AGGRO - That’s what Joe Hawkins and his mates were looking for, with their shaven heads, big boots and braces. Football matches, pub brawls, open-air pop concerts, hippies and Hell’s Angels all gave them chances to vent their sadistic violence. SKINHEAD is a story straight from today’s headlines - portraying with horrifying vividness all the terror and brutality that has become the trademark of these vicious teenage malcontents.
Richard Allen was a Canadian-born writer who could churn out pulp novels as regular as drunks take beer shits. In the early 1970’s, he got a gig writing novels about skinheads for New English Library. He eventually spewed out 17 of em. His first novel ‘Skinhead’ struck a chord with British skinheads and his teenage gangster novels became hugely popular. His stories of the biker, mod, teddy boy and Oi! culture of 70’s Britain became an essential, yet darker and less fashionable, part of London’s punk culture. While The Sex Pistols and The Clash were ultimately a bunch of hippie idealists, the skinhead scene was working and non-working class anger tied to racial resentment and a sense of destiny lost. The Two-Tone bands entered the scene and built a bridge between the cerebral revolution of the punkers and the racial paranoia of the skins. The baldies racist inclinations were defused by their love of reggae, ska and rock steady. Skinhead moonstomp.
Update: Paul Gallagher reports that “in the 60s and 70s skinheads were black and white - though the movement was hijacked by some members of the National Front (extreme right Nazi organization). Trouble with Allen’s books was their painting skins in a sometimes negative light. Ska and Two Tone records reclaimed skinheads in the late 70s through The Specials and Madness, etc.”
Check out this solid documentary on Richard Allen and the legions of kids for whom he was the voice of their disenfranchisement and and anger.