Mod to Suedehead

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

  1. roytonboy

    roytonboy Senior member

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    When I Was 17, It Was A Very Good Year…….​

    1967 –1969

    ‘Hippies’ and the like…..


    In 1967 the ‘whole world’ was swept by Flower Power – “Peace and love, man” . Funnily enough, it never really caught on in Royton! I can remember one of our teachers at the end of term bringing the record ‘San Francisco’ in to play as if she was really ‘hip’. Some of the girls in our class at Royton and Crompton were wannabe hippies – Beverly Gibbons came to school with a small bell round her neck – and were well into Cat Stevens and the like but the whole thing never took hold – just a bit of a fad really (in my opinion!) What it did though was create a scism in the Mod culture. Some Mods did lean a little towards this look and the emerging types of music, partly inspired initially by the Beatles during the ‘Sgt. Peppers’ stage. Frills on shirts, paisley shirts (and ties!) and flares became common in ‘mainstream’ fashion. Some trendies were to be seen walking the streets of Royton in ‘Afgan’ coats (which, for our younger readers, was a goatskin coat with the wool left long to hang out of the sleeves and bottom hem.) Hair got longer – this really was the one time when it could be claimed “You can’t tell which are the lads and which are the girls!” – and as a consequence facial hair became more popular. Musically the ‘hippy’ type music mutated into Rock (the Who, Cream, Hendrix) which took many Mods with it and ‘Underground’ or ‘Progressive Rock’ (Lead Zeppelin, Deep Purple) which also appealed to some Greasers, who had carried on the Rocker image.

    Greasers


    Continued the look of the Rockers with the addition of some aspects of 60’s fashion, longer hair, fringes. Whether they referred to themselves as ‘Greasers’ or ‘Greebos’ I’m not sure, as both were names used by others in a not very complimentary way.


    [​IMG]


    I don’t recall that many motorbikes in Royton and other clothing was worn along with biker gear. Green or Camo American combat jackets were worn, all styles and colours of jeans and heavy working boots (known then as ‘greebo’ boots!) with thick socks rolled down over the tops. This was a quite widespread look for the ‘tough’ teenager of the time and your average football hooligan of this period was as likely to be dressed in a combination of these clothes as he was to look like a predecessor of the skinhead. The Greaser cult continued through until at least 1972, adopting some aspects of rock culture (Harold Flynn in his brown, fringed jacket) and Hells Angel look – sleeveless denim jacket over leather. At Royton and Gravelhole Youthclubs pairs of Greebos could be seen doing the ‘death sway’ dance with each other (could be 2 girls, 2 lads or 1 of each!) to some rock track (or maybe Status Quo?)


    Late Mod, Early Skinhead.

    The move towards the Hippy look was never going to suit the type of Mod to whom style still mattered. Some Mods, particularly in the Cities, had always been football supporters and frills and kaftans were never going to fit in there! Many Mods never left their values and Soul Music, Scooters and smart clothes were still the order of the day. The look that emerged in this period started with the Mod Surf Jacket (a type of thin bomber jacket), worn with levis and brogues or possibly trainers in 1967, the hair being a short ‘Mod Cut’, through needle cord Wrangler jacket and jeans a year later, gradually being replaced by denims in the same style. Girls could have a short ‘Julie Driscoll’ cut or other fringed hairstyle. The Mods of this period still rode scooters and wore parkas. Jackie’s Ballroom in Shaw was a popular venue at this time. Royton lads in this era included Brian Parkinson, Ricky Zervanovic, Ken Swaby and Dave Rabbich. Interesting to note that though they all remained friends (Ken Swaby moved away, I think) Ricky became a rock fan, growing his hair and wearing flared, patched jeans whereas Brian (‘Perky’) and Dave became skinheads. Dave, in particular was a real leader in the field, being one of the first 2 Skinhead supporters of the Latics (both of them Royton lads). He dressed in bleached denim jacket and jeans and steel toed commando boots. His proud boast was that he rode ‘the biggest scooter in Oldham’ a Lambretta SX 200, re-bored to give it a 225cc engine, complete with chrome bars, mirrors and lights. He paid the price too, as he was the target of a number of attacks by greasers. As aspiring young skins aged 13 and 14 we would walk up the street with him as he recounted tales of away trips with his beloved Latics but, on seeing yet another 3 or 4 greasers coming, he would send us home to prevent us getting battered whilst he attempted to take them on alone!




    [​IMG]
    Late Mod/Early skinhead with Mod mates - see the join?


    Next time – Skinheads, Smoothies and Suedeheads.
     


  2. roytonboy

    roytonboy Senior member

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    When I Was 17, It Was A Very Good Year…..
    But when I was 16 it was even better!

    1969 –1971

    Skinheads, Smoothies and Boot Boys.

    1969 and 1970 were the years of the skinhead. Lads and Lasses all over the country were drawn to this latest fashion. A development of the Mods ‘cult’, it quickly became associated with violence, particularly at football grounds, and this brought to it also types of youth who would not have been Mods. Although the general public image of Boots ‘n’ Braces did exist, it was much, much more than that. Being a development of Mod it’s look evolved through the 3 years of it’s life and the attention to style and detail would have impressed any scooter riding youth from 5 years earlier. At the outset virtually any pair of boots would do, any colour, hobnails, army or pit boots, but steel toecaps were banned at football matches and so the now famous Dr Martens became the standard. It was actually not very common to see braces worn visibly after the initial rush to become a skinhead. This was because you soon got fed up of having them ‘twanged’ and also, well it didn’t really look too stylish did it? More commonly they were covered by a sleeveless jumper or Denim jacket. I have read acounts of the skinhead cult which make out it was some working class reaction to hippies, so traditional working class clothes were adopted, regardless of their lack of style. This certainly wasn’t the case in Royton as we were all conscious of looking smart, but regional variations did occur. For instance Reggae is normally accepted as THE skinhead music but locally Soul was No.1, with the Mod taste in rare, exclusive sounds of the mid 60s at the forefront. Shaw’s Motown Club was a regular haunt throughout the period playing exactly this sound (a forerunner of Northern Soul). Button down shirts, plain or pale candy striped were popular, ideally Ben Shermans, with Levis or Wranglers. The jeans were meant to be wide so often worn a size too big, hence the need for braces to get them to hang right (see, it did all make sense!). Also worn right through the skinhead era were white or light coloured ‘Sta-prest’ trousers and brogues.
    The skinhead scene was a little late taking off in Royton. Whilst a few of us wore the style early on, it was normally individuals or small groups. The initials ‘HCHBB’ (High Crompton and Heyside Boot Boys) sprayed on walls in some parts of town appeared late 1969 or early 1970 but I never knew who they were. During the summer of 1970 a few of us used to get together in Tandlehill Park, of all places, to hang about, chase girls around the woods and this was probably one of the original starting points of the ‘Royton Skins’, as it involved people from different parts of Royton. By this time the fashion was checked shirts (Ben Shermans, Brutus or Jaytex), highly polished Doc Martens worn with denims and this became the look of the Royton Skins. From around this time until mid 1972 you could not pass ‘The Shed’ at Shaw Road End any night without seeing at least a few skinheads hanging around there and altogether, including lads and girls there were probably about 40 who counted themselves part of the ‘gang’.


    [​IMG]



    Hair for lads was normally a ‘number 3’, sometimes, but not often, shorter. In fact, as long hair was the norm in mainstream fashion, it was not even necessary to have a ‘crop’ to be regarded as a skinhead, any shortish , tidy style that was short at the front was acceptible. The girls hair ranged from long (often tied in a bun, sometimes with a little at the sides left to hang long in front of the ears) through collar length, combed or gripped back off the forehead as worn by Julie Hilton. The popular ‘skinhead’ style was however the feather cut, short on top and front, longer (‘feathered’) at the sides and back. The most extreme version of this style I ever saw was on a Royton girl, Carole Race, whose hair was feathered at the back and sides but on top was a number 2 or 3! . There used to be a photo on the wall of Royton Youth Club of the Morris Dancing Team, all the girls lined up in their outfits and pom poms, most sporting skinhead haircuts! Clothes were similar to the lads with lower ‘Monkey Boots’ instead of Doc. Martens. and tailored jackets , not denim. To go out the girls would wear either a short skirt with light tights and jacket or a skirt suit, possibly in two tone material, with chunky brogue type shoes. The first girls I ever ‘got off’ with were all of this appearance (though how I ever managed this remains a mystery, being a mass of spots and clueless adolescence!) - most of them were really nice too!




    There was a little trouble between the Skinheads and local greasers at first, as the Royton Skins tried to establish themselves, chairs being chucked across Royton Youth club etc., but this never blew up into anything massive or long lasting. Most of the skins were aged 15 or 16 (the girls 14 or 15) whereas the greasers could be upto18 and anyway, these were lads you had grown up or gone to school with. Take the Riley family for example, Gary (18) and Wayne ‘Chire’ (14) were skinheads, brother Billy (16) and his mates were greasers! You were not going to get a lot of aggro in that situation! Eventually Royton Youth Club was unofficially split down the middle, one side for the skins, the other for the grease!



    [​IMG]


    Royton Skin 1970 -1971



    Smoothies


    Although there are different definition of ‘Smoothie’, in Royton it was a term used for a smart dresser who had all the most up to date clothes in the skinhead style, but whose hair was longer. The hair would most likely be collar length but shorter on top with a short fringe. Classic exponents of the smoothie look were Sean O’Niel and Terry Cocking.

    Boot Boys

    Again different definitions, but quite simply a bootboy was someone who wore boots!
    At the start of the skinhead craze they were lads who liked the image but didn’t want the ‘crop’, at the end they were youths who had either been skins and had now grown their hair or youngsters who wore whatever the current fashion was and behaved much as the skinheads had done. Sometimes bootboys adopted some, but not all, of the skinhead wardrobe. Using the above definition it can be seen that skinheads and smoothies could be boot boys, but not all bootboys were smoothies or skins!



    1971 –1972

    Suedeheads


    A development of the Skinhead cult, the Suedehead was the same style as a skinhead cut, but a little longer, hair being half to one inch long. This look started to emerge in 1971. Initially the clothes were the same, but leaning more to the smarter skinhead styles of brogues, parallel trousers in Prince of Wales check and ‘toniks’, which were two tone material. The denim jacket was replaced by the Harrington jacket . Red socks were worn and the ultimate Suedehead item of clothing, the Crombie overcoat. All of these were worn by lads and girls, girls adopting two tone skirt suits to go out ‘dressed up’. Blazers (‘baratheas’) became popular with the lads, usually black with a Lancashire Red Rose badge adorning the pocket in which there would be a ‘silk’ hankie, usually the colour of your football team. Later in 1971 the check shirts started to be replaced by plain, dark coloured Ben Shermans in black, red or dark blue and Fred Perry tennis shirts. The shift was a gradual one and throughout 1971 examples of all the above could be seen worn with skinhead styles, but by our day out in Blackpool on Easter Monday 1972 my brogues, parallels, Fred Perry and V neck pullover would have looked more at home in the Mod ranks of 1964 than the football terrace of 1969.
    Due to the relatively young age of most Royton Skins we nearly all became suedeheads, being by this time mostly 16 and 17, but really the distinctions were quite blurred and the general public regarded us as all the same - “Yobbos!”

    Postscript – I have recently met up with a couple of mates from those days and it was interesting to learn what had happened to the ‘mindless yobbos’ of my youth. Surprise, surprise! Former Royton Skins now running their own businesses, senior managers, at least 2 teachers and even a doctor. So much for stereotyping!




    Next time – Well, there’s not going to be a next time from me ‘cos I left Royton at Easter 1972 and was 18 later that year. There's plenty more for other people to have a go at though – Glam Rock, Northern Soul, Punk, Disco, Two Tone / Mod Revival, New Romantics.


    So there it is - a personal trip down Memory Lane, OL3! Originally written for 'The Royton Rag' a local monthly fanzine type mag which was printed in the town about 10 years ago. The names won't mean anything to any of you, so apologies for that, but they would have had some resonance with the readership at the time. I have no doubt there will be slight nuances in style and the timings might be slightly different for some of you and I'd be interested to learn if this is the case.
     


  3. flyfronted

    flyfronted Senior member

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    The IVY look is a huge part of the original Skinhead look .. Sta prest , button downs , royals , loafers , harringtons. You should know your own history mate .
     


  4. Sirryacus

    Sirryacus Senior member

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    The whole post you quoted me was telling you I was confused at what the hell you said, I certainly know the ivy look is a huge part of the original Skinhead look but the way I read your reply it said otherwise, if I read it wrong please say so, I'm sorry for any confusion not here to start arguments, many of those items I would say are very american but In my mind I wouldn't always associate them with the ivy league look they are just simply american.
    On a lighter note McDermott's post on cafes reminded me of a local establishment.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Formerly German now a "chinese take-away" place.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2013


  5. Bob the Badger

    Bob the Badger Senior member

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    I think I might be in this photo. If it is me I am the one wearing the Levi sta-prest at the back. It looks like the photo was taken without our knowledge. I remember a guy took a team photo style picture that appeared in the Daily Sketch. I ducked out of that photo because I didn't want to be recognized. My mate, standing next to me, was up for the photo but got into trouble the next day when he tried to hide the newspaper, with the photo, from his dad. I got a set of braces, new steel comb and boot laces from the police station. None of them were mine but we just helped ourselves to what was in the boxes.
     


  6. browniecj

    browniecj Senior member

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    I spoke to the Guy(about 20 years ago) and he did run "Harringtons" in Guildford.I only know what he told me.I am thinking of going to the place again-as it has been quite a while,since I was there.
     


  7. browniecj

    browniecj Senior member

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    Roytonboy-Always interested in reading about the Scene,from other parts of the Country.There maybe 18 months/2 years difference in the timing of the "Look" but at least it was done.:)
     


  8. Sirryacus

    Sirryacus Senior member

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    They've got Bass weejun's on sale for 39.99 right now at 6pm.com two different colors, I don't know if they ship worldwide though.
     


  9. yankmod

    yankmod Senior member

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    roytonboy.Great post.Thanks for dat.Looking good Bob the Badger.Nice to have someone on here that can point out themselves in the old news photos.Very cool.
     


  10. Man-of-Mystery

    Man-of-Mystery Senior member

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    I remember that in the Daily Sketch. It was because of headlines like this that Yell took the piss with a headline reading 'DRUG SQUAD PROBE SEX IN SKINHEAD VIOLENCE'.

    [​IMG]
     


  11. Man-of-Mystery

    Man-of-Mystery Senior member

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    Come to think of it, the police were probably acting unlawfully, nicking bootlaces and braces. I remember thinking that at the time, but none of us mouthed off about it.

    Apart from talking my way out of getting nicked for trying to bunk into the cinema in Lewisham through a back exit (which wasn't really 'mouthing off' apart from the fact that I remember grinning at one of the coppers and saying, "Come on, mate, if someone had really seen us from a window, you wouldn't be just talking to us, you'd be taking us down the station"), the only time I can remember anyone complaining about something was when my mate Mark decided he was going to march into the police station to complain about something. I remember going with him. I remember he was as angry as hell. I remember his complaint wasn't listened to.

    But I can't remember what he was actually complaining about! I must be getting old.

    Does anyone else from 'back in the day' remember any times when someone actually 'talked back' to a copper?
     


  12. browniecj

    browniecj Senior member

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    Two of my Mates did(Hastings)and got thrown into the Van.I can still hear their Heads hitting the back....:)Me,I never talked back at Coppers:rolleyes:
     


  13. browniecj

    browniecj Senior member

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    I had one or two rough Girlfriends but never violence,in our relationships!!!!!:)
     


  14. browniecj

    browniecj Senior member

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    The last Message was supposed to go with this one.Bloody Computer-fixed it with a Hammer.Does that go under "ExSkinhead Violence"?.
     


  15. roytonboy

    roytonboy Senior member

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    browniecj - on the day of our trip Blackpool on Easter Monday 1972 it just happened that Blackpool F.C. were at home to Middlesborough that day. We saw the Boro mob chase some of the locals down the prom just after they has come out of the railway station. The Boro boys were all wearing denim jackets, jeans and Doc Martens, just as we would have dressed 18 months before that. Oddly though, I noticed a couple of them were carrying rolled brollies! (Must have just read the 'Suedehead' book by Richard Allen!)
     


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