Monday, March 03, 2008

Pulp Fanatic #6 - Correction

Difficult as it is to imagine, I made a mistake in my review of the new and really important issue of Pulp Fanatic #6. I said that the Skinhead series died quickly. Here's a correction from Justin Marriott that is also an interesting take on the culture of the time.

Thank you for the kind words Ed. Somewhat taken aback at being described as one of the most important non-f genre mags ever! I know you were involved with the guys at the superb The Scream Factory in one form or another, so I'll take it as a huge compliment.

The James Moffatt Skinhead novels DID become a huge success, selling in their millions. At one point the book gatecrashed the 10 Most Popular books for teenagers amongst classics such as Black Beauty and Call of the Wild, which caused somehing of a tabloid furore. They are now amongst the most collected of UK paperbacks (mainly by people who don't collect any other paperbacks) and fetch good money on e-bay. A near mint condition of a reprinting of Skinhead is currently fetching $30 with at least 2 days bidding to go.

Although the books did contain racist language and violence, this was at a time before the skinhead cult exported itself to the US and turned into some sort of monster. (The most disturbing sight of recent memory was at a punk concert I attended with my younger brother when he lived in Organce County. A large group of large skinheads covered in swastika tattoos were sieg heiling and were. No relevance to the bands playing. I so wanted to confront them but it would only had lead to me getting my teeth kicked in at best. Stabbed at worst.) In the late 1970s an extremist political party The National Front would recruit skinheads to undertake their dirty work, but thankfully the NF never got a real foothold here. It's most bizarre as it's universally acknowledged that the skinhead identity originated from young Jamacian immigrants in the 1960s, so by becoming racist they are denying their roots!

I'm currently working on a piece about Laurence James who spent his early years as Peter Haining's right-hand man at New English Library. He got so fed-up with having to edit out the racism in the Skinhead books that he refused to have anything to do with Moffatt.

Jim Moffatt will also be the subject of a feature in The Fanatic at some point!

All the best.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've read a few of the Moffatt series and they are both repellent and well done, tough nihilistic stuff with echoes of Clockwork Orange without the pretension.

I must say that I think your correspoondent is being a little disengenuous with his implication that skinheads turned into a 'monster' cult only when they got to the usa. Please. This was a violent, vicious UK phenom, notorious for incidents of gay- and 'paki' bashing and much more.