Idiot Joy showband
Idiot Joy showband

Continuing the debate about wearing random old school band T shirts without getting the connotations of the logo we spotted pop star Plan B wearing a Skrewdriver T shirt in a photo session for men’s magazine Shortlist. The shirt is a reproduction of a famous Gavin Watson documentary photograph and is not an official band shirt.


The photos were of Plan B giving it some attitude in a big spread for the magazine so we can only assume that the stylist at the shot decided to get him to wear the T shirt with infamous Nazi band mentioned on it to give the session some ‘edge’.


Obviously Plan B, who has been making some political commentary of his own recently and is one of our more articulate singers or the photographer or oddly the magazine itself didn’t seem to understand the history of the band or the T shirt or what it could be perceived as saying.


The T shirt doesn’t look like an official Skrewdriver t shirt because its from a Gavin Watson photograph which in itself is documentary and is more like a copy with the band’s name written across the shirt top and smudged in the photos just enough to make you not quite notice what it says at first. In front of the shirt is a skinhead.


Obviously they chose the shirt to add attitude to the photo session and no-one is claiming that anyone is a Nazi sympathizer and it should also be noted that the original Skrewdriver of the first album were a fairly decent punk band who were not nazis atall at the time and it’s only after they split up that frontman Ian Stewart’s right wing views moved to the forefront and became part and parcel of the reformed with a very different line up version of the band and they became standard bearers of the far right forever tainting their name.


The whole affair puts light onto the recent debate about wearing old band t shirts as fashion items, with Black Eyed Peas wearing Black Flag t shirts and David Beckham with his Crass t shirts- most people said that it doesn’t matter about wearing old band t shirts and having no knowledge of the culture and generally it doesn’t but this time a little bit of research would have been useful.


What do you think? Does it matter? Should you wear what you want? Does a little bit of research come in handy? Is it actually a nazi t shirt? Or a copy of a photo making it not official? Does context mean everything here? Some people have been confusing skimheads with Nazis in this debate- the whole affair throws up lots of questions…


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  1. My then 14 year old daughter bought a Ramones T-shirt, on asking her why she had (doesn’t live with me), she said “I just like the design, Dad”. She hadn’t heard their music before. Well she has now!

  2. All points agreed with except the long list of questions at the end. Leave that to the people who debate. Don’t create. And, by the way, proof reading helps…..Skimheads? Louder that wars new youth culture genre?

  3. This is quite a bit different from the thing about Fergie wearing a Black Flag T-Shirt IMO. They were spreading a horrible message (albeit as you point out in a MK2 version of the band) and should not be used by someone who is (like it or not) seen as cool and likely to get other people to investigate further or at the very least wear a similar t-shirt.

    I don’t expect some bubble headed fashion stylist to have heard of bands like Skrewdriver but that still doesn’t make it ok. If they don’t know what it is they are wearing, then they should do some research. As it stands skrewdriver will get some publicity out of it. In fact, we could be guilty of it too…

  4. I think it is reasonable to assume that Plan B was probably unaware of the connotations of Skrewdriver.
    However, if he is as intelligent and aware as is claimed, he ought to be fully aware that wearing any logo or brand is going to promote that band, and be perceived as endorsing that brand. In particular, official promo shoots are going to look like official statements. He should therefore take responsibility for what he promotes and ensure he doesn’t inadvertently promote something he hopefully despises.
    In 2012 with laptops & smartphones to hand, a quick google of Skrewdriver would have given enough background to tell him that shirt was perhaps unwise. Ignorance is no longer an excuse.

  5. Whether or not the original band were Right Wing nutters is pointless to debate. Wearing a Skrewdriver t-shirt now is probably going to get you into hot water, as would wearing a Gary Glitter shirt.

    It may not be an official band shirt but it still gives credence to white power trash and a moron who thankfully was too far to the right to safely drive on the left.

  6. Plan B wore this t-shirt at Heaton Park and I thought it just smacked of some far-off stylist trying to give him edge, he wore it in conjunction with some bleached jeans and some braces worn dangling down from his jeans. It was a dodgy approximation of what said stylist might have thought a skinhead might look like and just came off as crap, crass and ignorant.

  7. Of course it matters when so called ‘Celebs’ are photographed wearing ‘Cool’ old school punk/metal whatever it be T-shirts. Because it passes on down thru to the morons,who at school & even a few years ago would leer,jeer & worse to anyone who wasn’t wearing what they classed as ‘Normal’. When they’re selling Ramones t-shirts in Primark,Misfit shirts everywhere & recently,and most disturbing for me!,Slayer t-shirts in Top Shop it’s time to take back the music we love & our scene from the fasionista’s and TOWIE/Geordie Shore tossers of the world.Stick to wearing your bland,uninspired & safe fashion that your told to wear.

    • Ultimately though, what does it matter if someone off TOWIE is wearing a t-shirt of a punk/metal/alternative band? The bands should get some royalties and a few people become aware of some bands, even if subconsciously.

  8. More fool The ‘stylist’ and whatever Goon produced the T-Shirt I think. The Nazi-Era Skrewdriver produced some of the most turgid, lead-footed, bone-headed, plodding music imaginable. to quote Vince Noir – ”about as edgy as a satsuma”.

  9. clearly not as politically aware as they’d like to be, wearing skrewdriver tees can get you in hospital in many places, have they ever heard the band? its pretty nasty racism, not the kind of tee shirt that gives you an “edge”, its a bit silly really. He may as well have worn one saying I love hitler, although that could be seen as true irony I guess. there is no irony surrounding skrewdriver, its just pure hate.

  10. as Freud said…sometimes a banana is just a banana. Maybe its just a t-shirt. without preconception of identification. Maybe its just fashion. wouldn’t that be amazing that Plan B wants to talk about right now and what’s going on with the polarization of society and the issues of disaffected and unemployed youth with no prospects ….maybe he just didn’t give a shit what shirt he was wearing.. I hope so.

  11. if i wear a shirt by this band i signal that i identify with them and what they stand for. “Screwdriver” is not just a band name, it carries a message this band sent out. of course some people do wear shirts without knowing or caring for the context but for those who know this context is always there.
    or would anyone wear a “combat18” shirt just because it looks so good?

  12. As much as I don’t particularly like Plan B and his music I do not think for one minute he is racist. I hated his first album but Ill Manors has a certain punch to it although I think it is a really good anthem it does sound like a harder, more up to date Pop Will Eat Itself!

    Strickland Banks whole 2012 shtick is East End poverty, kids in hoodies who’ve got “nuffink”, they are a sub class that is going to terrify the middle & upper classes by rioting damaging property, happy slapping and stealing mobile phones which is fine because he genuinely believes he can do some good but it is still a piece of showmanship and part of his act that will make him more successful and subsequently richer…now this sounds mightily like another East End mouthpiece from back in the day…Mr Jimmy Pursey and his band Sham 69.

    Songs like Hersham Boys & If the Kids are United had that same hollow ring to them as Ill manors, great punk pop rabble rousers nonetheless but socio- political game changers I think not! Jimmy’s whole thing was to naively believe if you could get the kids on stage, you could have a right larf with them doing a right old cockney knees up! Jimmy never realised that until always too late when his gigs had been turned into things of violence and hatred perpetuated by most of Bermondsey, Millwall, West Ham NF skins. Jimmy would end up crying, people had got hurt and his genuine Rock Against Racism message had been stomped into the dust! idiocy or naivety?

    I think it’s exactly the same with Plan B. He’s in love with the imagery and the mythology attached to Skin Head culture particularly of the late 1970’s & early 80’s which was intimidating, stylish in parts ( nowhere near as stylish or as cool as the ska / bluebeat / trojan skin head movement of late 60’s & early 70’s) and very anti middle class. He is saying the skinhead was an 80’s outlaw the equivalent to today’s hoodie, a tough who didn’t give a f**K and a real East End movement for the kids and he is not looking at the Nazi history of bands like Screw Driver. I am sure he will be horrified to realise the connotations when it is pointed out to him!) The whole ‘Strength thru Oi’ thing (although I do realise most of those bands were not rascist) was total bullshit…bands were caught up in a terrible idea by the the extremely misguided Gary Bushell but the fact remains that for many brainless shaved NF thugs Paki & Gay Bashing was seen as great entertainment after a night darn the pub after rolling out the barrel in the East End of London! As in many other cities shamefully in that period

    Plan B like Jimmy Pursey before him are just young pop stars with big gobs and great press departments…they make great copy but they are just naive! That’s probably it, nothing more. I hope not anyway. I’m would love it if Strickland Banks gave up all his money to fund a set of 5 a Side pitches or a recording studio for “the kids” but until then he has to realise that a thug is a thug. A lot of 80’s skinheads did look great in semi-bleached Levis, 28 hole cherry red DM’s, ben shermans and flying jackets who scared the fuck out of this very young punk but a lot of them were just pure evil scum and Screw Driver were part of that movement.

    So Plan B…sack the stylist Strickland, get your history right and don’t invite any hoodies into your house, they’ll only rob your mobile & scratch your merc!

  13. I’d love to say that I saw one of Stooshe wearing a Gold Blade t-shirt at T4 on the Beach. Sadly, only me wearing one on the day

  14. The original line-up of Skrewdriver were a pretty good punk band with no racist overtones, however, this is like saying Adolf was a pretty sound geezer when he just left school. I’m very disappointed in him, especially with racial tensions in this country on the increase. Of course he is aware of who skrewdriver were and what they are renowned for.

    It’s one thing wearing a Joy Division shirt without knowing anything about the history but quite another promoting a white supremacist band.

  15. just goes to show these people are mere puppets of a brain-dead celebrity culture.. you should have the intelligence know what your wearing and any signals it might be giving off?

  16. funny you should mention slayer (Jason creighton) i used to be massively into slayer as a youngster.. went to see them on their reigning blood tour, bought the tour program- tons of photos of jeff hanamen(?) surrounded by nazi regalia.. didnt sit too well with me- at least lemmy explains that he is no nazi and actually collects the stuff for collectors sake.. no such explanation from jeff.. still dont mind the band, but they need to be a bit more careful about the messages their sending out?..

    • I too went to see Slayer on the RIB tour and sort of see where you are coming from. But it was a different time and whilst I have never felt inclined to wear such regalia, it doesn’t mean that someone has dodgy views if they did at the time…make sense?

      That said, it’s not a desirable thing to encourage.

  17. Before people jump to the wrong conclusion, here is Plan B’s explanation


  18. not sure what your getting at mentioning that the shirt is not official a few times… besides not funding unsavoury people. Im pretty sure the photo on the shirt itself ended up being used for a skrewdriver – “best of” compilation. (tho originally from a documentary)

    If anything it just comes across as he will do whatevas asked of him, which leads me to question weather anything he says (politically) is actually opinion or spin for sales.
    I am interested to know what he is talking about though, weather his opinion has any “fat to chew” or if its your standard non-specific politico-babble that any tom dick or harry can repeat from an over heard convosation.

  19. I think its irrelevant that Plan B is wearing a T-shirt that may or may not cause offence….however if he started spouting right wing ideals then that should be a cause for debate. Sid (and others of the time) wore a swastika, just to piss people off more than a political gain….my guess is Plan B is trying too hard to be ‘cool’.

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  21. Plan B just went up in my estimation. He apologiesed which was the right thing to do, then put the journalist’s view to bed by stating he knew the artist who took the photos and made his own t shirts – no stylist needed. Every one has learnt from this epsiode.

    Perhaps the real essense of this article is about how we want to identify with the past by exhibiting our connections. I remember that T shirt you could buy with Hitler’s Tour on it. Very crass but also perversely funny (as much of our British sardonic humour is).

  22. A simple mistake – easily done & he’s apologised.

    The downside to this is people might check out Skrewdriver on yootube, etc . It’s a shame those morons might get some exposure/publicity because of this.

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