4 Skins – Clockwork Fun Records – 1981

One Law For Them

Brave New World

Oh dear, what have I done?

Uploading the 4 Skins debut 7″ single on St George’s Day of all days!

I can feel the backlash already writing this piffle, and myself having to explain that I am in fact, not sympathetic to the lowest common denominator in ‘Street Punk’ or as Bushell lovingly called the small movement around the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, ‘Oi!’.

The lowest common denominator meaning extreme right wing politics, and extreme macho stances outside off licence’s and inside gig venues all over towns,  all over the country, with boot soup as standard fare.

This band claimed “not guilty” on the charges above, and there is no doubt of the extremely powerful performances on both sides of this debut single, a single that was released just before the band’s most publicised split. The single was released shortly after the Southall gig with Last Resort and The Business in support. This gig in Southall ended up in the pub venue being burnt down by some members of the local community, and fighting spreading onto the street until a full scale riot took place, making news headlines in all the media outlets at the time, all over the world.

The single although being made ‘Single Of The week’ in Sounds (where else?), sold poorly due to failed distribution. Not many copies got into the shops to be sold into the hand’s of the public. Not many shops took the risk of stocking it.

Gary Hodges the gravel voice vocalist, left the band, which I guess could be considered admirable in the context of what had happened on that night in Southall, never (to my knowledge) to bother with fronting a band again. The guitarist also upped and left the band.

Though the band claimed not guilty to anyone who would listen, in media circles, with regards to the various bigoted views allegedly held by the band, including racism, many members of the band’s audience were (I am in no doubt whatsoever) either, paid up racist party members or extreme hardcore hooli’s for various football firms.

I guess the 4 Skin’s got judged on the company they kept, and continued to keep through various other lesser line up’s of this band through to the mid 1980’s, line ups that I know next to nothing about, and own nothing on vinyl or tape.

Feel free to slag off this post, I reckon a few eyebrow’s will be raised as it is not really KYPP material. It is a great single though, and the fact that two members left the band and distanced themselves somewhat from the Oi! scene during the Southall aftermath, to me speaks volumes of those specific members of this band.

Then again I could be mistaken and will no doubt be corrected if this is the case…

80 comments
  1. Skanker
    Skanker
    March 19, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    So are or were the 4Skins ever racist???? Can someone help me out? I have almost all their albums and didnt think of them to be. And i was surprised to see that their manager was ex British National Party. 🙁 and what was with their guitarist Paul Swain? Couldnt find much info on him. And was that all about their manager? Thanx to all.
    ARA!

  2. Mark
    Mark
    March 21, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    i could be totally wrong but did Paul Swain not end up as a member of Skrewdriver (in their full on “white power” days – not their original Decca Records ones) after he left the 4 Skins?

    if i am wrong i am sorry for accusing anybody of being a member of that despicable bunch of ballbags…

  3. Sparky
    Sparky
    March 21, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    No you’re right. and their manager, Gary Hitchcock, was an active nazi from BM days in the ’70s till heading up Combat 18 & Blood + Honour throughout the 90s.

    Always careful to proclaim they *weren’t a NF band* back in the day. True. they were a BM band !!

    note ‘unreconstructed’ original lyrics to Chaos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7mnijoDVu0

    as if this Powell-speech referencing verse from ‘One Law…’ didn’t make their position obvious enough:

    We’ve been warned of rivers of blood
    See the trickle before the flood
    Pretend nothing happened, make no fuss
    One law for them, One for us

  4. a bit ignorant
    a bit ignorant
    March 23, 2010 at 12:13 am

    Please excuse my ignorance, but can someone explain the meaning of that verse. And what are the original “unreconstructed” lyrics to chaos?

  5. John no last name
    John no last name
    March 23, 2010 at 4:29 am

    that verse is referencing the famous Enoch Powell “Rivers of Blood” speech which was basically a call to arms against immigration and contained several horror stories about old ladies being terrorized by ‘negroes’. I doubt Gary Hodges had ever actually heard it, but probably felt like he got the gist of it enough to reference it.

    People that hadn’t actually heard the speech thought Enoch was saying “there will be rivers of blood on the streets when the race war starts”, but in reality it was a reference to the fall of the Roman Empire with a phrase about “the River Tiber foaming with much blood.”

    The trickle before the flood it basically saying “it’s already starting” and “one law for them one law for us” was something in public that the band said was about one law for the rich and one for the poor, but in reality was talking about how to them the idea of racial equality gave non-whites an advantage.

    So to answer the question were the 4-skins racist, the question really needs to be phrased “did the 4-skins ever public admit to being racist?” and the answer is “no”.

    That said Martin C’s assertion that they weren’t racist they just didn’t like blacks or asians was pretty much spot on. I mean really you’re a skinhead band with a nazi following and you play a show in Southhall? What did they think was going to happen? It would be like the Anti-Nowhere League playing Greenham common and then acting shocked at the resulting castration.

    The Upstarts also had a huge nazi skin following and Mensi always let them know exactly where he stood on that issue, the fact that the 4-skins always danced around actually admitting they were racist without ever denying that they were pretty much made it really clear.

    The next question has to be, at this point in time who cares?

    I’m sure like most nazi skinheads they either discovered drugs and got over that little phase or came out of the closet and aren’t quite so angry any more.

  6. Kerr Ray Z. Fokker
    Kerr Ray Z. Fokker
    March 24, 2010 at 9:28 am

    “I’m sure like most nazi skinheads they either discovered drugs and got over that little phase or came out of the closet and aren’t quite so angry any more.”

    Don’t bank on it. Most are still alive and still largely unrepentant. Very few discovered drugs. Perhaps you are thinking of the postcard skinhead face tatt crowd who hung around the Dilly? They were just rent boys and druggies to begin with. No loss to the master race there.

    But yeah, as I posted two years ago, 4 skins were a closet BM band.

    As for racism in general, we are all the products of the society we live in; and that does include constant exposure to its more ‘unenlightened’ values. Some are proud of those values, some feel guilty about them, most never give it a second thought. No less then than today. Only difference today, are far as racial prejudice is concerned, is that we are now a firmly multicultural society and overt racism seems rather silly and pointless to most young kids. Unless you read the Daily Mail, of course.

  7. a bit ignorant
    a bit ignorant
    March 24, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Daily mail? Do you mean the media? But yeah there is still a lot of nazi skins everywhere. Don’t you remember Oi! Fest 09 with the Stupid Vinlanders?

  8. Kerr Ray Z. Fokker
    Kerr Ray Z. Fokker
    March 24, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    Racialist skins, except for a few oddballs, disappeared here (London) around ’82. Most became casuals. Very few changed their politics. Even now. Just google ‘English Defence League’ etc and you can see a watered down version of the same fears and stupidities writ large. Ditto for the lefty student lollypop wankers and their current UAF incarnation. Same old, same old. Put ’em all on an island I say……

  9. a bit ignorant
    a bit ignorant
    March 25, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    whoops. Oi Fest 08*

  10. RiotRiot
    RiotRiot
    April 23, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    John no last name
    No they werent a racist band… go through all of there lyrics and interviews etc and it becomes quite clear of there stance – and disillusionment with all parties, left and right. Think your right about the quote but the song was primarily about the class divide… think that the band were open about Hitchcocks prior politics but that he had disowned it in the late 70s/early 80s…

    The gig at Southall was part of a tour of the London area, at a well know rock/mod/punk venue… they didnt have a nazi following, the bonehead nazis etc followed Ian Stuarts drivel at the time… and see below

    Kerr
    A closet BM band? Nah especially as the BM hated them with a vengance especially one member who was part of giving the the BM leader guard a hammering at Barking… the reason for that? because the bonehead BM started on an ex skin from Becontree who happended to be black.

    Agree that there were a sizeable element of young, easily influenced skins around the early 80s – to me there actually werent skins but glue sniffers with crops, no style and like bloody sheep – but there were also quite a few where clued up as well, easily to sterotype us all though! To be honest werent keen on the Oi stuff myself.

  11. Kerr Ray Z. Fokker
    Kerr Ray Z. Fokker
    April 24, 2010 at 8:53 am

    We’ll agree to disagree about those times. As I said, things were very different back in those dark days. We’ve all moved on. Well, some of us have….

    Btw, Skrewdriver invented the genre (in their All Skrewed Up days) so cunting them off doesn’t really impress me. At least Ian Stuart had the arsehole to nail his colours to the mast unlike 90% of Bushell’s minions. And they were more popular than any other band. Fact. Why do you think they reformed in ’81? Had they toned down the politics, they could have been huge.

    And Skinhead mark II (’77-’83) WAS all about shaven-headed punks. The London scene only happened cos of the Sham army. The only possible ‘originals’ were the older Ladbroke Grove, Elm Park, Becontree etc and they had more or less ditched the scene by the late 70s anyway. So that hardly makes the 4-skins look very authentic, does it?

    I personally think that the Mods and Casuals of the time were the closest to the original ’69 skins; music, dress and attitude wise. Certainly not the oi! skins.

  12. RiotRiot
    RiotRiot
    April 24, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    Kerr

    Agree, we agree to disagree…and times move on..

    Not cunting Skrewdriver per se – and certainly not trying to impress you, dont even know you – well the original band but what Stuart came back with in the 80s…he also visited all the press at the time telling them he wasn’t right wing as well at the same time as wearing german helmets down the 100 Club and sieg heillng on stage…it was drivel and can’t compare for the All Skrewed Up or the prior singles. Dont think he could tone it down as he was already identified as the face of NF/BM music.

    Interesting view on the 77-83 all being shavenheaded punks, totally disagree with that, a large number of us weren’t in 77-78 even in 79 but more and more of the bald, high boots and bleached jeans kept on appearing as the sterotype took root. In my circles – including the Becontree as it goes – ome, a small few, stayed as skins into 80/81/82, some had already moved into mod or proto casual around 78/79 and into the early 80s and then the change to casual. Think the first 4 Skins lineup, from what I remember, were all of that 77/78 ilk and wouldnt consider them the same as what came later…and their audiences were very mixed affairs, not all bald punks!

    Agree with the mods and casuals bit, but most of the hardcore of the 77/78 skins had moved into those circles already… Fully agree that the 80s skins – not all but the majority – did develop away from the original ethos – which many of the 77/78 lot did embrace, recall an article in Sounds with Terry M on it, but these things happen but wasnt my cup of tea to be honest.

  13. a bit ignorant
    a bit ignorant
    April 25, 2010 at 5:03 am

    Dunno. I heard that Gary Hodges even changed some of the lyrics at the East Coast Oi! Fest 08 in Allentown, PA about not living in “muslim land” and “killing them before they kill us.” Didn’t attend the show but I think there is some vids of it around the net.

  14. RiotRiot
    RiotRiot
    April 25, 2010 at 9:46 am

    If he did, and if there is any real evidence, then he is 1) entitled to his views obviously but, in my opinion 2) a fucking idiot…

    But then again then I remember – all those years ago – that someone put a story about about Roi Pearce saying something along the lines of ‘this is for all the n-ers’ on a live album when in fact it was ‘this is for all the gay vicars hanging around train stations – for the song Johnny go Home, based around a real life person who said he was a vicar but preyed on youngsters coming to London.

    Got to be honest, what the fuck is a band reforming with one member about anyway? Just squeezing out a few more pounds from the punters.

  15. Kerr Ray Z. Fokker
    Kerr Ray Z. Fokker
    April 27, 2010 at 7:51 am

    Good posts, RiotRiot.

    Apologies for any digs but I thought you were a Bushellite and not a realist. (His self-serving nonsense really pisses me off).

    Still not sure if Skinhead mark II would have happened without the energy and aggression of punk. And if it had done surely it would have come out of the later 2 tone revival instead of Sham, Menace, Cock sparrer etc (btw, I think the 2 tone revival also had punk overtones). My older brother was an original skin (first ever music I remember was Trojan records) and he seemed a world apart from the Sham Army. The original skins never even liked Slade so how could they have ever warmed to Sham? Plus the right-wing thing (which contrary to the revisionists was pretty much obligatory if you followed Sham – even if a lot of it was just to piss off Mr Pursey) might also have partially evolved out of the spiky-haired’s early obsession with swastikas. I found it rather laughable seeing skins wearing Nazi armbands to gigs and not getting the irony of it all.

    But, definitely agree, as I said in earlier post, that the early revival skins (’77-’78) were more in tune with the originals. It was still a hybrid imho but at least it retained a lot of the original characteristics. As you say, bleachers and knee-length boots was not really very stylish.

    One controversial point though, how come the Ladbroke Grove lot have largely got written out of the history books? I even read the wikipedia article the other day and it quotes the usual Hoxton Tom inspired press handout on the revival days. To my mind, they were probably the first big skinhead mob of the modern era. Is this the usual West Ham braggadocio coming into play? (“We won a world cup, honest guv!” – yeah I know Tom was spurs but the point still stands) or is there something else besides football jealousies at work here? Was the east/west London divide really that big? I knew a few from both sides and they really did not get on. Seemed to be the Millwall/WHU equivalent of the revival days. Any ideas on that one?

    One final question. Who started the rift between the punks and skins? Was it the Lurkers punks or the Sham skins? Was never at the gigs that started it all (Lyceum and New Roxy?) so always ask that one. Of course, the answers are usually based on whether one was a punk or a skin at the time but I find it interesting nonetheless.

  16. Martin C
    Martin C
    April 27, 2010 at 10:00 am

    The question I’m dying to ask Ray is, do you remember Harry the Dog, Bobby the Wolf and the Treatment? Never mind cobweb tats and DMs, I thought dressing up as brain surgeons was the real punk

  17. Sam
    Sam
    April 27, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Ah…the Millwall/Devo connection.

  18. Kerr Ray Z. Fokker
    Kerr Ray Z. Fokker
    April 27, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    “Yes, he wore a hat and had a job and brought home the bacon so no one knew….”

    Yes, that’s me. One chromosome too many. lol.

    Treatment are still about and occasionally don the surgical masks for old times sake. ‘F Troop’ have had their ranks depleted somewhat. ‘Mad Pat’ got murdered ages ago. ‘Harry’ is also brown bread or so I heard.

    Bobby is still going strong…..(and still loves norverners)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqADIQ1cM0U

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVrvBkcCcsc

  19. a bit ignorant
    a bit ignorant
    April 28, 2010 at 12:46 am

    to RiotRiot,

    You can find the videos of East Coast Oi! Fest ’08 all around. The 4 skins were the headliners and the fest was filled with a lot of right wing bands. The show was even promoting the Vinlanders, not even a band, but a well-known US White Power organization. WP/Antifa riot before the 4 skins set. They left and played the next day. The odd thing is that the original East coast Oi Fest in 06 had trojan/sharp bands like The Radicts and others, even punk bands Blanks 77, Agent Orange, and even Murphys Law. But being in Allentown, PA the lineups sure have changed. “Supposedly” the local Philly ARA had the East Coast Oi! Fest 2010 canceled, says the show’s promoters. The 4 Skins were supposed to play this one too I think.

  20. Sam
    Sam
    April 28, 2010 at 12:51 am

    I knew someone who used to go down to Millwall in the seventies supporting Chelsea. He said Treatment used to stand on the railway bridges and howl like wolves at them as they passed underneath. Something in me misses the feudalism of the seventies.

  21. Kerr Ray Z. Fokker
    Kerr Ray Z. Fokker
    April 28, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Yes, wolf howls and demonic monks chants, the fellas back then certainly knew how to intimidate. One of the railway bridges before you entered the away end used to have ‘——- THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE, TURN BACK NOW!’ with the name of the next visiting team being painted in every few weeks. Very few even made it to the ground. Remember a couple of seasons where no one showed. Funniest one was in the early 80s, at a night game, when some northern team brought one solitary supporter with a flag. He was segregated and surrounded by old bill in the away end for the entire match. With five minutes to go, the whole ground started to gesture at him and sing “YOU’LL NEVER MAKE THE STATION!” So what did he do? He cheekily grinned and waved back! This was followed by one of the almightiest cheers I have ever heard. Loads thought we had scored. The legend goes that after the game he was taken down the Old Kent Rd and treated like royalty for the night, arriving back home legless after a night on the milk train. Cynic that I am, I actually suspect that he just got an escort back to the station. But who knows?

  22. Sam
    Sam
    April 28, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Nice story Kerr. Just before I came over to the States I went with Si (Heretics bassist) to see West Ham (my team) play Chelsea. I hid my West Ham away top under a jacket but you could still see a bit of claret. We stood in the Shed. Oh…the venom. A West Ham player got fouled close to where we stood. “I hope it FUCKING hurt you West Ham CUNT!” (upper teeth over lower lip, accusing finger, sovereign ring) spat the bloke next to me. I felt like Dickie Attenborough in civvies at the end of The Great Escape. Goal less for 80 minutes, then of course Chelsea scored. Shed goes beserk minus one lone figure. American sporting events are so charitable. The roughest people I’ve met over here are bemused as to why we have football violence.

    ‘Loves with a passion called hate – and what you give is what you get’.

  23. Chris Low
    Chris Low
    April 28, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    The full 1977 Panorama ‘Harry The Dog’ Millwall documentary is here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDUSELk5j2s

    don’t suppose anyone has a copy or (or a link to) the programme on the Hoxton NF which was in the same series? The one there’s the clip of in The Filth & The Fury or Derrick Day climbing out of his window to harrangue the film crew.

    Martin C – please email me. Got a mate who is selling his original video tapes of ‘Private Spy’ if you’re interested.

  24. Martin C
    Martin C
    April 28, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    Hey Chris – thanks for the offer, but I chucked my VCR in the nearest skip a few years ago. I’m well digital now! But tell your mate to try eBay – shortly after you sent me the bootlegs, I was drifting around eBay and saw Vols 2 and 3 on there, think Vol 2 went for £21. So we’re not the only lunatics who find it compulsive viewing…by the way, you might know this – is it right that sections of ‘Punterhunt’ ended up on the Whitehouse Ultra videos? I always assumed that that was the ‘Kings X Prostitution’ segment referred to, though the only bits I’ve seen of Ultra were those hilarious interviews with Philip Best and Kevin Tomkins and a load of grainy images with ‘Mindphaser’ playing in the background.

    Re: Millwall – I had a mate from Luton and we went to see them play Millwall (I was living in New X at the time) at the New Den, around the time Jimmy Nicholl took over and brought the three Raith Rovers players down (’96/’97?). I had a dark blue t-shirt with a white trim on and told him I was definitely walking through the home fans entrance. Anyway, we ended up boozing it up in Peckham and got to the ground late, and the home end was shut off, so we had to go and stand with 100 Luton fans. Luton won 1-0. However, apart from nearly choking to death on a pie, the mood was really placid. Even when some drunk Luton fan threw her head back and screamed “MILLWALL….YAH FUCKING SHIT!!” at South Bermondsey station, none of the MFC fans did anything apart from glare (nothing compared to the dagger stares the Luton fans were giving her)

    Anyway…a while later, I was sort of seeing this Norwegian girl who was over for a few months, and she really wanted to go to a UK match. She had her hopes on Man U, though I think she thought Manchester was near Watford. I couldn’t afford to get us into Spurs, or they were away or something, so I suggested Millwall. I then had to spend what felt like six hours reassuring her that she wouldn’t die, that the New Den was completely different, that it was fine, etc etc yadda yadda.Plus it was just £10 and you didn’t have to pre-order tickets. So we get there (think it was against Wrexham? Not sure now) and everything’s cool.

    Then Dave Sinclair, one of the ex-Raith players, smacks a Wrexham player in the face. Our section goes up, kids standing on seats and going mental, the cops surround us, and everyone bursts into “Harry Roberts is our friend”. She completely shat herself and, suffice to say, I never saw her after that sour-pussed, shivering journey back through the escort to the station.

    She was pretty boring to be honest, so cheers you Lions

    Sorry, know it’s not as cool as psycho surgeons howling like wolves…(that’s such a brilliant mental image!)

  25. Kerr Ray Z. Fokker
    Kerr Ray Z. Fokker
    April 29, 2010 at 7:35 am

    Ah yes, Derrick Day, or ‘Double D’ as he was known locally. I’ve been looking for a copy of that as well. He was a quite a character. And was the original inspiration for Johnny Speight’s Alf Garnett. The NF thing was just a short period in a pretty colourful life and I understand that he later regretted it. Think he ended up dying of a heart attack protesting against live animal exports after many years valuable service on the resident’s association of Colville estate alongside jewish, black and asian members. I’ve heard some of the old dockers say he was the hardest fucker in the east end. (Wasn’t he a cousin of the Krays?) He also knocked Martin Webster out with one punch after a disagreement over tactics. Got suspended from the NF for that. He was definitely an old school east end geezer but he was well liked from what I heard and a proper gent. Sort of got stuck with a bad rep after fifteen minutes of tv madness. Happens to the best of us.

  26. Chris Low
    Chris Low
    April 29, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Yeah, and bizarrely he had tried to stand as a Labour – AND LIBERAL – councillor before falling in with the NF! Strangely, his greatest ‘achievement’ was spearheading a successful campaign to stop the closure of Hoxton Library, with Norris ‘Nazi’ McWhirter.
    You may have heard of an anarchist (one of the Xtra crew) infiltrating the NF back around 77-79 and actually reaching as far as becoming the ‘head of security’ at Excalibur House, the old NF HQ on Great Eastern St. He serialised some great tales of his times with DD at the time. There’s also a few mentions of run ins with him in Martin Lux’s “Anti-Fascist” book which there’s a thread about here.

    https://www.killyourpetpuppy.co.uk/news/?cat=24

    Interesting what you say about his final days, but in some ways not surprising.

  27. BARONVONZUBB
    BARONVONZUBB
    April 29, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    west ham? i never knew you had any interest in the national sport at all. and i thought we split up cos of musical differneces. 🙂

    hate football, hate skinheads but yeah the 4 skins did get their first (?) ever media mention in our interview in T G, as i saw ’em live and they were..
    brilliant.
    the hanborough event was the beginning of the end to right wing street power. pakis with petrol bombs. gaw blimey, what ever next?
    even the thickest of those kiddie boneheads realised deep down they were out numbered, out smarted and out mollied.
    we have the band to thank for that at least.

    listening to bikini kill live (‘yeah yeah yeah yeah’ split L P with huggy bears) ‘white boy’ ‘dont need you”jigsaw youth’ rebel girl’
    now thats ‘oi’ moozik. from the good old u s of a.
    classic.

  28. Sam
    Sam
    April 29, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Never much of a supporter Jake, in real terms, but I started playing a lot in my 20s before moving over here. Pretty average player though. Si’s still playing on sundays despite being worked to death on the pitch by the youngsters. His knees hurt apparently. I keep telling him he’ll have a heart attack.

  29. RiotRiot
    RiotRiot
    April 30, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Kerr.
    Not a problem, enjoyed your posts actually… I’m certainly not one of Bushells favourites, trust me!

    As for the LGS, fully agree and remember a few of them – Deano and Chrissie Harwood – and they were about from the start and right through the mod revival days as well – and into the mid 80s. Probably its a hang over from the east/west stuff and “the skin/mod revival was born on the terraces at Upton Park bollocks!”. Agree that without punk, the majority of 77/78 lot wouldnt have been there, myself included.

    Being quite honest, think that this writing out the LGS and others is more Bushell inspired – or plagiarised rather than Hoxton Tom inspired, from what I’ve read on the forum he goes on, he says – and I agree from my experience at the time – that in 77 it was dotted around London, Archway, Swiss Cottage, Paddington, Kilburn as well, and certainly not just a West Ham thing – contrary to the normal Bushell and his acolytes tales.

    As for the agg between skins and punks, always thought it kicked off for a number of reasons, the growing football and territorial influence, the increasing right wing element flexing its muscle – not in an planned way though – and also, and something that me and a few of my mates thought, a growing number of ex-punks joining the ranks and seeming to take it back out… saw it a few times.

  30. Sam
    Sam
    April 30, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    Looking back on it, punk was around for 5 minutes before everyone jumped on the culty bandwagon. I think skinhead was different in that it never felt like historical reenactment, unlike mods, rockabillies etc….
    Never saw the point in pretending you were living in the early sixties. The first mods I saw were at a gig at The Moonlight in ’78. Think it was The Drones supported by The Purple Hearts. “Who are all these blokes and why are they wearing parkas?” I wondered.

  31. Kerr Ray Z. Fokker
    Kerr Ray Z. Fokker
    May 2, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    @ChrisLow

    Would love to hear those Double D tales, he always reminded me of Jack Dash for some reason. Same sort of mixture of the quixotic and the exhibitionistic. I wonder, if like his celluloid simulacrum, he really was a mensch in disguise? Webster’s parting remark was that he was a “village idiot”, though I think he meant a russet-burned cider-drinker not some son of the Ukrainian soil from a distent shetl. Who knows?

    @RiotRiot

    Never knew that Swiss Cottage was a hub of skinhead activity early on. That’s news to me. Interesting. Doesn’t surprise me much that south London was not on your list though. There were a few from Brixton and Croydon early on, but not much else. It never really took off down here, not even after ’79. It always seemed to be an east/west thing.

    Chris H and Dean K of the original Grove are still going strong or so I am told. As is G ‘the dwarf’, who was probably the scariest of that bunch. They had a profound aversion to any shaven-headed intruders (except the White City lot) found on their manor and the Acklam Hall was a real fortress, even after the older lot had gone casual. Shame they never got the fat bearded Charlton cunt at the Infa-Riot tearup. As you probably know, they had quite a few black boys in their mob, which made the comeuppance that day a little bit sweeter. (Some of the right-wing West Ham skins never lived that one down. what a shame.)

    @Sam

    Agreed, the skinhead revival seemed to be in less of a time warp than the teds, rockabillys and mods. Think the mod revival was only an escape for trad skins who wanted nothing to do with glue and bleachers. Once casual got into full swing, the mod revival just collapsed. Only problem I had with casual was that I loathed the northern soul boy/scally roots. Otherwise, I think it was very subversive early on (council estate scum dressing as toffs) but then quickly just turned into pointless label whore consumerism. It just became a walking street ad for various Italian fashion houses. (Says I, sitting here dressed in Prada, Armani and SI with my Gucci shades on top of my bonce. lol).

  32. Sam
    Sam
    May 3, 2010 at 4:46 am

    Me, Anna Clayden, Gretchen, Scarecrow and that bloke who used to walk around Portobello with a portable cassette player (crap, pre-ghetto blaster thing) heard of a party round the corner from Anna Clayden’s in Ladbroke Grove. Me and Scarecrow had taken a bunch of blues and I’d had one or two Carling Black Labels too. We were walking up to the party when the house in question vomited skinheads out the front door and down the steps who instantly formed a pack and moved steadily and menacingly towards us. The one at the front recognized Anna and said “They’re alright” and they dispersed grudgingly and sloped back into the party. We went in. I was a skinhead at the time and got some looks. A couple of minutes later the cassette player man was being pummelled in the corner by 3 or 4 skinheads. I was speeding off my nut, though the drink removed any fear and I remember being fascinated by the sound of the rain of blows he was receiving. He ran off and I asked this black skinhead what it was all about.

    Black skinhead: “Is he a mate of yours?”

    Me: “Yeah”

    Black skinhead [menacingly]: “Oh dear…”

    Anna grabbed me by the arm and said it was time to go. I remember wondering why.

    Speed and drink always made me stupidly brave. I spent an evening at The Electric Ballroom asking random skinheads if they were in the BM and trying to get them to admit that they just joined because their mates had. Most admitted it. Amazing I didn’t die.

    Anyone remember Binsey? I asked him for a light at the same gig and he used the classic skinhead line “Nah…I don’t smoke” whilst puffing on an Embassy.

    Kerr…do you remember a LG skin called John (‘Big Ears’ was his aka I think). He was mentioned several times on another thread and saved several of us from getting a hiding from the rest. I hope he’s ok.

  33. Kerr Ray Z. Fokker
    Kerr Ray Z. Fokker
    May 3, 2010 at 9:39 am

    Yes, I vaguely remember him, as said on the other thread, always joined at the hip to Kenny from Stonebridge. Talk about chalk and cheese. I’m sure my cousin used to call him ‘Honest John’. I’m planning to go up the ‘bello soon, so I will ask around. Most of that lot are still QPR regulars.

    The trick with large mobs of skins was always to brass it out. I worked under the assumption (usually right) that the hard cases tended not to be bullies, so anyone who started anything was usually a little uncertain of themselves. Failing that, when I was up the ‘bello, I used to tell any interlopers that I was ‘G’s’ (distant) cousin. That always raised a few eyebrows, I can tell you. The fact that I also wasn’t West Ham probably helped too. They absolutely hated east enders. I’ve heard absolute horror stories about blokes being thrown onto tube tracks, tossed through windows, stabbed, bottled and otherwise manhandled just for being suspected of claret and blue affiliations. That grudge started in the Sham army days and just got worse and worse. Thank fuck, you never mentioned your team, Sam!

    Perversely, I also think being on one’s own always gave one an advantage too. Pity being elicited from any potential rivals rather than fear. Usually did skin gigs by myself. (Mainly cos all my punk/soul boy mates bottled it!) But, having said that, we all came unstuck a few times back then. Still, a few slaps never hurt anyone. (Oh no, I sound like my Dad!)

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