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Trouble with Skinheads at UB40 Gig

Skinheads: the cult of trouble

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Great Skinhead Reunion annual event in Brighton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

article from 26 June, 1980 by Ian Walker.

Ian Walker

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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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Shane Meadows wants to make This Is England ’00

10/5/2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

READ MORE: This Is England Set For Final Film?

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

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

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

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

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

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Millie Small dies in London

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Harrington Jacket an icon of British Fashion design

Harrington decades of cool

The Harrington Jacket, and The Roll Call Of The Cool

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

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

harrington jacket a222

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

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

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

peyton place mia farrow ryan oneal

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

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

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

harrington jacket advert

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

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

Rebel Without a Cause natalie wood james dean harrington g9 coat

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

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

harrington jacket female
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David Paul Greenfield Stranglers Legend dies from Covid19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fly straight Mr G, fond adieu xx

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

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Richard Hell & The Voidoids

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

by Luca Morettini Paracucchi -April 9, 20200185

The Voidoids
richard hell & the voidoids

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

The third attempt is the right one

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

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

“Blank Generation” and “Destiny Street”

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

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

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

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

Subsequent careers

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

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

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

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

Curiosity

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

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

Recommended songs:

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Red London


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

Red London record cover This is England

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

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The Casualties and the trouble with punk rock

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

The Casualties

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

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

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

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

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

STORY CONTINUES BELOW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rebecca Tucker
Rebecca Tucker

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

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

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

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

The photograph by Hans Runesson

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

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

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

A statue was later erected for Danuta Danielsson

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