Saturday 3 November 2012

"East End Babylon" (Guardian 02/11/12)

East End Babylon (18) 105 mins ***

Oi! was punk’s extremist wing, given more to skinheads than mohawks. Richard England’s knotty, tricky doc strives to give the movement context through the story of the Cockney Rejects’ Jeff and Micky Geggus, who exploded out of a cramped Canning Town semi in the late 70s with a tape recorder full of “four-bar shitter songs”, and came to provide the soundtrack for West Ham’s hooligan element. The Gegguses could, one suspects, talk all day: even their lighter showbiz anecdotes – flattening Steve Wright, terrorising Legs & Co – have a revealing edge, yet this band of boneheads still drew the line at swastikas. “We bashed a few people, but fuck ‘em,” is the unrepentant conclusion: its subjects’ defiant gobbiness – and the participation of several variously nostalgic ex-hooligans – is problematic, but the film amply describes the unfocused rage that can fester in deprived communities.

East End Babylon opens in selected cinemas from Tuesday.

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