Note from the editor
This group is n ot related to the neonazi, fascist skinhead version. You can find the extremist version here: SKinhead and Skinhead FAQ
"As a lot of people reading this will already know, the first book published by S.T. Publishing was Spirit Of ‘69 - A Skinhead Bible back in 1991. Originally, a mainstream publisher in London, UK, was going to release it, but after a few months of pissing me about, I decided to do it myself. At the time, I knew sweet Fanny Adams about the publishing game, but it’s amazing what you can achieve when a lorry turns up at your front door with a mountain of books and you know every last penny you have (and then some) is riding on the fact that you can shift them.
I wrote Spirit Of ‘69 - A Skinhead Bible not because I think I’m some sort of expert on skinheads, but because I passionately believed that the history of the cult, warts and all, had to be written from the inside. Before Spirit Of ‘69, there had only ever been one skinhead book that sought to act as a guide to the skinhead cult - Nick Knight’s Skinhead (Omnibus Press). First published in 1982, it was largely meant as a vehicle for photographer Nick Knight’s skinhead portraits, but was padded out with a few pages on skinhead origins, music, dress, behaviour and the like. What really makes it worth having though is the section on fashion by Jim Ferguson, something that to this day is held in very high regard by skinheads all over the world, and particularly by those who choose to dress in the original skinhead style. Otherwise, the book was and is very much an outsider’s view of the cult, something that is underlined by the patronising mix of sociology theory and tabloid-based drivel.
The idea behind Spirit Of ‘69 was to offer a view of the cult from within, and one so detailed that it would stand proud amidst the reams and reams of complete nonsense that have been written about skinheads over the years. The end result was a book that covered the history of the cult and its music from the late Sixties to the present day, and one that celebrated the skinhead way of life without dodging any issues or pulling any punches. It isn’t perfect, but is now acknowledged as the most accurate guide to the cult currently available, and certainly comes far closer to the truth than countless newspaper headlines have ever done.
Skinhead Nation is in many ways both a companion to Spirit Of ‘69 and an opportunity to concentrate more on the individuals that make up the cult, rather than the events and music that have shaped its history. The hope is that this website will show skinheads as the individuals they are, and celebrate the skinhead cult as it was in various parts of the world in the mid 1990s. Like Spirit Of ‘69, Skinhead Nation is far from a complete guide to the skinhead way of life and it’s not perfect, but again I’ve done my best, and if just one person reads this and walks away with a better understanding of the skinhead cult then it has been worth doing.
Like any other group within society, the skinhead cult is made up of individuals. All of them share certain things in common or else they wouldn’t have become skinheads, but it is equally true that each and every skinhead brings different experiences and beliefs with them when they join the cult. No two skinheads are the same, and although outsiders would like you to believe otherwise - especially sociologists who dream up theories based on all skinheads being alike - there isn’t one type of skinhead, or two types of skinhead, or even 20 types of skinhead. Life isn’t black and white, and only the truly ignorant fail to see the countless shades of grey inbetween.
The media and its cohorts take great delight in focusing on the sensational aspects of the cult and by doing so present a totally false and distorted impression of skinheads. If nothing else, this website will hopefully show that not all skinheads are the racists the media makes them out to be, and that not all skinheads are even remotely interested in being used as political footballs. Of course, there are skins who are racist, but they too are totally misrepresented in the media to the point where buzz words like “Nazi” have lost any true meaning.
This Skinhead Nation website is not interested in defending any political position because politics has nothing directly to do with the cult. In fact, if there is anyone reading this whose sole reason for being a skinhead is to pursue one political crusade or another, then the chances are you haven’t understood the first thing about the cult and have no right to use its name. It is equally the case though that every skinhead has the right to hold whatever political beliefs he or she chooses to - just as everyone else is entitled to in a free society. And nobody should be allowed to take that right (or any other right for that matter) away from us just because of the length of our hair.
No doubt the Skinhead Nation website will raise many more questions than it provides answers, but such are the contradictions that come together within the skinhead nation. What’s more, the day they know all the answers and actually start to understand what skinhead is all about is the day to hang up your boots en masse.
Skinhead Nation is based partly on the research and interviews I did while working on the World Of Skinhead TV documentary that was first shown on Channel 4 in October, 1995, and also on the six years I spent as editor and publisher of Skinhead Times, a 12 to 16 page tabloid-style newspaper for skinheads which had a circulation of around 5,000 when the final issue rolled off the presses in February, 1995. The book version of this website was published in 1996 and is currently out of print. Hence skinheadnation.com.
It was impossible to tell the stories in Skinhead Nation without repeating some of what was said in Spirit Of ‘69, but as much as possible I’ve tried to cover new ground and write about bands, events and people who for one reason or another didn’t get the coverage they deserved first time around.
I now find myself among the ranks of ex-skinheads, having hung up my boots in 1995. I’ve still got a shaved head and still listen to the same music, and my heart will always be with the skinhead cult which has given me so much. I have always tried to give something back in the hope that the cult will go marching on for many years to come and skinheadnation.com continues in that tradition.
Skinhead Nation is dedicated to anyone who has ever had the bottle to shave their head, lace up a pair of highly polished boots and walk down the street with their heart pounding with pride."