Having just noticed that the initiator of the latest "book" thread left the site taking the discussion with him, it's my turn again to revive it; being too important a topic to be dropped, imo.

Having finished "Get Carter" by Ted Lewis over the Holidays, I'll soon start with "Jack Carters Law", a prequel set in late 60s Soho.

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    • I like the look of this one. Looks like it could lead onto other great beat books, nice post Motown.

  • Really impressed by my holidays' read. The background story is the same you've read a dozen or so times before; but like a good christian with his gospels, I never tire of reading it time and time again: the Swinging Sixties from early jazz loving modernists to the dawn of psychedelia. A bit sceptical at first about the main character being a bit of a Little Lord Fauntleroy, I got to endear Tara Browne throughout the read so much that it's easy to see why for many of his contemporaries the Sixties ended with his untimely death.

    • A really good and incisive review Kai. I get a distinct sense of this book. Like all popular culture Modernism/Mod is born out of the energy and creativity of the working classes and then commercialised and exploited. I can well understand your scepticism of the main character.

      This is what we call class distinction in the UK. We are regularly informed by the upper classes that class distinction no longer exists, so that we are less likely to fight for a few more crumbs from the cake. This view is endorsed by some of the lower classes in order not to face the reality of the situation. To do so would require action. Not for the faint-hearted.

      This state of affairs is often depicted as a British oddity. I doubt this. I feel it manifests itself in different ways in different countries. In your opinion, is there anything similar or comparable in Germany?

      Thanks for the review- it is excellent, and reminds me of how much I miss frames posting.

    • I do believe something similar exists in Germany and probably most european countries, albeit not (yet) as extreme as in the UK. The book (not for the first time) empazises how class destinction was abolished for the duration of the 60s, but I truly believe this to be a myth. I guess the average working class Mod wouldn't even have made it into places like the Ad Lib...
    • I was doing Soho regularly from 1960 to 64.  . It is a myth. Most of what I read about the sixties is mythical, written by people who researched it years later.

      I have never read anything that resembled my experiences. I knew very little about Mod until I joined MG. The original Mods that used to belong to MG have chosen to leave by and large. I ponder this. It seems to me the Mod they spoke about and experienced doesn't appear in the Mod books I have read.  I know who I believe.

      MG was very lively and sometimes nasty a few years ago. There were some that refused to believe or acknowledge that Modernists ever existed. It was vital though. Now  is almost as though the myth is preferred.

      Mod has moved on, as it should, if it doesn't evolve it becomes an anachronism which defies the title Mod. I think your allusion to reading the gospel (myth) is interesting.. Throughout history this process is repeated. It started with stories around the fire which recorded a history which was embellished, enhanced and made more exciting and heroic as time wore on. The technology may change. The legend lives on..

      For instance, Scotts in Gerrard Street was unbelievably basic and shabby. I knew Ronnie Scott. He was barely making a living and used to make the tea and serve us with sandwiches and meat pies when he wasn't playing. Not all the time but he took his turn. The tables and chairs were all secondhand, I doubt you will read that in the Gospel of the Modernists. It was great. It was proper.

    • Must have been great to actually have been there, John. All we 'younger' (haha...) ones can do is rely on books by and large, and I think people like Tony Beesley and Smiler Anderson are doing a great Job collecting original Mod voices in theirs'. However, I know what you mean about certain decades being glorified by people who weren't there. There's a cult about the 80s going on that makes me want to throw up really; not for nothing I retreated into the 60s at the time... ;-)
    • Yes it was Kai but I would like to think that when ever I was a teenager/young man, I would have had a good time. For all you or I know, you may have had a better time than I had when you were a young man.

      I remember you once told me in answer to my question, that there were six or seven Mods in your crew in Germany. Well I am not sure that I would have taken the road I did if being a Modernist had been such a solitary pursuit. It is what you make of your time that matters and the enjoyment you got from it.

      Claiming celebrity by when you are born seems to me to be a bit desperate.


    • Yes, 100% agreed, John! That's why I disagree with the 'original' Mods claiming their way to do it was the only legitimate one and everyone following their trail was wrong more or less. (There was a healthy scene in nearby Düsseldorf, but apart from the weekends- going by train on Friday and hitch hiking back home for the lack of money on Sunday- being a Mod was quite a lonely task... :-)
    • I always enjoy your comments Kai.  I would say that the early nature of modernist and mod, relied heavily on niche and exclusivety. The sourcing of rare records, underground basement dives, hand made clothes and spoken terminology. It's a recipe for any clique gathering. Not new, I agree, but the late fifties and early sixties were the inital decades that gave teenagers money and a measure of independance. Or that's how I remember it. Just as the competetive nature of the mod(ernist) era, drove the thing along, it instilled its own set of criteria. Not necessarily or exclusively working class, as is often said. High Numbers (pun intended)  of mods wore tonik mohair suits to work, myself included from 1962 when I started work around Soho, to 1966 at the tail end. Our junior messenger clerical positions, often belied the dress code.  It earned us both a grudging respect and path to social mobility among our supposedly better educated and frumpy senior workers. It was here during this period, I worked directly in the same office with Steve Marriotts original drummer for a long while!! (But I suppose anyone could say that). Not going to bother with class identity here, as I can't do sufficient justice to the Marx v Weber debates of that decade.
      I very much agree with  comments here about originals  that have left these type of forums. Perhaps they are not as obsessed with internet research, more interested in reminissing, enjoying , recalling (and maybe reliving), rather than the copy and paste tactics that the 'we weren't there, but we know more than you', posters sometimes employ. The problem is, that 50 plus years on, memories get blurred. I've been asked countless times about what clubs like The Scene were really like, but both the media and social researchers seemed to have sewn the thing up for me, making the  'feel' so different to the faces and nights that I knew. I ask myself what's the point, go and Google it! Seems like swimming against the tide. I have begun to doubt my own recollections as authentic. Imagine walking down Gerrard Street on the pavement and having to walk in the road, to get past crowds of mods from one end to the other! But who would believe it now and where's my evidence? Bottom line for the later generation is, take references and storylines from people you trust, then do it your own way. Its your way that counts.

    • From all your recollections that I read and enjoyed, I take it you're trustworthy, Sohomod, just like John t.o.M., haha! I miss Derek Gardner,t hough, hope he's alright.

      My Point of view is that Mod picked up many new influences throughout the decades, and that's just the way it should be. And- like you said- do it your own way; it's meant to be fun, after all, not science ( it...? ;-) )

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