Scenes from domestic life

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The Independent Culture
IN England could Fascism be a fad. In other countries, like Germany, the new racist right is a serious political calling, not a lifestyle, which takes precedence over everything else. But in Milton Keynes the skinhead member of Blood and Honour returns, after a tiring day in boots spent beating up Asian waiters or slagging off Reds, to a neat, clean council house with a fitted kitchen and colour television. Feet are put up, and children are cuddled. One of the neo-Nazis pictured here, with a portrait of Hitler over the three-piece suite in the place where the green-faced oriental lady used to hang, collects china statuettes of frogs. His council house is probably worth pounds 80,000 or so.

This is afan club whose cult is itself and its own doings. No group was ever more besotted by its reflection in the media, whether it is in its own Blood and Honour fanzine or in the furiously hostile publicity granted to the skinhead racist scene by mainstream press and television. When they are in jail, which is fairly frequently, members devour the anti-racist magazine Searchlight, which is devoted to exposing the neo-Fascist right. They find their own names and doings, and are happy.

Blood and Honour functions, among its other activities, as a sort of stable for various bands producing neo-Nazi punk music, lineal descendants of the old 'Oi' bands of the Eighties. The best-known was probably Skrewdriver, until its singer, Ian Stuart Donaldson, was killed the other day in a car crash at the age of 35. While the anti- racist movement celebrated, Blood and Honour promoted him to saint and martyr. Most of Skrewdriver's performances in Britain were thinly disguised to avoid banning; a recent concert in Milton Keynes was billed as a 21st birthday party. The police tactic was to surround these affairs, rather than to invade them, allowing participants to get drunk, rave and punch hell out of one another. In Europe, however, bands like Skrewdriver, No Remorse or Skullhead are greeted with respectful enthusiasm at neo-Nazi rallies in Holland, Germany and Italy.

Weaponry is venerated, although, in spite of all the show of chests and biceps, these Aryan heroes are said to be physically rather unfit. Real guns being mercifully hard to come by, most of the firearms are reproductions or dressed-up airguns. Less glamorous baseball bats and machetes are adequate for the purpose of smashing defenceless members of other races. With the weapons goes the usual jumbled far-right ideology about Nordic gods, pagan ritual and eternal Englishness.

Last year, they celebrated Midsummer Day by marching to a stone circle in Derbyshire where an 'Odin's priest' blessed the stones. On their way back to a booze-up on mead (the drink prized by true English Fascists even above lager), they ran into some New Agers also on their way to pay their respects to the stones, and abused them for being long-haired and 'dirty'. The idea that they are 'clean' is obsessively important to the Blood and Honour lot. In spite of all the skull-shaving, warpaint, tattoos and street brawling, they keep their homes nice.

Photographs:

Right: Jenny (as with others in these photographs, this is not her real name) has her hair bleached by her friend in Dunstable. She only bleaches the 'feathers' at the front and back, the rest is shaved off

Far right: Jenny, then 21, has 'Blood and Honour' tattooed on her arm in 1991. This slogan of the South African neo-Nazi party, the AWB - with a swastika replacing the word 'and' - has been adopted as the name of a magazine and an organisation that promotes extreme right-wing bands, such as Skrewdriver, Skullhead and No Remorse

Far left: Sarah puts on her boots immediately after her wedding to

the lead singer of a local neo-Nazi band at a Birmingham register office last year. She wanted to wear her boots during the ceremony but decided against it after arguments with her mother

Left: Kev Turner (his real name, on the left), lead singer with the band Skullhead, tattoos a friend at his flat in Sunderland

Left: Fat John, 28, doing some housework last year at the home he shared in Milton Keynes with his girlfriend, her three children and their child. He is now in prison - sentenced to two years for his part in an attack on a group of Asian waiters

Top: Fat John and Steve count the takings during a Skrewdriver concert in a suburb of Milton Keynes last year. The hall owners called the police, who surrounded the hall. Fearing a riot if the concert was cancelled, the police kept a low profile and let the concert go ahead.

Above: Painting graffiti by a Milton Keynes railway track (1991). The skinheads wear gas masks so that they cannot be recognised in the photograph. The finished slogan read BNP=WHITE POWER

These pictures are taken from 'Public Enemies' by Leo Regan,

published by Andre Deutsch on 28 October at pounds 12.99 (paperback).

Copyright 1993 Leo Regan

Photographs by LEO REGAN

(Photographs omitted)

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