With everything all getting a bit mainstream in the last few years, talk of the casual scene is usually met with a cringe these days. The roots of the whole scene still stand up though. The pursuit of a point of difference, the aloofness and unspoken clued-up-ness that made it what it was still exist despite every nutty teenager this side of Stevenage posting ‘selfies’ on social networks pretending they’re Danny Dyer.
When William Routledge’s Northern Monkeys book was first mooted, it would have been easy to dismiss it as just another casual book, talking about clothes and fighting in a way so many have done before. And yet, what it turned out to be was a genuine record charting the roots of mens style in the North of England, in the words of those who lived it. It’s well worth a read. Get it bought for your holidays.
With all that in mind we thought William (who prefers to be called Bill, really) would make a good subject for our Favourite Fives series. So here you go.
Item of clothing
It’s gotta be me Garbstore woodland side racer jacket. Though I’m somewhat of an anorak when it comes to jackets – I’ve a vast amount of coats mothballed and gathering dust – I seem drawn to the olive green number when browsing the wardrobe, not matter what the weather – I just layer up. The heavyweight canvas jacket is both quirky and functional, a great fit and durable, and you don’t see many, if any, round our neck of the woods. Garbstore jackets hit all the right buttons, and zips, for me – casual but smart kit.
I delve in and out of books depending on my mood or where I’m reading. Anything from historical fact finding expeditions to hard hitting blood chilling crime, and throw in the odd mind baffling fiction fable in to the mix, all receive a pore over. I usually take a book to work for brew and dinner times. I’ll leave an easy read in the conny for kicking back with on Sundays when recovering from a heavy sesh on the ale the day before. One in the bedside cabinet drawer to send me off to the land of nod rather than counting sheep. And a couple of contrasting reads in the front room for when I’m not surfing the net. At the mo I’ve got, Punkfootball by Andrew Vaughan, Dry Powder by Les Fowler, Wish You Were Here by Leeds Casuals, Got, Not Got by Derek Hammond & Gary Silke and Great Rivals in History by Joseph Cummins on the go.
Punks not dead! My love for Punk Rock stems from teen years. The meaningful lyrics and aggressive sounds of the street went hand-in-hand with my formative years. Various bands were listened to intensely in the late Seventies/early Eighties both on vinyl and live, and still are late on, on Friday nights while having a one-man PC karaoke accompanied by a large glass of red vino. I also make a annual trip over to Blackpool at the back end of each summer – do we have summers nowadays? – for the Rebellion Festival weekend. Old, very old, and new bands perform at the Winter Gardens over 4 days with folk making a pilgrimage from every corner of the globe to attend. And by the time the headliners take centre stage in the evenings, I’m a teenager again, pogoing mentally with the room once again spinning due to much cider. Yes, fat punks are not dead!
I lend an ear to a sliding scale of miscellaneous tunes every now and then too.
I’ve always been intrigued by artwork that adorns single and LP record sleeves, as well as possible hidden agendas and meanings. From the adroit pop art of the Sixties mod albums right through the spectrum to punk EP’s that were seemingly illustrated in a tacky DIY ethos, the majority of the covers do have profound dexterity and immense significance put in to them. Not only does the vinyl contained in the sleeve have a lyrical message, so does the cover too. Well, to me they do especially when I’ve been on the red. And this form of art is a thing of the past with most music being downloaded in today’s gadget bloated society.
Real ale, in real pubs, with real people to chew the fat over.