Ban­non’s crush on Bri­tain’s old boot­boys

The Guardian Australia - - Opinion - Ste­wart Lee

“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.

Pho­to­graph: LBC

Steve Ban­non demon­strated his mastery ofRichard Allen’s oeu­vre dur­ing a re­cent LBCin­ter­view.

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