Documentary

The Ted Project

Andy Holloway photographed the Teddy Boy culture over 6 years in pubs and clubs around the UK.

My Dad was a Teddy Boy. In the 1970s, as kids, he used to tell us stories and I’d seen bands like Showaddywaddy in their neon drape coats on TV, but otherwise I’d ignored them. As a teenager, I grew up in the alternative music scene of the ‘80s and we didn’t have much time for Rock & Roll. The world had moved on. Fast forward to 2016. Walking towards me, down the main drag was a 60 year old geezer resplendent in a blue drape coat, bootlace tie and creepers. He looked like he could still do some damage. I had to know more.

After 6 years photographing Teds in pubs and working men’s clubs around the UK, I found that the movement was still very much alive.

Today the Teds are a small family, fiercely protective and intensely proud of their history and culture. The spirit of the movement is kept alive in working men’s clubs, pubs and weekenders at venues up and down the country – anywhere rock & roll can be played live and loud. A lot of the Teds around now are in their ‘60s, still wearing their drapes with pride and their tattoos as badges of honour. Scars and memories of their many battles with punks and other youth cults of the seventies are still very present and everyone has a story to tell.

Each event is a chance for Teds from up and down the country to meet up, renew acquaintances, reminisce, drink Newcastle Brown Ale and party to the sounds of British Rock & Roll.

Every week on the various Teddy Boy on-line groups, there’s sad news of the passing of another of the old guard. There are new people joining the scene, but it takes balls to walk into a pub nowadays in a drape and not many want the hassle. Luckily, some do.

The spirit of the Ted lives on.

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The photographer

Andy Holloway

Andy Holloway is a long-form photographic storyteller and sometime staff photographer for UK Rock & Roll magazine.

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