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Plan B Apology For Skrewdriver T Shirt Misunderstanding
The Quietus , July 22nd, 2012 12:12

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After our earlier story which asked why Plan B was wearing what appeared to be a Skrewdriver T shirt for a magazine photoshoot, he has given the following statement:

"I was ignorant to the existence of the band Skrewdriver. I don't listen to music like that so I wouldn't know the names of bands that make that music. I was wearing a t-shirt I created using a photograph from the photographer Gavin Watson's book Skins. I asked him if I could print shots from his book on to t-shirts. I made a number of these t-shirts. Gavin's photos are relevant to me because they represent the demonised youth of the past. Just like my generation of young people are demonised in the media to all be hoodie wearing thugs and chavs so were the skinheads in the 80's.

"Not all of them were racist but because some of them were, the rest were all tarred with the same brush. That is why I feel the images of the skinheads represented in Gavin's work are relevant to me and this generation. Gavin is a friend and the people he took photos of were his friends who listened to reggae and ska music. He documented life in those times, some of the people he shot may have been racists but his family and close friends weren't.

"Most of the t-shirts I had made were of his brother. The boy on the image is Neville Watson. Neville is Gavin Watson's brother. The graffiti behind him is graffiti. Neither Gavin or Neville put it there, it was already there when Gavin took the photo. Gavin did not know I had printed that image on a t-shirt and I was not aware of the significance of it. The minute I found out what the words on the t-shirt meant I was angry with myself for not questioning them. The t-shirt is not official nor is it on sale anywhere. It was of my own doing and therefore it is my mistake, but that is all it is."

The Quietus would like to apologise to Plan B specifically for saying the T shirt appeared to contain an image of Nicky Crane, a violent neo-Nazi. And we would like to reiterate what we said in the previous article: we do not think now, nor have we ever thought, that Plan B is a racist or supports any right wing ideology. We do however reserve our right to question any political choices musicians make as part of their public career.

Johnny Nothing
Jul 22, 2012 4:49pm

I think we were all justified in discussing the subject, mistakes were made on both sides but a result of sorts was achieved. And we'd all do the same again if the situation called for it.

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Alex Sanders
Jul 22, 2012 5:05pm

Will there be further comment on the dangers journalists face when hee-hawing their link-bait outrage rather than researching a story?

"doesn't help him any that during the interview he praises Tim Roth's acting in Made In Britain" was pure red top salaciousness. Uncharacteristically tacky.

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Julian
Jul 22, 2012 5:30pm

Storm in a teacup. All a bit Daily Mail..It's not like we think of David Beckham as an Anarchist when he wears a Crass t-shirt. It's kind of obvious when someone like Plan B wears a t-shirt of this ilk that he is ignorant to an potential meaning it has attached to it.
One might question say a band like Flats is they photographed wearing white power band t-shirts. Or what about Burzum? I don't tend to think people wearing their t-shirts are holding church burning neo-nazi murderers in high esteem.

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Jul 22, 2012 5:43pm

Nah, that's relevant. The story's about what message the Shortlist piece sends out, and that's part of it. But anyway, good on Plan B for clearing this up. I reckon one thing this whole thing shows is the differences between youth culture now and in the 70s and 80s. You'd call yourself a skin or a punk or a casual then, but you wouldn't call yourself a hoodie now. Those tribes were kind of cult level, you'd sign up as a member. But 'hoodie' and I suppose 'chav' have only been used by outsiders to dismiss and patronise mostly working class youth.

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pink guts
Jul 22, 2012 5:46pm

So Plan B obviously didn't make the connection, but the Manics, Joy Division, White Stripes,Ron Ashtone of the Stooges, etc, knew exactly what they were doing ? Hmm - sounds to me like the Quietus and its readers have got this the wrong way around and just use and misinterpret imagery to accomodate their own prejudices

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John Doran
Jul 22, 2012 5:48pm

In reply to pink guts:

Please show me the evidence of Joy Divsion and Manics wearing Skrewdriver T Shirts. Joy Divsion actually used to fight Skrewdriver fans.

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John Doran
Jul 22, 2012 5:52pm

In reply to Julian:

That's probably because Plan B comes across as intelligent and Beckham comes across as a clueless arse.

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Sean
Jul 22, 2012 5:56pm

Please tell me that you're not taking this "apology" seriously.
This basically says:"Skinheads were demonized because a section of them were racist, so I'm going to appropriate their imagery without attempting to learn ANYTHING about the difference, to the point where I don't even know the name of the most famous fascist group from the Oi scene"
A supposedly intelligent (or even a pretty dumb) artist could take 2 minutes to Google the terms and imagery they plan to display on a t-shirt before they dive into waters they clearly do not begin to understand. There is no excuse for this and I hope he gets the treatment he deserves for all sections of the media.

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pink guts
Jul 22, 2012 5:56pm

In reply to John Doran:

Ben Drew is not wearing a Skrewdriver t shirt, he is wearing a shirt of a photograph that has graffiti in the background - the whole thing is a joke. If you dont think Joy Division (knowingly ) flirted with fascism you need to go back to school. MSP used a regime who imprisoned homosexuals and intellectruals and practised tourist apartheid just so they could sell more records. It worked too -

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sixandsix
Jul 22, 2012 5:56pm

In reply to John Doran:

pink guts: I asked in the other thread but I guess no one's going to look at that now:

"The Pop Group flirted with fascism? Hadn't heard that. In what way?"

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Lucia Lanigan
Jul 22, 2012 5:57pm

In reply to pink guts:

I don't know what you think the Manics have done, but Joy Division/New Order have spent the last 30+ years explaining that they're anti-Nazi, Ron Ashton didn't appear in a magazine this week wearing a Nazi armband and admiring what's-his-name's performance in 'Downfall', and it's not clear what you think the Quietus readers' prejudices are. Plan B wore a t-shirt with 'Skrewdriver' and a skinhead printed on it; this lot picked him up on it; he explained himself. Seems like a good thing all round to me. There's certainly a world of difference between that and tabloid muck-raking about someone's private life or whatever.

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pink guts
Jul 22, 2012 5:59pm

In reply to sixandsix:

Well maybe I messed that one up, I thought they used eddie adams photograph on a record sleeve but i might have got that wrong -

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pink guts
Jul 22, 2012 6:06pm

In reply to Lucia Lanigan:

I dont get your point ? (Ron Ashtone is dead by the way). I am merely pointing out that images can be interpreted to reinforce peoples prejudice, and without context (which Ben Drew has now given) are meaningless.

I might be wrong, but I think Plan B's audience are not Quietus readers.

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sixandsix
Jul 22, 2012 6:07pm

In reply to pink guts:

What, the General Loan/execution photograph? Can't see for the life of me how that would count as flirting with fascism but maybe we're talking at cross purposes.

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Lucia Lanigan
Jul 22, 2012 6:41pm

In reply to pink guts:

My point about Ron Asheton is just that it would be a bit odd for anyone to a news story today about him wearing a swastika armband 40 years ago. The examples you give are so varied, and so different to the one in this story, that they don't make for illuminating comparisons. As a Quietus reader all I can tell you is, Plan B bored the hell out of me when he started out, I thought his soul stuff was OK, and I love the Ill Manors song and video. I'd be surprised if I was the only reader looking forward to the hearing the album.

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Jul 22, 2012 8:10pm

Skrewdriver rules.

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Andy Douglas
Jul 22, 2012 9:02pm

Bollox...I reckon Plan B knew exactly what he was doing...SMASH RACISTS

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Michelle
Jul 22, 2012 9:09pm

Anyone who knows anything about plan b
And the message he works hard to deliver
In his music.
Would not need to question a t shirt!!!!

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Julian
Jul 22, 2012 9:10pm

In reply to John Doran:

Yeah but hey Beckham aint wondering around wearing a white power t-shirt cos it had a picture of a skinhead on it.

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barbara
Jul 22, 2012 10:29pm

So if he claims not to know who Screwdriver are then he's just saying he knows NOTHING about the Skinhead scene and NOTHING about music and politics...

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Dan B
Jul 22, 2012 11:19pm

Plan B is my brother. I'm glad this got sorted out, the internet thinkpieces that were being furiously tapped out would have been fucking unbearable. Kudos on apologising.

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dot cotton
Jul 22, 2012 11:40pm

The Quietus Twitter feed was brilliant! First the self-rightiousness and then when Alexis Petridis put you right about a few things, the weird self pity. So funny! Thanks Quietus!

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Flaps
Jul 22, 2012 11:52pm

If he'd have used an image of a skinhead, then Plan Ben's apology would make sense. But, when you use an image of skinhead with the name of a racist band behind it, you're apology sounds like bullshit.
Fucking moron...

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Flaps
Jul 22, 2012 11:59pm

Sorry... That should have read '...your apology sounds like bullshit.'
Fucking moron...

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Eleanor Drew
Jul 23, 2012 3:28am

Hi mate. Loving all your hard work- packs a proper righteous punch which is what we all need! We could be related... My granddad who i never knew cos he snuffed it when my dad was 11. Eleanor X

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jed
Jul 23, 2012 10:11am

Doubtful plan B is racist……his band and music is mostly black.
Just put it down to him identifying with alienated youth from another era as he says and not know who skrewdriver were.

The original 60s skinheads we non racist and danced to Jamaican music, ska hence the skinhead moonstomp. You used to see rastas and skins together. It was only in the 70s that the BNP highjacked the skinhead movement as they saw it a fertile recruiting ground, bands of the era like Sham 69 were plagued with a bonehead following. and it didn't help that music writers of the era like gary Bushell were always ranting on about the oi bands of the 80s.

The DJ Mark Radcliffe was actually a member of an early version of skrewdriver when they were a punk band on chiswick records around 1976/77. This was before they morphed into the full on right wing boneheads they became.

Another interesting band that have been erased from history are Cock Sparrer from the east end who had a hooligan/skinhead following. They preceded punk by many years and were like a kind of glam/skinhead/clockwork orange band. Malcolm maclaren was going to manage them at one point.

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Jul 23, 2012 11:36am

In reply to pink guts:

What Nazi/far right related stuff did the White Stripes do? To be honest I'd put Joy Division's activities in the same lineage as Laibach, if not to the same brave extent, Laibach risked actual physical harm from the government they were satirising by mirroring - both acts used that kind of imagery in a way that kept it fresh in the audiences' minds and spoke of the horror in that time in history.

Yes, the Manics support of Castro was stupid and a shameless career boosting ploy but its entirely in character with the political naivety they show even as Nicky Wire bangs on about his politics degree for the thousandth time. This is one of the reasons I love the Manics though - they're just so infuriating but you feel a loyalty to them in the same way as you would to a football team.

I'd think the majority of Quietus readers don't need to be regularly informed that Nazi-ism is in fact a bad thing and that prejudice against anyone on grounds of race, creed or sexuality is a bad thing.

The one act you missed out there you would maybe have had a point with was Whitehouse. Now, I like Whitehouse too but the fact is they've done some ideologically iffy stuff (that's kind of part of the point of them). This includes statements from William Bennet like "We are concerned with the unhealthy negroid influence in popular music", Philip Best's White Power cassette release (http://www.indymedia.org.uk/images/2011/06/480827.jpg) and Come Organisation releasing tapes of original SS Marching songs and albums by Liebstandarte SS (http://www.artnotart.com/come/cassettes.html).

On the other hand, this doesn't square with the William Bennet who has developed a fixation with African music and the underlying themes of the Cut Hands project so the easiest conclusion is that he's just grown up a bit.

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Dan
Jul 23, 2012 11:38am

In reply to pink guts:

Sorry, that last comment I missed my name out of the box. But there's a lot of difference, I'd say, between Plan B's rationale and the out and out Nazi/Far right extremist fixation in neofolk. Thats where it actually gets ugly

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OJ
Jul 23, 2012 2:01pm

It's all very well pulling on a Ramones t-shirt like every other Barley, but this was one step beyond and just about deserving of the level of scrutiny it received.

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Ryan
Jul 23, 2012 3:52pm

"The graffiti behind him is graffiti. Neither Gavin or Neville put it there, it was already there when Gavin took the photo" There are a lot of walls in England. What made the photographer and model choose that particular wall to pose in front of, seeing as they were both not racist?
Unfortunately for Plan B, watching Made In Britain and maybe a couple other films hasn't made him an authority on skinhead culture.

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Ryan
Jul 23, 2012 3:54pm

And here's a link to the full picture - http://www.schiebe-wodrich.de/medienbildung/ws0708/avatare/jugendkult/jugend.html

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Jul 25, 2012 11:53pm

OK so he got it wrong and well done quietus for spotting it and questioning him but he has owned up and thats cool too; many others would not have done so. I'd like to see more people in the business (and outside of it) taking up the issues and fighting the corner that he is doing.

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Sep 29, 2012 9:56pm

In reply to Julian:

Wtf? David Beckham wore a Crass tshirt?

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Jon
Oct 3, 2012 6:19pm

Im personaly glad they apologised to Plan B because they're a good company and if it was just a miss understanding things should go well with both the band and Plan B.

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Jon
Oct 3, 2012 6:22pm

In reply to Jon :

But i have to give Plan B props they cleared it up and mabey Plan B could help the band later in life for popularity for the band

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Jon
Oct 3, 2012 6:25pm

In reply to Ryan:

Mabey he spotted some colours and thought it might be a good spot and didnt see the rest of it so it was JUST a misstake. its not like he said "Hey lets be Racist and take a pic here."

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Ross Hoodies
Oct 16, 2012 1:57am

There you go…As what everyone thought. Nothing personal, nothing intentional. Just an ignorant t-shirt printing act that led to many questions and presumptions. Plan-B wasn't even aware that a band called 'Skrewdriver' even existed as he doesn't listen to music of that genre. Of course he should have at least looked it up or should have known since he himself is in the music industry but maybe he was just interested in the picture of the boy and couldn't care less about the background wordings. Quietus on the other hand should directly interview him and get answers instead of posting misleading presumptuous posts such as the previous one.

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skrewhizzledrivenizzle
Feb 15, 2014 12:14am

this photo that was used is from a photo book called "skins" by gavin watson, it wasnt about skrewdriver, in fact in the book there are photos of black skins and white skins standing in front of the NF and skrwdriver graffiti that was prevalent at that time in the early 80's, stop with the knee jerk reactionary bull shit because it makes you all look like morons.
http://gavinwatsonsphotography.blogspot.com/2010/12/skins-by-gavin-watson.html

http://www.amazon.com/Skins-Gavin-Watson/dp/1587540169

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Skins-Gavin-Watson/dp/0955282292

http://www.theguardian.com/music/gallery/2008/nov/03/skins-punks-gavin-watson

there, i did your homework for you.

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Sedge
Jun 3, 2014 2:33pm

Skrewdriver were not always a right wing skinhead
Band they in fact were a very good punk band in
The late 70's and turned right wing later with the
Skinhead revival of the early 80's.

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