Where Have All the Bootboys Gone? Skinhead Style and Graphic Subculture

    Street Galleries, London College of Communication: 23 October – 2 November 2013. Where Have All the Bootboys Gone? Opening reception and symposium Wednesday 23rd October 5.30-9pm. Skinhead culture began as an authentic response to working class conditions in late 1960’s Britain. Impoverished young people living in cities listening to Ska & Reggae music developed a harder mod style, which reflected the bleakness they saw in their everyday surroundings. Later at the end of the 1970’s a new and different Skinhead subculture emerged, integrated with the Punk movement and Oi!.


    Skinheads found their way into politics, the football terraces, pubs and clubs, until it became synonymous with British working class culture. At once abject and reviled, angry and confused, yet rebellious, outspoken and uniquely authentic.


    This exhibition will chart the Skinhead’s working class roots and later their political engagement, right through to the subsumption of the Skinhead aesthetic by Queer culture. We illustrate issues commonly understood as relating to Skinhead culture, but also lesser known aspects such as Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice (SHARPS) who attempted to shun the far-right wing political associations with the Skinhead image. And later Skinheads and queer culture, a controversial engagement that divides opinion as to its origins and intentions. For some it is a fetishisation of extreme masculinity, while for others it is a usurping of strength by the normalisation of an aesthetic.

    Contrary to other sub cultures such as Punk, New Romantics etc., Skinhead identity is much less open to interpretation or individualism. Forged from the experience of working class authenticity a quasi-uniform emerged which had to be strictly adhered to. Whether politically left or right, gay or straight such codes dictate whether or not you could be defined as a real Skinhead or not.


    Here is a unique perspectives on one of the worlds most notorious subcultures, an uncompromising look at Skinheads past and present and the spread of the global Skinhead phenomenon.

    Toby Mott, Curator

    Copyright © 2013 MottCollection, All rights reserved.

    Where have all the bootboys gone? Skinhead style and graphic subcultures
    23 October – 2 November 2013

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    Hours: Mon-Sat 10-5

    Street Galleries
    London College of Communication
    University of the Arts
    SE1 6SB

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