TV news report on teen "goths, Cure-heads, and psychobillies" in Dublin (1989)

Originally published at:


Sportos, Motörheads, Geeks, Sluts, Bloods…


Is today international goth day or something?


Everyday is Halloween.




Wasn’t complaining, of course… just thought it was funny we got 2 goth stories this morning!


I remember seeing an Ann Landers letter in the 80’s where a “parent” was complaining about their kid listening to harsh industrial music “One of these ‘songs’ is just the band banging on the metal insides of a highway overpass!” I say “parent” because I later realized it could have been a prank letter.

Sometimes I think I imagined that letter. To the microfiche!


I have always been confused by the actual history of what skinheads are and how they actually connect to Nazis.

It seems like there is an obvious explanation for all that but it’s not quick and its nuanced.

This is an excellent post with both vids too, I instantly knew why they were called Cure Heads. I didn’t know there were subdivisions of goth before electrogoths with CureHeads, though they may argue they are unconnected. Subcultures are fascinating to me.

I identify as a metalhead, but love psychobilly, used to rave, saw Steven Marley do acoustic reggae, I just like good music. I’m normally wearing black leather and metal concert tees though.

Skinheads are a postwar youth culture that grew up in working class communities in the UK in the late 1960s. Originally, it was not specifically racist, as it drew on and mixed with the rude boy culture of West Indian immigrants. The original skinheads were not just white racists, but tended to be defined by class and a cultural interest in ska/dancehall music, as well as an interest in fighting (so some cross over with soccer hooliganism, too). There were attacks from these groups on South East Asian immigrants, but plenty of class solidarity with West Indian youths.

During the late 70s and 80s, you start to see the rise of a specifically racist group of skins, centered on an English identity defined as white. Far right political parties actively began to recruit skins who started to show a more racist orientation towards both SE Asians and West Indians. By the early 80s, you see the rise of specifically neo-nazi skins, which went international and then there was a backlash by non-racist skins that are popularly known as SHARPS.


What are Rude Boys?

This was an excellent explanation Mindy, thanks. The skinheads there didn’t seem racist yet, they seemed like Droogs to me from Clockwork Orange, but it was probably the suspender fashion. I don’t get how they look like that and listen to reggae. I’ve never understood Ska.

I’m happy to be ignorant of something because it means there’s still things I can learn


Rude boys are from Jamaican street culture of the 60s, who were into ska and rock steady music, and tended to dress up in distinctive suits and hats, such as in this pic - they had a revival with two-tone (British ska wave in the 70s):


I think the film took influence from the skinhead culture of the late 60s, if I’m not mistaken…

The fashion was probably derived out of necessity, but they were influence by the aforementioned Rude boys as well as the mods (or moderns an early youth subculture that fought with rockers), but these skins did not have much money, so they opted for a more working class uniform (jeans, bomber jackets, doc Martens steel toed boots).

ska = awesome! :grinning: But it came out of the Jamaican “sound system” culture, where people would host street parties and build sound systems to play music and employ “toast masters” to hype up the crowd. They started using American soul and then local bands emerged playing what became ska music (and then that morphed into Reggae - early Wailers is more ska than reggae, which is associated with the Rasta movement). Two tone was the British wave that came out around the same time as punk (and you can hear that influence in lots of British punk bands, too).


I literally met my wife on the steps they interviewed those kids on at about 2:50 in. And I don’t mean the steps of the Central Bank, I mean those exact steps.

By the mid 90s, it was the hangout for the rock/metal/goth subcultures as a whole, my friends and I spent a lot of Saturdays lounging around there before going to Fibbers’ before the cheap pints finished. A couple of years after our heyday, they fenced off the steps, but the plaza remained accessible and kids still hung out there for many years. It was the site of Dublin’s occupy movement in 2011-2012, but was rendered inaccessible to the public for renovations in 2017. It’s going to be a shopping and office complex when it’s finished.



Good potted history of English / Jamaican youth culture (I’m listening to the Small Axe playlist and reading Ali Smith’s Summer until the cat gets too demanding and knocks it out of my hands).

It’s more mod I would say, the droogs that is. Sharp clothes, and amphetamines. They typically listened to soul/r’n’b and survived through the Northern Soul scene, rare groove and onwards. Old youth cultures just don’t die any more and young people live in the long now of digital memory.

ETA young people, not you people.


I lived literally across the road, above a Spar for a few years in the early 00s. There were protests every single weekend. Always.


I may have attended, stewarded, or even organised some of those protests…


I try!

True, but there is crossover between the hardmods and skinheads, too.


Ireland has a long history of emigration and only a short and recent history of immigration.

In the '70-80s everyone in Ireland was a white catholic (except for the 10% white protestants) so there wasn’t much by way of racism simply because there was no one to be racist about.

That’s not to imply it was all fluffy kittens. There was widespread unemployment and poverty and all the social problems that brings. Dublin was a pretty violent place up until the '90s with lots of agro between the various youth cultures.


BTW, Dublin in the '80s/'90s was fantastic place to by young…


I can’t be the only one wishing that they’d do a ‘where are they now’ 30 years later


The percentage of the population of the Republic of Ireland that was protestant would have been much lower than 10%. In 1991 it was 3%.

There were however Travellers to be racist towards (less than 1% of the population) and people certainly were and still are.