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Skinheads and British Hells Angels examined in 1969 BBC documentary
12:23 pm

Pop Culture

Hells Angels
Skinheads and British Hells Angels examined in 1969 BBC documentary

Through their American counterparts, I’m fairly familiar with the skinhead movement of working class Britain (racist, fascist , even anti-racist), but I had no idea there were British Hells Angels.

The documentary itself is fairly removed from the subject matter, but does a decent job at providing some objective insight. While they observe that the self-styled Hells Angels appear to have somewhat limited self-awareness—strange half-hearted adoptions of culture and ritual for which they have no context (these guys weren’t even an officially Hells Angels-sanctioned chapter, that started happening in the UK later in 1969, oddly after George Harrison got involved). But the violent potential of the racist skinheads is treated with gravity. When they interview them one on one, you can see that their relationship with the subculture is based as much in their own young alienation as it is with reactionary politics and working class rage.

What’s at risk of being another youth-culture moral panic piece is actually a fairly nuanced time-capsule look at these then emerging subcultures of disenfranchised youth.

Posted by Amber Frost
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