linkthink re: hip-hop, reggae, the US, jamaica, and anything else wayne wants to wax on


metroactive payback

unintentional irony?

from les back's "wagner and power chords: skinheadism, white power music, and the internet" (94-132) in out of whiteness:
While the global dispersion of racist skinhead style was at its highest point, the culture was being transformed in its metropolitan cradle. Since the 1980s the style has become increasingly popular among gay men in London. As mentioned previously, there have been gay skinheads from the inception of the culture, but during the 1980s and 1990s the style became ubiquitous in gay nightclubs. Murray Healy argues that the gay appropriation of skinhead style is a complex combination of homoerotic desire, kitsch, and a masculinization of gay culture. The nuances of his argument are beyond the present discussion, but he claims that the pervasive gay adoption of skinhead style is starting to change associations in London at least. He quotes a gay skinhead who is an active member of the White Power music scene, Blood and Honour: "When I first became a skinhead and was walking down the street, you might get a bit of hassle from people, you know, 'Nazi Bastard,' that sort of thing. Nowadays they say 'Batty man.' It doesn't matter who you are--they've never seen you before, you could be covered in White Power tattoos--that's their first image. You get that reaction from straight blokes. For me, the gays have fucked up the Nazi skinhead image."

Such combinations of sexual trangression and racial authoritarianism are no less complex than the Jewish Nazi discussed earlier. Healy argues that the growing public awareness of gay skins has corrupted the association between the skins and a conservative, white racist, straight masculinity. It is interesting that the skin quoted above invoked the association between skin style and gay London through the Creole homophobic epithet "Batty man." The fear of being identified as gay is being augmented here because these associations are being directed at white skins from a black location. It may be that, just as skinheadism is being globalized, its hypermasculine straight image is being decoupled at "home." However, this may well be confined to London, and there is little evidence to suggest that skinhead style has lost its currency as sartorial racism elsewhere in Britain. (108)


Blogger wayne&wax said...

further reading:

11:15 AM  
Blogger John Eden said...

Ha ha! Thanks for the link Wayne - the reference to Old Compton Street in my piece is because that's gay sub-cultural area (which I guess non-Londoners may not pick up).

12:44 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

The same goes for scally style (er, I'm not sure what American for scally is...) - it's now nigh on impossible to tell whether an oncoming group of lads are about to beat you up or chat you up! See http://scallyladz.co.uk/ , a London club that fetishises the look.

Also, I completely don't get the 'unintentional irony?' caption to the album cover up there - what am I missing?

6:41 AM  
Blogger wayne&wax said...

well, given the contemporary tendency to conflate gay and skinhead culture, i thought it was a bit ironic to call the comp "dancehall 69"--of course, it's referring to a year, but '69' has another cultural connotation which suggests itself in this context.

thanks for the tip on scallywags. funny phenom--you are asserting, with "chat you up," that gays also embrace scally style, yes? interesting. i guess that's consistent not just with the masculinist desire described above but with the tendency toward "slumming" kitsch in the wider (bourgeois) culture.

6:48 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

Ah, I must have a clean mind today instead of the usual dirty.

And yep, gay men have long embraced the scally look - as well as general borgeois slumming and, er, masculinism, it has strong associations with rough trade, so there's another interesting layer to do with self-objectification - by dressing like a poor straight (or 'straight') rent boy, a gay man marks himself as a sex object/completely sexually available. Confusing stuff...

7:18 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home