The Webmaster of this site in a virtual „interview with himself“:
What are your political views as a skinhead?
»Iím not going to say that I donít have any views whatsoever, but Iím not really into politics. I do always vote though and try to keep up to date with whatís going on in the world. No, I donít vote for a right wing party, although the party I vote for rarely seems to get enough support to get anyone elected to parliament... since you ask, itís the F.D.P. (the German Liberal Party). They get my vote because they are the least dogmatic of all the political parties in Germany. What really hacks me off though is when people often misuse the word „unpolitical“, as if they were trying to suggest they were some kind of political innocent. OK then, seen in that light I suppose I could genuinely be described as „unpolitical“. Since 2005 incidentally I have been an electoral assistant. Sounds pretty boring I know, but itís actually huge fun. There I am wearing my British shirt and braces and ticking peopleís names off on the electoral roll when they come to vote. In the evenings at the count itís time for a can of beer; for a laugh I shout to the others in the room „Let me have all the NPD ballot papers“ (translatorís note: the NPD Ė the National Party of Germany - is an extreme right wing nationalist party, the equivalent of the BNP in England). Funnily enough you can normally count them all on the fingers of one hand!«
Why do you say on your homepage that you have no objections to „healthy right wing views“? Whatís that all about?
»People get too worked up about the word „right wing“. I see myself as a right of centre liberal, i.e. somebody whose views are firmly in the mainstream middle ground, but slightly to the right of centre. Iíve zero interest in alternative or green politics. I think you should see things as they are, call a spade a spade. In my opinion itís perfectly legitimate if people talk objectively and rationally about issues concerning foreigners and say that there should be a stop to any further influx of immigrants (which incidentally is certainly not my own personal view!). I only get annoyed when all foreigners get lumped together as the „enemy“ or get abused because of the colour of their skin or on account of where they come from. Thatís blatant racism which I wonít have any truck with. And anyway, what would my foreign friends say? The Pole, the Turk, the Russian, and the black African? To me thereís nothing unusual about having all these different nationalities around me. My African mate speaks crap German, but we manage to cope, even have a laugh about it. Itís funny, but when weíre together we can play around with these prejudices. Sometimes (as a joke) they call me a Nazi, because they say I look like one! In return I have been known to call the Turk „a wog“ and I tell my Polish mate that he shouldnít always go around nicking my things. I wind my Russian mate up about his bad German and in nightclubs I have told my black mates, „Sorry pal, youíre so black, I can hardly see you“. Of course, I canít talk like that to everybody, but I know these people well and itís our personal sense of humour. I donít mean anything by it.
Let me give you a few examples of my „healthy right wing views“ Ė weíve got a law in Germany which regulates when shops can and cannot open Ė I think itís about as useless as the Popeís balls. What are the trades unions moaning about? This law was never intended to protect workers rights. The State shouldnít interfere so much and certainly shouldnít be in the business of telling ALDI & Co. when they have to shut their stores. Another example: people who are on social security handouts. When they go to the doctorís they are treated as if they were private patients, because they donít pay national insurance like me. Also if youíre unemployed I think they should put a bit more pressure on you to make you accept work, even if itís a menial job. A welfare state which is too generous is not a good idea Ė or rather, it isnít for those who have to work hard to earn their living. Which incidentally is also what working class skinheads think. New legislation like Hartz IV is a step in the right direction (Note: Hartz IV is a law enacted by the German government to cut unemployment benefit and to make unemployed people work for the benefit they get from the state).«
And the cropped hair, big boots and bomber jackets - whatís that all about?
»Politics, pure and simple, itís a kind of mindset or attitude. I want to show Iím different from the mainstream Ė and yes, of course Ė wind people up with the gear I wear. I want to stand out from the crowd and not follow the norms of middle class„respectable“ society. I want to have a good time, enjoy my beer and look a bit of a scruff or look smart on occasions, as the mood takes me. Skinhead gear gives you a lot of choice. You can walk down the street looking a scruff with a dirty shirt, braces and boots or you could put on a pair of clean Levis, a nicely ironed shirt with the smart Fred Perry logo and a Harrington jacket. One thing however always remains the case Ė even in smart gear everybody can see youíre a skinhead. Thatís the case when my work takes me to the German Parliament and I sit in the press gallery as a journalist. Incredible? For me itís just normal... just like loafing around at home in front of the telly Ė wearing boots not slippers! When Iím pissed, I even go to bed in my boots. And I know that on nights like that Iím not the only guy in boots.
I just canít hack respectable society. Iím a cool, laid back sort of guy, but definitely a bit different from the mainstream. I enjoy my life in my own way. I know my image might seem a bit tough, a bit rebellious... even when Iīm out wearing my beloved trainers. But I treat everybody with respect. I just wonít have anybody making any stupid remarks at my expense, theyíll get a mouthful back. Credit me please with more than just one brain cell. Thereís more to being a skinhead than shaving your hair off and pulling a Fred Perry Polo shirt on.«
Arenít you subject to a lot of peer group pressure in the skinhead scene?
»Yes, many skins have got a real attention to detail; sometimes they accuse other skins of not being „the genuine article“. Just like Iím doing on this Homepage. I would argue that Nazi skins cannot possibly be real skinheads, although they are 100 % certain that they are the real thing. History however tells us different. End of story.
But perhaps a bit of self criticism is in order here. There are aspects of my character which are not skinhead-like. Iím German, not English and anyway far too young to claim that Iím an original British „Spirit of 69“ skinhead. Also, Iím not working class, BUT I do have a lot of time for people who have to graft hard. My grandfather was a miner; when I was a kid, he told me a lot about his tough life down the pits and I went with him to his work on a few occasions. Itís true Iíve never had to do hard night shifts bathed in perspiration hacking out a coal seam, but as a journalist Iíve often spoken up for blokes who work down the mines. Anway, I do know what life is like for miners. I know what itís like to come up from a mine with your face black with coal dust... because Iíve done it myself a few times.
Do you listen to Ska, Reggae and Oi?
»Yeah of course, youíll see me at concerts, even at concerts organised by the Anti Nazi League. That doesnít mean Iím a supporter of the Anti Nazi League. God forbid! Iím liberal minded and aim to stay that way too. But the Anti Nazi League often put on Ska and Reggae concerts Ė why shouldnít I go? On my hard drive Iíve got quite a large collection of so called skinhead music Ė for example Loikaemie and Endstufe. But in my musical tastes I donít really fit the typical skinhead image... which is why other skins often give me a bit of stick. Iím into progressive Sounds and Goa. I canít do anything about it; thatís just the way I am. That means that Iím always getting hassle in clubs from security. On the other hand it does make for interesting conversations on occasions. Fortunately there are clubs in Hannover and Berlin where I donít get any grief. Not even from the bouncers because theyíve got to know and trust me... without the need for a body search. They just nod me through at the door.«
And what about beer? They say that skins like getting tanked up.
»Yes, thatís right. I really like drinking beer out of a can, because thatís what skinheads do. Beer, beer, beer... I drink gallons of it. Itís a pain that now you have to pay a deposit on a can of beer. Kicking cans down the street is a thing of the thing of the past. The last can I got which didnít have a deposit on it is on display on my living room cabinet; as they say, „owing to popular demand“ Iíve reproduced a foto on my site Ė itís been given a good kicking as you can see.«
What about violence? Do you like fighting?
»No, donít like fighting at all. Thatís another negative clichť about skinheads. OK, itís a pretty rough and ready life style Ė and you have to live with a lot of prejudices. I know loads of skins, who like me, have hardly ever used their fists unprovoked. Of course, there are a lot of violent skinheads Ė no doubt about it. But there are types who like aggro in other communities as well (particularly Turks and Russians). As a skinhead you are the number one villain in the eyes of many people and are viewed consequently as a hothead. People should realise that as a skinhead you are just as likely to get assaulted and are just as vulnerable as the next man, when you walk down the street on your own at night. Itís just like with spiders. Everybody feels like they want to grab them and chuck them into the air. Because they look so horrible and then they just crawl away. The reality is very different. Spiders are very vulnerable. Iíve got 20 spiders in my living room. Just give them a bit of space and peace and watch them instead. Hereís a fact hardly anybody knows: if a spider falls from a height of height of one metre or is thrown to the ground, it is normally receives a mortal injury and dies within a few minutes. However, spiders have a dangerous weapon. They can give you a nasty bite, if you mess about with them and donít know how to handle these exotic creatures.
I model myself on them... Iím an avid practitioner of the Chinese martial art, WingTsun, an ingenious and recent, dynamic form of Kung Fu Ė involving up to 20 hours training a week. WingTsun is a extremely effective form of self defence. You canít learn it in just one or two weekends. Iíve really got into it and am doing a course of professional training to qualify as a coach in the German State Academy of Martial Arts. At first I wondered if this would turn me into some kind of violent thug... because I felt I was changing as a person. Experience however confirmed what I had hoped would be the case. I havenít become violent as a result of the training, nor do I feel the need to prove myself on the street. A few nifty kicks and punches, and if itís necessary a few fatal hand to hand combat skills, give me the security I need. They are not a carte blanche to go looking for a fight. You have to give a written assurance to your WingTsun master that you will never use the skills you have acquired to „rough somebody up“.«