Friday, October 11, 2013

Ton Up, Greasers, Rockers and Berets

Rockers, leather boys or ton-up boys are members of a biker subculture that originated in the United Kingdom during the 1950s. It was mainly centred around British cafe racer motorcycles and rock and roll music.
By 1965 the term greaser had also become common and, since then, the terms greaser and rocker have become synonymous within the British Isles although used differently in North America and elsewhere. Rockers were also derisively known as Coffee Bar Cowboys. Their Japanese equivalent was called the Kaminari-zoku (Thunder Tribe).
Until the post-World War II period motorcycling held a prestigious position and enjoyed a positive image in British society, being associated with wealth and glamour. Starting in the 1950s, the middle classes were able to buy inexpensive motorcars so that motorcycles became transport for the poor.
The rocker subculture came about due to factors such as: the end of post-war rationing in the UK, a general rise in prosperity for working class youths, the recent availability of credit and financing for young people, the influence of American popular music and films, the construction of race track-like arterial roads around British cities, the development of transport cafes and a peak in British motorcycle engineering.
Rocker-style youths existed in the 1950s, but were known as "ton-up boys" because doing a ton was English slang for driving at a speed of 100 mph (160 km/h) or over. The Teddy boys were considered their "spiritual ancestors". The rockers or ton-up boys took what was essentially a sport and turned it into a lifestyle, dropping out of mainstream society and "rebelling at the points where their will crossed society's". This damaged the public image of motorcycling in the UK and led to the politicisation of the motorcycling community.
The mass media started targeting these socially powerless youths and cast them as "folk devils", creating a moral panic through highly exaggerated and ill-founded portrayals

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