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Scooterboys - Report in German Mag "STERN" 1989

In the summer of 1989 a story about the SCOOTERBOY movement appeared in STERN, a german weekly magazine. The report is perfectly suited as a time document, see for yourself:














In fact, he was hardly different from the blokes who were sitting on Karlsplatz in the old town of Düsseldorf. He weared a red bomber jacket, a Fred Perry shirt, the red jumper boots and the stonewashed jeans. With his shaved skull, the muscular arms and his 21 years, he looked like a skinhead and was also one, but he still had nothing in common with them. They were strangers, perhaps another clique he'd never seen. He did not even know the bold head, who suddenly got up and hit his fist in the face. Not purposeful and from far away, but with the whole uncontrolled force of his drunken body. Markus Broix did not even react. Did not understand what happened because he really did not know the guy and because attacks from skinheads do not belong to everyday life. He did not move until a knife suddenly shone in the hand of the bold head. This is one to unfold with a thin, dangerously long blade. But it was already too late for a movement. At first Markus felt no pain. Just turned around and staggered down the alley to the pub where he drank beer with a friend - until the blood trickled through the shirt and dyed the hand in the jacket pocket. "Shit," said Markus, "now the evening is messed up." At the hospital, the doctors patched the wound with 16 stitches. He had been lucky, they told him, because the blade was pricked at the belly leading, precisely between the intestines, without hurting an internal organ. In the hospital, the reason for this attack came to him. There are red skins, which are more politically left, Faschist skins on the far right, and Oi skins, which are not politically at all because they are usually too drunk for it. Scooter-boys belong to the scooterists and look like the skinheads, but nare none. Mods are there. They also ride scooters, but do not look like skins, and rudeboys who have a bold skin like the skins and wear clothes like the mods and have no scooters, but appear on every meeting of the scooter boys. "That is completely complicated," says Markus, "and only one who understands the past can understand the whole story."



It all began in London in the late fifties. At that time, a couple of young people who rode scooters, wearing Italian suits, and listened to the music of the blacks: Ska, the forerunner of Reggae, and Soul, who came from America across the Atlantic. With their style and the right pills, they put an end to the still-post-war economic miracle routine, because youth did not take place in it and life was different from fun. "Mods" were the young people and were England's first own youth culture. In the mid-sixties "Mods" did not work anymore: their style had become an arrogant attitude, and the pharmaceutical industry had changed the prescription of the pills. Many mods cut their hair short, called themselves skinheads, listened to black music and fought against apartheid and the oppression of the blacks in England. They later split the Oi skins and of them the Fascho skins. In 1979 the film "Quadrophenia" brought a second wave of mods across Europe. The kids were running around in the confirmation suits of their fathers, and they installed mirrors and chrome on their scooters. Then the wealthy "Poppers" discovered the scooters. Parts of the mods grabbed the suits back into the closet, shaved their hair and cutted down their Vespas. They called themselves "Scooter Boys" and today they are the largest group in the scooter scene: about 2,000 people in Germany, plus a few intrepid women. Usually they live with the mods and skins peacefully. Attend the same meetings, dance for the same music and have to fight with the same prejudices. For the press and the police, they are all the same chaotics that vegetate on the right edge of the society: dull vandals, which prefer to crumble pubs and score guests. Markus once explained the connections in a youth magazine: that fun is the most important thing in life, that afterwards comes the scooter and eventually also the girlfriend. And that political attitude is as unimportant as it is manifold. Even more unimportant than the beer brand, with which they sometimes misty their heads. Only a few were against foreigners and for riots and had a baseball bat in the basement. And they did not get anything in life. Especially the last sentence must have irritated the skin in the old town. Markus himself is a scooter boy. And a hard one: three weeks after the attack, he sits on his scooter again. Races with his friends through the mud or races against Golf GTI pilots and all-wheel enthusiasts and who else counts to their enemies. Sometimes they also trek for high-ranking citizens, without helmets. Show them their middle finger, because the police are not allowed to leave the politicians and are completely helpless in taht situation. Or they are banging into the city at McDonald's, not because the fries are cheap there, but because McDonald's accepts guys just like Markus. In many other restaurants, they have a house ban. Scooter boys are not a threat to mankind. They only meet, like the mods in the sixties, a society in which youth does not take place, because everything is castrated to fashion, which has always been part of youth: the great protest and the small escape, the digging of meaning and truth, the joy of provoking and throwing stink bombs into the world of the adults. Today nothing provokes, except perhaps the coquetry with fascism. This may be the reason why some play with the symbols of the Nazi-era. In reality, Scooter Boys are bourgeois to the core: young people with a safe future, intact parents' home and a bedroom with youth furniture. Markus still has a climbing plant over the bed, with four small leaves on the dry branch. "Doilies and straw-flowers are a concession to the mother" he says. "A compensation for what I do otherwise." His life is not particularly exciting, however: he only moves from one temporary job to the next, buries a military belt at a fashion company or writes bills for a department store, or tortures himself with a small truck through the clogged streets of Dusseldorf. Lots of shit jobs. In which he has nothing to command and must stand before any idiots who have no plan to do in life except the money. "Life is paid labor," says Markus, "and wage labor is slavery. And I did not do college for that."  



Sometimes he was working at the gas station around the corner. For 10 DM for an hour. Or make the scooters of his friends even faster. Against a small donation. Markus is a helpful guy and a talented hobbyist and is therefore well recognized in the scene. A scooter without any modification is nothing for the Scooter Boys. They distinguish between three different variants: a "race-scooter", which is fast and looks like a "cut-down", which has been cut off all that seems superfluous, and a "custom scooter" that allows all that the TÜV is not alloweing. Chopper forks, motorcycle tanks. Front footrests. Gilded brake discs and the like. He himself has a cutdown. A black Lambretta Grand Prix with a powerful engine, a deep seat and the exhaust system of an English tuning specialist. This makes it 140 km/h fast and at the traffic lights, the Golf GTI sees his rear wheel. Unfortunately, the police do not like such bullets. "They can not distinguish a racing exhaust from the original part," says Markus, "and they also overlook a larger carburetor. Besides, they are afraid to embarrass themselves. You just have to be arrogant and tell something complicated about your scooter. Then they let you go right back. England is the land of the Scooter Boys. There the scooter is more extreme and the scooterists also. And the meetings are three times as large and more like the disorderly march of an army. The most important meeting of this kind takes place every year in Morecambe. This is a deserted seaside resort, fifty miles north of Liverpool, a small town that is dying and lengthens the death struggle with Las Vegas gambling halls and kilometers of string lights. A lightened, glaringly colored piece of rubbish, which looks only cheaper by the make-up.



Pensioners make holidays here who can not afford anything else. And Scooter Boys who do not want to afford anything else. Because they are like this place: the filthy and forgotten back of England. The shadow of Thatcherism. "In England the Scooter Boys have to compare the prices of washers so little money do they have," says Markus. 6.000 Scooter-Boys have come to Morecambe this time. Squeeze their tents into the parking lot behind the promenade between the station and the amusement park and do what their colleagues in Germany do: nothing really. But they do this excessively. Without order and without sleeping: roar with the Vespas and Lambrettas through the place until all Morecambe suffocates in a blue two-stroke cloud. Lie in the front porches and drink can beer or run in packs over the promenade, with space-grabbing step and weighing upper body. As if they had just taken a major order: drink empty Morecambe or overthrow Maggie Thatcher or something. Every scooter boy walks like this, because everyone carries these jumper boots and because the shoes do not allow any other way of walking. Only the colors of the shoelaces are different: the right ones have red, the really right ones have white, and the left have black. And the sympathizers of the IRA use yellow laces. Also in England the differences are minimal, but optically at least tangible. There, the positions are more extreme, and yet all live peacefully together. Not a single fight in Morecambe, not a single capture. ■

Eingetragen Aug 16 2017, 05:31 von Ralf
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