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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.