1986

On Ian’s first night in London’s HMP Wormwood Scrubs prison he recognised Joe Pearce during mealtime. Both had worked together on a few NF projects before. This was Joe’s second time in jail for his work on the Young National Front paper – Bulldog. As Ian sat inside his cell he had plenty of time to think about the NF and his situation. They promised to make his imprisonment high profile. Ian was nonetheless receiving loads of mail courtesy of skinhead fanzines and international publications. Jail was a new experience and one that he would be keen not to repeat. Ian was getting five times as much mail as the other prisoners and got regular visits to hear news from the outside. lan managed to write an article for National Front News, and pen the lyrics to many new songs. Books were regularly sent it, and even whilst in jail Ian was passing around pro-White literature. In-between listening to the radio and writing lan also read. He found David living’s books engrossing and helped to pass the time, but his favourite author was J.R.R. Tolkien and lan would read The Lord of the Rings for hours at a time. One of the main characters in the book is the old wizard called Gandalf the Grey. In book three – The Two Towers, chapter 5, Gandalf the Grey also becomes known as The White Rider. Could this be from where the Skrewdriver album got its title from? Ian’s muscular build and notoriety meant that he was lucky to avoid being singled out for any physical attacks inside jail. Being a racist in a jail with the majority of coon criminals isn’t such an easy time. lan spent the festive season of 1985 in Wormwood Scrubs working on the hot plate dishing up the porridge. Not so long into the new year of 1986 and Ian was transferred to the comparatively luxurious HMP Wayland in Norfolk as prisoner L25818 and was pleasantly surprised that the inmates were predominately White. The lower security class prison allowed Ian the use of an acoustic guitar. Again he concentrated on writing new material and answering his regular large correspondence.

On Thursday March 6th 1986 Wayland Prison awoke to see a picture of prisoner L25818 adorning the front cover of the Sun newspaper. Below the headline ‘Rock Star’s Nazi Pal’ was a photo of Ian and Suggs from the band Madness, sitting in Suggs’ mother’s house. It was quite a surprise as unknown to Ian someone had broken into his Kings Cross bedsit and stolen the photo of Ian and Suggs. The photo was apparently sold to Gary Bushell for a £2,000. The story claimed Suggs (Graham McPherson) had given Ian money, helped him with his recordings and sheltered him in his north London flat. It was true that the two had been great friends in the late 1970’s, the claim that Suggs had in any way helped with any of Skrewdriver’s recordings was pure lies. Instead of using the story for his own ends, Ian was unwilling to use and abuse his acquaintance with Suggs who had treated him well in the past, in return for any publicity or financial gain. In an interview with White Noise magazine later that year he said, “The article was just an attempt to blacken the name of Suggsy. We did used to be mates, but we haven’t seen each other for a few years and that’s all there is to it.” Ian later told in a fanzine “As far as I know we’re still on good terms. He just wants to make a living. I’ve got nothing against the bloke.” Ian and Suggs never really fell out but rather drifted apart. Going in different directions Ian wasn’t at all interested in Madness and Suggs undoubtedly felt the same about Ian’s heightening political band. This story just deepened Ian’s hatred for the press with it’s age-old practise of ‘Build ’em up and knock ’em down’. Ian hated how the media manipulated people’s lives as if they were just playing a board game. On release from prison the White Noise magazine was launched. Featuring an interview with the Skrewdriver front man, giving him the opportunity to talk about his jail term and the events that led to it. Another open-air festival was set up in Suffolk and so White Noise was truly launched. T-shirts, badges and records were all advertised and the money for memberships was pouring in. Ian was keen to see the money put to good use, but although he was the White Noise organiser, the funds were securely under the supervision of Patrick Harrington, Derek Holland and Nick Griffin at the NF. More bands with a nationalist ideology were being formed and it seemed that White Noise had the potential to fill Ian’s dreams. International attention was growing Ian appeared in various newspapers and magazines including a four-page article in the mass distribution American newspaper Spotlight. One organisation in America was so impressed it wanted to honour Ian for his work in spreading the message. The Church of Aryan Nations, based in Idaho, made Ian Stuart a Reverend. He knew nothing of this until he received the certificate through the post addressed to the Reverend Ian Stuart.