And 'ex-skinheads' ... whilst having been a skinhead for a while might shape your opinions on many things, I can't stand to hear middle aged blokes with what's left of their hair cropped, wearing Adidas Sambas, 3/4 cammo shorts and a T-shirt from the supermarket who put their fist over their chest and say summet like "still a skinhead at heart ... I still like me Trojan". No you're not - your a bloke in cheap sand shoes who likes a bit of reggae.
I've given this a lot of thought over the past few days Buttons and it brought up a lot of things to mind about how I feel and just how clothes/fashion / uniforms play a part in our lives and mold our attitudes.Being a Northener for all intents ( N of the Watford Gap ),from as far back as my memory goes,we always called ourselves Mods.It didn't matter if we had cropped hair ,flared cords or Tonik strides,we always used the term Mods.Not that it happened,but if anyone ever asked me to this day,if I had to say what I was,I would still claim to be Mod.I can't explain it.
I don't necessarily dress or look like any pre conceived idea of Mod,and apart from interaction in this Forum,I have no connection with anyone or anything related to Mod today.What I do have is my own sense of style and very strong opinions about it.From the width of of a turn up to the length of the hair over my ears,1/2 an inch has never meant so much to a man ( or woman !)
It is something I have carried with me for life.I remember seeing a chat show back in the late 60's where someone like Parkinson or Cliff Mitchelmore had a cross section of British youth on ,being questioned about why they chose a particular look etc.I distinctly recall a Skinhead saying how he was a Skinhead and would always be that for life.Well ,we all felt like him and had his commitment and naivety at certain points in our lives.
I have been thinking on the period of change and acceptance of new things,new looks and the end of the '70's.You have mentioned before of the attraction of a "Hard-case" element who would attach itself to a group for whatever reason,who would be tolerated and maybe even understood by the few who they were personally known to.These lads usually lacked or cared about style,taste or subtlety .Great to have in your corner at the bar ,but scary to be around at times when their unpredictable side came to the fore.Were these the blokes who championed the "Boot Boys?"
As we moved into the '70's I recall seeing lads who had previously been smart,well turned out respectfully dressed mates turn into Frankenstein incarnations of a thrift store junkie.
Harrington's, Trevira parallels,platforms etc. A visual bloody nightmare.
The previous few years left little room for personal expression,individual flair.The rules were very well defined and enforced.Your mates let you know if you looked a cunt.
Once those boundaries were removed,all hell broke lose.It was too much for some to take in .It was a new style that had to be be embraced in it's entirety.No room for the lilly livered to stick their toe in the water.Half arsed attempts looked exactly that - and you were no one ,going nowhere.If the previous three years had taught you anything it was that you had the balls to carry off a "Look". That is where "Mod' comes back into play.You understood the "whole" picture,subtleties,subliminal interaction of the parts.Without the confines of Skin/Suede and to some extent Smooth,many got lost on the road and gave up, and were the ones whose Wives now make their clothing decisions today.It's so much easier that way isn't it?
Fast Fwd to Aug 1980.I was walking up Wembley Way with a spare ticket to unload for the Roxy Music Gig.The sun was shining on a perfect Summer day.I had Ox Blood Weejuns,no socks,white Poplin frog-mouth trousers and an Ivory Lacoste.Betrayed only by the requisite grease in my Ferryesque quiff,it was pretty much a classic 60's Mod look give or take an Alligator or a Laurel wreath.I looked like a fucking advert for Daz.
A familiar Tout gave me an insultingly low ball offer for my spare,to which I unapologetic ally shared my thoughts with him.
He sneered......eyed me up and down......and said "Flash Cunt"
What a compliment.