Plan B Photographed In Skrewdriver T Shirt The Quietus , July 22nd, 2012 05:18
Has Ill Manors rapper had an attack of the Morrisseys?
As reported on Brian Whelan’s excellent blog recently, UK rapper/neo-soul star Plan B was photographed last week wearing a T shirt bearing the band name Skrewdriver.
The picture was taken from the front cover of popular free title, Shortlist which has a circulation of over half a million copies a week. The The Defamation Of Strickland Banks star was giving an interview to promote his new album and film (both called Ill Manors). The photoshoot took place immediately on his arrival at the studio, but it isn’t made clear if the clothes belong to the rapper or were given to him by a stylist.
The T shirt appears to bear a picture of Nicky Crane, a violent Nazi skin who provided security for Skrewdriver and served several jail terms for racist assaults. Donaldson and Crane both fell out when the latter came out as gay towards the end of his life. For many, the white power, bonehead band Skrewdriver represented the absolute nadir of popular music’s interaction with the Fascist movement, given that their message was evangelical, unironic, violent, radical and, to a certain degree, popular. That singer Ian Stuart Donaldson died in a car crash in 1992, did nothing to hurt their standing worldwide among neo-Nazis. The band however started as a non-politically aligned punk group in 1976 signed to Chiswick, and this incarnation of the group still has many fans internationally including J Mascis and Pink Eyes from Fucked Up. (Pink Eyes, aka Damian from Fucked Up, delivered a righteous screed on the subject of being a fan of the band’s early recordings on the Guardian which is worth checking out.) The interview with Benjamin Paul Ballance-Drew aka Plan B is still viewable on the Shortlist website where you can clearly see he is wearing the neo-Nazi band top. It seems highly unlikely that Plan B has accidentally revealed himself to be – or indeed is – a Nazi especially given his recent, left leaning and nuanced ‘Ill Manors’ single but it is ironic and doesn’t help him any that during the interview he praises Tim Roth’s acting in Made In Britain, Alan Clarke’s 1982 film about racist skinheads. He was asked: “Do you look at actors such as Winstone, Gary Oldman and Tim Roth and think, ‘I’d like to be at that level in 20 years’?” And replied: “Oh mate, Tim Roth in Made In Britain – f*cking amazing. In 20 years, I’d love to be at the level they’re at, but it depends how I look. Some people don’t age well for films. They lose that spark. Oldman’s still got it, Ray’s still got it. It all depends on what fate’s got in store for me.”Yet another example of a complete lack of knowledge or investigation by the media, but printed as fact.Well here’s the real story of the ‘T shirt’ the facts are Gavin Watson has done a bit of work with Plan B, and he loved Gavins skinhead photographs, he asked Gav could he use some, and Gavin gave him a whole box of images to choose from, which he then printed a few to t shirts, as a way of using genuine British street images, and also supporting Gavins photography.
But the picture in question, printed on the T shirt is one that Gavin Watson took of his younger brother Neville, who at the time was about 14 years old. Taken in the mid 1980’s on a council estate in High Wycombe at the height of the Skinhead Subculture. Posing against a garage, which has the word Skrewdriver graffitied on it. At that time it was very common for punk bands names to be graffitied all over the country. Gavins photographs have been printed worldwide and have come to represent Margaret Thatchers Britain. Gavin was given a camera as a kid and went about photographing his environment, family and friends, in a complete innocent love of photography. It just so happens that the time was when the British youth culture of Skinheads was at its height, of which Gavin was an active part. Films like ‘ This is England’ and many fashion designers and marketting people have used Gavins images as inspiration, but due to 21st Century political correctness, the actual era that the photos represent is something the British establishment would rather bury under a carpet. and even today, 30 years later the media are still spewing out their lies about the time and the young people involved. This obsession with belittling council estate kids, and anyone that tries to inspire them. i think its extremely brave and sincere of Plan B to take genuine images of real kids from the council estates that he now represents with his music. In the USA people like Biggy Smalls did that, with his own environment, to huge worldwide success. Yesterdays Skinheads who listened to Oi music, are no different than todays youth, listening to Grime . The more young people feel attacked and written off, outcast, the more chance they will take to the streets, as was seen last year in British cities and in 1981, with the previous generation. July 22, 2012 13:34
Plan B responds to NME ‘neo-Nazi’ t-shirt criticism
Rapper apologises, says he was unaware of the existence of Skrewdriver
Plan B has responded to criticism for a photograph which shows him wearing what appears to be a Skrewdriver t-shirt. The most recent issue of Shortlist shows the rapper sporting a top with the band’s name written on it. This prompted some commentators to question his motive. The New Statesman asked why the rapper had worn the T-shirt and quoted journalist Brian Whelan, who wrote on his blog: ” It is very unusual that Plan B would knowingly wear this t-shirt and that Shortlist would stick it on the front of their publication. Make no mistake about it Skrewdriver were a nasty bunch, [founding member] Ian Stuart became a martyr for the far-right when he died in a car crash almost 20 years ago.” The rapper has now released a statement, which has been posted on The Quietus, explaining that the garment was not an official Skrewdriver t-shirt. He also apologised for not knowing who the band were, or what they represented. He said: “I was ignorant to the existence of the band Skrewdriver. I don’t listen to music like that so I wouldn’t know the names of bands that make that music. I was wearing a T-shirt I created using a photograph from the photographer Gavin Watson’s book Skins. “I asked him if I could print shots from his book on to T-shirts. I made a number of these T-shirts. Gavin’s photos are relevant to me because they represent the demonised youth of the past. Just like my generation of young people are demonised in the media to all be hoodie wearing thugs and chavs so were the skinheads in the 80’s.” Speaking about the person on the T-shirt, who some thought to be former Skrewdriver associate Nicky Crane, Plan B explained: “Most of the T-shirts I had made were of his brother. The boy on the image is Neville Watson. Neville is Gavin Watson’s brother. The graffiti behind him is graffiti. Neither Gavin or Neville put it there; it was already there when Gavin took the photo. Gavin did not know I had printed that image on a T-shirt and I was not aware of the significance of it.” He concluded: “The minute I found out what the words on the T-shirt meant I was angry with myself for not questioning them. The T-shirt is not official nor is it on sale anywhere. It was of my own doing and therefore it is my mistake, but that is all it is.” Skrewdriver were a notorious neo-Nazi “white power” group with links to the National Front. Founding member Ian Stuart Donaldson died in a car crash in 1993 and his death is celebrated every year by the far-right movement. Shortlist’s interview with Plan B can still be viewed on their website, where he talks about his favourite actors and movies as well as his own film, and accompanying album, Ill Manors.