1988

Into 1988 and Blood and Honour was firmly established. Concerts were being set up fortnightly basis with many in the midlands of England. In London skinheads gathered inthe various Kings Cross pubs that had become popular with RAC band members and supporters. Issues of the Blood & Honour magazine were now coming out at regular three month intervals, and the size of the copies increased from eight to sixteen pages. The magazine included regular features such as gig reports, band interviews, readers letters, RAC charts and a White Whispers column. In a matter of months the subscription-only mag sky-rocketed to a circulation of 5,000. A complimentary mail order service was also soon set up selling nationalist albums, flags, loyalist tapes, T-shirts and swastika / Celtic cross pendants amongst other items under the name Skrewdriver Services.

The sale and distribution of nationalist merchandise was becoming a booming business and so it wasn’t long before money hungry businessmen saw that there were juicy profits to be made. Stores in London’s fashionable Carnaby Street began to stock neo-Nazi regalia and Skrewdriver albums. One shop was Cutdown owned by Andrew St John. Originally as a mail order outlet but the shop also stocked general skinhead, ska, mod and Oi! merchandise. Cutdown even organised their own Oi! concert at the Astoria Theatre called The Main Event. The police said they would allow the gig to go ahead only if tickets were sold by mail order and limited to one per person per home address. The bands set to play were Oi! favourites Section 5, Vicious Rumours, The Magnificent, Condemned 84, Judge Dread, The Business and the Angelic Upstarts. Back in the 1970’s the Angelic Upstarts played numerous Rock Against Racism gigs and now their lead singer Mensi was a violent outspoken communist. Back in the summer of 1979 the Upstarts played a concert in Wolverhampton. In addition to the regular gig goers were some 50 or so National Front members who thought Mensi and his band needed sorting out. Bottles and glasses soon rained in on the stage, the band shit themselves and their manager Keith Bell got glassed and needed six stitches. Some 9 years on Mensi and the boys were still busy regularly playing Anti-Fascist Action gigs, attending communist meetings and Socialist Worker functions. It seemed the band had not learnt their lesson and needed a refresher course. With 1,500 people turning up to The Main Event paying £8.50 a ticket. As the Upstarts came on Blood & Honour supporters in the crowd leaped into action. As a result the management of the Astoria called the police who closed the gig down and arrested 16 people.

With more gigs than ever, B & H growing and merchandise going well, Ian was very pleased with what had been accomplished. The left wing campaign against him had intensified with regular demos outside his Argyle Square home. When he complained to the police Ian was told that he would have to stay in his room and if he showed his face at the demo he may be arrested. On a few of occasions Ian walked out of his flat to find a carload of anti-fascists waiting to attack him. None were successful and during one particular ambush the assailants went away with more than they’d bargained for when Ian knocked one down, smashing out his teeth with a deadly right hook. The left wing were attempting to show him as the son of Hitler and as bad a pedophile scum. Even the toughest commies were wary of Ian’s reputation. The very reputation they had given him. Among the people who often dropped in to visit were some Chelsea football fans that Ian had known in their skinhead days. One night arriving late after trip to the burger bar in Kings Cross station, a fight broke out with some queers who frequented the Bell Pub. Fists flew and one of the gays got stabbed. Before he knew it, Ian and three others were dragged off to the police station and charged with violent disorder. Ian was put on remand inside HMP Wormwood Scrubs for nearly 3 months.

Whilst inside, Brutal Attack continued to organise gigs, and Blood and Honour was temporarily being run by Joe Pearce. While in jail once again, Ian spent alot of time to writing to comrades and started to write some fiction. By the time he was released Ian had written a 100-page novel. The story was based in the fictional land of Valaria and was to be published as The New Dawn. This was inspired from Ian’s favourite author J.R. Tolkien. Just like Adolf Hitler had been imprisoned in Landsberg Castle in December 1924 where he wrote Mein Kampf. Ian hoped to publish the book and maybe do an accompanying LP to go with it. The CPS decided they hadn’t got enough or any evidence. Much to the disappointment of the Searchlight representative present in the courtroom Ian was finally freed at Islington Magistrates. From this and the Police general attitude towards Ian it was obvious the authorities were keen to keep Ian locked up. Ian certainly had no friends in the media. “On Tour With Britain’s Sickest Band” screamed the swastika-laden article, “The Nazi Loving Group Out to Corrupt Our Kids” etc.

Concert venues were becoming harder to find, with but some owners were prepared to risk a booking. For this reason Ian employed a strong team of bouncers visible by their t-shirts as ‘Skrewdriver Security’. They ensured that concerts passed without incident. Rock-o-Rama were particularly pleased with the way things were going and in the early part of summer 1988, Skrewdriver, Brutal Attack, No Remorse, Sudden Impact and Vengeance all signed deals at an evening session in the Kings Cross pub The Prince Albert. All five bands would be asked to records two LP’s a year and Ian would also move in to recording as a solo artist.

The only income Ian had came from record and t-shirt sales which was enough to keep him going. Not interested in material goods, it bothered him little that he was living in a tiny bedsit. A typical day for Ian Stuart was to rise at 8am and collect the newspapers from the newsagents and flick through them over breakfast at his local café. At about 11am he’d write a few letters, go over new songs on his acoustic guitar and then break for his daily intake of TV. His favourites being Neighbours and Emmerdale Farm. Mid-afternoon would see him visit his PO Box in Holborn where he’d collect his mail and sit in a nearby café. Supporters wrote from all over the world. New bands would send demos and photos in the hope of a mention in the next edition of Blood and Honour magazine. Ian received about 20 letters a day and after reading his mail, processing merchandise orders and banking the cheques, Ian would often try out his new songs on visiting friends. Every other weekday was spent in training, lifting weights and running. After being attacked whilst out running Ian resorted to running up and down the five flights of stairs in his flat. Most evenings were spent with visitors and listening to records. Ian had a vast collection of records, and although his guests were hoping to listen to RAC music Ian preferred rock music and would more likely have the latest Motorhead, Cult and Rolling Stones releases. When it came to a drink Ian was only ever interested in lager and even then he would moan that it couldn’t beat a good cup of tea. His evening meal was often traditional English pie and chips.

In May 1988 the RAC and nationalist bands rocked on and the skinheads of Europe and B & H made a visit to Brest in France. With No Remorse as the main band supported by the French bands of Legion 88, Skin Korps, Brutal Combat and Bunker 84. However the French police in decided to cancel the gig only an hour before the doors were due to be open. This left 300 or so skinheads some who had journeyed from Italy, Germany and the UK with nowhere else to go. Soon enough disgruntled and angry skinheads went storming through the Brittany town stabbing, cutting and coshing any darkies they saw.

A new compilation LP named Gods of War was released on White Power Records. This album was similar to the No Surrender LP’s, with 4 bands appearing on the album. Skrewdriver contributed the songs Land on Fire, I’m a Free Man and The New Boss. Soon after this album Skrewdriver was joined on guitar by Ross McGarry to complete a five-piece band once again. By the autumn the lads were busy in the studio recording a new LP for Skrewdriver entitled After The Fire and at the same time did the hard-hitting single The Showdown. The Showdown also known as Race War was the last single financed independently by lan and Cutdown.

By yuletide of 1988 the album After The Fire was released by Rock-O-Rama. The album was slightly more aggressive than the previous White Rider LP. Songs that stand out include 46 Years which was about Hitler’s deputy Rudolf Hess, Retaliate, Win or Die and Land of Ice. Also on the LP are two cover versions, the ballad Green Fields of France by Bogle and Sweet Home Alabama from lan’s favourite son’s of the South Lynard Skynard. Also released in 1988, much to lan’s indignation, was a live Skrewdriver bootleg album called We’ve Got the Power. The LP was of very poor quality and was put out on the Viking Records label operating from an anonymous London box number.