A book charting the intricacies of 1980s Indie fashions and a German word with roots in Southend-on-Sea, sounds strange, intriguing, even obscure, but there is a connection. The book, A Scene In Between by Sam Knee, sheds light on the often overlooked scene in-between scenes, that bridged the gap between post-Punk and the acid house of the late 80s, and whose style reverberations are still felt today, and constantly referenced by the style cognoscenti.


Suburban students in bretons and Beatleboots, effortlessly blessed with a kind of charity shop chic that seems almost impossible to re-create, a kind of Thatcher’s Britain austere DIY aesthetic, tantalisingly simple and wholly original yet elusive, despite all their efforts.


And so, Mr Knee started Kursaal, ever fond of a soft shoe and a cardigan, he has plundered cult cobbler George Cox’s archive for obsolete lasts, and the scene making shapes that have long since disappeared, resurrecting a key element of ‘the look’.
Kursaal, the German word in question, is also the name of the funfair in Southend where Sam grew up, and the typeface is re-appropriated from an old Yardbirds flyer.

Everything from the name, to the two styles chosen, a 60s inspired Gibson creeper with crepe sole, and a black suede jodhpur boot, the same Seditionaries style worn by the late Malcolm Maclaren, is laden with connotations from pub-rock and Punk, Acme Attractions, Strummer and the Stray Cats, Carnaby mods and the Ted revival. Pretty much all the most important sub-cultural youth movements of the last century.

So, if you’d like to own a pair of the Svengali’s boots, or a basket weave creeper, the perfect compliment to corduroy, stripy T’s and a fringe, then look no further the search is over.

Kursaal shoes and the book A Scene In Between are available now at the Earlham St. shop.
A Scene In Between (2013) by Sam Knee, is published by Cicada Books Limited.

Words: Simon

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