WE ARE THE TEDS
Have you ever heard of the Teddy Boys? You might have thought them extinct but that’s just not true, there’s literally thousand of them still out there rocking and bopping the night away. The story of the Teddy Boys started in 1956, when Blackboard Jungle, a Hollywood film which featured Bill Haley’s song Rock around the clock in the opening credits, screened at the Trocadero on New Kent Road in Elephant & Castle, the local Teds grabbed their girlfriends and jived in the aisles, while a handful made trouble and slashed the seats. It was a watershed moment, their behaviour hit the headlines, the media at the time, described them as an immediate threat to the moral fabric of society. Post-war Britain was a still bound by class and conformity. It all began as a youthful rebellion against post-war austerity, a two finger salute to the establishment, Britains first original youth subculture.
In America they were called ‘Greasers’ and the Aussies had their ‘Bodgies’ and ‘Widgies’; In Sweden we had ‘Raggare’ and what they all had in common was their love of 1950s rock n’ roll music and American pop culture and a passion for mid-20th-century American cars. What made the British Teds unique is their Fashion which stems from the Edwardian clothing it took its inspiration from. The uniform, an adapted Edwardian suit referred to as a Drape, was a long jacket with velvet lapels and pocket flaps, a bootlace tie, waistcoat and high waisted drainpipe trousers. Worn with crepe-soled shoes, so called brothel creepers and sporting hair, moulded into greasy Brylcreem quiffs, the Teddy Boy look was complete and it looks remarkably similar today, almost 70 years later. There has been several Teddy Boy revivals, most notably in the 70’s. The seventies Teddy Boy were in many ways similar to the OG’s and being a Teddy Boy often ran in the family. There were some important differences, the 70’s Teds embraced tattoos and violence in a big way. These “new” Teddy Boys were younger and out to make a name for themselves and what better way to prove their credentials and the fact they were still around than finding a more high profile enemy, like the Punks and Mods and beating it to a pulp?
This ongoing project is an exploration of the contemporary Teddy Boy scene in Britain and beyond. It looks closely across the generational divide, at the people that carry the torch and uphold the traditions. The title for the project title is taken from a Furious song, a Teddy Boy anthem by a young, in Teddy Boy terms, Rock n' Roll trio hailing from the mean streets of Liverpool. ”Born in 1953, Dead and gone we’ll never be, Cos when you’re long gone, we’ll still be here, Rollin’ around in the blood and the beer, So pile that grease up on your head, And tell your ma’ you’re gonna be a ted…We Are The Teds!