Saturday 22 December 2012

Northern Monkeys - Interview with William Routledge

We were lucky enough to grab a couple of beers with William Routledge a few weeks ago in his native Preston. William has just published his latest book, Northern Monkeys, tracing the most important subcultures of post-war Britain to the present day with interviews and comments from people involved in them as and when they were taking place. We sat down and asked him a few questions about the book and the idea behind it.
When and where were you born:

I came in to the world in the mid-swinging Sixties in the North West, then town, Preston – a somewhat backwater town.

Musical influences from the past decades:

60s: The Beatles, The Who and the Trojan label 

70s: Punk Rock; There are too many groups to mention

80s: The second wave of Punk and Oi!

90s: Stone Roses, Happy Mondays and Oasis

2000s & currently: No-one really inspiring springs to mind, I am getting old though... But I still go to the odd Punk gig

What age did you leave  your childhood to become involved with the punk scene:

Around 78 I got hooked on Punk, and over the next couple of years I collected vinyl, dressed the part and began going to local gigs and further afield. The street sounds of Punk captured my teenage attention and still hold meaning that moulded who I am to this day

The cross over point as a youngster when and what inspired it:

During 1980 I began knocking round with lads a few years older than myself and started going out on the town with them – I was only 15. This lead me to dressing differently, rather than wearing Punk attire. Quite a few of these lads went to Wigan Casino and dressed accordingly; chunky knit jumpers, shitstopper jeans and slip on shoes. I adopted some of the look, apart from the slip on shoes. But 1980 became my pivotal year in the dressing department.

Yes, 1980 was a transmogrify for myself and the threads hanging in my wardrobe alone by the ass-end of year. The clobber consisted of, the remnants of an assortment of Punk attire, a MA-1 flight jacket and Lonsdale of London sweatshirts. I had both a red and a black Harrington jackets, a chunky burgundy knit jumper and a blue & white/silvery flecked, oversized fisherman jumper too. Two Ben Sherman shirts, a gingham and a Prince of Wales check, plus varied colour ways of Fred Perry’s. Fruit of the Loom white T-shirts. Straight leg Levis and Wrangler cords and jeans. A yellow Le Coq Sportif cycling top with navy piping and wording with a ribbed zipped collar. A white, navy and blue three stripe trefoil adidas T-shirt, a brown Slazenger jumper and an ST2 adi black cagoule – because they had no navy blue left –with obligatory red, quilted lining. And a Crombie that my Mum had treated me to, and which hangs in my wardrobe to this day.
First ever PNE home game:

I can’t remember the exact game, but it were early Seventies. During this period, my sister’s boyfriend had started taking me on to Deepdale. The Spion Kop was the end, with its white wall in the middle, asbestos roof and panels with a gap at the top where kiddies would gob on fans queuing waiting to come in. Yes, these were home fans! The Spion Kop was big sweeping end full of lads and boys with scarves around their necks, wrists, heads, tucked in their flared jeans or sta-pressed pants. Scarves were even sometimes also used as belts. These must have items ranged from silk, wool or even homemade knitted scarves by granny. Jam-jar lid badges, sewn on patches, ‘PNE RULE OK’ or the two fingered style ones on Wrangler or Levi denim jackets. This was the age were the scarf was the football fans main accessory, the equivalent of today’s replica shirt as in those days shirts weren’t produced on the scale of today’s ‘sell, sell, sell’ approach to mass marketing.

A kaleidoscope cascade of images and happenings that got me captivated, along with the football, for the next 30 years – up until recently, that is.
At first glance the current path your on is a more relaxed approach to putting pen to paper. Do you think that this will be mirrored by other authors as its seems to be the current trend? Also, do you feel this will open up a younger audience:

Yes, there is a plethora of books out there on the FV subject which I think have run their course. This is not to say that some of the books that fall in to that category are the same-all-same. Some authors tell their life stories through their books and are well worth a read. But other books, you just have to change the name of the team they followed to whoever, and they go over the same old ground. I think folk nowadays want to read more about what made the authors tick away from the match and all the shenanigans that seemingly went hand-in-hand when attending. That is why I wanted to get Northern Monkeys out there.    

Why is it that you decided Northern Monkeys centres it attention around the Northern culture and touches on the outsiders:

The truth of matters is... that the majority, if not all, of the so-called factual facts on who was first in, best dressed, seem to be portrayed by events and happens that happened down south/in London. I wanted to put the record straight on such. So, the wide ranging book spans the evolution of terrace fashion from its deep roots at the end of the Second World War through youth cults, northern working class hang outs, music, football and how those who have been touched by this world have emerged and influenced different areas of life and culture, in the main, in the North, put the record straight.

Who has contributed to Northern Monkeys:

All stories are told from the original voices of more than 40 upstanding Northern Monkeys – and the odd southern too - ranging from blokes touching seventy years of age, right through the spectrum down to teenagers of today and on how they perceive the subcultures/non-cults of 2012.

As well as authentic nostalgic tales of ordinary madness, of a tender and sometimes violent northern life, there are new twists and insights on our shared history from respected authors like Dave Hewitson – The Liverpool Boys are in Town – telling of Cunard Yanks bringing back goods to British shores from around the world and Scouse fixation for being first in, best dressed; Phil Thornton, author of Casuals, reflecting on the development of the scruff look in the mid-1980s and untold tales of 2-Tone by Ian Hough – Perry Boys & Perry Boys Abroad – as only he can write in his flamboyant ramblings.

A War Baby, on growing up in a backwater Northern town in the Fifties and Sixties. Mods, Boot Boys and Hippies. Skinheads, Scooter Boys and Soulies. The Twisted Wheel nightclub is covered by lads who walked the walk, and danced the dance along with Blackpool Mecca, The Golden Torch and Wigan Casino. The book also touches on the politics of it all – the disruption to everyday life by an economic slump, and the right wing element of the terraces. Stories of raving and misbehaving and Madchester. Wayfarers tales of travel and mischief. And, much much more from lads who have experienced happenings in bygone eras. The book also features entrepreneurs who have made a decent crust connected to sportswear and its later twists and turns; Liverpool retailer Robert Wade-Smith, adidas brand guru Gary Aspden and Barry Bown, the boss of JD Sports.

But for all the recognition that casual/dressers/football lads changed fashion and culture – was it just a northern thing? No, West Ham terrace legend Cass Pennant has his say with tales of travelling ‘op noff’ in the Seventies for football and visiting Northern Soul venues plus his thoughts on Northern Soul when the south had gone all funky. A unique take on the rise of the Casual/Dresser movement with a comparison on the North-south divide in dress.

Northern Monkey’s is an astonishingly honest anthology of Northern life – chronicling a scene and providing insights into something that is so much more than just a look, but an obsession and a way of life.

From toe to flick you got one last chance of getting togged up what would one be sporting:

Diadora Borg Elite, Paul Smith socks, Levis cords, Kappa undies, Lacoste polo, burgundy ski jumper, Elleese ‘it’ ski jacket and, of course, a flick. 

Best dressed Era:

It has got to be the Eighties with looks changing seasonally, monthly, sometimes weekly.

What do you think about similar European cultures and there affect on the way British lads dress today:

With the internet and the latest product available at the click of a button, and European attire as good as anything else out there, the gap is getting closer on what labels are being worn right across Europe and the on streets of the UK.

When did the first books launch and what was the response:

We had low key launches in both Preston and Manchester and the feedback has been good. 

Do you feel that the international market will grasp the message of the book:

I do hope so. Books have been flying out to every corner of globe, so the message is reaching all our targeted market, with the first print completely sold out. Northern Monkeys explains how Northerners evolved setting standards that never had, or ever will be again, set on music, fashions and cults. 

Will the youth of today also want to read Northern Monkeys too:

Once again I hope so. The book not only covers past cultures,  there is chapters on ‘Healthy Obsession’ and ‘The Youth of Today’. Lads to need to know where the dressing is in connection to the culture they hold close to their heart. Just like your own label and the connection with the youth of today!
A massive thanks to William for giving us an insight into Northern Monkeys and his hospitality on the day. If you haven't grabbed a copy already, you might struggle as the first run sold out within days! Fear not though, there's another run in production and will be available soon. Check out their Facebook page for updates...

Tuesday 18 December 2012

Christmas Deliveries...

Don't forget to tell your Mrs and your Ma, if they are going to get you some PH kit for Christmas, they need to order before 3pm on Friday 21st to get it on Xmas Eve. (uk orders only)

Monday 3 December 2012

Mark Chester - 10 Years On.

With it coming up to 10 years since the release of his first book ‘Naughty’ we were lucky enough to catch up with Mark Chester, author and former member of Stoke City’s N40. 

One of the first hooli-books and still one of the most compelling, ‘Naughty’ was a best-seller chronicling not only the battles of the firm but the psychological impact on it’s members and Mark’s own personal background, which led him to his position at the front of one of Britain’s most feared and respected outfits.

Mark has also spoken openly in both his books on his spiritual beliefs and the fact that throughout his life he has interacted with friends who have passed away. In a video posted earlier this year on youtube, you can see footage of Mark experiencing Orb Interaction.

A couple of months ago we were lucky enough to catch up with Mark, who now lives a reclusive lifestyle in the north west of England and here’s what he had to say…

“I’m Not Going To Apologize For Any Of It! Because The Truth Of The Of The Matter Is, Without Hesitation, I Would Do It All Again”

Tough Words Spoken There, Eh, “Big Man!!”

But You See Ten Years Ago When I First Sat Down To Write “Naughty” Those Were My Exact Sentiments, And I Was Proud Of Them At The Time.

However I Have Since Learned That My Own Particular Background And Circumstances In My Formative Years May Have Influenced Who I was Back Then, But It Is Me Entirely Who Is Responsible For Who I Have Become Today. If I Am Going To Be Perfectly Blunt About How I feel At This Present Time. Well The Truth Is I Don’t Like Myself Very Much At All.

You See Nowadays I Only Ever Seem To Smile In The Dark, And At Times I Find Myself Wishing I Could Change The Past, Only To Concede To The Reality Of The Fact, That It Is Really The Past That Has Changed Me.

Regardless Of How Many Times I Question Myself As To Whether It Was More Exciting To Cross The Line And Live With The Consequences Of My Actions. I Can’t Help Wondering What Life Would Be Like Today Had I Complied With The Norm And Not Chosen A Life Of Disobedience And Rebellion.

So Why Don’t I like Myself?

It’s Quite Simple. Foolishly I Dropped My Guard And Allowed Myself To Fall Into The Hands Of A Creature Of Low Character. A Parasite Who Coaxed Me, At The Second Attempt Of Asking, Into Writing The History Of Stoke City’s Football Casuals.

After Much Deliberation, And Numerous In Depth Discussions Amongst Other Prominent Members of The N40, It Was Agreed That Stoke Would Put Their Chapters In Verse And It Would Be Me Who Put Pen To Paper To Chronicle The Social Aspect Surrounding Their Rise To Notoriety.

So How Would I Go About This?

My First Thoughts Were To Go Along The Lines Of A Standard Type A-Z Of Accounts Covering All The Major Events That Had Taken Place Over the Decades. That Way I Could Ensure That All Historical Facts Were Covered In Their Entirety, And More Importantly In The Meantime Protect All Those Who Were Involved As Well.

Not A Chance!! We Were Worth More Than Just A List Of Events, And The Deeper My Thoughts Delved Into This Project The More Adamant I Became As To What Was Needed And How It Was To Be Done.

In My Eyes, All Of A Sudden I Was Now  Out Of Retirement And Back On The Proverbial Battlefield, Holding The Frontline, Striving To Continue To Uphold The N40’s Unblemished Reputation Of Being Game But Fair, Only Now The Struggle Was Not To Take Another Firm’s Reputation On The Streets, But To Take The Top Shelf Of The Mainstream Book Shops That Would Stock Any Of The Present Or Future “Hooli Literature” Offerings Instead. It Was Imperative For All Concerned, That My Effort Would Be Superior To Anybody Else’s, And Compromise Was Not An Option.

It was at this point that I had Made My Decision To Strip Myself Bare, And Ultimately “Naughty” Became Unique In Terms Of A Memoir Relating To The “Hooligan Culture”. Never Before And Not Since Has Anyone Written So Graphically And Honestly About The Psychology Behind The Brutality, Their Own Personal Life And Opened Themselves Up To Such An Unprecedented Level Of Scrutiny And Ridicule As What I Did Back Then.

So Here Was A Man Who Had Been Expelled From School With No Formal Qualifications Of Any Note Whatsoever, Attempting To Write A Book. I Spent Months In Isolation, Trawling The Private Depths Of My Inner Thoughts Until My Decision Was Made Final.

I Told Myself, Whether I Write Well Or Not I Must Write It With A Genuine Passion, Say What I Have Got To Say, Say What Must Never Be Forgotten And Above All Say It Honestly And Bravely, And Let Me Be My Biggest Critic.

“Naughty” And “Sex Drugs And Football Thugs” Became Two Of The Most Highly Acclaimed Books Ever To Be Written On The “Hooligan Genre” And Became Best Sellers, Much To The Delight Of The Parasite.

As For Me, Well I Was Far From Delighted With The Eventualities Of My Autobiographical Offerings, But In All Honesty I Can’t Say I Didn’t Expect Some Form Of A Reaction From The British Constabulary, I Just Wasn’t Prepared For How Sustained And Vicious It Would Be.

What’s Done Is Done And What Will Be Will Be. As Much As I’d Like To, I Can’t Go Back A Decade In Time And Slap The Cheeky Bastard For Altering The Course Of My Life For The Worse, That’s Just Wishful Thinking On My Behalf, And I Could Have And Should Have Said A Resounding NO!! At The Time…But I Didn’t. Instead I Shot Myself Straight In The Foot, But Now I Have Accepted My Poor Judgement, From Back Then, And i’ve Also Learned, To Take All The Subliminal And Underhanded Tactics That The Establishment Use To Hold Me Back And Keep Me Down As “Par For The Course”. In Essence I Have Been The Creator Of My Own Downfall Through Writing These Books, But Remember This….”Beware The Person Who Has Nothing To Lose” Get It!!

To Round Things Off, I Have Two Things That I Would Like To Say.

Firstly, To Any Young Person Who Is On The Periphery Or Actively Involved In Any Form Of Gang Culture, Seriously Consider What It Is That You Are Getting Yourself Involved With, And Also Consider The Consequences Of Your Actions Before It Is Too Late. Strive For The Norm, Work Hard And Be Proud Of Yourself. I Wish I Had.

Secondly, now i’ve Got This Off My Chest,……..I’m Smiling Again!!

Thank You Very Much Indeed, For Taking The Time To Read My Last Ever Piece Of Public Writing.  I Appreciate It.

Mark Chester, Former Gang Member, Author Of Honest Words, And……….“Peaceful Hooligan”.

If you haven’t already, we highly recommend that you need to read Mark’s work!

Downloads for both titles are available below from Amazon, you don’t need a kindle to view these just the free kindle app here.

And for the spiritualized amongst us check out Mark's interaction here on you tube.... Make our own mind up...We have.....

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Peaceful Hooligan C.S City Series - First Stop Copenhagen...

Over the next few months Peaceful Hooligan will be hooking up with some of our favourite stores to produce limited edition pieces from cities around the globe. 

C.S First Stop - Copenhagen. 
We've just got back from the printers, finishing off the first run of our 'City Series' pieces for our pals over at Casual Clothing in Copenhagen. Since opening their doors in May 2003, Casual Clothing have established themselves as the premier store for this thing of ours both in the city and through Scandinavia. 

The collaboration will feature a limited edition tshirt and sweatshirt developed between us and will be available in the UK at, in store at Casual Clothing in Copenhagen and online through very soon... 

Watch this space for the date of release...

Sunday 19 August 2012

Autumn/Winter 2012 - Online Now!

The Season Starts Here... We've just taken delivery of the first styles from the AW12 range. There's tees, polo, sweats and hoods galore to get stuck into. Each with the attention to detail and craftsmanship that sets PH apart from the rest. Stay tuned over the coming months for shirts, jackets and accessories. Plus, we'll be teaming up with stores from some of our favourite cities for some limited edition projects. Check out the new collection here now or in selected retailers next week... 

Tuesday 24 July 2012

DreSSers - Out Now!

We blogged about the up coming DreSSers book a while back now and since then we've waited patiently for the publication. Well, this morning the wait was over when the Posty dropped a copy through our doors. We shelved plans of doing any sort of work for the last few hours, instead flicking through pages of rare clothing and even rarer footwear, tales of away days and great photography dating back to the start of Motherwell's Saturday Service. 

The books definitely worth getting your mitts on, it's available to buy here or check them out on Facebook here.