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Do skinheads still exist?
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TOPIC: Do skinheads still exist?

  • Renart
  • KlinsmannRoten!
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posted 28-02-2012 16:06
I watched This is England the other night, and it got me to thinking about how, in the Bay Area and Portland, Oregon, of my youth, skinheads were a fairly common sight, and you had to be adept at spotting the little differences that told you whether they were of the friendly, non-racist, ska-loving variety or the dangerous, evil, Nazi-loving sort.

And then I realized I almost never see either sort anymore. (The Nazi ones are not missed, of course.) There's one guy who works at a pizza place here in Austin who dresses in a traditional skinhead style (Doc Martens, tapered jeans, Ben Sherman shirt) but his hair is short, not shaven. And I've seen him with his friends who don't dress that way at all. I think he's the only skinhead left in Austin, and probably has to dance to Symarip alone in his living room.

Do any of you still see skinheads in your neck of the woods, or is the subculture dying out everywhere?
posted 28-02-2012 16:15
I don't think that New York ever had a significant skinhead "scene", and I'm certainly not aware of one existing now.

They definitely still exist in Germany (particularly in the former DDR) and to a lesser extent in Italy. They are also quite visible in Russia.

My sense is that all of those groups tend to the far right of the political spectrum.
  • Renart
  • KlinsmannRoten!
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posted 28-02-2012 16:22
Yeah, I forgot about Eastern Europe.

I remember seeing them (the non-right wing kind) in New York when I first moved there in 1997, mainly at ska or reggae shows and on the Lower East Side hanging out at Moon Records or the "mod" clothing shop above it. But by the time I left New York eight or nine years later they were much scarcer. (And those stores were gone.)

It's strange that a subculture that started out as English kids obsessed with Jamaican and soul music was later adopted by far-right racists.
posted 28-02-2012 16:46
Renart wrote:
It's strange that a subculture that started out as English kids obsessed with Jamaican and soul music was later adopted by far-right racists.

Actually it's somewhat stranger that a subculture that started out as a right wing English back-lash against hippiedom should adopt Jamaican and soul music.
posted 28-02-2012 16:49
Definitely alive in the UK, I'm good friends with one. Hardcore anti-racist, SWPer, etc. Enjoys going to marches and giving EDL folks a kicking.

AFAIK, isn't the short, cropped look the actual, traditional skinhead look? The actually shaven head thing came around much later.
Last Edit: 28-02-2012 16:51:43 by Flynnie.
  • Renart
  • KlinsmannRoten!
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posted 28-02-2012 16:53
Was it really a right-wing backlash against hippiedom? You needn't be right-wing to hate hippies.

I was always under the impression that the early skinheads were an outgrowth from the mods, and that their dislike of hippies was more a matter of music choice and fashion rather than politics. But I'm happy to be corrected.
  • Renart
  • KlinsmannRoten!
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posted 28-02-2012 16:55
Flynnie wrote:
AFAIK, isn't the short, cropped look the actual, traditional skinhead look? The actually shaven head thing came around much later.


I think you might be right. When I was in college in Portland in the early nineties, the Nazi skinheads had actual shaven heads and the "SHARPS," the non-racist ones, cut their hair with clippers but weren't shaven bald.
posted 28-02-2012 16:56
What's really strange is that Gawker chose to publish this gallery of Polish emigre skinheads from Greenpoint today.
Last Edit: 28-02-2012 16:56:40 by ursus arctos.
  • Renart
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posted 28-02-2012 17:00
Creepy! The disclaimer at the end of that Gawker piece is rather questionable, too. They're confusing Polish nationalism with anti-Semitism, so it's all cool?

I never saw any skinheads in Greenpoint when I lived nearby, for what it's worth.
posted 28-02-2012 17:08
Playing punk rock gigs, as I do, I see a fair few but I haven't seen a gang of them since the 80s when herds of them used to sweep majestically across Hounslow. Now you just see sole breeding pairs

I think it is a bit difficult now as the answer to male pattern baldness is now a cropped head rather than a wig or comb-over so you have to look more at the clothes. Even then a shaved head teamed with a Fred Perry or Ben Sherman isn't necessarily a signifier.

Really, you would have to see a pair of red DM boots, braces, turned up jeans or all three to be seeing a real skinhead. There appears to be a real cross-over between punks, skins and rockabillies as well.
Last Edit: 28-02-2012 17:12:42 by Bored of Education.
  • Renart
  • KlinsmannRoten!
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posted 28-02-2012 17:21
Heh. I wonder if Austin's last skinhead will find a mate.

Perhaps I should start a "Subculture Life List," like my list of birds I've spotted. The Spirit of '69 Skinhead would be a prize, like the Golden-cheeked Warbler around here for birders.
posted 28-02-2012 17:48
They definitely still exist in Germany (particularly in the former DDR)

Yes, the unpleasant sort are over-represented in certain parts of the east.

For example, until recently they used to be, and probably still are, fond of the village of Jamel in north-west Mecklenburg, where there used to be, and probably still is, this signpost:


http://www.fr-online.de/image/view/2011/11/3/11256846,8489927,highRes,maxh,480,maxw,480,GYI006296810

In case the image isn't displayed correctly: It's a signpost showing how far it is from Jamel to various places in German-speaking areas, including Braunau am Inn, which was where Hitler was born.

I once rode through there on my pushbike and didn't see too many males with non-shaven heads. I didn't open my mouth, either: giving myself away as a Johnny Foreigner, even though I'm a tall, blonde Johnny Foreigner, might not have turned out to be the best idea I'd ever had.
Last Edit: 28-02-2012 17:53:15 by treibeis.
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posted 28-02-2012 17:58
"Ostmark" is pretty diagnostic too, isn't it?
posted 28-02-2012 19:45
Renart wrote:

Do any of you still see skinheads in your neck of the woods, or is the subculture dying out everywhere?


Yes, there are loads, almost everywhere.

Many of them are follicly challenged though.
  • Renart
  • KlinsmannRoten!
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posted 28-02-2012 20:14
Yes, as the skinhead demographic gets older and older, we're going to have to start identifying them by the fact that they're wearing braces/suspenders rather by than their bald heads.
posted 28-02-2012 23:45
Why at Last! wrote:
"Ostmark" is pretty diagnostic too, isn't it?


Breslau as well.
I'm trying to think where the three signs we only see the back of are pointing to. I'm guessing the one pointing southish is somewhere in Alto Adige. Or possibly Metz or similar in Alsace/Lorraine, though the angle doesn't look quite right for that.
posted 28-02-2012 23:52
Looks like Kalingrad (Königsberg) is one of the others.

All in all, a depressing article from Spiegel.
posted 29-02-2012 00:01
Makes thematic sense, but doesn't fit at all with my spatial sense.
posted 29-02-2012 00:09
I think that it would be the one above Berlin.

Jamel is northwest of Berlin, so that arrow is pointing southeast.
posted 29-02-2012 00:15
Hmm, OK, having looked at a map, Jamel is much further north than I thought. I somehow misread treibeis post, the reference to Mecklenberg failing to register, and I ended up with the impression it was somewhere in central Germany. Anyway...

So, the sign above the Berlin one could well be pointing at Kaliningrad. I'm guessing the one below Wein is aimed at Gdansk? And the one I thought was looking south is somewhere in the Netherlands, possibly in the north like Groeningen (though I'm not aware that town ever had a significant German population).
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