What really happened in the seventies (Part II)

Good afternoon, everybody! Welcome to another post on The Ballroom Blitz.

So yesterday we had an interesting read with lots of details from the early 70’s in Scotland. Now it’s time to continue with the second part of this story:

Football was also popular. Most people followed clubs like Rangers, Celtic and Aberdeen and would go and see their favourite teams and join in any trouble at the games. Then there was Montrose FC who you would only go and see at local derby games or Cup games if a large away support was expected as you were guaranteed a good scrap.

As time went on the style changed from skinhead to bootboy. Hair became longer, trousers wider and shirts were no longer button-down, but either pointed collars or horrible rounded collars. Wranglers were still worn, but were now wider, and baggier jeans called Skinners became popular. Skinners were popular dress trousers as well as often just called Parallels. For a time they were being made to measure with 30″ bottoms and for a brief spell they came in horrible red and yellow! I did however like wearing Skinners cut at the top of 10 hole black Air Wair with white laces, white Fred Perry, black braces and a black blazer with white buttons.

Classic! Richard Allen’s Boot Boys book

Suits were still with four buttons, but with loads of buttons up the sleeves, loads of extra pockets and contrasting stitching, and as time passed things became ridiculous with suits in bright colous and buttons and pockets everywhere. Cardigans and jumpers were being made to measure in football colours, and again things were taken to extremes with pockets everywhere.

Things weren’t completely f*cked up though. DMs, brogues and braces never really went out of fashion and some blokes in our crew never had hair longer than suedehead. Occasionally, a skinhead haircut would be had and our unofficial leader was true to the faith and remaine da skinhead throughout. Crombies and harringtons were always acceptable in our crew, as would have been any skinhead gear, but button down collars and sta-prest just became impossible to find.

Travelling to football and invading other towns, or chasing people who came to your area remained popular sport, as did battling with Aberdeen fans who passed through Montrose on the way to and from games. Loyalties to Celtic, Rangers or anyone else were forgotten when they arrived in Montrose on the way home from a match, and anybody was fair game.

Although reggae never really went away and odd hits appeared throughout the 1970s, glam was the big thing during 1971-74 and even ’75. Everyone had their favourite band, whether it was Sweet, Mott the Hoople, Roxy Music, Gary Glitter or whoever. Slade were probably every bootboy’s top band and as we know are still well respected by many skins today.

We Want Sweet!

Around the end of ’75 and the start of ’76, we were getting pissed off with things in general. Most music was boring and crap and even old favourites like Slade were losing it. Good gear was getting harder to find and the skinhead days seemed like a lifetime away.

We were still most definitely a bootboy crew and still wore DMs, the most important part of the bootboy uniform. There were others in different towns who called themselves bootboys, but they didn’t look the part in desert boots, Adidas trainers, flared Levi’s and leather jackets.

Bootboy look

One day myself and a mate were discussing such matters and decided to go back to our roots. Despite the threats from our girlfriends (“get a skinhead and I’ll chuck you”), we became skins again. And the girls loved it.

Now there were three skinheads in Montrose and for all we knew Scotland, although we didn’t want to believe that. Before we knew it, all our mates followed suit and within a week we were a skinhead crew again. The search was on for original gear, but it was largely in vain. So our look consisted mainly of Wrangler and Levi’s jackets, harringtons, braces, t-shirts, Skinners, parallels, grandad or union shirts which were popular at the time, and 10 hole Air Wair. What really mattered was that the spirit was there.

Within a month, and much to our annoyance, practically everyone under the age of 18 worth their salt was a skinhead in Montrose. It was also much to the annoyance of the local constabulary who took great pleasure in blaming us for everything from minor acts of vandalism to major disturbances – often with good reason too! We also seemed to get up the noses of older blokes in the town, but we loved our reputation as skinheads.

1977 brought punk to Montrose, and although we didn’t like what we read about safety pins and spitting, some of the music did appeal. I don’t remember seeing any punks in Montrose before 1979, but maybe someone will dispute that.

I remember buying my first punk single, Anarchy In The UK, and playing it to my mates. It amused us as much as anything, but it did have energy which was lacking in most music of the time. When the Anarchy Tour was announced, featuring bands like the Pistols and The Clash, we planned to go and attack the punks. Sadly, councils up and down the country banned the touring punks and spoiled our anticipated fun.

With the popularity of punk, we became aware of other skins who followed bands like Sham 69, Cock Sparrer and Skrewdriver who were not openly nazi at the time. All Screwed Up was crap anyway, and press release photos at the time made them looks like a bunch of scruffs. (The Ballroom Blitz says: F*ck those bast*rds!)

Across the country, skinheads became popular again. By 1979, 2 Tone was breaking thanks to bands like the Specials, Madness and The Selecter, and to me things couldn’t have been better.

Then I got married and work took me away from Montrose. Still by the end of the decade, things had gone full circle. Skinheads were back and about to enter the eighties, but that’s another story.”

Very nice article taken from the Skinhead Times Issue 12. Now we really have a better understanding of what happened in the 70’s, at least in Scotland.

And as always in parting, a nice little tune. This time my late husband on vocals :D We Want Sweet!


One thought on “What really happened in the seventies (Part II)

  1. nice article but no one seems to mention the bootboy hairstyle we had wich was short or shaved on top and verry long back and sides. It was a great look! This was the north east 70’s

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