The ''Hard Mod'' image Myth Or Truth

This does my nut right in on this subject, I've never seen a ''Hard Mod'' photo or a group of ''Hard Mods'' tooled up and looking for aggro wearing 3 button suits, with trenchcoats or fishtail parkas on either in the 60's, '70's '80's or even today, reason is we're too cool to be seen photographed, maybe it's a Mod on Viagra for the ''real''  ''Hard Mod'' look,lol!!! I am 100% convinced the labels a total myth, and is associated with the late '60's Dick Emery ''Bovver Boy'' stereotype we saw as kids, type in your search engines I guarantee you it will be Suedeheads and Skinhead photos that come up, not a gang of Scootered up Mods brandishing open razors, no we're ''different'' from the rest. Yeah sure we all have had our moments of what we all done then and now, but even then we were Mods,  I knew hundreds and hundreds of Mods then and now, not once did  I know anyone who classed themselves a ''Hard Mod'' The Ace Face label is more associated with us, but not 'Hard Mod'' So lets open a discussion on this this is my own view, what is yours????? Here's some images of the ''Hard Mod'' look as seen by those outside the Mod scene as you can see the Doc Martin and Side Burns or as they are fondly known ''Lamb Chops'' look,lol!!

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  • I have to agree that the term "hard Mods" never showed up on my radar until now. Incidentally, the pictures at the top of this discussion are unquestionably of early Skinheads, circa 1968. It has to be said that some of the older Mods "evolved" the harder, more functional look, which later became the Skinhead style, if you can call it that (and  I do have personal recollections of this phase.) But to the point in question, my brother was a very active Mod, carried a cut-throat razor everywhere and got into all the scrapes that Johns' excellent article depicts in such detail. He also ended up "inside" for a while at 18.  It's hard to be nostalgic about a lot of that stuff, but I think it was part of the reality for most London Mods, and probably Mods in other places like Glasgow, Liverpool, and so on; but I don't know. It does seem that a lot of the current interest in Mod (and for that matter Skinhead) subculture focusses on the clothes and the music, and apart from the seaside riots, glosses over the ever-present violence that pervaded the Mod scene on the streets and in (or outside) the clubs. Perhaps that is as well. I cannot claim to have been a "Hard Mod" - or anything of the kind .... living as I did in the shadow of my brothers' reputation, I didn't need to be. The big irony of course, is that many of their detractors (Rockers included but not alone) labelled Mods as "effeminate" or "Nancy Boys" which was a serious misconception in the majority of cases, even those who may not have considered themselves particularly hard.


  • Fascinating reading. Wonder just how many think of themselves as hard mods today? It's always been about the music the clothes the mindset for me; the eldest chil, born in 67 to pretty 'hip' parents; mom was always very stylish and would cut my hair in a mod way, I looked like a boy but when I look back at pics now, I was unique, there was nobody else that looked like me, not even my 3 sisters or brother; I was born a mod and mom knew it! God rest their souls!
  • Interesting discussion, and one which will run and run...I do however remember seeing a newspaper article from The Daily Mirror which I think was published in June 1968 describing a 'New breed of Mods' with 'cropped hair and jeans' which had a large cartoon-like drawing of a figure with relatively short hair (maybe a number four), jean jacket, sta-prest and brogues. it went on to describe trouble at Hampstead Heath fair the previous autumn, which was nothing new, and mentioned "gangs of hard nuts'; (likely culprits: The Archway Firm). The article specifically mentions "Mods" three or four times. It also commented that the phenomenon wasn't confined to London and it mentions Glasgow where they were referred to as 'Peanuts' or 'Spy Kids' ! I think this article may be the source linking the two terms. 

    Interestingly enough, almost exactly one year later in May '69 Fleetwood Mac were bottled off at a free concert also on Hampstead Heath by "Skinheads" supposedly up from Somers Town to cause a bit o' bovver... the link is below:

    Finally just to confuse things, check out the audience at the taping of er..."Hey Jude" by The Beatles at Alexandra Palace, July 29th 1968...a bunch of non-peace and love kids trawled from local youth clubs in Ally Pally, Muswell Hill and Wood Green. Check out the kid directly behind McCartney. Although young, is he a 'Hard Mod"? What do you reckon he looked like one year later? Truth is, I think the transition from Mod to Skinhead was totally down to age (older and younger brothers etc) and the local area. I know in '68 they co-existed in Southgate, Ally Pally and Edmonton - the older Mods thought the younger Skinheads were the uncouth "Tickets" to their "Faces".

  •  Well, It looks as though this thread will run and run - I have been labelled a 'hard mod' and this has got me wondering - is there such a thing?

    Anyway i have decided to do a piece on the ver subject from the perspective of someone who was there through the sixties. Hopefully it will give some insight and maybe answer a few questions! I  hope to get it over to Stephen in the next few days. It will be interesting to see comments?


    John Waters

    • Cool, I'm glad to see everyones input on the discussion, been called a ''hard mod'' in 2009 me,Jim Nairn, Brian,Big Neil, Fitzy and James Sneddon by Mods at a Birmingham Mod May Day, that shocked me, would have said we looked confident and smart dressed, didn't see ourselves as that at all, this was a group of young Mods in the Sound Bar on the Saturday night, very strange, look forward to your articlr Mr Waters, all the best3297840686?profile=RESIZE_1024x1024

    • It might be useful to get input from all of us who were original Mods, although most of us are now retired or will be shortly and our memories might not be all they should be!.

      All I can say is that a lot of the stuff that has been written about the first Mods has been done by people that weren't there, or were grimps that we would never have considered real Mods and 90% of the stuff that's been written is total crap! 

      Most of the original Mods were working class and would not shy away from a fight -  I recall pitched battles with the police, rockers, travellers (from the fair) and Mod crews from different London manors.

      I've got to say I never heard anyone use the term "Hard Mods" although we had some really hard blokes in our crew and they weren't adverse to going tooled up. 

    • John, retired ! chance would be a fine thing.............

      I was dragged up though what can only be described as  'and I dont use this word lightly'  a war, and if you were not  there, you dont know and thankfully will never know what went on.

    • I was a original 60s Skinhead in NW London, the violence that you describe was about the same for us, but with the added Football violence that Skinheads got into, 

      Its always been the same for working class teenagers be it  Victorian Gangs to the later Teds Mods, Skinheads. 

      For a few years in the 60s/70s  for me violence was a everyday thing if we was not doing it we was talking about it. I would say it was the best years of my life, You had mates that you would die for, and they for you, all we cared about was each other and the Gang, I would get down Chelsea and travel all over the Country causing mayhem, it was a glorious time.

      I would not have missed it for the World.

    • That's why  I love to hear from the originals put myths to the sword once and for all, I know the crap written in books,is by tossers who weren't really there, and with time hoping none of the others who did stand up for themselves would 'no longer be around to tell what REALLY happened'' Why don't you all get together and write a book on how it really was?????

    • Charles, well said, I am not going to add any more to this thread I am beginning to sound like a thug, I am not, and do not want you all to think I was, I am new to this forum and its been one of the best and interesting forums to spend time on.

      I became a mod for myself in the early 60's not to be a member of a gang or to spend loads on clothes because I didnt have any money, I wanted to be different,


      Still am ............................

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