How long have you been into the skinhead scene? What drew you to it?
tekskin: I've been on the Skinhead scene for the last 14 years. I think there was always a skinhead there, but it was not possible before to be able to embrace the lifestyle, and the fetish scene as well.
It's fair to say there's some stigma attached to being a skinhead. What's it like being a skin in 2018?
TS: I'm from South London originally, and not only did I grow up near to where the original roots of the skinhead culture started, I was brought up at a time in the 1970's when some skinheads started to associate themselves with British Movement & National Front political movements, as well as being subverted by Neo-Nazis.
However, now there is a lot more understanding and knowledge around. There are still occasions when you get the looks and comments, but if there's an opportunity to educate and inform someone about the real roots of the skinhead movement then I take it and use that to show who we really are. And thankfully the movement has further evolved, moving away from the political & racist values, and back towards the original values.
Meeting you, you're a really friendly and engaging guy. Have you experienced guys expecting you to be more standoffish?
TS: It does surprise me that people do make this judgement, as I would hope that I am far from that. Some of them have actually said that they were scared to come and talk to me and it's taken them all their courage to do so! It doesn't happen so much when I'm in Rubber or Leather gear, so I guess it is the more aggressive look of the boots, bleachers and braces. And wearing it also does give you an additional sense of power and confidence. But I love to meet new people and learn new things!
How would you describe the skinhead scene for guys who've never experienced it?
TS: It's very sociable and friendly on the whole. It can be daunting I suppose to anyone who's just coming into it, but you can make friends fast. The great thing about the skinhead meets is that it's quite a masculine environment, which is welcomed by the guys who want to get their alpha male persona out in the open, but at the same time can relax and be themselves.
Tell us about the events you used to put on
TS: The events I ran were always S.H.A.R.P. events (Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice), but I was happy to have anyone come along in the true spirit of original skinheads, so long as respect is given to everyone who attends.
What drove you to put on these events?
TS: The ethos behind it was quite simply to keep the Gay Skinhead scene alive., and introduce some 'new' aspects into the scene. Over the years the Rubber & Leather scenes have come on by leaps and bounds, partly due to the way they are structured. In particular, when looking at the Leather scene, it is almost like having another 'family', with Fathers and Brothers creating a sense of membership and support. But Skinheads by their nature have always been more independent and self-sufficient, not needing that level of support for themselves. However, I had to relinquish running the Manchester Gay Skins mainly due to health, amongst other things, and my good friend Alan Roberts has now taken the reigns.
The Skinhead scene is struggling, and I believe that it is time to embrace some of the areas that the other scenes have adopted, in order to not only keep things going but to ensure the future for the group. Alan is making great strides in regenerating the scene across the country, with regular meetings, and even Skin Weekends by the Sea! And I was honoured to be asked to co-host the Skinhead Event for Recon at Fetish Week last year, and it was brilliant to see so many of my mates and new faces come along.
I am also a writer for the Skinhead section of Alphatribe Magazine, which is an international gay fetish magazine, and through there I will be introducing new readers to the Skinhead world, and the true values and roots.
What other fetish tastes do you have?
TS: I have been into Rubber for many years now as well, and have been a part of the Manchester Rubbermen since the beginning. I am also into Leather, but I haven't really been as involved in that area as I would like. And recently I have revisited an early fetish for PVC which had been dormant for many years. But as for sexual fetishes, I don't really have any. I'm more of your good old-fashioned type of guy in the bedroom. I did try watersports once, but it just made me laugh as it tickled on my skin!
What do you go for in a fetish man?
TS: The type of guys I find attractive is what I would call your middle-aged Dad looks! Fairly stocky guy, perhaps a little bit of a belly, and a nice smile. Certainly not someone who spends half their life in the gym. I can't be doing with beards and moustaches either – they make my face itch! I tend to find that they also have a fairly down to earth relaxed personality, which is great as well. Everything else after that is a bonus. There are always exceptions, and some of them have been surprising even for me. But they have to be accepting of me and my gear fetishes. If they are into gear too, that would be just perfect.
And finally, is there anything you'd like to share with/say to our members?
TS: Part of the reason I had to give up running events was my health. I unknowingly suffered from depression for almost 20 years, which culminated in having a nervous breakdown. In my case, it was a good thing, as it helped me to make changes to my life which have all been for the better. But there are many people who suffer in silence, afraid of what might be thought of them, or scared of what may happen. And all too often they feel they cannot go on and make sometimes fatal decisions. I have a couple of really good friends who have both attempted suicide, and I know sometimes it is a battle just to keep the dark thoughts out. But since they have been getting qualified, trained support, they have been able to start to get their lives back on track and appreciate life.
So, what I would say to anyone who is suffering, or feeling like things can't go on, there are people who can help you, and it doesn't have to be the way it is. If you're struggling right now, call the Samaritans on 116 123. You could also think about talking to your GP, who can give you advice on what help and treatment are available and would be best for you. The NHS have this page on their website which can give you more information [link below]
And finally, if you do see me around, come and say hi, and then you can buy me a drink, 'cos I'm always thirsty! ;)