stills from the Bikelordz documentary trailer

Bikelordz is an upcoming documentary about Accra’s buzzing BMX scene. The doc started as a short film, edited by director / cinematographer Tobias Arturi from handheld camera footage shot by Mikey Hart while he was living in Accra in 2006-7. Mikey Hart explained the project to Okayafrica:

The short premiered in the Bicycle Film Festival, resonating with audiences from Hong Kong to San Francisco, and inspired us to go back to Ghana with proper equipment, a shoestring budget, and some collaborators: NOLA artist Sam Feather-Garner, BK musician Charlie Ferguson of Zongo Junction, and SF photographer Quincy Cardinale.

With riders showing us around we were able to go places no tourists and many locals would never go– from soundsystem parties to funeral parties. The film will feature a soundtrack of original music by a variety of American and Ghanaian artists as well as some highlife favorites.

Follow the film:


Three rockers on the Chelsea Bridge
The mods and rockers were two conflicting British youth subcultures of the early to mid-1960s. Media coverage of mods and rockers fighting in 1964 sparked a moral panic about British youths, and the two groups became labelled as folk devils.

The rocker subculture was centred around motorcycling, and their appearance reflected that. Rockers generally wore protective clothing such as black leather jackets and motorcycle boots (although they sometimes wore brothel creeper shoes). The common rocker hairstyle was a pompadour, which was associated with 1950s rock and roll — the rockers’ music genre of choice. The mod subculture was centred around fashion and music, and many mods rode scooters. Mods wore suits and other cleancut outfits, and preferred 1960s music genres such as soul, rhythm and blues, ska and beat music.

If you’re into mid-century British youth culture — and who isn’t? — you probably know all about Teddy Boys, the ’50s rock ‘n roll dandies in long jackets and creepers. But perhaps you didn’t realize there was a whole subculture of Teddy Girls, too. Also known as Judies, they dressed much like their male counterparts, sporting short hair, pants, sharply cut suit jackets, and defiant sneers.

Think that the existence of youth cultures is a twentieth century phenomenon? Think again…

This photo is from the late nineteenth century, and consists of three convicted youths otherwise known as “Scuttlers.” These youths were part of a youth culture that emerged in late Victorian England (Manchester to be precise) identifiable by their appearance and behaviour. Said to be the earliest recorded instance of a youth culture, that had its own fashions, way of life, and code of conduct, visible throughout Manchester (although London and Birmingham also had similar street gangs at the time)      



Whitsun Bank Holiday weekend, 18-19 May 1964, on the south coast of England where Londoners often headed for seaside resorts, thousands of Mods descended upon Brighton to find that a large number of Rockers had made the same plans.

Within a short time, marauding gangs of mods and rockers were openly fighting, often using pieces of deckchairs.  A small number of Rockers were isolated on Brighton beach where, despite being protected by police, were pelted with pebbles, overwhelmed and assaulted by Mods. 

Mods were known to sew fish hooks or razor blades into the backs of their lapels to shred the fingers of assailants; the same thing was done by Teddy Boys in the 1950s. Weapons such as coshes, bike chains and flick knives were common.

The violence in Brighton lasted two days and moved along the coast to Hastings and back. There were running battles at Margate and Clacton too.

A judge described those arrested as Sawdust Caesars. 

A prosecutor argued the perpetrators were youths with no serious views, who lacked respect for law and order.

Newspaper editorials fanned the flames of hysteria and moral panic, warning that mods and rockers were “internal enemies” in the UK who would “bring about disintegration of a nation’s character”. 

The Mods got on their scooters, the Rockers got on their bikes, and carried on regardless…

Normcore vs. Health Goth vs. Cutester: I Tried All Three to See Which Sucks Least

We are officially balls deep in 2015, and the world still doesn’t have a new youth subculture to show for it. Sure, in a few months we might all be turning our Levi’s inside out and the finance bros will start wearing multiple neckties, but at the moment we’re stuck with the same fashion scenes as 2014. That’s not good, because last year sucked for fashion. It felt like we were all too busy recoiling at the Fappening and beheadings in the desert to make any good stuff happen. No genuine new youth subculture was born last year, which is probably why the media went ahead and invented some themselves.

The biggest of these invented lifestyles was the art of dressing like a newly divorced dad, or “normcore,” which was apparently the most googled fashion term of 2014. The most irritating youth tribe of the year came to bite us right at the death, when the Evening Standard looked at the Cereal Café on Brick Lane and conjured up the “cutesters.” And then we had health goth. What is health goth? I always thought it was just a Facebook page full of monochrome sportswear and net art, but some journalists believe it’s got something to do with Coal Chamber fans sweating their make-up out on crosstrainers. Either way, if that isn’t a subculture that’s gonna shake society to its foundations, I don’t know what is.



In this final episode of Tribes, we meet LA’s Thrashcore punks, who show us the importance of leaving boundaries and rules behind. WATCH