Thursday, May 03, 2007

Skinheads & S***heads

I've read a few of the interviews about the new 80s film "This is England" and I'm not sure whether I'll go and see it. A good review here and elsewhere but I'm a bit alarmed by some of the things Shane Meadows has been saying in interviews. He's talked alot about the original skinheads being anti-racist and into reggae; all true enough; but Meadows was 11 in 1983, and I don't remember any reggae-loving nice skinheads in my part of Staffordshire (he was born up the road in Uttoxeter) by that time. I was 15 at the time, and the skinheads were, without exception, the troublemakers and the terrorisers in school. Seeing Suggs in a Madness video might have seemed harmless enough, but translating his leery cheekiness into playground thuggery, the skins were our schools brooding encapsulation of terror; so I'm always a little uneasy when I hear of anyone glamourising this particular cult. Perhaps if you were in it, it made sense, but outside of it? You had to watch yourself. Last year, I was horrified to find that the BNP polled second - over 700 votes - in the village where I grew up, and with local elections today, I just checked and yet again, the only ward with a BNP candidate in Cannock Chase is my old village, Norton Canes, and sure enough, on the list of "nominees" I recognise one name from my class of '83. Whether or not he was a skinhead then, there was always something wicked in our local woodpile, and I associate the skins with that - not with reggae music and helping old ladies across the road.

Election update: the BNP fell back into 3rd place in Norton Canes, behind the Conservatives, and the winning Labour party, albeit still with 405 votes. Somewhat less than last year.

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