With kind permission of Brutus
“It was 1980 when I first heard the new breed of ska music being created in Coventry, London and Birmingham. That moment triggered a direction that led me into the fashions of Rudeboy and later down the line, Skinhead. I was 10 years old and it was a time of discovery, dynamism and adventure. My focus quickly shifted from playing with my Action Man in front of the telly to clothing, music, dancing and things that were once seen to be the preserve of the older kids on the estate. Overnight I began to call myself a Rudeboy. My mum was a single parent, money was tight and finding ways of earning, so that I could fully immerse myself in the fashion and culture that permeated this new sound, became paramount - I had found my ‘tribe’, and this was our music, our culture, our time. Twelve years ago, following some challenging times, I started to jot down my memories of growing up on the East London housing estate where I listened to Two Tone music, made friends and subliminally absorbed the sounds and influence of a multi-cultural community.
My writing was initially something that I did just for myself; it was my therapy but, the jottings eventually became a novel which was published eight years ago. Neville Staple generously agreed to write the forward and presenting Terry Hall with a copy, was the icing on the cake. I have been asked why my novels, 'Too Much Too Young' and 'Feathers', are set in that period. It’s really simple. It’s a time that inspired me, a time that I am familiar with and one that I am very fond of. Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to be invited to the 40th anniversary screening of Dance Craze where I was immediately transported back to a time which for myself and many, was our first dipping of our wicks in to the exciting world of music, fashion, social freedoms and autonomy. Lifelong friendships, borne out of shared interests and experiences from that time continue to this day and though we are older and other priorities have taken precedence, our deep affection for Two Tone music and the culture that surrounded it keep us very much connected. It was 1980 when I first heard the new breed of ska music being created in Coventry, London and Birmingham. That moment triggered a direction that led me into the fashions of Rudeboy and later down the line, Skinhead.”