Post Quadrophenia mod story!
It’s the summer of 1981 a young boy of 15 is on holiday in Morecambe with his grandfather, whilst his family are on holiday in Blackpool. Too young to go for a drink he takes his grandfather to the pub and betting shop, and is left to wander around himself, not that he is complaining. It’s his first time to be free of his parents and he is loving it! On one of his walks around the seaside resort he sees for the first time a group of mods on the seafront, scooters and all. This young man is totally mesmerized by what he sees not really understanding why. He sits straight across from where the group of mods are, partially I guess because he has nowhere else to go. Before he seen these guys he had a vague idea of mods, but with no real link to these guys. With no real understanding he perceives these guys to be all that mod is about, they have the suits, the scoots and for him it’s the real deal. On picking his grandfather back up at their agreed meeting place, he bleats on about what he has seen to a man who has no real interest in listening, but is too polite to cut him off. Little does he know but a life time passion has just begun, a passion that would see him through the most horrendous times ahead. Jump forward to the autumn of 82’ and this young mod in the making has saved up £300.00 to buy his first scooter, doing any odd jobs that would help his cause. He turns to the only like minded guy in the village where he stays for advice on getting the right scooter, naively asking what would be the most reliable scooter to buy with an authentic look! Little did he know reliability would never come into the early scooter equation, advice in hand he purchases a Vespa 50 special and so begins his scooter and endurance days! 2 weeks later his pride and joy is wrecked by himself pulling wheelies in front of a group of local girls, yes wheelies!! After a month and a half being a pedestrian mod and scooter repaired it’s time to move up to the big league,17 years old…here we go! First big scooter a Px150 logged as a 125cc and bought from local motorcycle dealer, this time he knows wheelies are definitely not for scooter riding mods!! Once the total excitement of riding the new scooter and always being able to get to his destination has subsided, he realises no one else is a scooter riding mod in his local area. Back to the local guy for advice who by this time is riding a camouflage painted PX and sidecar ensemble, he tells me the local scooter club has mods in it. Off to the first Monday night meeting rattling inside and hoping to see the one guy I know at the meeting. Walking in to the pub I encounter a tumbleweed moment and time for a while (it seemed) stands still, looks like I’ve missed the mod era but what are these guys! A strange mix of army greens and doc martens fill the pub and sneering at this young guy all modded up and nowhere to go.
After sitting rigid with bewilderment for an eternity(1 hour)…and not wanting to be the first to leave, he makes an exit with 2 guys who say there goodbye’s to the others. Outside scooter won’t start in my haste to get the hell out of there, I’ve forgot to turn the petrol on!! After my first and last meeting I’m now resigned to the fact that it could be a long lonely haul being a mod in my town. This scenario carries on for about a year until one of the younger lads approaches me and asks advice on buying a scooter; well it wasn’t that long ago I was in the same position myself. After shooting the breeze and arming him with a copy of Quadrophenia he sets off on what is now his mod journey. With 2 of us having mod scooters it’s not long before the domino effect takes effect, the group grows larger with the majority still pedestrianised. Weekly forays into the big smoke (Glasgow) become the norm on the hunt for some gear to wear, skirmishes with the then still relevant punks and even greater skinhead presence add a bit of spice! It’s now 84’ and it’s off to our first National Mod Rally, or so we thought! Back to my inspirational mecca ‘’Morecambe’’, on arriving its déjà vue and my first meeting to the local scooter club pales into insignificance. It seems that this army green thing is rife, where are the mods? Only one thing to do; breathe in, chest out and get tanked up.
On walking around the place it seems that these guys in army greens don’t seem to mind the odd mod or two, I would find out later that night at the all-nighter just how wrong I was! Can’t tell you the full grisly deal, coz stupidly I went pissed out of my head. Seemingly some skinheads left me for dead outside the venue hanging off the side of the pier, or so the girls that found me informed my mates who were totally oblivious and much more sober. On awakening the next morning with a face that would have made John Merrick look handsome, I knew my Morecambe experience was over. No thought’s of retribution in my swollen head that would be dealt out to others of the same breed over the next few years! So with no more Scooter rallies to go to, it was back to the same localised mod scene with visits to Glasgow and retribution against the skinhead nation! By now more and more girls coming into the scene and we thought...excellent!
This was ultimately the end of our 20 or so mini movement, guys getting caught with someone else’s girl etc etc! The future was approaching at break neck speed, boy meets girl etc etc...You know the way it is! Two soon become three and a priority change is required. Sell the scooters, don’t be daft! Park them up and make some more dough! 1992 is now upon us and the scoots are passed on to the young guy who borrowedmy copy of Quadrophenia on long term loan! The music and clothes are always relevant along with a desire to always better myself and dependants! Working 6 and 7 days a week means that not having a scooter is not as painful as first anticipated. Much of the boring but profitable same for the next 14 years, then whilst working in Glasgow I see a mod on a scooter and in an instant that feeling that the 15 year old got in the pit of his stomach hits like a lightning bolt! Scooted up and still with some of the same lads from back in the day the future is just that and we are all looking in that direction…Forward! Part2 of this story will be published in 20 years time...Can’t wait!
This story is dedicated to Ian ’Ranny’ Rannachan, who was always there and always will be!