Commercial Break


Kickers were very hip shoes in the late 1970s, the footwear of rich rock stars and, judging by the ad above, were mostly only sold in swanky London fashion spots like South Moulton Street and Beauchamp Place.

Of course that made them very desirable to style-conscious kids too and I knew a few who had a pair back then. They’d show them off around the estate, cocky in the knowledge that a pair of red Kicker Hi boots had a status beyond the latest must-have trainers. I never had any because they were too expensive — we were poor, you know — but I didn’t like them much anyway.

They became more popular and widespread in the 1980s, their bright colours and chunky soles going well with the nursery-school outfit of Smiley t-shirts and baggy dungarees of the Madchester/Acid crowd (and were worn by a sheep on the cover of a Farm album), but I have no idea what their hip cachet is these days.

“You Wear It Well” was a bit too obvious a selection for this post so I went with this one instead.

Download: Country Comfort – Rod Stewart (mp3)

The Glam Olympics


Ladies and gentlemen, Alvin Stardust as Discobolus.

Download: Red Dress – Alvin Stardust (mp3)

Something for the Weekend



Hello, it’s me. Todd Rundgren from the planet Xenon.

Commercial Break


Billy Preston knows fashion too. But it looks like he keeps his car in the sort of dodgy lock-up garage you’d see in The Sweeney.

Download: Right Now – Billy Preston (mp3)

Something for the Weekend



I love this song, but his make-up and outfit does give the performance an unfortunate “sad clown” vibe. He should have a teardrop painted on his cheek.

The Tribes of Britain



Download: Boys and Girls – Reparata & the Delrons (mp3)



Download: To Be Someone (Demo) – The Jam (mp3)




Download: Teenage Lament ’74 – Alice Cooper (mp3)




Download: Hersham Boys – Sham 69 (mp3)

Indie Chic


We all know what Mods, Skins, and Punks dress like, but what is Indie style? This is a question the new book A Scene In Between: Tripping Through the Fashions of UK Indie Music 1980-1988 attempts to answer with a collection of photos from the years between Post-Punk and Acid House.

The word “Indie” has long since ceased to simply mean a band on an independent label – I wouldn’t really call New Order Indie – but instead came to describe a certain lo-fi scruffy amateurism, jangly guitars, and singers with fey voices who probably got beaten up a lot at school. The basic template was sketched out early on by Orange Juice and The Marine Girls, then coloured in (with crayons) by the bands on the NME’s C86 cassette.



The fresh-faced charm of the music was reflected in a charity shop-bought style that seemed raided from the band’s childhood wardrobes: anoraks, duffel coats, cardigans, v-neck jumpers, floral dresses, stripey t-shirts, sandals, and plimsolls. At the noisier end of the Indie spectrum where bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain lived the look was slightly more Velvet Underground, but generally the aesthetic was more Ladybird Books than CBGB’s, with a lot of Jean Seberg in Breathless thrown in for the girls.


I was never a full-blown Indie Kid myself, but in the early 80s I did have an anorak and wore those blue deck shoes from Millet’s that were all the rage for a while. At the time I was going out with a girl who dressed exactly like the one in the photo above (except her hair was a peroxide flat-top) whose best mate Eithne was even more Indie-stylish and later made the step from fan to starlet when she joined Twee popsters Talulah Gosh (she’s playing the tambourine in this video). We went to see her play live with them one night and backstage after the show I was amused to see Eithne and Amelia Fletcher surrounded by earnestly shy boys who obviously had major crushes on them. First time I’ve ever seen groupies wearing anoraks, though they were probably offering them mixtapes, not sex and drugs.

Though it’s easy to mock the music and the fashion as “Twee” – and a lot of it was a bit too wet and mopey for me — the Indie scene of the 80s was carrying on the DIY philosophy of Punk at a time when most pop music (and its accompanying fashions and videos) was very polished and materialistic, so in a way they were being quietly radical. Very quietly — while wearing anoraks.

Download: Blue Boy – Orange Juice (mp3)
Download: Velocity Girl – Primal Scream (mp3)
Download: Beatnik Boy – Talulah Gosh (mp3)

Skinhead Sociology



Wot you talkin’ abaht, mate? I just fink it’s got a good beat.

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The sentimental musings of an ageing expat in words, music, and pictures. Mp3 files are up for a limited time so drink them while they're hot. Contact me: lee at londonlee dot com

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