinhead reunion venue. We have hotels exclusive to the Great Skinhead Reunion guests and bands.  Party party !! please email subcultz@gmail.com with your requirements, to be booked into the Skinhead Hotels

For those on a low budget, its worth checking Hostels and campsites, but my advice, is to get in the reserved hotels, for a nice stress free, clean and comfortable holiday in Brighton.

TRAVEL INFORMATION

Brighton is situated on the south coast of England, approximately one hour from London. London Gatwick is the nearest airport. There are regular direct trains and National Express buses. The next nearest is Heathrow, We Strongly advise NOT to fly to Stansted or Luton as this is a long way and expensive UK public transport, but if you have no choice then use National Express buses from those airports, which you need to book in advance to get cheaper rates, and you risk losing valuable drinking time

The nearest ferry port serving mainland Europe is Newhaven -Dieppe . Newhaven is about 20 min drive to Brighton. Dover is about 2 hours to Brighton

PARKING ZONES – one of the worst aspects of Brighton, is a lack of affordable parking. my advice is to use street parking on the suburbs of Brighton, its a reasonably safe place. a good bus service will take you into brighton centre (churchill square) and a short walk from there to the sea front. worth allowing the extra hours work, to save yourself serious parking charges. Wilson Avenue is about the nearest free street parking to the venue, jump on a local bus back into town.

All Event Enquiries email Symond at subcultz@gmail.com. phone (uk) 07733096571

The Facebook community group Facebook group

Facebook page

Brighton can lay claim to being a big part of the birth of Skinheads. During the Mods and Rockers battles of the 1960’s when London lads would descend on the South Coast for bank holidays to Peacock and cause ‘Bovver’ the term Skinhead was born, to describe the short haired Mods.

Becoming probably the biggest and longest standing of all the youth fashion subcultures, Skinhead has matured and now become a worldwide community. Distinctly recognized by almost military shaven head, boots and braces. The real skinhead is a working class product of the British council estate ‘salt of the earth character’ fiercely proud of his identity,with an obsession for clothing, style and music, equaled only with his love of beer.

On the first weekend of every June, since 2011, Brighton has seen an ever increasing number of Skinheads and their lovely Skinhead Girls invade Brighton. Boots, Braces, pristine clothing and a cheeky smile. Attracting scene members from right across the globe, to Madeira Drive, overlooking the beach. A full three days of Skinhead related entertainment is laid on. DJ’s playing hyper rare vinyl, from the early days of Jamaican Ska, through to modern day Street Punk and Oi. Live bands hit the stage of the Volks bar each night. With various aftershows happening until the early hours, to keep the party buzzing.

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Mods Of Your Generation Interview – The Electric Stars – “Beautiful Music For Beautiful People”

Mods Of Your Generation Interview – The Electric Stars – “Beautiful Music For Beautiful People” MODS OF YOUR GENERATION·SUNDAY, 1 SEPTEMBER 2019What can say about The Electric Stars that hasn’t already been said?Formed in 2011 the band have featured in countless magazines and had many glowing reviews, with their album “Sonic Candy Soul” making the Top 12 of 2012 best albums in ‘Scootering Magazine’ alongside the likes of Paul Weller. Recently front man Jason Edge featured in the September 2019 issue of Scootering with an incredible two pager. They have the incredible ability of taking inspiration from all the best music from any era and blending it together to create original, new modern music. Their Psychedelic Rock n Roll sound and their upbeat soulful vocals sets them aside from others. They have one mission and that is to make “Beautiful Music For Beautiful People” and that is exactly what they do. Personally i would like to thank them for providing an alternative. I believe “music is the soundtrack to our lives” If you agree then you need the Electric stars in yours. To find out more about the band continue reading below

 The band formed in 2011 how did it all happen? We formed while we were in the studio recording Sonic Candy Soul. The Album was already written & as myself, Keef & Andy went in to record we didn’t have a drummer. We used a guy who was hanging around with us & began laying down the tracks. The whole concept began to fall into place, the sound, the look, the vibe and the name, while we were recording. As soon as we finished it, that’s when we found our drummer, Johnny. 

 You signed to Detour Records in February 2012 and released a single in March. Then released your debut album ‘Sonic Candy Soul‘ in September. What was the reaction to the single and album? Once we had the Masters of the Album we started to look for the right label. Dizzy at Detour has always been great with us. He has great History on the Scene and is a Fab guy! The first single came out & got a brilliant response. In fact you can’t get a copy of that anymore! When the Album came out, I think we were happy with it, well most of us were ha ha, but you never know how the public will like it. But the response we have had since day 1 for the Album has been fantastic. Wherever we go around the UK now people have it, play it and talk about it. It’s a great feeling to know that people dig our songs.

THE ELECTRIC STARS Blind Album Sonic Candy Soul How did you come up with the name of the band – ‘The Electric Stars’? The name.. A lot of people ask about it! When we were in the studio everything was kind of in a melting pot. The image of the band is very important. We are very influenced by the late 60’s early 70’s sounds. So it is natural we dress that way. Lots of colour, vibrant imagery, psychedelic patters ya know. The name is suggestive. Like our music & vibe The Electric Stars suggests something! I’m not a fan of dull music & dull clothes. I like my Rock n Roll Stars to look Godlike! Local pub bands might dress in jeans & t shirt. The Electric Stars dress to kill. 

 The album was featured as one of the Top 12 albums of 2012 in ‘Scootering Magazine’ alongside Paul Weller. That must have been amazing, Tell me bout it? One of the 1st reviews we got for Sonic was in Scootering and it was Ace. We were a bit shocked but blown away with the write up! Then at the end of the year, they do a round up of the best Albums & Sonic Candy Soul is in there alongside Paul Weller… Totally Cosmic! In fact now you’ve reminded me about that, It’s brought back the way we felt & it was very humble. To get a review like that makes you appreciate every bit of support from everyone! 

In 2014 the band recorded their own version of Belfast Boy, A song first released in 1970 by Don Fardon. Tell me about the reasoning behind releasing the track and how the idea developed? Belfast boy came about from a chance meeting I had with Eamon Holmes. He is a massive George Best fan like me. We got chatting about music and fashion. He is a big fan of The Electric Stars. He reminded me of the Don Fardon song and said that he didn’t think that anyone had ever recorded it since. We got in touch with the GB Foundation and the MUFC Foundation, both said they were behind the idea! Then we got a load of Players & Celebs to write about Georgie in the sleeve notes. It was a bit of an ambitious release but it got to Number 15 in the BBC Indie Charts.. Nice! The most pleasing thing for me is the B side. I wrote The Brightest Star about one of my Heroes and to have his sister say it is one of the best things ever recorded about George means more than the chart placing.

Belfast Boy – The Electric Stars | George Best Charity Single  ‘We Love You’ released in 2018 & ‘Sunshine’ released in 2017 are two of my favourite tracks. Which songs do you like performing live from your incredible repertoire? We Love You and Sunshine are both on the new Album – Velvet Elvis, The Only Lover Left Alive! To be honest I like all our tunes, we don’t let any bum songs get through quality control ha! Picking favourites is tough because they all mean so much to me. 136 is special.. It was written over in Florida & I really wanted to get the message across about this new band.. What we were.. Where we had come from.. What the message was going to be! Music for me is not just going through the motions. I can’t stand what is happening to music in 2019. Beautiful Music for Beautiful People is what we try to do. That lyric sums up The Electric Stars. We are trying to keep the flame burning and that’s important! 

The Electric Stars – Sunshine ☀️ You headlined the ‘100 club’ which had an incredible response. Tell me about the night and what is was like performing at such an iconic musical venue? The 100 Club is a wonderful venue. Probably one of the most Iconic in the world! Most of my Heroes have played there and to go on last to a sold-out crowd was off the scale! All the bands on the night were Fab. Turner, Darron J Connett, The Sha La La’s all played out of their skin. It was a bit of an experience for sure. I hope we get to play there again as it’s a special stage to be on.On the back of the gig we got loads of press & our good friends at Scootering gave us a Fab double page spread. The support they have given us since day 1 has been Brilliant. 

The Electric Stars – 100 Club – 2016The new single has been released ‘The only lover left alive’ where can we buy or download the album? The new album should have been out so long ago. Just down to laziness on the bands part I guess! The Only Lover Left Alive, Sunshine, We Love You & Loaded With Regrets are all on the new Album. Its gonna have a more stripped back feel to it.. More acoustic & less polished I think. More like the live Stars & less produced.

The Only Lover Left Alive – The Electric StarsDescribe the bands musical style and would you compare it to another? Mmmmm, well we are not ashamed of our influences. Retro, yes for sure, but with our own songwriting style! You can hear plenty of Who, Stones, Kinks, Faces for sure. But you can also hear Bowie, Bolan, Beatles & Floyd. I love American music, so Hendrix, Velvets, Doors & Love. Mix it all up with Blues & Grooves.. What do you get? Beautiful Music for Beautiful People! 

Who are your musical influences as individuals or as a band from any era past or present? The Record Collection is huge man. But if you’re going to push me.. The Rolling Stones! I will gladly fight anyone in the car park who tries to tell me they are not the Greatest Rock n Roll Band in the world. There is a little bit of Stones in everyone & there is a little bit of everything in the Stones. 

 The Electric Stars are a Manchester based band, the city has an incredible history of producing many great artist and bands. Did this inspire you to get into music and to take up playing your instruments? Manchester is a wonderful city. We are great at most things. But, when it comes to Music, we are quite Spectacular! It’s a working class city that is big enough to challenge London and small enough to create its own culture and swagger. Being in a band in Manchester is something we just did! The Hollies, 10cc, Buzzcocks, Joy Division, Mondays, Roses, Oasis.. Not bad is it for a bunch of Mancs ha ha!  

 British actor & musician Gary Shail is a huge fan of the band and asked you to perform at the Quad 40 event on Brighton Pier. What was it like to be asked to perform at such an iconic event celebrating the 40th anniversary of a timeless cult film Quadrophenia? We met Gary a long time ago at a gig. He loves live music and used to be in a band before he was an Actor. He liked our sound and we became friends. Last year he called me up and said “Jay, I’ve got an idea & I want the Stars to be part of it”. What an idea it turned out to be! Quad 40 was absolutely Fantastic! To be asked to be part of the Anniversary of one of the most Iconic British Films ever made.. WOW It really was a Brilliant event. Still buzzing from it to be h honest. 

 Do you have anything you would like share with all your supporters? I think if I’m going to finish on something it’s just to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us. The people who come to the gigs & buy our music. The people who write about us & book us to play all over the UK and Europe. We write our own material and we never take it for granted that people prefer us to cabaret. We want to make a difference & in 2019 that is getting harder than ever! Thanks to you Johnny for giving us the opportunity to tell people about the band & see you all soon!

The Electric Stars – We Love You   Copyright © Johnny Bradley (Mods Of Your Generation) & The Electric Stars, 2019, All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced without the permission of the authors.

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Mods Of Your Generation Interview – The Electric Stars – “Beautiful Music For Beautiful People”

Mods Of Your Generation Interview – The Electric Stars – “Beautiful Music For Beautiful People” MODS OF YOUR GENERATION·SUNDAY, 1 SEPTEMBER 2019What can say about The Electric Stars that hasn’t already been said?Formed in 2011 the band have featured in countless magazines and had many glowing reviews, with their album “Sonic Candy Soul” making the Top 12 of 2012 best albums in ‘Scootering Magazine’ alongside the likes of Paul Weller. Recently front man Jason Edge featured in the September 2019 issue of Scootering with an incredible two pager. They have the incredible ability of taking inspiration from all the best music from any era and blending it together to create original, new modern music. Their Psychedelic Rock n Roll sound and their upbeat soulful vocals sets them aside from others. They have one mission and that is to make “Beautiful Music For Beautiful People” and that is exactly what they do. Personally i would like to thank them for providing an alternative. I believe “music is the soundtrack to our lives” If you agree then you need the Electric stars in yours. To find out more about the band continue reading below

 The band formed in 2011 how did it all happen? We formed while we were in the studio recording Sonic Candy Soul. The Album was already written & as myself, Keef & Andy went in to record we didn’t have a drummer. We used a guy who was hanging around with us & began laying down the tracks. The whole concept began to fall into place, the sound, the look, the vibe and the name, while we were recording. As soon as we finished it, that’s when we found our drummer, Johnny. 

 You signed to Detour Records in February 2012 and released a single in March. Then released your debut album ‘Sonic Candy Soul‘ in September. What was the reaction to the single and album? Once we had the Masters of the Album we started to look for the right label. Dizzy at Detour has always been great with us. He has great History on the Scene and is a Fab guy! The first single came out & got a brilliant response. In fact you can’t get a copy of that anymore! When the Album came out, I think we were happy with it, well most of us were ha ha, but you never know how the public will like it. But the response we have had since day 1 for the Album has been fantastic. Wherever we go around the UK now people have it, play it and talk about it. It’s a great feeling to know that people dig our songs.

THE ELECTRIC STARS Blind Album Sonic Candy Soul How did you come up with the name of the band – ‘The Electric Stars’? The name.. A lot of people ask about it! When we were in the studio everything was kind of in a melting pot. The image of the band is very important. We are very influenced by the late 60’s early 70’s sounds. So it is natural we dress that way. Lots of colour, vibrant imagery, psychedelic patters ya know. The name is suggestive. Like our music & vibe The Electric Stars suggests something! I’m not a fan of dull music & dull clothes. I like my Rock n Roll Stars to look Godlike! Local pub bands might dress in jeans & t shirt. The Electric Stars dress to kill. 

 The album was featured as one of the Top 12 albums of 2012 in ‘Scootering Magazine’ alongside Paul Weller. That must have been amazing, Tell me bout it? One of the 1st reviews we got for Sonic was in Scootering and it was Ace. We were a bit shocked but blown away with the write up! Then at the end of the year, they do a round up of the best Albums & Sonic Candy Soul is in there alongside Paul Weller… Totally Cosmic! In fact now you’ve reminded me about that, It’s brought back the way we felt & it was very humble. To get a review like that makes you appreciate every bit of support from everyone! 

In 2014 the band recorded their own version of Belfast Boy, A song first released in 1970 by Don Fardon. Tell me about the reasoning behind releasing the track and how the idea developed? Belfast boy came about from a chance meeting I had with Eamon Holmes. He is a massive George Best fan like me. We got chatting about music and fashion. He is a big fan of The Electric Stars. He reminded me of the Don Fardon song and said that he didn’t think that anyone had ever recorded it since. We got in touch with the GB Foundation and the MUFC Foundation, both said they were behind the idea! Then we got a load of Players & Celebs to write about Georgie in the sleeve notes. It was a bit of an ambitious release but it got to Number 15 in the BBC Indie Charts.. Nice! The most pleasing thing for me is the B side. I wrote The Brightest Star about one of my Heroes and to have his sister say it is one of the best things ever recorded about George means more than the chart placing.

Belfast Boy – The Electric Stars | George Best Charity Single  ‘We Love You’ released in 2018 & ‘Sunshine’ released in 2017 are two of my favourite tracks. Which songs do you like performing live from your incredible repertoire? We Love You and Sunshine are both on the new Album – Velvet Elvis, The Only Lover Left Alive! To be honest I like all our tunes, we don’t let any bum songs get through quality control ha! Picking favourites is tough because they all mean so much to me. 136 is special.. It was written over in Florida & I really wanted to get the message across about this new band.. What we were.. Where we had come from.. What the message was going to be! Music for me is not just going through the motions. I can’t stand what is happening to music in 2019. Beautiful Music for Beautiful People is what we try to do. That lyric sums up The Electric Stars. We are trying to keep the flame burning and that’s important! 

The Electric Stars – Sunshine ☀️ You headlined the ‘100 club’ which had an incredible response. Tell me about the night and what is was like performing at such an iconic musical venue? The 100 Club is a wonderful venue. Probably one of the most Iconic in the world! Most of my Heroes have played there and to go on last to a sold-out crowd was off the scale! All the bands on the night were Fab. Turner, Darron J Connett, The Sha La La’s all played out of their skin. It was a bit of an experience for sure. I hope we get to play there again as it’s a special stage to be on.On the back of the gig we got loads of press & our good friends at Scootering gave us a Fab double page spread. The support they have given us since day 1 has been Brilliant. 

The Electric Stars – 100 Club – 2016The new single has been released ‘The only lover left alive’ where can we buy or download the album? The new album should have been out so long ago. Just down to laziness on the bands part I guess! The Only Lover Left Alive, Sunshine, We Love You & Loaded With Regrets are all on the new Album. Its gonna have a more stripped back feel to it.. More acoustic & less polished I think. More like the live Stars & less produced.

The Only Lover Left Alive – The Electric StarsDescribe the bands musical style and would you compare it to another? Mmmmm, well we are not ashamed of our influences. Retro, yes for sure, but with our own songwriting style! You can hear plenty of Who, Stones, Kinks, Faces for sure. But you can also hear Bowie, Bolan, Beatles & Floyd. I love American music, so Hendrix, Velvets, Doors & Love. Mix it all up with Blues & Grooves.. What do you get? Beautiful Music for Beautiful People! 

Who are your musical influences as individuals or as a band from any era past or present? The Record Collection is huge man. But if you’re going to push me.. The Rolling Stones! I will gladly fight anyone in the car park who tries to tell me they are not the Greatest Rock n Roll Band in the world. There is a little bit of Stones in everyone & there is a little bit of everything in the Stones. 

 The Electric Stars are a Manchester based band, the city has an incredible history of producing many great artist and bands. Did this inspire you to get into music and to take up playing your instruments? Manchester is a wonderful city. We are great at most things. But, when it comes to Music, we are quite Spectacular! It’s a working class city that is big enough to challenge London and small enough to create its own culture and swagger. Being in a band in Manchester is something we just did! The Hollies, 10cc, Buzzcocks, Joy Division, Mondays, Roses, Oasis.. Not bad is it for a bunch of Mancs ha ha!  

 British actor & musician Gary Shail is a huge fan of the band and asked you to perform at the Quad 40 event on Brighton Pier. What was it like to be asked to perform at such an iconic event celebrating the 40th anniversary of a timeless cult film Quadrophenia? We met Gary a long time ago at a gig. He loves live music and used to be in a band before he was an Actor. He liked our sound and we became friends. Last year he called me up and said “Jay, I’ve got an idea & I want the Stars to be part of it”. What an idea it turned out to be! Quad 40 was absolutely Fantastic! To be asked to be part of the Anniversary of one of the most Iconic British Films ever made.. WOW It really was a Brilliant event. Still buzzing from it to be h honest. 

 Do you have anything you would like share with all your supporters? I think if I’m going to finish on something it’s just to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us. The people who come to the gigs & buy our music. The people who write about us & book us to play all over the UK and Europe. We write our own material and we never take it for granted that people prefer us to cabaret. We want to make a difference & in 2019 that is getting harder than ever! Thanks to you Johnny for giving us the opportunity to tell people about the band & see you all soon!

The Electric Stars – We Love You   Copyright © Johnny Bradley (Mods Of Your Generation) & The Electric Stars, 2019, All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced without the permission of the authors.

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Mods Of Your Generation Interview – The Touch – They’re back after 40 years with their new album – Lost and Found

Mods Of Your Generation Interview – The Touch – They’re back after 40 years with their new album – Lost and Found MODS OF YOUR GENERATION·TUESDAY, 2 JULY 2019· 

The Touch are back after 40 years with their brand new album ‘Lost and Found’They were a mod revival band in the 70’s recording one album which was confusingly released by their record company under the wrong name. as well as know track titles or any other information about the band.I was kindly given a copy of the NEW album before its release and became instantly hooked to find out more about the previous album and the confusion around the first albums release. There may of been confusion around the previous album however there is no confusing who they are now. Whether your a fan of great music or a new fan of The Touch, whether you just like the Mod revival, or brilliantly written creative and relatable music. I suggest this album needs to be part of your collection.I was so excited about the new and old album that i immediately needed to interview them to find out more. I am also incredibly intrigued to see what they do next.

(1) Where do you find inspiration for your song lyrics & music? The music usually starts with an idea that magically arrives’ in the head, either as a riff, or a melody. It’s rare that one starts out with the idea to create a particular progression, and more often the rest of the music gets built around that one idea. Lyrics are a different matter. They are almost always either autobiographical or about something we’ve observed. For example, we must have been in the depths of teenage misery when we wrote Grey Day and I’m a Stranger as they are certainly based on real events. On the other hand, Walk in the Park, and Stop Stop are social commentaries. (2) How and when was the band formed? An early version of the band (The Flames) came together as a unit around 1976 with Son Jack on lead guitar and vocals, Gerry on rhythm guitar, Charlie on drums and Jim Henebury on bass. When Jim left, for a while we were 2 guitars and drums, weird but it sort of worked. We used to rehearse at Alaska Studios in Waterloo round the corner from the famous Wellington pub where many of the great early mod revival bands used to play. The studio was owned by ex-Vibrators bassist Pat Collier, and it’s thanks to him that we got started properly, but more about that later. 

(3) When & where was your first gig? As The Flames our first gig was the Rochester Castle, Stoke Newington November 3, 1977 opening for the Stukas. We also supported them every other Thursday that month. As The Touch, our debut was at the Nashville on Dec 29, 1979 supporting the Bishops. 

 (4) Has anyone played a major role in your music career? We’d have to say that Alan May, Dizzy Holmes, and Albert Cummings are the three kings for us right now as they are responsible for us being back together. Another big shout out goes to Pat Collier who got us started in the first place. We were a scrappy 3 piece called The Flames rehearsing at his Alaska Studios in London in ’77 when he helped us out playing bass, booking our first gigs, and helping us with promotion. Having him produce this album was brilliant and brought things full circle. (5) Your new album was recently released. What has the reaction been? We’ve been blown away by the comments and overall reaction, really, just staggering. You usually expect a spread of opinions in the feedback and so far it’s been just amazing.

(6) What were the biggest challenges in doing this album? That’s easy. Time. Son Jack lives in the states, Dave is in Devon, and Charlie and Gerry are in London, so trying to find time when we could all be in the same place at the same time was hard. It’s amazing we managed to get together as often as we did, and over a 6 month period Son Jack flew to London 5 times to get this done.The second biggest challenge was re-learning songs that none of us had touched in 40 years. This involved converting lots of old dusty cassettes into MP3’s and hunting through old boxes of lyrics to track down the words and song structures. (7) Where can fans buy or download the old & new albums? Pretty much everywhere! There are a bunch of options:1/ Via Paypal (UK and Europe only and incl s&h) send £13 to g.czerniawski@uel.ac.uk2/ Worldwide CD fulfilment via CDbaby at https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/thetouch43/ For streaming and downloads it’s on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, Google Music, Deezer, Napster, Pandora, Shazam, Tidal, Youtube Music and a bunch of other places. 

 (8) Have you got any future gigs coming up and what’s next for the band? We have just one more gig on the books at the Mod Weekender in Brighton on August 24th. We’re at the Hope and Ruin in Queen Street and are playing a double bill with the Teenbeats. Last time we played together was at Marquee in ’79 I think so this will be a very special gig. We’re also pricing it for the fans at £13 on the night, or £10 in advance at http://bit/ly/TouchTeenbeats.

 (9) What’s the story behind the first album being released under the wrong name? We have theories but would risk getting sued for defamation of character if we shared them J. Let’s put it down to being young, naive, and star-struck at having an album at the age of 18. Twenty/twenty hindsight and all that. 

 (10) Can we look forward to another great third album? Haha! Mate, we’ve just finished this one and that took 40 years! Seriously though, it’s too early to tell but if we think we can do a knockout third album, and there’s demand for more then we’ll definitely consider the idea. (11) After the band disbanded after confusion over release of first album, what did each of the members go on to do musically or other? Son Jack: I didn’t play for over twenty years. It was only after moving to the states that I got the blues bug, and started trying to learn how to play it. I started out playing solo, then duo, then full on 4-piece band and enjoyed a 10 year career playing blues all over the world and recording 4 albums. Best part was getting to meet some amazing people like BB King, and we even got to open for Chuck Berry in the legendary Duck Room in St Louis.Gerry: I spent a few years playing in different bands including the tail end of The Fixations, Bad Karma Beckons, Waving Not Drowning and Mojo Hand. I’ve got a ‘day job’ but the music side of things has never really left my soul so keep my hand in one way or another. 

Charlie: Although I played on the early demo’s included on the Detour release, I had left the band before the first album was recorded so didn’t actually play on it. Instead I went back to education and retook some exams. Played drums for garage band called Bad Karma Beckons with Gerry, they released an album, Mutate and Survive, in 1986. Currently also playing in a couple of active London bands namely The Phobics and The Beatpack.”Dave: After the touch I played in a number of new romantic groups in London including The Marines, and concentrated on learning the keyboards and developing my song writing. In 2000 I spent ten years living in Catalonia and during that time played in a popular dropzone band. 

(12) When did the band decide to get back together and why? We got “re-discovered” through an insane set of unlikely events about 2 years ago. It’s a really long story but in short, Alan May and Dizzy Holmes tracked us down. Alan urged us to consider getting back together, and Dizzy wanted to do an official re-release of the original album on his Paisley Archive label. Alan also put us in touch with London promoter, Albert Cummings, who offered us a gig. So basically, everything was lined up and we had a reason to get back together. Without Alan, Dizzy and Albert I don’t think we would have bothered so we’re incredibly grateful for their support and encouragement. (13) Where would you like to see the band in a few years and what can we expect from you in the future? We’d LIKE to see us being waited on hand and foot on a private Island in the Caribbean but that probably isn’t going to happen. We’re in this for the love of it, not the money so we’re not on the career path that the younger more ambitious acts are. As long as we’re making music together, even if occasionally, that will be a beautiful thing. (14) Do you have a message for fans and a response to the reaction the band has had from the new album? That’s an easy one. THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS! You’ve made a bunch of old geezers feel like teenagers again. 

 (15) How would you describe the bands musical style if you were to compare it to another band? That’s a tough question as our musical style doesn’t easily fit one definition, as it evolved over time. We started out playing rock’n’roll (Gene Vincent, Johnny Kidd, Chuck Berry etc) in Charlie’s basement around 1973, and then when punk rolled around we got into that for a couple of years. Then we did the whole mod revival thing which also blended with Power Pop. So, you’ll hear elements of all those phases in the songs. 

Images from The Touch archives

 Interview conducted by Johnny Bradley for Mods Of Your GenerationInterview (c) Johnny Bradley & Mods Of Your Generation 2019

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Mods Of Your Generation Interview – Irish Jack Lyons – 40th Anniversary Of Quadrophenia

Mods Of Your Generation Interview – Irish Jack Lyons – 40th Anniversary Of Quadrophenia MODS OF YOUR GENERATION·FRIDAY, 28 SEPTEMBER 2018· Mods Of Your Generation conducted an interview with the legendary “Irish” Jack Lyons to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Quadrophenia the film. The man who inspired Pete Townshend to create the film, We would like to thank Jack for his contribution to Quadrophenia and to the Mod scene. Also a massive thankyou for answering some questions for the MOYG Community. To conjunct with the filming in 1978 which is the 40th anniversary of FILMING not film release, Irish Jack started having meetings with Franc Roddam until just after the end of August. Moon died on 7 September while he was taking a week’s break back in Cork, He flew back the next morning. He started writing scripts for official screen writer David Humphreys round about the second week of September. The first camera ran on 28th September and the legend of Quadrophenia begun. 

 (1) As many Quadrophenia Fans are aware Jimmy the main character from Quadropheina was based on you. Were you similar to Jimmy in the 1960’s and do you think Phil Daniels played the role well? Yes, I’m a lot like Jimmy. Speed-freak skinny and a born chatter-box. More than 10 have said there’s a facial resemblance. As you will remember from the article you posted about my meeting up with Phil Daniels at Lee International production offices in Wembley, he hadn’t a clue about Mods and he was honest enough to tell me. All he wanted to know was now that he had been casted to play Jimmy/Irish Jack, all he wanted to know was had I ever slapped a copper. Jimmy was a bit of a failed mod. Yes, he had the scooter but like a lot of us at the time it took a rocker friend to fix it for him and he couldn’t hang to to his girl…AND he couldn’t fight. I was a lot like that. Girls scared me to death cos I never knew what to say and I got in a scuffle actually with another mod and I discovered that I didn’t have the right body shape to fight. Not everyone can fight. When I’d be on French Blues I could talk to any girl all night as long as the conversation was about Pete Townshend or The Who. Mod was not always about being the Ace Face, Mod had a lot to do with young guys trying too hard to fit in, lacking in self-confidence and asking themselves the eternal question…’What’s gonna happen to me?’

 (2) Quadropheina has played a major part in many people’s lives and many young people can relate to Jimmy’s Character growing up. Who could you relate to growing up and what movies or bands influenced you? I bought my first record when I was 13 in 1956. I was back in Cork then and attending school. My mother bought me Elvis Presley’s ‘Hound Dog’ with ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ on the b-side. It was a thick ’78 and if you dropped it it smashed into a thousand pieces. I used to be in awe just watching the RCA label rotating on our old record player. My dad was a classical violinist and of course as you’d imagine if he thought his eldest son was playing the devil’s music and using a sweeping brush with string as a guitar he’d have turned purple. I could only play it while he was out. Living in Cork back then in 1956 there wasn’t really any bands or films affecting me, I was by then only a year in long trousers having made my Confirmation the year before. I did spend a lot of time then recording my father on our old Bush tape recorder…wide spools and control buttons the size of piano keys playing classical pieces on his violin. I was 13 and I was an unpaid sound engineer! (3) When moving to London from cork were you a mod before moving and was there a mod scene in cork at that time? No, there was no mod scene anywhere. I moved back to London when I was sixteen-and-a-half in August 1960. Mods didn’t appear until late 1962. (4) What is your favourite genre of music? I don’t have a favourite genre of music. I’m affected by all strains of music. Like a lot of people, I fall in love with certain songs and then something else comes along. For years I was hung up on Jarvis Cocker’s Disco 2000, his biographical account of Deborah, the way he made it sound so personal just threw me across the room. I learned later that Deborah is actually a real person…like all good songs. Common People by Jarvis (well, Pulp) is just another of his great songs. It’s the way he narrates those two songs into biographic form, he is a brilliant song writer….AND story teller. I’m not a fan of rap the way it’s turned young people into rapping about rival neighbourhoods and knife crime. I can’t stand the way these gang rappers refer to their girlfriends and women in general. I think it’s a form of misogyny. (5) If there was a Remake of Quadrophenia who do you think would be a good fit to play Jimmy from today’s young actors. If there was a remake of Quadrophenia I’d turn in my grave. The acquired dictum is..’If its not broken – don’t fix it !’ Nobody is capable of bettering Franc Roddam. Nobody is capable of bettering Phil Daniels.

 (6) How would you like to be remembered. How would I like to be remembered? With a blinding obituary in the Guardian (7) Is there other characters in Quadrophenia that were based on anyone from The Who. I don’t think so. Gary Cooper’s job as a sheet metal fabricator was obviously a nod to a younger Roger Daltrey who was a sheet metal worker for Chase in Shepherd’s Bush. (8) Do you like the track “Irish Jack” by The Who and how did you feel about a song being written about you. The problem with ‘Happy Jack’ was that you couldn’t dance to it. Pete wrote it when he was living in a top floor flat on the corner of Brewer Street and Wardour Street. I used to go up there. In those days you could park a car unlocked. Pete had a fabulous open top1963 Lincoln Continental which he’d leave outside the door overnight and it would still be there in the morning untouched. It’s strange to be answering questions about how I felt about a song like ‘Happy Jack’. There was no escaping it. It has never made me feel special. In 1973 I celebrated my 30th birthday having dinner with Pete at the Five Bridges Hotel, we were playing later at the Newcastle Odeon. I had far too much to drink and should’ve slowed down on the expensive French wine. At some stage I found myself playfully chinning Townshend and almost in the same motion playfully grabbing him by the lapels and saying….’Why the fuck didn’t you write…’And he lived in the sand in the Republic of Ire-land’…Pete grabbed me close to his face and snarled….’Because I couldn’t make it fucking rhyme….’ Loads of people have asked me about that song. Y’see, the problem with muse is that you absolutely don’t do this : ‘What a lovely afternoon. It’s supposed to last until tomorrow. Oh, by the way, I’m writing a song about you.’

 (9) Is there anything else you feel should of been added to the film that was not captured by the scene at that time? Yes there most certainly is….before production finished I went to considerable lengths to impress upon Franc Roddam how cool it would be to end the credits with a list of names of the Mods who had frequented the Goldhawk as a tribute to them. We had dinner somewhere near the office in Beak Street and I had made a list of about 30 names that stood out. Franc’s response in that lovely Cleveland accent of his was that it was a master stroke and would give the film actual authenticity – like a roll of honour. He took the piece of paper away with him and I never saw it again. (10) Is there anything you would like to share with “Mods of your Generation” Community that they may not know about Quadrophenia, The Who and Your Relationship with them. Go to YouTube, type in the bar…’Modrophenia the legend of Irish Jack’ 

Modrophenia – Irish Jack  copyright by Mods of Your GenerationImage – Credit to Irish Jack LyonsInterview conducted by Johnny Bradley for Mods of your Generation

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Mods Of Your Generation Interview – Subculture – Youthful, Passionate, Energetic & Cool

Mods Of Your Generation Interview – Subculture – Youthful, Passionate, Energetic & Cool MODS OF YOUR GENERATION·THURSDAY, 1 AUGUST 2019

SubCulture are three youthful, passionate, energetic cool teenage lads reigning from Nottingham. They are a mod inspired band which is reflected in their sound and image. Their performance is energy fuelled with a know nonsense approach to putting on an incredible performance. They remind many fans of a revamped, young band we all know and love called The Jam. They stand out amongst other bands on the scene as they favour a sharper look that makes them stand out and in turn defines who they are.They perform a variety of covers however they have released much of their own material which is superbly written and executed. Recently the band released their new single ‘The Kids don’t Dance’ which is brilliant and actually something anyone can dance to. They are taking the East Midlands by storm, I have know doubt these three lads will go onto have a successful career. I wish them all the best in all there future endeavours and i am sure they wont disappoint as they continue to gig and release more music. These lads are definitely ones to keep an eye on so make sure to follow them on their social media platforms and keep up to date with future gigs as they may be performing near you soon. Band MembersOliver Orton-Guitarist/Vocalist
Lewis smith-Bassist
Declan Mills-Drummer

(1) You all went to the same school together, What bought you together as friends? I’ve known Declan since we were in primary school. From about the age of 4. Long before any of us could even play an instrument. With Lewis, I met him in my 3rd year of secondary school. He had guitar lessons with the same teacher I had at the time and his lesson would always be scheduled for after mine, so we would talk for a bit before going back to lesson. One thing led to another and we became friends through those guitar lessons really. (2) Can you tell me something that people may not know about you as a band? One of our first proper gigs was at a micro pub in Nottingham and it consisted of us playing about 15 or so covers songs. 

(3) How did you then go onto to form the band? Both Me and Dec took music in school and as a requirement you had to play an instrument. I already had been playing guitar for years, but Declan decided to give the drums a go… And that’s how that started. With lewis, like I mentioned, he used to have guitar lessons so he knew how to play the guitar, which came in handy one lunchtime, as we had decided to mess around in one of the practice rooms since we were bored. The result of that was Me on guitar, Dec on the drums, and lewis on the bass…. 

 (4) Who are your musical inspirations as a band and as a musician? Our musical inspirations and band inspirations are out of the same mould. With bands such as, The Jam, The Who, Small Faces and Secret Affair, to Sex Pistols, The Clash, to Madness etc. 

 (5) The band is heavily influenced by the mod scene in regards to your sound and fashion. How did each of you get into the scene and who or what influenced you? My parents grew up with the music, and I discovered it when I was around 14, and since then it’s just been like a snowball effect. In regards to Lewis & Dec, I think the whole thing fell naturally after deciding back in the school this is what we will do with the band. 

 (6) You have released your new EP ‘The Kids don’t dance’ where can fans buy the EP and how would you describe it? The Kids Don’t Dance to me is something you could dance to. Even given the name. It’s not strictly 60’s, Motown or soul, but it’s most definitely got those influences injected into it. The single is available to buy online as a 7″ vinyl record from www.heavysoul45s.co.uk

SubCulture The Kids Don’t Dance (Official Video) (7) Who writes the bands material? All the songs are written by me. It always starts out sat with an acoustic guitar at home. 

 (8) What would you like to achieve it as a band and how do you wish to Achieve it? If at any point we could make this our sustainable living, it would be great. It’s what we love to do after all. As for how, well we’d like to keep progressing and moving with it. We don’t want to put the brakes on. We’ve got something and we want to run with it. 

 (9) Since the band formed in 2016, What has people’s reactions been to your sound and energetic performances on stage? We’ve had some smashing reviews and met some great people from gigging. The way they’ve have taken to us really is fantastic. We’ve had people say they want us to do well, and it’s cool to have a backing from what was a few minutes previous, a complete stranger.

  (10) If you could be in any band in history which band would it be? Now this could be the million dollar question. Literally. It’s a tough one. Maybe a band that have a Christmas hit so we could live off of the royalties all year round….How about Slade? But in all seriousness, we model ourselves off of the mod scene and I think The Who would be a wise choice. It seems like it would quite good fun. (11) Can we expect more singles to be released in future or an album?Yes! We try to release as much of our own music as we can. In fact, a new single isn’t too far on the horizon…

SubCulture – Young (12) Where can fans purchase your music and keep up to date with latest gigs? All our music is available on the usual digital platforms such as Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, Google and the rest, as well as on vinyl from Heavysoul45s.co.uk. All our gigs are posted on our Facebook page, along with regular updates, photos, videos etc. (13) You perform a variety of covers. What is your favourite to perform and why? We don’t really have a favourite cover song to play, however we would say there’s definitely certain songs that go down a storm at gigs. To name just a few would be Sha la la la lee, My Generation, Town Called Malice, Too much too young. (14) What message would you like to give all your fans and supporters? Just to thank them for the continued support they give us and for the faith they have in us. It’s that kind of thing that spurs us on. 

 (15) Where would you like to be in 5 years from now and what can we we all look forward to? Well wherever we are, we’d like to be able to look back at the past 5 years and say that they meant something.    Interview by Johnny Bradley for Mods Of Your GenerationInterview Credit – Mods Of Your Generationphoto & Video credit to SubCulture

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Anti nowhere League lead singer Animal attacked with Glass

Anti nowhere league ‘Animal’
Animal. Lead singer of Anti nowhere league attacked by glass wielding thug

CCTV images have been issued of a person we would like to identify in connection with a serious assault in #TunbridgeWells.

It is reported that at around 6.20pm on Friday 2 August 2019 a man aged in his 60s was struck with a glass in an area of The Pantiles.

The victim sustained injuries and received treatment at a local hospital.

Investigating officers are continuing to carry out a number of lines of enquiry and are now able to release images of a man who may have important information about the incident.

Tunbridge Wells glass attacker
Man captured in CCTV just before attacking singer with a glass

Anyone who recognises him is asked to call us on 01622 604100 quoting 46/152946/19.

Alternatively, contact the independent charity #Crimestoppers anonymously, by calling 0800 555111 or using the anonymous online form at Crimestoppers-uk.org

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Mods Of Your Generation Interview – Author Claire Mahoney – Welsh Mod: Our Story

Mods Of Your Generation Interview – Author Claire Mahoney – Welsh Mod: Our Story MODS OF YOUR GENERATION·FRIDAY, 28 JUNE 2019

This is a first book from Claire Mahoney and a first about the roots and the revival of the mod subculture in Wales with stunning photography and stories from the people who were influenced by it. Welsh musicians, fashion designers, film directors, DJs, record collectors and scooter enthusiasts as well as some well-known ‘Faces’ give their first hand accounts about what mod means to them and how it has changed their lives. It covers the 60’s through to the present day.Although it is about the mod scene in Wales its very much relatable to many other parts of the UK and the rest of the world. Mods Of Your Generation is honoured to feature such a talented Journalist, Director & editor in an interview and wish her all the best in her future endeavours.Buy it here www.welshmod.co.uk 1) The book has been released approximately 6 months now, it has had a lot of great reviews and gained a lot of interest. How has people’s reaction to the book felt and is it as you expected. The reaction to the book has been brilliant really. Quite overwhelming at times. Even 6 months after the initial publication it is still ongoing. I think in part because we have kept it going with the social media side of things. That has been really important in keeping people involved with the whole story of the book. 2) You are a huge fan of Paul Weller and recently he endorsed the book. The Jam was very influential in your teenage years. How did it feel to have Paul Weller’s encouraging and positive comments about the book and to even receive a picture of him holding it? To me getting a pic off Paul and knowing he likes the book is the ultimate accolade. I was and still am a massive Jam fan and have followed Paul’s career since I was 13 years of age. I still have to pinch myself when I look at that pic. Seeing him holding a piece of my work is really something else. 

3) When was the first time you saw The Jam perform and what was it like? The first gig I ever went to and the best gig I ever went to. Jam gigs, as any fan will tell you, were something else. You spent most of the gig off your feet as the crowd would move as one mass of sweating singing people. The energy was incredible and I’m so glad I experienced that even though I was only 14 – it marked the start of a long journey that has resulted in this book. The title page quotes The Jam Lyrics “True its a dream, mixed with nostalgia” and that pretty much sums up how I feel about it all really. 4) What inspired you to write the book and why did you feel it was important to tell the story in the view of a welsh mod? Being Welsh inspired me first up, but also being part of the scene here and seeing the passion and love of mod in all its incarnations and re-incarnations in the people I met. I think there is a Welsh take on mod that is more down to earth and grass roots because of the surroundings here. It was always a struggle for people in Wales to be recognised for anything. Try being a mod in a valleys town – it ain’t Soho I can tell you! Plus no-one outside of Wales tended to take you seriously – you would be judged on where you were from first. We tend to try that little bit harder down here as a result and I think it shows. Plus we know how to have a good time! 

5) You grew up in Cardiff in the 80’s where music & fashion was continuing to evolve and seemed to be an exciting time to be a teenager with a wide array of styles and subcultures. As a lot of new fashion and music came to the forefront of teenage life. What was it that stuck out about ‘MOD’ that resonated with you? It was the music and the attitude of the music and its message that chimed with me. It was all about being part of something, being different, going one better. The mainstream music of the time was awful and the fashion did nothing for me. Thank god I found bands like The Jam and Secret Affair as without them I might never have discovered so many fantastic other artists such as The Small Faces, The Action, Modern Jazz and soul music. 

 6) When people discover that I am a mod, I regularly get asked “What is a mod?” I try to do my best to explain what it is and what is about but feel I never give it justice. For me it’s exactly that a feeling. Everyone has their own story to tell and what inspired them to get into the scene. Can you describe what mod means to you? On a very basic level mod to me is about good taste I think – good taste in clothes, music, art, design. Its about being smart not just in the way you dress but the way you think. Having a bit of pride about things and always being open to new ideas. 

7) The book documents the roots and revival of modernism in Wales however do you think other areas of the UK & the rest of the world can relate to the movement and the stories told within. Absolutely – in Scotland, Ireland, The Midlands – you could probably tell the same stories. Mod in the suburbs or the provinces is always going to be a little different from mod in the city. 8) The book features many interviews with very significant Welsh born people from the 1960s -1980’s including award winning welsh writer, Actor and film director Jonathan Owen amongst others. Who else is featured in the book? We have Jeff Banks the fashion designer, musician Andy Fairweather Low from Amen Corner, Wyndham Rees from 60’s mod band The Eyes of Blue, Bryn Gregory from 70’s/80’s mod band Beggar and film director Jonny Owen who got into mod at the tail end of the revival and on into the Brit pop years. 

9) The book features stunning images and photography from BAFTA Cymru winning cameraman & photographer Haydn Denman. Where can people find more of his excellent work and are there any photos taken that didn’t appear in the book? We are currently creating an archive of the many pictures that didn’t appear in the book on the website. www.welshmod.co.uk. But Haydn has travelled all over the world photographing and filming. But he is very keen to work on projects that relate to Wales. You can see more of his work at www.haydndenman-photography.com 10) You used a crowd funding website called kickstarter to make the book a reality. What advice would you give aspiring authors using this way of funding their work? Going the Kickstarter route is tough and nail-biting. My advice – set your target as low as you can to cover your costs and plug the hell out of it on social media. 

11) Claire you are a journalist, editor and broadcaster with over 25 years’ experience in media. You have written a lot of articles about the mod scene for Mod Culture and The New Untouchable websites. What other work have you done regarding the scene or anything else you have been involved in? I have featured on BBC Radio Wales several times talking about mod and 60s music. I contributed the forward to the first book on mod girls called Ready Steady Girls, I’ve been involved as an interviewer for The Jam Literary Event and will be featured in the 2nd Modernist Literary Event which takes place this September in London and is a must attend for anyone interested in mod culture. https://www.thecockpit.org.uk/show/the_2nd_london_modernist_literary_event 12) The Mod scene is constantly evolving as many young people discover the scene today. Is there a vast number of young people getting immersed into the scene living in Wales? I think there are more and more people here who are looking for something a bit different and who are looking back and discovering the music and style of the 60’s for sure.

13) You had a launch party to celebrate the release of the book. It had every generation enjoying everything mod together under one roof. Which is very much what Mods of Your Generation is about. Can you tell us about the atmosphere, the party and the people & bands who attended? It was brilliant. It certainly spanned all the generations and it was a great celebration of the music and style that has brought so many of us together. It felt like one big family really – still does. I’ve made some great friends through this project. The band that played was called River who came from Spain – the reason being their frontman – Steve Garland now lives in Spain having moved there many years ago. He was and still is a real ‘face’ in terms of the Welsh mod scene, so it was a real home-coming gig for him and loads of people turned out just to see him. 14) Are you a fan of any mod inspired bands making a name for themselves in the music industry today? The Spitfires are great and definitely have that energy about them, plus there is a Swansea band called The Riff that are making waves and again a mod look about them and their sound 15) Welsh born Fashion icon and designer Jeff Banks was keen to be involved in the book. How was it meeting with such an important fashion figure becoming British designer of the year in 1979 & 1981? I interviewed Jeff over the phone and he was gracious and enthusiastic and his memories of being a mod were pure gold for the book. I still have more of that interview which I’ll publish on the website. Jeff loved the book and his office ordered 10 copies! So I was really chuffed about that. Interview conducted by Johnny Bradleyinterview (c) Johnny Bradley & Mods Of Your Generation 2019

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Mods Of Your Generation Interview – Director & Artist Devlin Crow – Being Film

Mods Of Your Generation Interview – Being Film – Director & Artist Devlin Crow

MODS OF YOUR GENERATION·TUESDAY, 19 FEBRUARY 2019Devlin Crow is a film director and artist, who has made a series of renowned, award winning short films. Has worked with Pete Townshend, Nick Cave, Sir John Tavener, Christopher Lee and among others.Brighton Palace Pier unveiled a commemorative plaque to celebrate his most recent film Being, that has a nod to The Who’s Quadrophenia and shines a light on young carers and the neurological condition Multiple Sclerosis. BBC filmed the event and covered it in news. The film has received many positive reviews and as myself and many others look forward to the Follow up go for it girl. We asked Devlin Crow if he would kindly do an exclusive interview for the Mods Of Your Generation community.

(1) As you have said before in various interviews your inspiration for writing a film about Multiple Sclerosis was caring for your wife who suffers with the condition. Was this a difficult process as the subject was so close to your heart?

When you have to dig deep and open you heart to something close, moments can be difficult as your tapping into the uncomfortableness of grief, the remembrance of your love one struggles with the daily condition and what has been taken away by M.S. These times are never without sadness as you writing about emotional experiences the ups and downs of caring and witnessing the cruelness of the neurological condition. Though through the adversity there is always a crack of joy and fleeting happy memories that challenges the darkness of the subject, I think this is conveyed in the writing and film, and in-turn a truth, honesty and a humanity wins out.

(2) Is there a reason why you choose The Who, Quadrophenia and the mod scene as “Buddy’s” escape from caring for his mother “Margaret.”  I wanted to make a film that acknowledged the importance Brighton, Modernism and The Who had on my youth and to “Quadrophenia”, the soundtrack that was central to my adolescence. It seemed right to make Buddy a Mod, who is into the whole 60’s scene, his mum Margaret would naturally passed on her love for the style, music to him. Buddy is also an individual, a bit of a loner and whom does not follow the crowd and popular trends. I think Buddy is like Jimmy in as much, that he’s angry and confused and in away lost. Though with Jimmy drugs and manic bipolar are his demon, for Buddy its feeling trapped as his life is on hold due to caring. With Jimmy, Modernism, scootering and Brighton became marred and the magic of the bank holiday bubble burst and disillusionment set in, for Buddy the Mod ride out saved him and gave him purpose a break from responsibility and demands, allowing him to experience joy and lost youth.

(3) Devlin you have directed a series of renowned, award winning short films, including Expelling The Demon, The Anatomist Notebook, Word Made Flesh:Sir Peter Blake, Little Whispers, Monstrous Creature & Of course Being. Did you face any challenges directing Being that you did not face with the other films?  Being was based on a real life situation and moments plucked from home life, whereas with the others they were fictional and had a element of the fantastical. Or in the case of the programme “Word Made Flesh” presented a portrait of the artist Sir Peter Blake.  (4) You have Worked with Pete Townshend in the past. What did you work on together and how was it?  Kennedy my partner and I worked on documentary on the English Pop artist Sir Peter Blake, Pete Townshend loved the film and composed an original score. He worked for a week on it, it was a very special moment to work with someone you admire and respect for his artistry and grew up listening to. I will never forget him playing a bit of Baba O’Rilely on the guitar to both of us, as he used some of this in his opening arrangement. 

(5) Being has had many positive reviews and I am looking forward to the follow up and so are many others. Can you give us a sneak peak into the plot for Go For It Girl? Or will we just have to wait?  At this stage all I will say is that Margaret, Buddy’s mum get politicised and starts fighting for her rights. Also there going to be a strong Mod element running through feature, fans of “Being” will not be disappointed.  (6) Many people have been inspired by Being and it has highlighted two important issues. Can we expect the same from Go For It Girl?  Yes “Go for it Girl”, will be topical and will cover some important issues, though I stress the film will celebrate the importance of friendship and loyalty. Increasingly in this fractured world with so much hurt we need uplifting stories to highlight some beauty and love.    

(7) You have said on Social media that you have happy memories meeting with Mark Wingett at Bar Italia “drinking good coffee.” Did Mark Wingett have much input into the storyline and what influence did he have on the making of the film?  Mark Wingett did not add to the story, this has already been finalised. We spoke about logistics of filming scooter scene, he put me in touch with Trevor Laird for his guest appearance and we spoke about the issues film raises. Over good coffee we spoke about the Quadrophenia shoot and The Who, it was special to hear Mark’s stories, he’s a raconteur when it comes to a tale. We will have to return to Bar Italia prior to “Go for It Girl” going into production seems only fitting to keep up the tradition.  

photo (c) Devlin Crow – Being 2019 (8) When should we expect Go For It Girl to be complete & will it also feature on Blu-Ray.  The script has been written and I will be approaching a digital channel and private backers hopefully for finance, rather than the Crowdfunding route. You need a largest budget for a feature, I know how much love there is for “Being” and public are willing to support as they want the feature to get the green light. However I could not expect financial support through Crowdfunding for it will be a three figure sum. When it is released it will come out on Blu-ray, DVD and will be streamed. If Being Buddies keep sharing news on “Go For It Girl”, following and liking its social media sites, we can gain a strong media presence for a theatrical cinema release. Im sure you would love that!  

photo (c) Devlin Crow – Being 2019  Thank you for agreeing to do this interview and I look forward to the feature of go for it girl.Mods Of Your Generation Community- Please like and share the interview far and wide. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who likes the MOYG page and to invite you all to like the Being film Page & I also encourage you to join Being Buddies Group to keep up to date about latest news on “Being” and “Go For It Girl”.Being Buddies GroupBeing Film Page

Photo (c) Being 2019       Photo (c) to Devlin Crow & Being film interview (c) Johnny Bradley & Mods Of Your Generation copyright by Mods of Your Generationinterview conducted by Johnny Bradley for Mods of your Generation

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Mods Of Your Generation Interview – Tina Freeman -Stinger The Book

Mods Of Your Generation Interview – Tina Freeman – Stinger The Book

MODS OF YOUR GENERATION·MONDAY, 22 JULY 2019

I came across ‘Stinger’ after seeing a post on Facebook an illustrated book based on Quadrophenia. Intrigued by the beautifully painted images I wanted to find out more. I discovered that it was a kickstarter project and Immediately wanted to show my support and pledge. I then discovered Tina Freeman the lady behind the idea to find out more about her and the wonderful book. I asked her if she would like to feature in an interview to help promote it. We spoke on the phone and instantly hit it off as if we had known one another for years. We discussed Nicky Weller’s involvement as collaborator of the book and many of our common interests such as music and fashion. It was so exciting to hear all about the characters in the book and who they were based on. Tina described them to me with absolute passion & love for the project.As a father of three young children I am often asked ‘Dad what is Quadrophenia about?’ as it has been referenced many times at home. My children are not old enough to watch the film, therefore I was immediately excited to share this book with them. I felt extremely privileged to receive a soft back copy of the book from Tina. I sat with my children and read the book pointing out the many references to Quadrophenia and the mod scene as they eagerly listened to find out what adventures awaited ‘Stinger The Bell Bee’I highly recommended this book to anyone with a passion for the 60’s and Quadrophenia. This book is a great way to share your experiences and love for music & fashion with your children or grandchildren and inspiring the next generation. I hope you enjoy reading the interview as much as i did asking the questions.

1) Where did you grow up and how old were you when you discovered the mod scene? I grew up on a very 60s Housing Estate in Birmingham, lots of Flats, Maisonettes and lots of concrete ‘the planners dream gone wrong.’ There were a few cool Mod lads wandering around after the 79 Revival which intrigued me. I became a little Mod girl at the young impressionable age of 13. I got my first scooter, a Lambretta LD 150 before I was even old enough to drive it. 

2) At what age did you discover you had a talent for drawing? Very young really, I used to copy all the Disney characters from my “Now I Know” comics from the age of three. 3) Who are your favourite bands or artists and the most influential to you as a teenager growing up? I had an infant school teacher who loved The Beatles, so I think my interest and love of the 60’s came from this. The first Mod band I listened to was The Jam. I loved the energy and passion, still do.Then I went through a blinkered phase of only listening to original R&B and soul. I think the bands most influential to me as an artist have to be The Small Faces and The Who. 

4) What bands or music do you listen to now? I have much wider tastes these days. I think we are incredibly lucky under the “umbrella of Mod” to have so much to choose from. I think I would have got bored and moved away from the scene if we didn’t have that ever evolving attitude.Even if you just take Wellers’ life body of music, there are enough songs here to suit your ever changing moods, see what I did there?I paint to music; I really think it adds the magic to the process.At the moment I have True Meanings on my turntable, by Paul Weller. I am like a teenager again, playing it over and over, absolutely love it. I seem to be playing The Beatles a lot too, perhaps that is just because of my “A Bee Road” painting in my book.I also have a CD player (I know! how very modern of me) to listen to ‘Georgie the brightest star’ by The Electric Stars. It is a beautiful hymn about George Best who features in one of my future stories. 5) In the 90’s you shared an art Studio on King Street in Manchester and worked as a freelance illustrator. You also worked as a portrait artist for Manchester United. Tell us a little bit about your art studio and some of the footballers you did portraits of? I relocated to Manchester after working in North Wales. The studio was seriously cool, with a lovely old balcony overlooking King Street. I worked for some great Ad agencies and The Royal Mail as well as Man United. Along with other merchandise I did limited edition portraits of Ryan Giggs, Eric Cantona and Peter Schmeichel. 

6) When did you draw the initial illustrations for the book and what inspired you to come up with the concept basing it on the mod scene and Quadrophenia? As a freelance illustrator I had worked on The Red Devil mascot character and Billy the Butlins Bear. I started thinking of a cool Wasp character to drive around on a Vespa.I had already produced a Who Collection of paintings and screen prints and had a few meetings with Trinifold Management. It was a bit of a light bulb moment for me when I realised, I could call the character ‘Sting’ and tie it into my love of Quadrophenia.I had two versions which I explained to Robert Rosenberg, one of a generic Wasp character tootling his way around Britain in The Sixties, the other very much based on Quad, using iconic scenes from the film which ultimately if animated should be very music driven. 

7) Many of the characters in the book are based on members of your favourite bands & the Quadrophenia cast. Can you tell us a little bit about each character and who they are based on? Without wanting to give too much away, you can meet characters from Ace Mod Dog bands “The Whoof” and “The Cool Faces” with Ste Merrimutt. When I showed my portfolio of original paintings to Pete Townshend I was quite nervous. Luckily he liked his character “Pete Houndshend” and has been really encouraging. I am yet to meet Roger, although this is very much part of my wish list. 

8) You showed Franc Roddam the director of Quadrophenia the illustrations and your idea to base the book on Quadrophenia. What were his thoughts and was he supportive of your plans?  This was about 5 years ago, a very important piece in the jigsaw. I met Franc down in Brighton where he was doing a Q&A. He had mentioned that he had a two year old, and it would be a long time before he would get to know of Quadrophenia. I told him it might be sooner if he liked my story and showed him the first few watercolour paintings. I asked Franc if I could dedicate the book to his son, which he agreed.The story line and character evolved over the next few years, changing the name from Sting to Stinger to avoid copyright issues. I then made the decision to change him from a wasp into a much more lovable Bee Character. It felt right then, with him coming from Manchester, and having much more heart. 

 I met up with Franc again at The Teenage Cancer Trust event this January, where he introduced me to Sting, who just so happened to be sat at our table. It is very rare for him to attend a Quadrophenia event, so I was incredibly lucky. Sting loved the character and gave the book his full blessing, which was fantastic. 

9) You met Nicky Weller at the Cunard Building in Liverpool, in the first few days of the Jam exhibition ‘About The Young Idea’. Can you explain how this led to collaborating with her to publish ‘Stinger’?  I went along to The Jam exhibition as a fan and ended up being invited in to sell my ‘Quadrotina’ artwork in the shop. The next day was my birthday, and I had a surreal experience eating cupcakes with Nicky and Ann Weller. My “Quadwoofenia” collection of Dogs on Scooters sold really well, so I introduced a Bruce Foxtail, and Rick Boxer to the set. We had such a laugh over the 14 weeks coming up with new names and characters.It was at their literary event that I mentioned that I had a children’s book based on Quadrophenia. I sat down with Nicky and Den Davis who ‘got it’ completely, especially the concept of having it animated as a kids’ TV series or feature film. 

10) Nicky introduced you to her brother Paul Weller. What were his thoughts on your artwork and your ideas and what other things did you discuss? The first time I met Paul he came into the shop at The Jam exhibition, for a cup of tea. Nicky showed him my “Paw Weller” Quadwoof pic. It was hilarious, not at all how I imagined it would be if I ever got to meet him. I met him recently at his studio with Nicky. He asked how the book was going on Kickstarter. In fact the night before we had smashed the target of over ten thousand pounds pledged. It was lovely to tell him the news; he seemed genuinely really chuffed for us. I told him how much I had enjoyed the walk through Delamere Forest for his gig the previous week. We chatted about the success of his latest tour, and the wonderful supporting Stone Foundation. He asked about my kids which meant the world to me. 

11) What is the vision for Stinger? As I believe this book is the start of a series of books based around the 60’s and the mod scene. Stinger is the first of this series. I have this idea where different characters from Quadrophenia are developed and will have their own spin off adventures. I have had such fun with this concept, including what we know has happened to the actors after Quad. I would love different cast members to narrate the books, in the same way Phil Daniels recorded Stinger. To me Pete Townshend’s’ musical score is what really drives Quadrophenia. We are brilliant in this country at animation; just imagine combining a series with fantastic music and how much more it would connect with kids, hopefully watching with their parents and grandparents.I often find myself trying to explain what “a Mod is” to young children. It was easier for me to illustrate the concept of being ‘the best that you can be’ through Stinger. You never know, we might have a new little revival on our hands. 

12) What was it like for you meeting Phil Daniels and the cast of Quadrophenia? Firstly can I say what an honour it is to know, and now work with some of the cast. Quadrophenia was my coming of age Teenage film, and certainly helped shape me as a young Mod, scooterist and artist. My friend and I would hire the video out most weekends and knew it word for word. Imagine how that feels now for me to be not only talking to but sharing my ideas creatively with my heroes. 

I met Phil Daniels first, with Garry Cooper (aka Fenton) and Trevor Laird (Ferdy) at a brilliant Quad event in Widnes where I was invited by Rob Wright to sell my artwork. I showed them the initial ideas for Stinger and asked if they would consider doing the voice over’s playing their characters if I got it as far as an animated project.

I kept in touch with Trevor, who has been so kind and generous with his time, helping me to meet other actors such as Lesley Ash, Toyah, Gary Shail and Mark Wingett to move forwards with this dream.

 13) When will the book be available to purchase and where can people get hold of it? Now we have reached our target, we have to get the hard backed collector’s edition version printed and have the record pressed with Stinger narrated by Phil Daniels.Those wonderful people who pledged to get the book printed will be the first to receive their copies. After that we will be holding a few special events such as an official launch with readings and signings. 

 If you keep an eye on the website, and social media we will be putting out information and dates. Check out stingerthebellbee@gmail.com and https://www.stingerthebook.co.uk

14) What message would you like to give to those who have supported the book and to those who have pledged? Nicky Weller, our close knit team of designers Anthony Mulryan , Phil Dias and I am so very grateful to each and every person that pledged, shared our posts, and supported us through our first experience of Kickstarter.I always knew that I would have to come at this project from a different angle. A children’s book on Mods would be seen to have a very limited audience in the eyes of a publisher. I have been amazed how many normal (“Wot is normal then?”) fans the book has, of people of all ages and walks of life. I initially wrote it for Mods to enjoy with their kids and grandchildren, but found it has a much wider appeal.I think anything really written from the heart will find that connection with people, whether it be a shared love of music, scooters or just the pretty pictures.  

    Interview by Johnny Bradley for Mods of your GenerationInterview (c) Johnny Bradley & Mods of Your Generation 2019 

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Mods Of Your Generation Interview – The Touch – They’re back after 40 years with their new album – Lost and Found

Mods Of Your Generation Interview – The Touch – They’re back after 40 years with their new album – Lost and Found MODS OF YOUR GENERATION·TUESDAY, 2 JULY 2019· 

The Touch are back after 40 years with their brand new album ‘Lost and Found’They were a mod revival band in the 70’s recording one album which was confusingly released by their record company under the wrong name. as well as know track titles or any other information about the band.I was kindly given a copy of the NEW album before its release and became instantly hooked to find out more about the previous album and the confusion around the first albums release. There may of been confusion around the previous album however there is no confusing who they are now. Whether your a fan of great music or a new fan of The Touch, whether you just like the Mod revival, or brilliantly written creative and relatable music. I suggest this album needs to be part of your collection.I was so excited about the new and old album that i immediately needed to interview them to find out more. I am also incredibly intrigued to see what they do next.

(1) Where do you find inspiration for your song lyrics & music? The music usually starts with an idea that magically arrives’ in the head, either as a riff, or a melody. It’s rare that one starts out with the idea to create a particular progression, and more often the rest of the music gets built around that one idea. Lyrics are a different matter. They are almost always either autobiographical or about something we’ve observed. For example, we must have been in the depths of teenage misery when we wrote Grey Day and I’m a Stranger as they are certainly based on real events. On the other hand, Walk in the Park, and Stop Stop are social commentaries. (2) How and when was the band formed? An early version of the band (The Flames) came together as a unit around 1976 with Son Jack on lead guitar and vocals, Gerry on rhythm guitar, Charlie on drums and Jim Henebury on bass. When Jim left, for a while we were 2 guitars and drums, weird but it sort of worked. We used to rehearse at Alaska Studios in Waterloo round the corner from the famous Wellington pub where many of the great early mod revival bands used to play. The studio was owned by ex-Vibrators bassist Pat Collier, and it’s thanks to him that we got started properly, but more about that later. 

(3) When & where was your first gig? As The Flames our first gig was the Rochester Castle, Stoke Newington November 3, 1977 opening for the Stukas. We also supported them every other Thursday that month. As The Touch, our debut was at the Nashville on Dec 29, 1979 supporting the Bishops. 

 (4) Has anyone played a major role in your music career? We’d have to say that Alan May, Dizzy Holmes, and Albert Cummings are the three kings for us right now as they are responsible for us being back together. Another big shout out goes to Pat Collier who got us started in the first place. We were a scrappy 3 piece called The Flames rehearsing at his Alaska Studios in London in ’77 when he helped us out playing bass, booking our first gigs, and helping us with promotion. Having him produce this album was brilliant and brought things full circle. (5) Your new album was recently released. What has the reaction been? We’ve been blown away by the comments and overall reaction, really, just staggering. You usually expect a spread of opinions in the feedback and so far it’s been just amazing.

(6) What were the biggest challenges in doing this album? That’s easy. Time. Son Jack lives in the states, Dave is in Devon, and Charlie and Gerry are in London, so trying to find time when we could all be in the same place at the same time was hard. It’s amazing we managed to get together as often as we did, and over a 6 month period Son Jack flew to London 5 times to get this done.The second biggest challenge was re-learning songs that none of us had touched in 40 years. This involved converting lots of old dusty cassettes into MP3’s and hunting through old boxes of lyrics to track down the words and song structures. (7) Where can fans buy or download the old & new albums? Pretty much everywhere! There are a bunch of options:1/ Via Paypal (UK and Europe only and incl s&h) send £13 to g.czerniawski@uel.ac.uk2/ Worldwide CD fulfilment via CDbaby at https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/thetouch43/ For streaming and downloads it’s on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, Google Music, Deezer, Napster, Pandora, Shazam, Tidal, Youtube Music and a bunch of other places. 

 (8) Have you got any future gigs coming up and what’s next for the band? We have just one more gig on the books at the Mod Weekender in Brighton on August 24th. We’re at the Hope and Ruin in Queen Street and are playing a double bill with the Teenbeats. Last time we played together was at Marquee in ’79 I think so this will be a very special gig. We’re also pricing it for the fans at £13 on the night, or £10 in advance at http://bit/ly/TouchTeenbeats.

 (9) What’s the story behind the first album being released under the wrong name? We have theories but would risk getting sued for defamation of character if we shared them J. Let’s put it down to being young, naive, and star-struck at having an album at the age of 18. Twenty/twenty hindsight and all that. 

 (10) Can we look forward to another great third album? Haha! Mate, we’ve just finished this one and that took 40 years! Seriously though, it’s too early to tell but if we think we can do a knockout third album, and there’s demand for more then we’ll definitely consider the idea. (11) After the band disbanded after confusion over release of first album, what did each of the members go on to do musically or other? Son Jack: I didn’t play for over twenty years. It was only after moving to the states that I got the blues bug, and started trying to learn how to play it. I started out playing solo, then duo, then full on 4-piece band and enjoyed a 10 year career playing blues all over the world and recording 4 albums. Best part was getting to meet some amazing people like BB King, and we even got to open for Chuck Berry in the legendary Duck Room in St Louis.Gerry: I spent a few years playing in different bands including the tail end of The Fixations, Bad Karma Beckons, Waving Not Drowning and Mojo Hand. I’ve got a ‘day job’ but the music side of things has never really left my soul so keep my hand in one way or another. 

Charlie: Although I played on the early demo’s included on the Detour release, I had left the band before the first album was recorded so didn’t actually play on it. Instead I went back to education and retook some exams. Played drums for garage band called Bad Karma Beckons with Gerry, they released an album, Mutate and Survive, in 1986. Currently also playing in a couple of active London bands namely The Phobics and The Beatpack.”Dave: After the touch I played in a number of new romantic groups in London including The Marines, and concentrated on learning the keyboards and developing my song writing. In 2000 I spent ten years living in Catalonia and during that time played in a popular dropzone band. 

(12) When did the band decide to get back together and why? We got “re-discovered” through an insane set of unlikely events about 2 years ago. It’s a really long story but in short, Alan May and Dizzy Holmes tracked us down. Alan urged us to consider getting back together, and Dizzy wanted to do an official re-release of the original album on his Paisley Archive label. Alan also put us in touch with London promoter, Albert Cummings, who offered us a gig. So basically, everything was lined up and we had a reason to get back together. Without Alan, Dizzy and Albert I don’t think we would have bothered so we’re incredibly grateful for their support and encouragement. (13) Where would you like to see the band in a few years and what can we expect from you in the future? We’d LIKE to see us being waited on hand and foot on a private Island in the Caribbean but that probably isn’t going to happen. We’re in this for the love of it, not the money so we’re not on the career path that the younger more ambitious acts are. As long as we’re making music together, even if occasionally, that will be a beautiful thing. (14) Do you have a message for fans and a response to the reaction the band has had from the new album? That’s an easy one. THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS! You’ve made a bunch of old geezers feel like teenagers again. 

 (15) How would you describe the bands musical style if you were to compare it to another band? That’s a tough question as our musical style doesn’t easily fit one definition, as it evolved over time. We started out playing rock’n’roll (Gene Vincent, Johnny Kidd, Chuck Berry etc) in Charlie’s basement around 1973, and then when punk rolled around we got into that for a couple of years. Then we did the whole mod revival thing which also blended with Power Pop. So, you’ll hear elements of all those phases in the songs. 

Images from The Touch archives

 Interview conducted by Johnny Bradley for Mods Of Your GenerationInterview (c) Johnny Bradley & Mods Of Your Generation 2019

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The big picture: punks and skinheads in harmony against Racism

The big picture: punks and skins in harmony against Racism, a point very rarely spoken about, especially when the name skinhead gets involved

The big picturePhotography The photographer who captured the spirit of punk has released a book of her most arresting portraits   

Black and white image of four young white men in leather jackets and ripped jeans sitting on steps smiling one with arm round the other.
 Punks and Skins on the Steps, taken in Coventry in 1980. Photograph: Janette Beckman

If they weren’t a band, they should have been. Janette Beckman, who chronicled the early years of punk in the UK, took this photograph in Coventry in 1980. She had by then made her name on Melody Maker, with pictures of the Clash on tour and the Sex Pistols in a skip; she caught the moment when Paul Weller first met Pete Townshend, one modfather to another; she made the Police’s first album cover; she assembled the Specials on Southend pier.

Beckman, who grew up in north London, had left London College of Printing and walked into Sounds magazine one afternoon in 1977 with her student portfolio. She was immediately dispatched to photograph Siouxsie and the Banshees and never looked back.

She was as likely to turn her camera on the audience and the streets as on the stage and the tour bus. In those years the boundaries between music and art and style seemed unusually porous. Punk was above all an “irrepressible attitude” she has suggested of that moment. “It was about change, the idea that people should question authority and do it for themselves.”

The four lads in this picture capture that spirit. They have put thought into how they look but are not striking poses. The picture is included in a short monograph of Beckman’s work of that time, which also includes images of Sid Vicious’s funeral procession and the Saturday afternoon punks of King’s Road, Chelsea. In 1982, after the edge of that attitude had given way to the posturing of the new romantics, Beckman moved to New York, where she took similarly iconic pictures of pioneer hip-hop artists and their followers. “People were really happy to be photographed back then,” she says. “As it didn’t happen very often.”

Janette Beckman’s Raw Punk Streets UK 1979-1982(Café Royal Books, £6) is available atcaferoyalbooks.com

Continue reading The big picture: punks and skinheads in harmony against Racism
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Harrington Saints: A Thousand Pounds Of Greatness

The Harrington Saints are an amazingly talented bad with members who all have other massive side projects. Up until now most of their songs have been about your classic punk and skinhead topics. You know? The same “rah rah we are West Ham” coming from some guys in California is a bit hard to grasp. What I bet you didn’t know behind all the mod influence and skinhead style music. There is a lot of heart and emotion that comes out of this band. I’ve been a fan for a bit and “1000lbs of Oi” is one of the best albums of it’s genre in the last five or so years.

“State Of Emergency” is something you would expect from Bad Religion not Harrington Saints, and that is NOT a bad thing. The song is about gun control and the lack of empathy Americans have for dead kids. It seems more important they have their guns. Instead of sugar coating it behind flowery language like Bad Religion does often. This is a raw as a nerve end track.

There are some classic oi songs, like the title track. These guys are not small humans so the “1000lbs of Oi” is a little bit tongue and cheek. I love it personally as a somewhat larger lad. Rock N Rolla is a splitting oi track that brings you back to the 1980s.  However the highlight to me was the song “Fremount Train” about a very real incident that happened. This isn’t your typical “fuck Nazis” song. It’s about beating the fascists up, and walking away with a smile with blood on your hands because you know you’re in the right. One of the most poignant lines being “why is the right wing always on the wrong side of history? Why is this a lesson we still have to teach today?”

If you don’t have a copy of this record it’s available on bandcamp, iTunes as well as Pirate’s Press Records…..or you know where ever awesome records are sold.

Check out this awesome tune