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Discussion in 'Streetwear and Denim' started by Spirit of 69, Nov 19, 2008.

  1. Aces and Eights

    Aces and Eights Senior member

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    Memory lane trip

    Green glass bottle of Brut about 2 – 3 inches high with silver chain and plaque. Cost about 10 bob (50p). A mate huddled us together and said as if in secret “if you put some of this behind your ears the birds will come flocking after yer” After forking out the hard earned cash on a bottle the only birds that came flocking were seagulls. I really thought that the Brut fragrance was a memorable aroma that all skinheads smelt of until Henry cooper got involved with the ‘splash it on’ adverts and Brut became public knowledge and was the used by your dad and so became un wearable. I still buy the odd can of Brut deodorant now and again just to jog the memories with a whiff of it. Sadly what was a great aftershave smell is now sold in the cheap discount shops. Later after shaves were Aramis and Aqua De Selva

    The clothes I remember wearing in the 69 / 70 period were

    Ben Sherman long sleeve shirts on Oxford weave in stripe, plain and small check

    Ben Sherman short sleeve shirts in thin cotton and plain pale colours

    Fred Perry shirts polo shirts in plain colours with the stripes to the collars and cuffs. We never referred to them as polo shirts – always Fred Perrys

    ¾ length sheepskin coats, Navy or black fly front macs, Navy or black Crombies, Harrington jackets and Levi jean jackets.

    Some lads wore folded silk handkerchiefs in the top pockets of their Crombies, but I can’t recall the tie pin being used round our way. I remember buying Levi jackets later in life and they had introduced the front side pockets and inside pockets – I don’t recall these on the original Levi jackets

    Levi jeans with a zip fly, ex USA army greens, Levi sta-press in an off-white/ cream? and a grey, Tonic mohair trousers

    Made to measure tonic mohair suits - popular ones Blue/gold and green/gold

    Dr Martin boots, Royal brogue shoes

    A small gold sleeper earring was also worn by our gang members in the right ear. Allegedly meaning you was looking for trouble. Earrings in lads was quite radical 40 odd years ago as the only other people wearing them were gypsies

    Most of our gang were heavily tattooed in what is now described as ‘old school tattoos’. These were designs left over from the war years. Our most popular tattooist was Jack Ringo in Woolwich. It was amusing to think now that we would queue up in Jacks small Tattoo Parlour with Greasers and there was never any trouble because although we were from different cults we had to share the same tattooist as they were generally towns apart. So it would mean a travel of 10 miles to the next tattooist if you were thrown out for scraping.

    The majority of our gang had the ‘Simon Templar Saint’ tattooed on to our right forearm with cherry red boots on. All these years later its still clear to see and I have never had any regrets. Its part of your life. If I find out how to load photos on I will post a picture of it if anyone is interested. Did other gangs have similar markings?
     


  2. Aces and Eights

    Aces and Eights Senior member

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    PS

    The ear piercing was done by one of our mates mum from gypsy descent that put a clothes peg on your ear lobe and then pierced it with a darning needle into a school pencil rubber behind the lobe. Then a cleanup with TCP to stop any infection. No fancy ear piercing shops for us old lads!!
     


  3. Aces and Eights

    Aces and Eights Senior member

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    I don’t remember our gang being racist. We didn’t really like anyone – blacks, Indians, hippies, greasers, people over 25, anyone in authority (especially at work), police. I think it was a growing up thing where by you wanted to rebel against anything and everyone. Mind you if you were not with your mates and had to speak with any of the people listed you found there was good and bad amongst all walks of life.

    We did not have an opinion of the Chinese as we were on just starting to go in the ‘takeaways’ and for some time I only ordered roast chicken chips and peas as I had no idea what the other items on the menu were. But it made a change from 4d (1.5p) bag of chips and crackling.

    We were also not politically opinionated in 69 /70. We said we were labour because our parents were labour and working class and we went to work – so we must be labour. I think the voting age was still 21 then so it really did not make any difference to us and besides everything cost more after the April budget anyway
     


  4. Shep

    Shep Active Member

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    It seems like this page is getting back on track,with the original fellas chipping in again with old stories-nice one lads,this is why I come on here for this stuff.
     


  5. Brideshead

    Brideshead Senior member

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    I have had a bit of a break from the internet over the long weekend. I see a lot has been happening. Welcome to all the new posters.

    On places I went to, the Lacey Lady came a bit later with me (about 1972). In 1968 / 69 it was The Merry Fiddlers at Beacontree Heath or Coopers Arms near Romford on Friday nights and usually Ilford Palais on a Saturday.

    I recall the Plough and Harrow in Leytonstone High Road as being a Friday night pub as well. We also went to the Mecca at Basildon on a regular basis.

    The period from 1970 onwards now seems to be creeping into the discussion. I felt this was a subject that needed a separate thread and tried to start one some months back but it failed….

    This piece by our ‘Dutch correspondent’ Alex Roest on FNB is pretty comprehensive, even definitive. (I would say that as I contributed!).

    http://www.filmnoirbuff.com/article/the-french-cut

    I wore Ravel’s platforms, and shopped in Take 6 in the early 70s as well as Village Gate and the Squire Shops.

    Stanley Adams, Quincy and Woodhouse were real saviours a little later.

    I must say some of you guys do seem to have taken some of the more extreme elements of the early 70s look on board. I tried not to do that – I found it a grim time.
     


  6. Ed Vaughan

    Ed Vaughan Senior member

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    Around 18 months ago, a decent fella - on another MB - asked if anyone had recollections etc, of original skinhead times, for his nephew, who was doing a school/college course in Scandinavia.

    These are just memories, opinions and thoughts, it was 40-plus years ago and I may have got some things wrong... but take them for what they are - 'my' memories as I remember them.

    Thanks. (I go on, a bit, stick it out, if you like... no pressure, I won't be asking anyone to sit a test.) :satisfied:

    In 1969, and at nearly 15, I took myself off to the barber and had my hair cropped - my step-dad, a national newspaper professional and ex-forces, was impressed... and said I looked ‘clean and tidy’... if he had only known.
    

I then, from savings, bought some Australian army boots (£3.00), a pair of Levis (£2.75), a ‘three--button, ‘grandad vest’ (£1.00), a pair of clip-on braces (75p), and joined the then small, but growing ranks of Manchester United skinheads. (I’ve converted the cash to decimal as the UK was still on pounds, shillings and pence.)



    Despite playing rugby (union) for the school - and latterly at club level - football was my passion, consequently I also enjoyed a good scrap - with anyone. And, living in England, with a Scottish accent, meant I had more than my fair share of punch-ups, something that was to serve me well during my teens.



    My parents were fairly liberal, in that, I was allowed to go to see United at every home game - always a Saturday or Wednesday (none of this made-for-telly, Sunday fixture nonsense) - and on hitting 15, some ‘away’ games... dependent on who I was going with.

The ‘home’ games were fine, I’d go, with pals my own age, into the Stretford End, for the sing-songs, the cameraderie and the banter... and where there was the occasional ‘ruck’, it tended to be between United fans from different locales... Salford v Wythenshawe was quite a significant and regular event, both areas home to huge, working-class communities.

I can’t remember (in those days) any proper ‘scraps’ involving ‘away’ fans at OT - but that’s not to say they never occurred... but back then, being younger, I was an outsider, and not privy to proper ‘football hooliganism’ as it was later to be called.

    

It just happened that the family across the road comprised six sons, one a year older than me and he was - unlike his siblings - United-mad. And ‘mad’ he was.

Like me, John Thorp was a grammar-school boy - though he was RC - and he (unlike me), was bright, intelligent and, as I was to later find out, a fairly violent lad. And it was he who took me on my first trip to Arsenal, in 1969, against the ‘Gunners’ at Highbury... and to ‘take’ the North Bank.

While there were railway ‘football specials’ - even in those days - because of the (lack of) cash situation, we set off by coach to London’s Victoria Bus Station, with around a dozen MUFC fans, some of whom, J knew. It was an eye-opener, and no mistake.

    

My mother had prepared a tartan duffle bag(!) with sandwiches, coke, crisps, biscuits etc and, when we left my house, JT lobbed the bag - and contents - into a dustbin outside a shop, and punched me, for good measure, saying something along the lines of: ‘D’you think we’re going on a pumpin’ picnic?’

At the bus station, J met his pals, who proceeded to smoke (I never knew he smoked), swear quite a lot and check out who was wearing what. There was, however, no cans of beer or any drug-taking - not that I was aware of, anyway.

    


Back then, in early skinhead times, what you wore provided others with info on where you stood in the pecking order of the ‘crew’ you were with. No point being ‘hard as nails’ if you wore a pair of supermarket jeans, or your razored-in parting was too wide... you had to look the part. No excuses. (As a result, I genuinely think shoplifting came into its own around that time, as blokes tried to keep up with the trend.)

The coach stopped several times on the way south, and at each stop, we’d pile out of the bus, which comprised largely, from what I remember, of people with cases moving to ‘the Smoke’ for work, and most alone. (Funny how I still remember that, I think I thought it looked a bit sad.)



    Off the bus (at service stations), we’d stand around, look ‘hard’, and those who did, would have a cigarette and they’d (not me, I knew no-one other than John and ‘knew my place’) punch and kick each other - in the way that young men, in a group, do. I imagine we looked quite intimidating to ‘ordinary people’ - in a way gangs of kids do to some of my generation, today.

That said, early skinheads - and the violent image that was bestowed on them - to the best of my knowledge never(?) picked on anyone because of skin colour or ethnicity... the wrong football scarf could get you a kicking, but not the wrong skin-tone, and many early skins were from afro-caribbean backgrounds.

    
Anyway, on into London and, on the way in, off the M1 motorway, through posh Hendon and into (County) Kilburn - so known because of the huge number of young Irish lads, grafters, who had settled there, in large, multi-dwelling properties. Many were young, unmarried men, who, with no transferable skills - other than their bare hands and the ability to graft for hours - travelled the country building the nation’s road network.

    

Then finally, Hyde Park Corner, which to me, ‘was’ London. Even in those long-ago days, it was incredibly busy and confusing, with all manner of vehicles jostling to go somewhere else, and I wondered how anyone who, once on it, ever got off again. (Obviously they did, or the place would now look like an early, mechanical graveyard, littered with the rotting shells of Ford Anglias, Cortinas and Zephyrs - with the odd Austin thrown-in for good measure.)



    On arrival at Victoria Bus Station, we all stood at the driver’s elbow waiting to alight, while the ‘sad people’ just held back. Again, perhaps it was because we looked intimidating - or maybe they weren’t sure they had done the right thing, leaving lives they knew well, to embark on some new adventure...?



    While not exactly hitting the ground running (literally), we were informed (I still, to this day, do not know how whoever told us this would have known about it, with no internet/mobiles etc?), we were just ‘down the road’ from a hippy (our enemies?) commune* that had made the news for some weeks, having squatted in one of London’s most prestigious addresses - and we should ‘go and see what’s happening’.

    

It was chaotic. Plod all over the place and there were more camera crews and press boys than at a medium-sized war. But it was exciting. I felt I wanted to live in a city that had crap like this happening - and for everyone to see.

 There really was nothing for us - no ‘aggro’ - there, so we moved on. With the ‘hippies’ safely ensconced in their luxury pied-a-terre, they were going nowhere and, despite many like-minded souls trying to join them, the forces of ‘Laura Norder’ did (eventually) evict them - which was sad, but inevitable - and Piccadilly was returned to the drug-addicts/pushers pimps, ‘ladies of the night’ and tourists. They are/were welcome to it.

But for us, it was all about getting closer to Highbury and linking-up with fellow United fans.

    Even in those days, the ‘Red Devils’ had a substantial number of London-based supporters, aka ‘Cockney-Reds, who would travel 400 miles for a ‘home’ game’. In reality, much of United’s ‘out-of-town’ support was largely due to the tragedy that hit MUFC in 1958, when a number of the club’s players and back-room staff were badly injured, or even killed in the ‘Munich Air Tragedy’ as it came to be known.

The UK loves an underdog, and, with players - and the legendary Scottish manager of the the club (Sir) Matt Busby - still in hospital, the makeshift team made it to Wembley three months’ later for the 1958 FA Cup Final... only to lose 2 - 0 to a good, homegrown Bolton side. 

From then on, Manchester United belonged to everyone - something that still rankles with some people today, some 50-plus years on.



    Anyway, we swaggered our way across North London to Highbury, where thousands of fans of both sides were already gathered for what was, as usual, a virtual sell-out match. Many years on, I can still picture a number of Arsenal skins, who all appeared to be incredibly tall, gaunt and... old. To me, at least, though I would doubt there were too many aged over 18.

I hadn’t really started shaving but some of these lads had a ‘full set’ of sideburns, accentuated by their lack of head hair - funny how things stick in your mind.

    

I know we met other United fans outside pubs - I was never going to get in and be served, and in honesty, neither were some I was with. That said, I was given (at least) two pints, and felt incredibly grown-up and part of the crew. (It tasted horrible, mind.)

And so, beer drunk, burger eaten, and insults traded with the opposition, we made our way into the ground. There was no (real) segregation of the supporters at that time (in later years, police would mount almost military-style operations to keep fans apart) and we easily made our way into the heartland of Arsenal’s singing/scrapping section, known as the ‘North Bank’, which had a fairly tough reputation, even in pre-skinhead times.




    The first thing that struck me - literally - was an old, copper penny, one of hundreds, if not thousands, that arsenal fans were throwing at the new arrivals, who, in turn, were chucking them back. Incredibly, almost from nowhere, there opened a ‘no man’s land’ between us and them, and it’s still something that amazes me as we were all virtually dressed alike, even down to the red and white scarves many of us, in those bygone days, still wore to identify with the club.

    

Of course, the police weren’t going to allow a full-blown mellee to ensue and waded in, hitting everyone, not in their ‘gang’ - and these were big fellas, back in the day when the police service had a minimum height requirement for those who wanted to join.

They were up against everyone inthe North Bank, and were forced to retreat back onto the pitch as coins (later to be sharpened), stones, sticks and bottles (though not on the scale that had been regular occurrence at some Scottish football grounds) and anything else to hand, were exchanged in a pitched battle that didn’t stop even when the game kicked off.

    

Occasionally, people were carried out by friends and fellow supporters - some to outside the stadium, others onto the pitch with bleeding head wounds - but by then, the authorities had lost all control. I was scared, but incredibly excited at being part of something so beyond anything I had ever seen... and I liked it.

Then of course were the songs and chants, that every team had employed to bait the opposition for many years previously - some unique, many stolen and/or adapted from others.

    On this occasion, one was along the lines of: ‘We took the North bank, we took the North Bank, we took the North Bank, Highbureeeeee...’ - hardly award-winning but good enough to get the Gunners’ fans going. And that’s what mattered.

For many skinhead fans, the away games were merely conduits to let off steam with a punch-up, visit new places and meet girls. And I loved it.

 Within a couple of years, some unfortunate fans had died in punch-ups, ( I had a friend decapitated by a train, leaning drunk out of a window), darts had been launched at others - I remember this happening at Liverpool's ground and saw a fella being led away with one stuck in his forehead - and the ‘fun’ had gone from it - for me, anyway.

    

I was also older and, if not wiser, had better things to do with hard-earned wages... and add to that, a steady girlfriend. I still had friends who, adopting new fashions, went to games and, hand-on-heart, I still know men of 50-plus who get into scuffles at football matches - it gets some people that way.

Not something I’d recommend now, too many knives; too many people prepared to have one person set upon by six others, stamping on victims’ heads, etc... It’s not the sport’s fault, I blame Society.

    Hope this helps

 - 

Ed
    
(FTR: I was never a proper 'baddie' - I was/am too aware that any kickings dealt out could well (ultimately) have come back my way.) 

     


  7. Brideshead

    Brideshead Senior member

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    In reply to an earlier question about what the originals wear today I suppose today is fairly typical for me on a work day:

    Suit - Grey Italian POW (Luigi Botto) SB 3B centre vent
    Shirt – Polo RL long sleeve light chambray BD open neck
    Shoes – Florsheim Imperial Longwings in burgundy
    Sox – Budd dark burgundy wool OTC
    Belt – Jasper Conran dark brown
    Pocket hank from Willigees, Colchester navy silk with burgundy spots
    Fragrance – Penhaligon’s Endymion edt

    Off duty at this time of year it would normally be:

    G9 or similar
    Jeans, Levis or Wrangler dark
    A BD or polo shirt and v neck or cardi
    Loafers or desert boots

    This sort of thing...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     


  8. Aces and Eights

    Aces and Eights Senior member

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    A great recollection story and written reader friendly with a humorous under tones – I liked the piece about Mums packed lunch getting dumped and ‘a punch for good measure’
     


  9. browniecj

    browniecj Senior member

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    "If You Are Going To Euston,Clap Your Hands".Can still hear the Call,even after all these years.Good Story Ed.


    Very Smart Brideshead.
     


  10. Ed Vaughan

    Ed Vaughan Senior member

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    Bang-on... if you had more chins, it could be me. :embar:
     


  11. Get Smart

    Get Smart Don't Crink

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    some fantastic posts in the last few days!! Thanks to all the newcomers for joining in the discussion. Will have to spend some time reading the longer stories as they seem fascinating upon a cursory read

    Aces&Eights, would love to see pics of the tattoos (gang markings)

    John Brideshead, very smart, the way a skinhead SHOULD age gracefully, so to speak.

    Roy, came back from a 4 day Rockabilly/R&B weekender. Sophie and Rob were there, was great to hang out with them over the past few days, tho we had a meal at the worst restaurant in the world. over 2+ hours and Rob/Soph and our other friend Dave NEVER got their food LOL!
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2012


  12. Aces and Eights

    Aces and Eights Senior member

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    [​IMG]

    This was our old 'Simon Templar Saint with boots' gang tattoo that I am very attached to - literally!!
     


  13. Get Smart

    Get Smart Don't Crink

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    ^ that's great, love the touch with the boots. Used to watch The Saint relgiously in reruns growing up in 80s
     


  14. Lasttye

    Lasttye Senior member

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    Ed that was such a brilliant story, Reading it just took me back all those years ago, I hope MoM adds it to the Book.
    Made my day thanks mate.
     


  15. Lasttye

    Lasttye Senior member

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    Roy, came back from a 4 day Rockabilly/R&B weekender. Sophie and Rob were there, was great to hang out with them over the past few days, tho we had a meal at the worst restaurant in the world. over 2+ hours and Rob/Soph and our other friend Dave NEVER got their food LOL![/quote]


    You do get about Jason, Yes saw the pics on FB, You all looked very smart,
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2012


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