2019 will see the 50th anniversary of the year when the word ‘Skinhead’ hit the UK media. In time for that semicentennial, ‘The Firm’ – a group of people who were there when it all kicked off – converse with each other, and respond to questions. What was it really like in 1969?
Bookseeker Agency frontman Paul Thompson was invited to be the editor for the book, although it really was a collective effort. BBC Radio6 DJ Don Letts has promised a foreword in due course – you may have seen Paul on Don’s 2016 documentary The Story of Skinhead on BBC4, as he was there back in the day too!
Walk Proud tackles such issues as
Did Skinheads evolve from the Mods?
What was the link to the American ‘Ivy League’ style, and where did Skins get those button-down shirts and wing-tip brogues?
Was it all boots and braces and football?
Were there run-ins with Greasers, the Old Bill, and South Asians?
Drugs or booze?
What did Skinhead girls really wear?
Yell – the invention of the modern fanzine, or a mistake that never got off the ground?
Race and politics.
Was Skinhead essentially a London thing?
Slade or Desmond Dekker – what was the true ‘sound’ of Skinhead?
Skinheads and the media – “Do they mean us?”
They don’t always agree with each other, but their conversations bring out details which might otherwise have been lost to social history. That’s one of the main reasons why the book has been put together. The media, both reportage and drama, have been getting things wrong almost since day one, from Softly Softly Task Force to Inspector George Gently, and later copycat movements have turned the whole thing into a para-political travesty. So this book is a vital piece of that social history.
The book is now going out to publishers. But if you’re a non-fiction publisher and you’re reading this and you think you can market it, don’t wait for us to get in touch with you!
The artwork and images in this article are not necessarily from the book.