Spotted: Young boys donned in Ben Shermans, Levi’s, braces and not forgetting the infamous boots. Saturday night dancing, laughing and chatting up the birds – happy.
This is an extract from an article called “Thanks for Nothing – Bother Boots” which came in the International Times Issue 65, dated September 26 – October 9, 1969. We can already guess what/who they are talking about (yes, right, skinheads); however, the article does not even mention that word. The term they use is mainly ‘crop-head’.
I wouldn’t say the article is not interesting, but being IT an ‘underground’ newspaper, I would have expected less clichés. It’s quite long so I won’t be sharing it but I’ll give you the links so you can have a read. Pics are great, though, the cover of the issue and the photos in the article.
Next issues, 66 and 67, do not have any content that may fit this blog so I’ll skip them. But issue 68 is the beginning of something very nice: “Yell“.
Yell was a section made by skinheads and for skinheads. As I have already said, it started in issue 68 dated November 21 – December 4, 1969. In it, skinheads talked about the topics they were interested in, clothes and music (they only shared Reggae but the reviewer was also a big Soul fan). The members of the Yell Staff were: Sue Collins, Paul Thompson, Ray Blake, Simon Walsh, Davey, Frances Wake, Barry Blake, Dave Wilkins and Steve Maxted (who wasn’t a skinhead but a DJ).
- Issue 68 (November 21 – December 4, 1969)
This number begins with an editorial by Paul Thompson:
“People call us ‘skinheads’, we don’t call ourselves anything. This is our page and we can do what we like with it, and that’s what we’re going to do. Maybe later we can start that magazine everyone’s been going on about. What do you think? Do you want one or do you think it’s a waste of time?
What this page is for is to help us and the trogs to get to know each other better. I think this is a good thing because we might be surprised and find we think the same way on a lot of things. Maybe we’ll find out whether it’s really them or the bosses/police/anyone else we should be fighting. Who knows?
Whatever you may think about long haired people, it’s bloody obvious that WE have had too much bad treatment in the past couple of years. Especially since the press got onto us. […]”
Wise words, Paul. Love it.
It also contains Reggae News and Reviews by Steve Maxted, a little article on boots confiscated by the police and another one on what people thought about youth subcultures such as skinheads or greasers. I will summarise the music section but you can read the full articles on the link below.
Regarding the music section, Steve was a DJ and a huge Reggae enthusiast. He really knew his stuff and collected records. In this issue he wrote reviews of Symparip – Skinhead Moonstomp, Desmond Dekker – Pickney Gal, Dynamites – Mr. Midnight, Laurel Aitken – Rise and Fall, The Pioneers – Alli Button.
- Issue 69 (December 5-17, 1969)
This time Dave Tibbey wrote the editorial:
“RIGHT. As from now on I refuse to let anyone call me a skinhead, or a pricklehead, or anything like that.
On Thursday the 20th November, 10.000 people marched through London in support of more pay for teachers. The Evening Standard said the marchers included ‘teachers, student teachers, and even a few skinheads (oh f*ck, that word again!). Well, I counted four of us altogether. […]”
The number contains the regular Reggae section with reviews of The Pioneers – Poor Rameses, The Melodians – Sweet Sensation, The Pyramids – Chicken Mary, Stranger Cole – Pretty Cottage, among others. A report from Manchester on a problem with The Twisted Wheel and a letter from a hippy are also included.
- Issue 70 (December 18-31, 1969)
I don’t know what happened to Dave, the guy who wrote the editorial of the previous issue, but he doesn’t appear in the credits anymore. I reckon he was a bit angry but there is always a grumpy one, so who knows! This one goes a bit like this:
“Well, it has started. We’ve started getting letters complaining about this page. I think that we expected this to happen.
The country seems to be full of people who think like this: ‘A bloke with cropped hair hit me once, therefore all blokes with cropped hair are thick and violent’. How stupid and illogial can you get?”
I recommend reading this editorial, it’s very interesting and with a lot of details of how they felt. Not all skinheads were violent, very, very true.
The Reggae News cover a concert Steve went to, he particularly enjoyed The Marvels. It also includes reviews of 7″s such as The Upsetters – A Live Injection, The Hippy Boys – Reggae Pressure (he call that distinctive riddim ‘Steady-Reggae’), The Rulers – Situation, etc.
This issue contains a letter of someone complaining for being beaten up by skinhead and a skinhead girl who enjoys a decent punch-up. Well, what can I say.
- Issue 71 (January 14-28, 1970)
So we’re already in the 70’s. The editorial is a mix of a complaint about record shops and the people in power, encouraging other skinheads to fight them. By this time, the guys from IT already want the Yell crew out of the newspaper.
Weak number. Apart from those things mentioned above, it includes the regular Reggae section by Steve wishing a Reggae New Year to one and all. Steve had been to a Desmond Dekker concert who seemed to have improved a lot, one his favourite artists. There are also reviews of Tommy McCook – Black Coffee, Derrick Morgan – Moon Hop (this is interesting because he says whites tend to prefer Skinhead Moonstomp but West Indians Derrick’s one as he makes no allusion to skinheads), Ansel Collins – Night of love (which he found a bit disappointing because he was expecting dirty words or so, you know, the title lol), etc. “My New Year’s Resolutions are: To go to bed early (depending on who it is with) and to get up ealier; plus a couple of private ones. I’m just off to get drunk so see you soon”. Seriously, can’t stop laughing!
- Issue 72 (January 28 – February 11, 1970)
“Drug Squad Probe Sex in Skinhead Violence
Now that we have your attention, we can safely tell you that you’re reading the YELL page again”
This is how the editioral of this issue, written by Paul, starts. Once again, the guys seemed to have received quite a few letters of haters complaining but they do not give a f*ck, the way it should be. People not happy with Reggae call it sh*t music, but the guys from Yell know they are doing a nice work: “We at Yell pride ourselves that our music section is just about unique in British newspapers. This is OUR kind of music and at least we have a column that tells us about it WELL!!!“. I just love it!
This is a great issue, probably my favourite one, quite polemic and defending OUR music. They even received a little piece titled “It makes us sick” by ‘Ban Commercial Reggae’ League, lol. They were disgusted with the cheap commercial imitations of Reggae and they wanted to prevent Reggae being ruined and made into rubbish by money-grabbing capitalists!
The Reggae section by Steve included reviews of Joe Gibbs & The Destroyers – Nevada Joe, which he thinks is a must; also Lee Perry & The Upsetters – Yakety Yak (he describes the singing as diabolical, out of time and yeuk, lol a matter of taste I suppose!), The Maytals – Pressure Drop, etc.
- Issue 73 (February 12-25, 1970)
“It’s Clobberin’ Time!” – That’s the title for this issue. The Yell crew knew that their page was about to disappear, there were lots of misunderstandings, letters, etc…, they didn’t expect to be around for long… SAD! The editorial is very interesting once again, I particularly like this piece:
“Things are getting funny when you get a group ‘Slade’, the once hairy group who cut their hair short in a pathetic attempt to become ‘skinheads (Eh?). I think it’s all part of a plot to lead young people up the garden path”
The Reggae News section by Steve includes reviews of The Upsetters – The Vampire, Boris Gardiner and The Love People – Memories of Love, Harry J. All Stars – Lavender Blue but he didn’t know who the singer was back then unfortunately (Hey, Steve, it’s Lloyd Robinson!), The Pioneers – Samfie Man, Hot Rod All Stars – Lick a Pop, etc.
- Issue 74 (February 27 – March 13, 1970)
What no Yell Page!
IT announced a shake-up. The Yell page (only half-page in this issue!) was not going to exist anymore, only the Reggae reviews by Steve Maxted but in another column. Having a look at my newspaper, the column changed its name, it was now called ‘Soul & Reggae’, to include his ‘even greater love, SOUL‘. His reviews include The Olympics – I’ll do a little bit more, The Forum – The river is wide, etc; and on the Reggae side, Delano Stewart – Got to come back, Lloyd Terrel, Birth Control, Ansel Collins – Cotton Dandy, etc.
“Goodbye from YELL page: Hello from the New IT which hopes to bring us all together. I repeat – HOPES…….”
And that’s the story of Yell, a great page! All I can say is that there will always be someone who doesn’t like or who doesn’t agree with what you do, but who cares? You keep doing what you like doing! Hope you liked the post!
And as always in parting, a nice little tune… One the 7″s in Steve’s reviews: