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‘The Story of Skinhead’ is must-see TV
04:14 pm


Don Letts

My personal experience with skinheads—a “run in” you might call it—was brief, lasting mere minutes, but it was a memorable occasion…

The year was 1983 and I was a 17-year-old lovesick dickhead living in a south London squat who wanted to impress this super gorgeous goth chick I knew. My choice of attire has always been more to the preppy side, but I realized that if I was to have any chance with this beautifully morbid creature, I needed to switch up my look from Brooks Brothers to something a lil’ more Peter Murphy. So I hennaed my hair black and spiked it up with hairspray, wore eyeliner and makeup and donned a black trenchcoat. The object of my affections was not in the least impressed with my new look, but that’s beside the point.

Later that night, right after the pubs had shut, I was going home, alone, rejected and dejected, on the London subway, and feeling like an idiot. The goth look I’d worn for all of maybe five hours just wasn’t me. When the train stopped at Leicester Square, a massive rush of people crushed into the train, including a gang of eight very large, very fearsome, very mean and very fucking drunk skinheads. They were with their girlfriends, who were also wearing boots and braces. All had the “Chelsea cut” that female skins wore. The girls seemed even harder than their boyfriends, and just as ugly.

One of the female skins noticed me and pointed out the “goth poofter,” suggesting that her boyfriend and his pals should kick my faggoty ass. They jeered at me, brandished their fists at me and let me—and every other passenger in that subway car—know that they were going to beat me within an inch of my life. If I was lucky. Suffice to say that my life might’ve changed course dramatically that night had things turned out differently.

My first instinct was to piss in my pants or start crying like a baby begging them for mercy, but I decided that hoping for some cops to magically appear and save my quivering hide was probably a better strategy. Then the train conductor announced over the intercom system that we’d be stopping at the next station, and that the train we were on was being taken out of commission so all the passengers needed to exit and wait on the platform for the next train to arrive.

This was not necessarily good news, I thought.

I mentioned how crowded the train was. When this positively bursting-at-the-seams car cleared out a bit, I made to exit in the opposite direction from where the skinheads had been taunting me when the biggest and meanest one of them stomped right over and drew his arm back to wallop me with a haymaker. Had his punch connected, I’ve no doubt that he would have knocked me unconscious and probably broken several bones in my face. But he didn’t connect. He barely grazed my forehead and I felt his fist rush by me like a gust of wind as it just barely missed cracking my skull into several pieces.

The platform at the station was even more densely packed than the train had been. I needed to find some cops—and was frantically trying to push my way through the sardines, followed closely behind by this drunken, bloodthirsty skinhead wolfpack—but there were no London bobbies anywhere to be found. I kept moving, hoping something would happen when the train turned up. Standing still and waiting for them to catch up to me wasn’t an option, and there were several yards between us. I plowed onwards.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Beautiful color photographs of England during the 1920s
09:09 am


Clifton R. Adams

The summers seemed brighter, the weather warmer, the days more leisurely. The First World War—”the war to end all wars”—was over and the 1920s began as a decade of great prosperity.

But by 1925 the years of plenty ceased. The gap between rich and poor widened, with unemployment rife and beggars—many old soldiers—a common sight on the cities’ streets.

In 1926, a General Strike almost brought down the government when unions showed solidarity with one million mine workers who had been locked out of the mines by owners who wanted them to work more hours for less pay—a drop of 13% of the miners’ wages.

Where farming had once thrived, one in four farms were sold during the 1920s to pay to financial obligations—over 600,000 farmers went bankrupt.

Families were of a smaller size compared to Victorian families—with children educated until the age of fourteen. There was more freedom for middle class and upper class women—women over 30 were given the vote in 1918, which was finally extended to all women over the age of 21 in 1928.

In 1928, photographer Clifton R. Adams was commissioned by the National Geographic to document life in England. Adams’ beautiful Autochromes—a process of producing color images by using potato starch—present images that are seemingly at odds with the historical reality of the time, capturing the last of an England that was on the cusp of an irreversible change during the about the 1930s Depression.
England’s dreaming: More of Clifton R. Adams’ Autochromes, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Children Of The Night: three films about early 80s Goth nightlife in the UK
06:28 pm


Club Culture

Some Goths, chillin’, the 80s
Ah, if only time machines had been invented already. We would each be free to zip back and visit the desired nightclub/live venue/social scene of our choice, to revel in a world we can now only read, or dream, about. I’ve thought about this before, of course, and most of my preferred time travel destinations were located in and around New York City in the 70s and the 80s.

But there will be many for whom the bright, shiny lights of NYC hold no attraction, and who would rather set the dials for the dark heart of Northern Britain in the early 1980s. These people will wear anything as long as it is black, enjoy nothing more than swaying to the heart-chilling sounds of The Cure, Joy Division or Bauhaus (possibly accompanied by nice pint of cider & blackcurrant juice) and can sometimes be spotted hanging out in mist-shrouded graveyards. Yes, you guessed it, these people are Goths, and if you are one of them, then here’s a treat for you: three films chronicling the early 80s British Goth club scene while it was in its infancy.

The received wisdom in the UK is that clubbing didn’t really exist here until after the acid house explosion in 1987/1988, with the notable exception of Northern Soul venues like The Mecca in Blackpool and the Twisted Wheel in Manchester. Well, these videos tell a very different story, displaying a flourishing alternative club scene that existed years before acid. Offering (mostly) untampered footage shot directly from the dance floors and stages of the best known Goth hangouts of the era, these films have the aura of gold dust about them. If that’s too bright and shiny for you, consider them excellent cultural curios that give a rare peek into a then-emerging subculture. These films, which vary in length from 8 minutes to over two hours, popped up on my Facebook feed this evening, so I decided to do the decent thing and group them all in a post for Dangerous Minds.

The first film is a BBC promo for the infamous London haunt The Batcave, which was originally broadcast on Halloween, 1983. Ok, the Vincent Price/William Castle inserts are cheesy as hell, but there’s some great footage of Alien Sex Fiend performing live to make up for it. The video was uploaded by the Batcave’s original DJ Hamish (aka h808) who says:

Oh yes, 1983, when the media were all trying to figure out what came after punk…. Remember that the Batcave was born of punks and glam rockers, trannies, psychos and people turned away from other clubs - we let anyone in, trainers or no trainers, businessmen and dustmen, strippers and nuns….


After the jump “The Height Of Goth” and footage from Devilles, Manchester…

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Crime fighting charity release Scratch ‘n’ Sniff Cannabis Cards

Crimestoppers, an organization that encourages busy-bodies [surely ‘do-gooders’? - ed.] to anonymously grass-up suspected crims (or possibly neighbors they don’t like?), has launched a Scratch ‘n’ Sniff card to help would-be drug enforcers recognize the tell-tale smell of a cannabis farm.

The card is being distributed across England and comes with a helpful check-list of ‘signs to look out for’:

1. Strong and sickly sweet smell
2. Cannabis growing equipment
3. Constantly covered or blocked-off windows
4. Visitors at unsociable hours
5. Strong and constant lighting day and night
6. High levels of heat and condensation
7. Constant buzz of ventilation
8. Lots of cables

On their website, Crimestoppers also helpfully tells users…er…informers which areas produce the most weed:

Hotspot areas targeted in this campaign include West and South Yorkshire, London, Greater Manchester and Avon & Somerset, which have all been identified in an ACPO report as areas with the highest number of cannabis farms in the UK. With nearly 1,800 cannabis farms found, West Yorkshire ranked the highest of all areas where cannabis farms were identified by ACPO across 2010/2012. South Yorkshire ranked second across the UK with over 1,600 found, London was the fourth highest with over 1,200 cannabis cultivation properties located in the same period.

Crimestoppers is “an independent charity which helps the police to solve crimes, making communities safer”, and is encouraging Scratch ‘n’ Sniffers to “spread the word on social media by using #weedthesigns.”

I think I’ll wait for the Scratch ‘n’ Sniff cocaine cards…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Ken Kesey: On the Bus in old England, 1996

Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters traveled to England on their bus ‘Further’ in 1996, where they were interviewed by Rene Akker for this short video, in which Kesey explained part of The Pranksters’ philosophy:

“We stumble along and bumble along, and pretty soon, more and more stuff begins to stumble along and bumble along with us, until we’ve got a great group of stumble-bummers…

...You just don’t want to be entertained. If you want to be entertained, you’ve got MTV. But people want to feel part of a ritual, they want to be out there doing something with people. They want to sing and dance and make dance and they feel their input has some effect.”

Beautiful to see and hear the wonderful Mr. Kesey again.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Anne Pigalle: Premieres her new show ‘L’Ame Erotique’

Fighting against our intellectual and spiritual enslavement, the incomparable Anne Pigalle premieres her new show L’âme érotique, at the Hotel Bijou, Broadstairs in Kent, on August, 23.

The exquisite Anne is one of the world’s great chanteuses, and this new show brings together an intimate salon of her photography, her poetry, her discourse and of course, her brilliant singing.

The show’s title comes from Anne’s last spoken word disc L’âme érotique, which showcased a selection of twenty-one erotically charged poems, each with their own musical accompaniment. The poems dealt with love, sex, and soul, and was a fantastic oeuvre that ranged from the personal (“You Give Me Asthma”, “Lunch”) through the comic and the Surreal to the sexually explicit (“Saint Orgasm”, “X Amount” and “Erotica de toi”). Throughout is Anne’s richly seductive voice sounds as intimate as a kiss. It’s a fabulous mix, and for fans of the legendary Miss Pigalle, and for first timers, it’s a breathless, arousing and unforgettable introduction.

If you are in the UK, then this is your chance to see the legendary Anne Pigalle at her very best. Check here for details, a dn below a selection of Ms. Pigalle’s erotic photographs.

A selection of Anne Pigalle’s erotic photographs, after the jump…
Previously on Dangerous Minds

‘L’Amerotica’: The return of the brilliant Anne Pigalle


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The Dynasphere: Transportation of the Future, from 1932

Meet the Dynasphere or “Jumbo”, as it was also known, a “one wheel, 4-seater” devised by a Dr. J. A. Purves in 1932. The Dynasphere had a 2.5 horsepower and could reach speeds of up to 25 miles per hour, it was “an invention of spherical motion” intended to one day revolutionize transportation. For some reason it never caught on, though Mr. Garrison tried something similar with his “gyroscope-powered monowheel” in the cartoon series South Park.

View photos of Dynasphere testing on Weston beach here.

Via British Pathe

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
An Explanation is NOT An Excuse: London cabbie calls out bullshit

To all the moronic idiots quick to jump down the throats of people looking for the causes of the English riots with the meaningless soundbite “That’s not an excuse!” aqquaint yourself with the angry wisdom of London cab driver Mark McGowan. At a time when public discourse has been overrun by a sea of armchair pundits (many of whom live nowhere near riot stricken areas) it’s refreshing to hear the opinions of AN ACTUAL Cockney geezer. GO ON MY SON!

And if you still don’t get it, if you still think that people bringing up issues of social inequality are somehow “excusing” what the looters have done then ask yourself this - how long are YOU going to keep on excusing and endorsing the acts of the criminal classes at the top of our society who allowed this to happen? Because by sticking your fingers in your ears and parroting that bullshit “not an ecuse!” line YOU ARE.

Chunky Mark’s YouTube channel is here.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Sales of aluminum baseball bats up 52,211% on Amazon UK
08:38 pm


London riots

According to The Guardian’s live blog covering the rioting in Britain, sales of aluminum baseball bats have risen dramatically in the days since the riots began, but clearly it’s not the rioters who are buying them—they’d just nick them, of course—but the shopkeepers.

One thing that’s frightening to contemplate is how much worse this would all be if firearms were legal in Britain. It’s one thing for rioters and looters to improvise clubs, quite another with an army of wild boys armed to the teeth moving through the nation’s city centers.

Thank you Chris Campion of Berlin, Germany!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Emblematic photo of London rioting
02:07 am

Class War
They hate us for our freedom


The above photograph has been making its way around the world tonight via Twitter. As several people have pointed out, it kinda looks like a Pink Floyd album cover.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Poll finds large number of Britons would support a non-violent, non-thuggish anti-immigration party

This is not good: A new poll conducted in the UK has found that nearly half of the respondents said they might support a nationalist political party if such a party existed that was non-violent and eschewed the fascist trappings that normally accompany such groups. Ouch! In Great Britain? How can this be?

Huge numbers of Britons would support an anti-immigration English nationalist party if it was not associated with violence and fascist imagery, according to the largest survey into identity and extremism conducted in the UK.

A Populus poll found that 48% of the population would consider supporting a new anti-immigration party committed to challenging Islamist extremism, and would support policies to make it statutory for all public buildings to fly the flag of St George or the union flag.

Anti-racism campaigners said the findings suggested Britain’s mainstream parties were losing touch with public opinion on issues of identity and race.

The poll’s findings are at odds with the perception that the UK is more moderate than say, France or Holland, with their highly visible anti-immigration politicians. A spokesperson for the Searchlight Educational Trust, the gruop who commissioned the poll, told The Guardian newspaper, “This is not because British people are more moderate, but simply because their views have not found a political articulation.”

Read it and weep at The Guardian website.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Stuck in Calais: Europe, Immigrants, and Jack Chute’s Reaching Albion

Over a year ago, Bournemouth University student Jack Chute released this truly impressive short film chronicling the hard lives of Sudanese, Afghani, Palestinian and other immigrants stuck in the French port city of Calais. On a clear day, these guys can see England, a country with far more lenient visa regulations than those of France. In short, they see their futures.

Located directly across the English Channel from the White Cliffs of Dover, Calais has been a historical touch-point between France and England since ancient times.  It was bounced back and forth between the two countries from the 14th through 19th centuries, and served as a crucial decoy to Hitler while the Allies invaded Normandy.

Now it’s a harrowing human locus of the New World Order. Since the film’s release, French police have raided and destroyed the migrant’s refuge, unofficially known as the Jungle.

Reaching Albion from Jack Chute on Vimeo.


Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
Largest Ever Hoard of Anglo-Saxon Gold Found
11:08 am





Here’s one part that stood out for me: Is this an early example of a slogan like “Kill ‘em All and Let God Sort ‘em Out”?

A strip of gold with a biblical inscription was also folded in half: it reads, in occasionally misspelled Latin, “Rise up O Lord, and may thy enemies be dispersed and those who hate the be driven from thy face.”

The misspelling gives credence to my theories about Anglo-Saxon rednecks, but this is for another time…

More from the Guardian:

A harvest of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver so beautiful it brought tears to the eyes of one expert, has poured out of a Staffordshire field - the largest hoard of gold from the period ever found.

The weapons and helmet decorations, coins and Christian crosses amount to more than 1500 pieces, with hundreds still embedded in blocks of soil. It adds up to 5kg of gold ?

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment