December 2, 2023

The 70s 80s 90s Blog

Three Decades of History with TV historian Tony McMahon

Irish skinheads, rude boys and punks

1 min read
1980 was a the high point for the whole late 1970s revival of skinheads and there were Irish boot boys and girls around too
Irish skinheads

1980 is often seen as the high point of the late 70s skinhead revival and there were plenty of Irish skinheads, rude boys and punks. This film below captures the explosion of youth cults that rocked Britain but also jumped to the Irish Republic.

Had to laugh at the kid struggling with his dual skinhead / ska fan identity. As was typical at the time, the TV interviewer sounds as if he’s just teleported in from the 1950s to disapprove of it all. And I like the punk kid with the Clockwork Orange eye make up who just states, quite reasonably: “I’m an individual.”

Interesting the girl interviewed who says punks are about changing society while skinheads are only violence. That wasn’t, of course, how it started out. She goes on to say the Mod revival youth hated the punks because “a few weeks ago they were disco kids”. There was a lot of migration between youth cults at the time. I was a bit of a dilettante myself between 1978 and 1983 going through New Wave, ska, NWOBHM, new romantics and on to 80s indie. Without a pause for breath!

FIND OUT MORE: Neville Staple – the Original Rude Boy

DISCOVER: 1980 as the Year of the Skinhead