Bannon’s crush on Britain’s old bootboys
“The skinhead smashed the still steaming grill plate of the state-of-the-art Breville sandwich toaster into his red face, to stem the violent impulses rising within him. His skin fizzed, like cold piss on a hot Guy Fawkes bonfire. Ancient burnt pieces of cheese and tomato, remnants of his well-heeled host’s cocaine-fuelled midnight snacks, buried themselves in the tight fuzz of his No 1 crop. Through the open window of the politician’s luxury million-pound west London flat Robbie could smell the stench of the Notting Hill night wafting into the exclusive mews of former stable buildings, where some famous film actors and racing car drivers also lived. Goat curry. Chicken jerky. And sweet sweet waccy waccy tobaccy. ‘Those spades got one thing right,’ conceded the skinhead, closing the lid of the sandwich toaster and putting it back on the Formica surface of the expensive designer kitchen.” – The Right Honourable Skin head-by Richard Allen (1981).
It’s well known that the racist news website wizard and former Trump confidante Steve Bannon, currently planning a pan-global far-right resurgence called The Motion, was inspired by Jean Raspail’s controversial 1973 French science-fiction novel The Camp of the Saints, which uses an invasion of western Europe by disenchanted brown people from below the equator as a satire of white European privilege and colonial guilt.
But is it possible that Bannon’s current championing of the sunbed magnate and mortgage fraudster Tommy Robinson as “the backbone” of the UK has been inspired by his acquaintance with a less well-known piece of fascist flavoured fiction?
The Canadian alcoholic Richard Allen is thought to have written 290 novels in his lifetime, and between 1970 and 1980 he penned 18 violent books set in the milieu of Britain’s fractious youth culture, such as Skinhead, Skinhead Escapes, Skinhead Returns, and the martial arts-themed Taekwondo Skinhead.
Principally chronicling the adventures of a racist skinhead thug called Robbie Tomlinson, the books were top sellers for the cheap and nasty New English Library imprint, also home to Alex R Stuart’s disreputable Hell’s
Angels series: Angel, Angel Escapes, Angel Returnsand the martial artsthemed Taekwondo Angel.
Allen was rediscovered in his twilight years by the experimental author Stewart Home, who was inspired by the novels’ repetitive formulae, and it is possible to view Allen’s Skinhead as a Nietzschean antihero akin to Henry Williamson’s instinct-driven eponymous animal protagonists Tarka the Otter, Salar the Salmon, Valkyrie the Vole, Mitford the Moth, Hitler the Hamsterand the martial arts-themed Taekwondo Hitler Hamster.
But Allen’s last Skinhead outing, which was due to be published in 1981, proved too controversial even for the ambulance-chasing New English Library outlet, and saw the character retired. Allen’s final job for the publisher, under the pen-name James Moffat, was an ignominious novelisation of a suppressed erotic film entitled Queen Kong.
Queen Kong was the first in a doomed series of giant monster sex comedies, in which the genders of famous horror movie creatures were reversed, all due to feature the dream team of Robin Asquith, Rula Lenska and Carol Drinkwater from All Creatures Great and Small. However, legal action ended the project before filming on the follow-up, Queen Kong Versus God-Sheila, had been completed, let alone the series’ third, martial artsthemed, instalment Taekwondo Queen Kong VersusGwonbeopGod-Sheila.
Allen’s sad monkey book appeared in a cover very different to the iconic street-style imagery of the Skinhead series, depicting as it did a man, dressed as a giant female ape with permed hair and exposed furry genitalia, looming over the London skyline in a frenzy of animal lust for Robin Asquith. And yet it is from the author of this ape-sex work that Breitbart’s Steve Bannon appears to be drawing his current political thinking.
The unpublished manuscript of Allen’s 19th New English Library youth violence novel, from 1981, is somehow available for download on the dark web, and is entitled The Right Honourable Skinhead. The overlap between the plot points of Allen’s final skinhead outing and Bannon’s apparent plans for the far-right activist Tommy Robinson is too great to be coincidental.
Having failed to capture the heart of the nation’s disenchanted voters via the scripted racist gaffes of a posh clown-puppet politician called Horace Thompson, a secret cabal of fascists sets about trying to position the streetbrawling racist football thug Robbie Tomlinson as a serious political player, and the character gives voice to the same voter discontent Bannon clearly hopes to weaponise through the conduit of Tommy Robinson.
“Bloody MPs, he thought. They got elected to do what their constituents wanted done and the bastards thought they were little tin-gods better than the voters! If he had his way every politician would be slung in prison and given a taste of what they deserved.” – The Right Honourable Skinhead, Richard Allen (1981).
Indeed, Steve Bannon seems to be carrying vast sections of dialogue from The Right Honourable Skinheadaround in his head, which spill unbidden from his careless face. Bannon said, offair, to the LBC presenter Theo Usherwood, who had queried his support for Tommy Robinson, “Fuck you. Don’t you fucking say you’re calling me out. You fucking liberal elite. Tommy Robinson is the backbone of this country.”
And on page 103 of The Right Honourable Skinhead, the news magnate Steve Mannon, Robbie Tomlinson’s chief cheerleader, who differs only from Steve Bannon in that he is a Welsh born-again Christian, addresses radio presenter Leo Isherwood thus, “Flip you, boyo! Don’t you flipping say you’re calling me out. You flipping liberal elite. Robbie Tomlinson is the backbone of this country, by which I mean the whole UK not just Wales.”
Worryingly for Britain’s embattled liberals, while the unscrupulous New English Library considered Allen’s dystopian fascist fantasy The Right Honourable Skinhead too hideous to publish, Steve Bannon seems intent on belatedly making its bleak fiction a chilling reality.
Stewart Lee’s Content Provider tour show isavailable on the BBCiPlayer.
Bannon seems to be carrying vast sections of dialogue from Richard Allen around in his head
Illustration by David Foldvari.
Steve Bannon demonstrated his mastery ofRichard Allen’s oeuvre during a recent LBCinterview.