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
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
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
Symarip (also known at various stages of their career as The Bees, The Pyramids, Seven Letters and Zubaba) were a British ska and reggaeband, 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“.
Releasing the first and only pure Skinhead Reggae concept album Skinhead Moonstomp in 1970 with Trojan records
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.’
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.
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.
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 SpexSymond Lawes.
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
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.”
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
It is a massive pleasure & honour to feature an interview with English actor, director, producer and musician Gary Shail on “Mods Of Your generation”. Best known for his role as “Spider” in the iconic cult movie Quadrophenia that many of us still admire and talk about today. This year (2019) marks the 40th anniversary of the film which is a massive milestone for everyone involved. The fact that its still talked about today makes it even all the more great. Gary is a great guy who has attended a lot of events over the years in aid to raise money for charity. We asked Gary about his own event coming up called QUAD 40 and about his career and experiences filming Quadrophenia & Jack the Ripper. We also discussed his book “ I think I’m on the guest list” published in 2015 and his Christmas song “ Modding up my Christmas list ” (2017) and more. Gary has done a variety of interviews throughout the years so it was difficult to ask him questions that he hadn’t been asked before, however I hope you enjoy the interview as much as we enjoyed asking the questions. Make sure not to miss out on the anniversary celebration of the movie on Brighton Pier August 25th 2019 for more information go to www.quad40.co.uk#ModsOfYourGeneration
(1) I have heard you are a huge fan of the Regents a four-piece band based in Essex heavily influenced by the original mod spirt of 1964. Are there any other new bands influenced by the mod scene who you are also a fan of? Yes I’m a big fan of ‘The Regents.’ I’ve known Sea Jays the lead singer since he was 16yrs old and he definitely has the right attitude. Mind you, he has always had the right attitude! Another young band I am really impressed with are ‘The Lapels’ who I saw play in Derby at a MOTM event the year before last. They completely blew the roof off the place, and nobody wanted to go on after them! The drummer was only 14yrs old at the time I think, and I watched them play with his mum! (2) You were just 18 when you were cast to play spider in Quadrophenia. I am sure you have been asked this many times before but did you think Quadrophenia would become the phenomenon it is today at the time of filming. Of course I didn’t know that I’d still be being asked questions about a film I was in 40yrs ago, but, I think we all knew at the time that it was definitely something special (3) On Christmas 2017 you released a song called “Modding up your Christmas list” to become number one. Have you any plans to do this again in the future. “Very catchy tune by the way LOVED IT” HAHAHAHA..My Mod Xmas Song? Well, I actually got a hell of a lot of flak for doing that by certain people who shall remain permanently nameless. But it was great fun to do, and a lot of people loved it, especially the kids. I had people sending me videos of their children doing dance routines in their living rooms, which was brilliant! But no, I don’t think I’ll be the next Cliff Richard.
Modding Up My Christmas List- 2017 (Official Video) (4) You have been involved in many MOD and Quadrophenia events over the years. Is this something you enjoy being part of and do you have any memorable moments from any of the events that stand out. Yes I do enjoy all the events I get asked to. Over the years I must have met thousands of people who love Quadrophenia, and it’s always a great feeling when my presence can actually help to raise money for a worthy cause. Some of the funniest memories I have are probably un-printable, but trying to get a kebab in Stoke at three in the morning with Alan May (The Glory Boy Radio Show) doing Withnail & I impersonations sticks firmly in my memory! (5) Your character in Quadrophenia had many memorable quotes in the film. What is the one that fans mention the most? Always the one about getting a gun! (6) Your book “I think I’m on the guest list” published by New Haven publishing LTD in 2015 was highly regarded and recommended. I found the book to be a very funny memoir of your life and the extraordinary people you have worked with and met throughout your career. Can your briefly describe the book to someone who has not yet read it. The book was actually written because of Gary Holton (The Rocker who beats Spider up) Gary and I became really good mates after Quadrophenia, and actually formed a band together called ‘The Actors.’ But when Gary sadly died in 1985 I never spoke to the press or anyone else for that matter about it. Then I was contacted 30yrs later by someone who was writing a book about him and wanted a contribution from me. I wanted to put the record straight about a few things, so I agreed. The publishers of the book loved what I’d written, so I was offered a publishing deal for my own story. I thought I’d better do it myself before I was dead and some other twat was ‘putting things straight’ about me! It’s certainly not your average autobiography I think, and later on this year I will be doing an Audio Version with a soundtrack, which will be totally different to anything you’ve ever heard I hope.
(7) Many fans of Quadrophenia have expressed an interest in a follow up to the film. Is this something that you would support? or like myself do you feel it is best left alone. There has always been talk of a “follow up” But I can’t see that ever happening. It’s always interesting to hear some of the Ideas of what our characters would have been doing in later life though. I think Spider would’ve become a hit-man for Ferdy’s drugs cartel!
(8) You are a huge fan of Trojan records, what is your favourite track, album or artist under the Trojan label. Yes I grew up with the Trojan record label, and one of the first artists I remember driving my parents mad with was Desmond Dekker. But I’ve always loved reggae and had a very respectable collection of Jamaican Pre- Releases by the tender age of 13. Last November, I was proudly invited by Neville and Christine Staple to their 50th Trojan Anniversary weekend at ‘Skamouth’ In Great Yarmouth where I actually met ‘The Pioneers’ who were about 100yrs old. They could still cut it though! (9) This year (2019) marks the 40th anniversary of Quadrophenia (film). To celebrate this, you have organised, and event called Quad 40 in Brighton on the 25th of August 2019. Tell us a little bit about what to expect from the event and where fans can buy tickets. It’s actually on the 25th August Johnny! Yes I have hired Horatios Bar on Brighton Pier from 12 noon ‘till midnight on Sunday the 25th August. And I can tell you now that I never thought I had this much bottle to actually try and pull something like this off. It’s a logistical fu**ing nightmare, but I’m actually really enjoying it. I’ve spoken to almost all of the other cast members of Quad who have all promised to attend (work permitting) but trying to get us all in the same country together is hard enough, let alone on a bleedin’ pier! On that morning before the actual party, Quadrophenia is being honoured with ‘The Brighton Music Walk Of Fame Plaque’ to be unveiled at the pier entrance, so it would be great if there were a few mods about. Tickets and details available at www.quad40.co.uk
(10) A question received by Jimmy Hemstead follower of Mods of Your Generation and Blogger at MOD TV UK “HI Gary in your younger days was you ever a mod and did you ever own a scooter, can you tell me when and how you got into acting and why please?” Hi Jimmy, love all your art-work by the way!No, I was far too young to be a mod; I was born in 1959, so I was only 5yrs old in 64 and the only scooter I owned was made by ‘Chad Valley.’I never had any ambitions to become a professional actor at all when I was a youngster, but somehow found my way into drama school at the age of 12, thanks to my parents and a couple of Comprehensive High School Teachers who probably just wanted me just out of the way!Quadrophenia was my first professional job when I left. (11) Do you have any plans to release more music, Books etc or what are you doing now that we can look forward to in the future? Yes, I will definitely be writing another book I think, but not part 2 of my autobiography, that would just be a bloody diary. It will probably be about my time working in the advertising industry in the 1990s. You think actors and musicians are crazy? They’ve got nothing on advertising people! Musically though, I never really stop. I had a solo album out last year called ‘Daze Like This’ (see below) which a lot of people liked, and I guested on ‘The Transmitters’ debut album which was great, although I hear that they have now split up. I’ve also recorded a couple of tracks with Steve ‘Smiley’ Barnard which are on his ‘Smiley’s Friends’ albums, and I’m back in the studio in a couple of months with ‘The Regents’ for their new album. I’m always writing though, and will hopefully record some of my own stuff probably next year now.
Title track from the album “Daze Like This” (12) Do you keep in touch with any of the main characters of Quadrophenia 40 years on? Yes, I see quite a lot of Trevor Laird (Ferdy) and I’ve recently been working with Toyah. Hopefully I’ll be seeing the others soon
(13) What do you regard as your biggest achievement in your career or what are you most proud of? I actually don’t think like that. Everything that keeps me off of the unemployed statistics is an achievement these days! I am extremely proud of my family though, and very recently became a granddad to a beautiful baby girl called Ellie May. I’m very proud about that! (14) In 1988 you appeared as the tough pimp “Billy White” in the tv series of “Jack the Ripper”. Sir Michael Caine also appeared in the series as Chief Inspector Frederick. Caine was a huge influence on British Culture in the 1960’s and referred to by many as a style icon.What was it like working with such an influential person in British pop culture? Making ‘Jack The Ripper’ in 1988 was like a dream come true, and working on a film with Sir Michael Caine was an experience I shall never forget. He was so interesting to watch, whilst he was working on camera, and I learnt a great deal from him. Everywhere you looked on that set there was something extraordinary going on in the acting stakes. Lewis Collins, Armand Assante, Susan George, Jane Seymour, Lysette Anthony, Ray McAnally, Hugh Fraser, Ken Bones etc etc.They were all giving it their all. I was just glad I gave it mine!
(15) Finally, How would you like to be remembered? Just to be remembered at all would be nice! Again it was a massive privilege to interview Gary shail and a big thank you to followers of “Mods Of Your Generation”, Please continue to show your support. Please like & share the “Mods Of Your Generation” Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/modsofyourgeneration/ interview conducted by Johnny Bradley for “Mods Of Your Generation”interview (C) 2019 to Johnny Bradley & “Mods of your Generation”
Established in 2011 The Great Skinhead Reunion Brighton was designed to bring Skinhead back home to where it was born in the 1960´s When the Mods and Rockers came to Brighton and hit the headlines, establishing their own youth culture. From those early Mods came the Skinheads, who embraced the new music coming in from Jamaica known as Ska. The Jamaican immigrants to the UK mixing with British working class kids with style and attitude, to form a new youth culture.
The second wave of Skinhead began to build in the mid 70´s with the birth of Punk Rock in 76, this time musically the Skinheads adopting the Punk rock sound and aggro of the football terraces, Working class bands forming and putting out their own angry antisocial messages in music, frightening the media into a frenzy of misinformation, who promoted the image of hyper violent bootboys and girls on the loose. This was a time of major political unrest in the UK and extremist groups tried to recruit within working class culture, often targeting Skinheads and football supporters, in the hope of win one, win them all pack mentality.
By 79 The skinheads were on the fightback and in London with bands like Madness and Badmanners, linked with British Midlands such as Coventry bands The Specials. The Selector and The Beat and created the 2tone label, which firmly mixed black and white youth together against this media onslaught.
In 1981 came the next wave. Oi! music was unleashed by Sounds magazine, bringing back the angry streetpunk energy and protest into the Skinhead subculture, once again giving the media and movie makers something to chew on.
Over the years the pendulum swung back and forth, but against all the odds Skinhead in its genuine form found its way across the world, connecting the Working class of Britain with mainland Europe, during the cold war even into communist Eastern block, then across to USA, South America, and in modern times, Indonesia to pretty much every westernised nation.
At the Great Skinhead Reunion Brighton you will find the most genuine, real and very friendly welcoming event in Skinhead history. Real people who have lived the life, mixing with new faces just coming in. We actively search for new acts to showcase and tour. We reunite old bands and give them a stage to play, we encourage scene DJ´s from across the worldwide scene, to play and network. Together all of us taking the scene forward, learning from previous mistakes, without selling out our principals of a true Working class subculture. The reunion invites everyone to attend, be you a skinhead or just someone wanting to be part of the event, interested and wanting a great fun weekend. We also actively support charities every year.
FULL 3 DAYS EVENT, YOUR WRISTBAND IS VALID THROUGH OUT, YOU CAN USE IT FOR AS LITTLE, OR AS MUCH AS YOU WANT. THE EVENT WILL SELL OUT.
WRISTBANDS GIVE YOU FULL ACCESS TO ALL THE EVENT, THREE FULL DAYS AND NIGHTS OF ENTERTAINMENT, 12 BANDS, 10 DJ’S PLUS A SPECIAL PRE PARTY BEACH BBQ ON THURSDAY PRE PARTY
The line-up maybe subject to change, as so many band members and dj’s are involved, alcohol, world wars and famine can be unforeseen, but the Great Skinhead Reunion, is more about coming to Brighton to see all your friends and making some more, for 3 full days of mayhem.
SKINHEAD ONLY HOTELS .
Add to your experience, by getting a room in our Skinhead only hotels. Conveniently located, with a short walk to the venue, and no moaning neighbours to worry about. The rooms vary in size and cost, to fit your needs. all within an easy walk to the skinhead reunion venue. We have hotels exclusive to the Great Skinhead Reunion guests and bands. Party party !! please email email@example.com with your requirements, to be booked into the Skinhead Hotels
For those on a low budget, its worth checking Hostels and campsites, but my advice, is to get in the reserved hotels, for a nice stress free, clean and comfortable holiday in Brighton.
Brighton is situated on the south coast of England, approximately one hour from London. London Gatwick is the nearest airport. There are regular direct trains and National Express buses. The next nearest is Heathrow, We Strongly advise NOT to fly to Stansted or Luton as this is a long way and expensive UK public transport, but if you have no choice then use National Express buses from those airports, which you need to book in advance to get cheaper rates, and you risk losing valuable drinking time
The nearest ferry port serving mainland Europe is Newhaven -Dieppe . Newhaven is about 20 min drive to Brighton. Dover is about 2 hours to Brighton
PARKING ZONES – one of the worst aspects of Brighton, is a lack of affordable parking. my advice is to use street parking on the suburbs of Brighton, its a reasonably safe place. a good bus service will take you into brighton centre (churchill square) and a short walk from there to the sea front. worth allowing the extra hours work, to save yourself serious parking charges. Wilson Avenue is about the nearest free street parking to the venue, jump on a local bus back into town.
All Event Enquiries email Symond at firstname.lastname@example.org. phone (uk) 07733096571
Brighton can lay claim to being a big part of the birth of Skinheads. During the Mods and Rockers battles of the 1960’s when London lads would descend on the South Coast for bank holidays to Peacock and cause ‘Bovver’ the term Skinhead was born, to describe the short haired Mods.
Becoming probably the biggest and longest standing of all the youth fashion subcultures, Skinhead has matured and now become a worldwide community. Distinctly recognized by almost military shaven head, boots and braces. The real skinhead is a working class product of the British council estate ‘salt of the earth character’ fiercely proud of his identity,with an obsession for clothing, style and music, equaled only with his love of beer.
On the first weekend of every June, since 2011, Brighton has seen an ever increasing number of Skinheads and their lovely Skinhead Girls invade Brighton. Boots, Braces, pristine clothing and a cheeky smile. Attracting scene members from right across the globe, to Madeira Drive, overlooking the beach. A full three days of Skinhead related entertainment is laid on. DJ’s playing hyper rare vinyl, from the early days of Jamaican Ska, through to modern day Street Punk and Oi. Live bands hit the stage of the Volks bar each night. With various aftershows happening until the early hours, to keep the party buzzing.
SubCulture are three youthful, passionate, energetic cool teenage lads reigning from Nottingham. They are a mod inspired band which is reflected in their sound and image. Their performance is energy fuelled with a know nonsense approach to putting on an incredible performance. They remind many fans of a revamped, young band we all know and love called The Jam. They stand out amongst other bands on the scene as they favour a sharper look that makes them stand out and in turn defines who they are.They perform a variety of covers however they have released much of their own material which is superbly written and executed. Recently the band released their new single ‘The Kids don’t Dance’ which is brilliant and actually something anyone can dance to. They are taking the East Midlands by storm, I have know doubt these three lads will go onto have a successful career. I wish them all the best in all there future endeavours and i am sure they wont disappoint as they continue to gig and release more music. These lads are definitely ones to keep an eye on so make sure to follow them on their social media platforms and keep up to date with future gigs as they may be performing near you soon. Band MembersOliver Orton-Guitarist/Vocalist Lewis smith-Bassist Declan Mills-Drummer
(1) You all went to the same school together, What bought you together as friends? I’ve known Declan since we were in primary school. From about the age of 4. Long before any of us could even play an instrument. With Lewis, I met him in my 3rd year of secondary school. He had guitar lessons with the same teacher I had at the time and his lesson would always be scheduled for after mine, so we would talk for a bit before going back to lesson. One thing led to another and we became friends through those guitar lessons really. (2) Can you tell me something that people may not know about you as a band? One of our first proper gigs was at a micro pub in Nottingham and it consisted of us playing about 15 or so covers songs.
(3) How did you then go onto to form the band? Both Me and Dec took music in school and as a requirement you had to play an instrument. I already had been playing guitar for years, but Declan decided to give the drums a go… And that’s how that started. With lewis, like I mentioned, he used to have guitar lessons so he knew how to play the guitar, which came in handy one lunchtime, as we had decided to mess around in one of the practice rooms since we were bored. The result of that was Me on guitar, Dec on the drums, and lewis on the bass….
(4) Who are your musical inspirations as a band and as a musician? Our musical inspirations and band inspirations are out of the same mould. With bands such as, The Jam, The Who, Small Faces and Secret Affair, to Sex Pistols, The Clash, to Madness etc.
(5) The band is heavily influenced by the mod scene in regards to your sound and fashion. How did each of you get into the scene and who or what influenced you? My parents grew up with the music, and I discovered it when I was around 14, and since then it’s just been like a snowball effect. In regards to Lewis & Dec, I think the whole thing fell naturally after deciding back in the school this is what we will do with the band.
(6) You have released your new EP ‘The Kids don’t dance’ where can fans buy the EP and how would you describe it? The Kids Don’t Dance to me is something you could dance to. Even given the name. It’s not strictly 60’s, Motown or soul, but it’s most definitely got those influences injected into it. The single is available to buy online as a 7″ vinyl record from www.heavysoul45s.co.uk
SubCulture The Kids Don’t Dance (Official Video) (7) Who writes the bands material? All the songs are written by me. It always starts out sat with an acoustic guitar at home.
(8) What would you like to achieve it as a band and how do you wish to Achieve it? If at any point we could make this our sustainable living, it would be great. It’s what we love to do after all. As for how, well we’d like to keep progressing and moving with it. We don’t want to put the brakes on. We’ve got something and we want to run with it.
(9) Since the band formed in 2016, What has people’s reactions been to your sound and energetic performances on stage? We’ve had some smashing reviews and met some great people from gigging. The way they’ve have taken to us really is fantastic. We’ve had people say they want us to do well, and it’s cool to have a backing from what was a few minutes previous, a complete stranger.
(10) If you could be in any band in history which band would it be? Now this could be the million dollar question. Literally. It’s a tough one. Maybe a band that have a Christmas hit so we could live off of the royalties all year round….How about Slade? But in all seriousness, we model ourselves off of the mod scene and I think The Who would be a wise choice. It seems like it would quite good fun. (11) Can we expect more singles to be released in future or an album?Yes! We try to release as much of our own music as we can. In fact, a new single isn’t too far on the horizon…
SubCulture – Young (12) Where can fans purchase your music and keep up to date with latest gigs? All our music is available on the usual digital platforms such as Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, Google and the rest, as well as on vinyl from Heavysoul45s.co.uk. All our gigs are posted on our Facebook page, along with regular updates, photos, videos etc. (13) You perform a variety of covers. What is your favourite to perform and why? We don’t really have a favourite cover song to play, however we would say there’s definitely certain songs that go down a storm at gigs. To name just a few would be Sha la la la lee, My Generation, Town Called Malice, Too much too young. (14) What message would you like to give all your fans and supporters? Just to thank them for the continued support they give us and for the faith they have in us. It’s that kind of thing that spurs us on.
(15) Where would you like to be in 5 years from now and what can we we all look forward to? Well wherever we are, we’d like to be able to look back at the past 5 years and say that they meant something. Interview by Johnny Bradley for Mods Of Your GenerationInterview Credit – Mods Of Your Generationphoto & Video credit to SubCulture
I came across ‘Stinger’ after seeing a post on Facebook an illustrated book based on Quadrophenia. Intrigued by the beautifully painted images I wanted to find out more. I discovered that it was a kickstarter project and Immediately wanted to show my support and pledge. I then discovered Tina Freeman the lady behind the idea to find out more about her and the wonderful book. I asked her if she would like to feature in an interview to help promote it. We spoke on the phone and instantly hit it off as if we had known one another for years. We discussed Nicky Weller’s involvement as collaborator of the book and many of our common interests such as music and fashion. It was so exciting to hear all about the characters in the book and who they were based on. Tina described them to me with absolute passion & love for the project.As a father of three young children I am often asked ‘Dad what is Quadrophenia about?’ as it has been referenced many times at home. My children are not old enough to watch the film, therefore I was immediately excited to share this book with them. I felt extremely privileged to receive a soft back copy of the book from Tina. I sat with my children and read the book pointing out the many references to Quadrophenia and the mod scene as they eagerly listened to find out what adventures awaited ‘Stinger The Bell Bee’I highly recommended this book to anyone with a passion for the 60’s and Quadrophenia. This book is a great way to share your experiences and love for music & fashion with your children or grandchildren and inspiring the next generation. I hope you enjoy reading the interview as much as i did asking the questions.
1) Where did you grow up and how old were you when you discovered the mod scene? I grew up on a very 60s Housing Estate in Birmingham, lots of Flats, Maisonettes and lots of concrete ‘the planners dream gone wrong.’ There were a few cool Mod lads wandering around after the 79 Revival which intrigued me. I became a little Mod girl at the young impressionable age of 13. I got my first scooter, a Lambretta LD 150 before I was even old enough to drive it.
2) At what age did you discover you had a talent for drawing? Very young really, I used to copy all the Disney characters from my “Now I Know” comics from the age of three. 3) Who are your favourite bands or artists and the most influential to you as a teenager growing up? I had an infant school teacher who loved The Beatles, so I think my interest and love of the 60’s came from this. The first Mod band I listened to was The Jam. I loved the energy and passion, still do.Then I went through a blinkered phase of only listening to original R&B and soul. I think the bands most influential to me as an artist have to be The Small Faces and The Who.
4) What bands or music do you listen to now? I have much wider tastes these days. I think we are incredibly lucky under the “umbrella of Mod” to have so much to choose from. I think I would have got bored and moved away from the scene if we didn’t have that ever evolving attitude.Even if you just take Wellers’ life body of music, there are enough songs here to suit your ever changing moods, see what I did there?I paint to music; I really think it adds the magic to the process.At the moment I have True Meanings on my turntable, by Paul Weller. I am like a teenager again, playing it over and over, absolutely love it. I seem to be playing The Beatles a lot too, perhaps that is just because of my “A Bee Road” painting in my book.I also have a CD player (I know! how very modern of me) to listen to ‘Georgie the brightest star’ by The Electric Stars. It is a beautiful hymn about George Best who features in one of my future stories. 5) In the 90’s you shared an art Studio on King Street in Manchester and worked as a freelance illustrator. You also worked as a portrait artist for Manchester United. Tell us a little bit about your art studio and some of the footballers you did portraits of? I relocated to Manchester after working in North Wales. The studio was seriously cool, with a lovely old balcony overlooking King Street. I worked for some great Ad agencies and The Royal Mail as well as Man United. Along with other merchandise I did limited edition portraits of Ryan Giggs, Eric Cantona and Peter Schmeichel.
6) When did you draw the initial illustrations for the book and what inspired you to come up with the concept basing it on the mod scene and Quadrophenia? As a freelance illustrator I had worked on The Red Devil mascot character and Billy the Butlins Bear. I started thinking of a cool Wasp character to drive around on a Vespa.I had already produced a Who Collection of paintings and screen prints and had a few meetings with Trinifold Management. It was a bit of a light bulb moment for me when I realised, I could call the character ‘Sting’ and tie it into my love of Quadrophenia.I had two versions which I explained to Robert Rosenberg, one of a generic Wasp character tootling his way around Britain in The Sixties, the other very much based on Quad, using iconic scenes from the film which ultimately if animated should be very music driven.
7) Many of the characters in the book are based on members of your favourite bands & the Quadrophenia cast. Can you tell us a little bit about each character and who they are based on? Without wanting to give too much away, you can meet characters from Ace Mod Dog bands “The Whoof” and “The Cool Faces” with Ste Merrimutt. When I showed my portfolio of original paintings to Pete Townshend I was quite nervous. Luckily he liked his character “Pete Houndshend” and has been really encouraging. I am yet to meet Roger, although this is very much part of my wish list.
8) You showed Franc Roddam the director of Quadrophenia the illustrations and your idea to base the book on Quadrophenia. What were his thoughts and was he supportive of your plans? This was about 5 years ago, a very important piece in the jigsaw. I met Franc down in Brighton where he was doing a Q&A. He had mentioned that he had a two year old, and it would be a long time before he would get to know of Quadrophenia. I told him it might be sooner if he liked my story and showed him the first few watercolour paintings. I asked Franc if I could dedicate the book to his son, which he agreed.The story line and character evolved over the next few years, changing the name from Sting to Stinger to avoid copyright issues. I then made the decision to change him from a wasp into a much more lovable Bee Character. It felt right then, with him coming from Manchester, and having much more heart.
I met up with Franc again at The Teenage Cancer Trust event this January, where he introduced me to Sting, who just so happened to be sat at our table. It is very rare for him to attend a Quadrophenia event, so I was incredibly lucky. Sting loved the character and gave the book his full blessing, which was fantastic.
9) You met Nicky Weller at the Cunard Building in Liverpool, in the first few days of the Jam exhibition ‘About The Young Idea’. Can you explain how this led to collaborating with her to publish ‘Stinger’? I went along to The Jam exhibition as a fan and ended up being invited in to sell my ‘Quadrotina’ artwork in the shop. The next day was my birthday, and I had a surreal experience eating cupcakes with Nicky and Ann Weller. My “Quadwoofenia” collection of Dogs on Scooters sold really well, so I introduced a Bruce Foxtail, and Rick Boxer to the set. We had such a laugh over the 14 weeks coming up with new names and characters.It was at their literary event that I mentioned that I had a children’s book based on Quadrophenia. I sat down with Nicky and Den Davis who ‘got it’ completely, especially the concept of having it animated as a kids’ TV series or feature film.
10) Nicky introduced you to her brother Paul Weller. What were his thoughts on your artwork and your ideas and what other things did you discuss? The first time I met Paul he came into the shop at The Jam exhibition, for a cup of tea. Nicky showed him my “Paw Weller” Quadwoof pic. It was hilarious, not at all how I imagined it would be if I ever got to meet him. I met him recently at his studio with Nicky. He asked how the book was going on Kickstarter. In fact the night before we had smashed the target of over ten thousand pounds pledged. It was lovely to tell him the news; he seemed genuinely really chuffed for us. I told him how much I had enjoyed the walk through Delamere Forest for his gig the previous week. We chatted about the success of his latest tour, and the wonderful supporting Stone Foundation. He asked about my kids which meant the world to me.
11) What is the vision for Stinger? As I believe this book is the start of a series of books based around the 60’s and the mod scene. Stinger is the first of this series. I have this idea where different characters from Quadrophenia are developed and will have their own spin off adventures. I have had such fun with this concept, including what we know has happened to the actors after Quad. I would love different cast members to narrate the books, in the same way Phil Daniels recorded Stinger. To me Pete Townshend’s’ musical score is what really drives Quadrophenia. We are brilliant in this country at animation; just imagine combining a series with fantastic music and how much more it would connect with kids, hopefully watching with their parents and grandparents.I often find myself trying to explain what “a Mod is” to young children. It was easier for me to illustrate the concept of being ‘the best that you can be’ through Stinger. You never know, we might have a new little revival on our hands.
12) What was it like for you meeting Phil Daniels and the cast of Quadrophenia? Firstly can I say what an honour it is to know, and now work with some of the cast. Quadrophenia was my coming of age Teenage film, and certainly helped shape me as a young Mod, scooterist and artist. My friend and I would hire the video out most weekends and knew it word for word. Imagine how that feels now for me to be not only talking to but sharing my ideas creatively with my heroes.
I met Phil Daniels first, with Garry Cooper (aka Fenton) and Trevor Laird (Ferdy) at a brilliant Quad event in Widnes where I was invited by Rob Wright to sell my artwork. I showed them the initial ideas for Stinger and asked if they would consider doing the voice over’s playing their characters if I got it as far as an animated project.
I kept in touch with Trevor, who has been so kind and generous with his time, helping me to meet other actors such as Lesley Ash, Toyah, Gary Shail and Mark Wingett to move forwards with this dream.
13) When will the book be available to purchase and where can people get hold of it? Now we have reached our target, we have to get the hard backed collector’s edition version printed and have the record pressed with Stinger narrated by Phil Daniels.Those wonderful people who pledged to get the book printed will be the first to receive their copies. After that we will be holding a few special events such as an official launch with readings and signings.
14) What message would you like to give to those who have supported the book and to those who have pledged? Nicky Weller, our close knit team of designers Anthony Mulryan , Phil Dias and I am so very grateful to each and every person that pledged, shared our posts, and supported us through our first experience of Kickstarter.I always knew that I would have to come at this project from a different angle. A children’s book on Mods would be seen to have a very limited audience in the eyes of a publisher. I have been amazed how many normal (“Wot is normal then?”) fans the book has, of people of all ages and walks of life. I initially wrote it for Mods to enjoy with their kids and grandchildren, but found it has a much wider appeal.I think anything really written from the heart will find that connection with people, whether it be a shared love of music, scooters or just the pretty pictures.