Hard As Nails was the daddy of the sussed skinhead zines that came out in the 80s. It was known for its decent taste in music and shmatta. There was even a decent NME write up.
The distinctve cartoons in the zine were drawn by co-editor Ian Hayes-Fry and the lad has got his pencil set from the back of the desk and drawn a special Moonstomp cartoon.
I was an avid reader of Hard As Nails and we…
'Sociologists write reams about the alienation of capitalism. We know, we read it. We see ourselves described in those blue Pelican sociology books but never understood. We know all about alienation and capital, we don’t need it explained by soft handed wankers that can’t see what we value. We produce style, dance steps, grace. The strange beauty of the murmuration of starlings across the sky, the…
I'll be doing a turn at Bloodletting, a night for new writing at the Poetry Cafe on Wednesday, August 15th. I'll be reading from the book. There'll also be some other literary types doing the do.
The Poetry Cafe, 22 Betterton Street, Covent Garden, London.
Kick off is at 7.30pm. No door pressure.
There is a bar. I'm still off the sauce.
Clothes, and more importantly style, are at the heart of skinhead. The fashions change but the basic style remains - more or less. Moonstomp is set in 1979, much closer to original skinheads of the late 60s than we are now to the skinheads and punks of 1979. The look in 79 was much more Harrington, toniks, decent shirt, and looking smart than the scruffs that were thrown up in the early 80s.
The book is set in 1979 and badges were an integral part of 'the look', be that punk, skinhead, reggae, metal, or whatever. The were pinned to the collars of Harringtons, the lapels of leathers, and even on braces.
There's a bit in chapter 7 about how badges played their part in meeting people and sussing them out...
As Joyce came back from the toilet and was strutting it to show off her new…
The second half of the soundtrack to the book.
Danger Signs – Penetration
Wolves and Leopards – Dennis Brown
I Thirst – Dillinger
Mash You Down – Cornell Campbell
Cool Out Son – Junior Murvin
Werewolves of London – Flamin’ Groovies
Groovy Times – the Clash
Barnabas Collins – Lone Ranger
Pressure Rock – Captain Sinbad
Want Fi Goh Rave – Linton Kwesi Johnson
There's a lot of music in the book, mostly punk and reggae tunes from 1979 and a bit earlier. There are quite a few favourites of mine mentioned.
Here's the first part of the soundtrack to the book.
Mucky Pup – Puncture
Bird Song – Lene Lovich
Jilted John – Jilted John
Salvation – Misty In Roots
Lucky Number – Lene Lovich
Babylon’s Burning – the Ruts
Champagne Charlie …
I'm well pleased that the book met 25% of its funding in a fortnight. Thanks everyone who's pledged. The very first person to was the mighty Clare Pollard. Books are going to all the decent London boroughs, oop north, and as far away as Canada, the USA, and Hong Kong.
A big thank you to everyone. Now... onwards!
The novel is set in 1979 and it was an amazing year for music. Punk still had some teeth, reggae was stepping into dancehall and both punk and reggae were in conversation. Dub was showing the possibilities of what was around us could be, 2 Tone was moving, as well as what became known as post-punk throwing up the weird and wonderful; Cabaret Voltaire's 'Nag Nag Nag' was a fave of my sister and me…
During my teenage years I read a lot of New English Library pulp novels. I was a young suedehead giving it the big 'un in button down, Harrington, and brogues. Many of the books were based around youth cults.
The books were pulpand wrong in so many ways but did get teenagers turning pages and they were passed around school playgrounds avidly.
In 2017 I was on a panel discussion with Unbound…