Rob The London Mod

A Second article from Rob, to whom I am extremely grateful for his participation in this wee site - his 'on the scene' insights are bringing the 60's mod world alive in a way I find a lot more satisfying than any of the 'mod' books I have seen. "Ready, Steady, Go would show some Mod fashions and dances by the studio audience of which I was a member (however, it was filmed live, so I never got to see myself). Some great artists performed, including Solomon Burke, Millie Small, Martha and the Vandellas, Jerry Lee Lewis, Rufus Thomas, Isley Brothers, the Who, Kinks, Animals, and many more. The sister and brother duo, Inez and Charlie Foxx, also appeared. Their "Mocking Bird" was released on Chris Blackwell's Sue label in September 1963 and they were a support act on the Rolling Stones tour in 1964. They performed at The Scene Club and I got Charlie Foxx's autograph. Following Michael Jackson's tragic death (25 June, 2009), news commentators asked whether Jackson got his Moonwalk dance from James Brown. But prior to Brown's use of the step, Charlie Foxx did the same Moonwalk during his performances. In actuality it is probably much older." As before Rob is pleased to recieve your feedback. If you can use the 'Add Reply' box rather than 'reply to this' as it can get confusing having previous comments repeated.

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  • Rob,

    Its quite unerving reading your memories, almost as I you took my thoughts, as to what is was to write.

    I too wore a black oilskin and had a plain GS apart from a rolls royce hub cap on the spare wheel and an over large rear mud flap that I had to be careful of pulling off, when pulling the scooter on to the stand.

    My GS had a home modified exhaust, I used a long copper tube to deepen the note flattened to increase back pressure and a hole to enable me to pour in small quantites of Castrol R to give that unmistakable aroma

    I remember in the early days you could not puchaseclothing of the right style, you had to modify standard clothing.

    I will attempt to produce an article recalling my expeciences.

    • Talking of modifying - I put chequered tape around the edges of my black oilskins - but that must have been a bit later as I was obviously inspired by op-art.

      The blue nylon raincoats were Pac-a-macs! Otherwise your memory is impressive Rob - I know we went to the Royal but can't remember any more about it!


      Oh and the girls wore ski-pants at some time and matador pants and alice bands etc - I'll have to get on to my cousin who lived at the Scene!

    • Roger, yes, that is amazing synchronicity, the oilskin coat, the GS with a large mud flap, and modified exhaust—tho’ the idea of adding Castrol R, never occurred to me, but the combination of sight, sound AND smell is appealing.  It would be great if you could tell your Mod story on themodgeneration site, especially providing some details about Sandy Sarjeant who has gained the status of mod hero.

      Here’s a scooter story about being pulled over by Old Billl for excessive exhaust noise. I remember standing in court while the Beak told me to remedy the situation and fined me.  This happened more than once.  The second time I had stopped up the top pipe by stuffing a potato in it.  It was a great lark watching the cop poking in the exhaust with his little pencil and saying to his colleague, “This one seems to be blocked.”  “You’re right there, cunt ‘stable” I muttered.

  • Rob, I have been looking through your memories again and have to ask just where was this Jazz Club in Edmonton, I don't recall we had a Jazz Club as such, are you reffering to the Cooks Ferry Inn on Angel Road right next to the River Lea. This club came into being in the sixties and I think the type of act that was booked were more R n B as we called them, Graham Bond organisation, Georgie Fame Blue Flames, Geno Washington etc. possibly Chris Barber would have been there some time as this club was run by the same couple that had the Wood Green Jazz Club at back of the Fishmongers Arms  now that was a Jazz club very much remembered by the late George Melley and was going as far back as early 1951/52 when Jazz was king and the programme interval was filled in by the Skifflers, now this reminds me when I first heard the word MOD/ernist, 1959 the new movement had taken over the Jazz club, Wood Green, on the opposite side of the road was the Kings club frequented by the nearly extint movement of Rock n Rollers I was told by a friend of mine who was involved in a fight between the two factions and he told me the Modernists had given the Teds a right bashing, he used the word Modernist not the shorter Mod.
    • Hi Clifford,

      Bit of a coincidence but lastnight I watched The Loneliness Of The Long Distant Runner on DVD. I also watched a short film that came as an extra called Mamma Don't Allow.

      Anyway in this short film it was centered around a jazz club called Art and Viv Sanders Jazz Club, which was filmed, wait for it... filmed in the Fishmongers Arms. Two of the band members were Chris Barber and Lonnie Donegan. The dance floor seemed to be at the back of the bar as in the opposite end from the stage. On the dance floor was a mixture of teds, beatnicks and I would say early Modernists. A few of them were definitely wearing slim italian jackets and skinny ties one bloke had on a crewe neck jumper with racing stripes down one side etc.The hair styles on the modernists if that's what they were, was very much short back & sides. On that basis i'm guessing this would have been filmed circa '58/59.

    • Graeme, nice of you to come in on this, the film you saw "mama don't allow" was indeed filmed at the very Jazz club that I was talking about and as it stated Art and Viv Sanders were the people who got it up and running as they did with the Cooks Ferry Inn at Edmonton which was started in 1947 through into the 50's and with music taste changing through the Rock n Roll of 56,57,58 then into the RnB mode of early 60's onto what I believe was then Pop music played off the record. The film was made 1954 and can be seen by anyone who can get up then just dial in Wood Green Jazz Club and you can get it in two parts. The young people you saw in the film at that time would have been the trad jazz beatnik style, boys all duffle coats and scarves, girls with short calf length tight trousers topped off with tight sweaters sometime rollnecks underneath which were those pointy madonna type bras with tthe spiral stiching on their feet would be those Balerina style pumps. Other boys would be moving into the slick backed quiff hairstyles of the Rocker style anyone with a short back and side then were more than likely grammer boys nicking down to the club that mama didn't know about or allow. As I previously said 59/60 fashion was more the three button suit and tie with the hair neatly groomed and blown to a flat top with side parting and sideburns shortened to the top of the ear. This was Italian styling and went onto become modernist as we were want to be called as opposed to old fashioned it was later into the sixties that the phrase he/she's a mod was used for then the three button suit went under to the Parka coat for using on the scooters. Just in finishing my conversation with a friend who was in with the modernist of the time that more than often frequented Harry Boults small dance Hall at Wood green for off the record gigs would of been around 59,60 ish time thanks a lot for contributing bye
    • Graeme:  Mamma Don't Allow sounds like an interesting film, whish I'd seen it.

      Cliff: Nah, it wasn't Cook's Ferry and it wasn't Fishmongers Arms.  Probably calling it a club is a bit grandiose, it was a small redbrick municipal building on the ride side of the high road leaving from Enfield Wash and going towards Edmonton Green, smaller than Imperial Hall.  It was probably just used for jazz periodically and for boy scouts and wedding recetpions on other occasions.  I'd have to eyeball it.  It's been forty years plus since I was in that area.  I think I remember the club at the back of Fishmongers Arms in its Mod incarnation, scooters parked outside, etc.  No bands just a record hop playing Ronettes and Crystals "Dah do ron ron," etc., for all the Mod girls, that attended ,or maybe that was further up.

    • Hi Robert " Mama don't allow" can be got up on then dial in Wood Green Jazz club. If you can get Modgen on your set up I'm sure you can view this interesting film which does have Chris Barber and his Jazz band including Monty Sunshine and Lonnie Donnegan. There is an interesting small part of the film that will take you back, of a Dental nurse obviously telling her boyfriend she won't be long in leaving the surgery to get down to the Jazz club it looks to me that it was filmed opposite to the Rose and Crown Church Street Edmonton. Onto which I now pass, Edmonton and the clubs you frequented along the Hertford Road from Enfield Wash to the Green at Edmoton. Righthand side we first come to, on the corner of Lincoln Road, Howard Hall, You and me and Mick went there for record sessions entertainment. It is now a Witherspoons pub called the Picture Palace, for in its earlier incarnation it had been a cinema showing the likes of Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy. Next along was/is on the corner of Bury Street. Yes the church next to it was Victorian red brick but the church hall that fronted onto the pavement was of the London yellow stocks variety brick. Shortly after we were going there it was painted up in a light green with black pointing in between the bricks. It is this building I think you are calling the Edmonton Jazz Club it did go onto be a Bingo Hall when that was all the rage, and maybe it did have Jazz bands at some time along with other modes of music. I remember seeing a group who had minor fame in the hit parade with one record and lesser with a follow up they were called The Fleerekers the drummer used to do a very good drum solo that impressed. This hall is now used by the, International Charismatic Church of God. still getting full houses of the West Indian residents of Enfield and Edmonton. Could send you pictures of these venues as also the St Stephens church Hall that is in Winchmore Hill alas not with lines of scooters outside though. Rock on Robbie be nice hearing from you.
    • Wow, “Howard Hall” that’s a name I had forgotten, but you’re right it was a venue we attended.  I’m pretty sure they had a Trad Jazz evening there way back around 1960, and that’s where I saw the Skip-Jive.  Yes, I believe the hall on the corner of Bury Street is the one I’m calling the Edmonton Jazz Club, where I saw Alexis Korner and spoke to Cyril Davies.  St Stephens Church Hall in Winchmore Hill is the club where they played Da Do Run Run is it?

      On another note, you remember my article "Coming Of Age in Forty Hill"? I have to rewrite the Epilogue.  It has erroneous information in it whereby I name the “mystery girl” as Maureen Tomlin.  It is not, her real name is Diane Wisbey and I want to get a photograph of Diane when she a teenager and to rewrite the Epilogue to bring it to a satisfactory conclusion.  Her sister, Francis Wisbey, still lives at 86 Boleyn Avenue.  If I could get Boleyn Avenue area code maybe I could write to her?  I wonder if she has a phone (email?).  I’ll email you about this.

      PS Have you seen my latest posting “The First Mods I Saw” on Mod Gen home page? 

    • Rob, I distinctly remember the time you were telling me about your encounter with Cyril Davies we were at our works the Bery you on one side of the bench me on the other. The night you had seen Cyril, I for some reason had missed out on that but I thought the encounter had been at Manor House Blues room in Finsbury Park. I was so impressed with the information and your skill with the Harmonica that I did myself go out and by the Echo super vamper model Harp that he recommended. You were able to pick out the opening riffs of Love me do and we tried this out in our lunch breaks that was as far as we got and I think it must have been at that time when Bery went down to Harringay. Your last day at Bery before you moved into lower Wimpole I just do not remember, but did we have a farewell drink down the pub on Ernie Jordan (do I need to ask) Do you know it was much later that I found out that the love me do riff was played on a Chromatic Harp not a diatonic and I also think it was not played on the recording by John Lennon as many fans insist it was. Have you any comment . Have now read your latest, looking for the sequel now. Cliff
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