WINTER WARM UP
Step back a few decades to the 1960s and Pontins was probably once a thriving little holiday destination with Camber Sands as the perfect beach backdrop. Nowadays though the old place has lost its sparkle and the chalets are a little sad with the same old style kitchen appliances that were probably installed when the place opened. The carpets are beer stained and faintly sticky (well you get the point) That apart I was there to see Secret Affair and enjoy the other mod bands and acts for the weekend scooter rally-my first to Camber in fact.
I indulge in a bit of banter with my mod pals and admire a few well designed scooters; there were a fair few designs that looked cool artistically capturing their favourite bands or music while some were dedicated to the band they had come to see, Secret Affair. By now I was ready for the nights entertainment. It was good to see Tony Class, and Mark Sargeant on the DJ list, Tony was still dancing and playing discs at 5am looking younger than ever and miraculously I too was wide awake having been up for 24 hours myself after arriving into London at 6am on a long haul flight.
So, band wise who was on offer? It was a good night, I was delighted to see "Pritty Green"(sic) for the first time, playing a set of tribute songs to bands such as Small Faces, Kings of Leon and The Jam interspersed with a smattering of Motown and Ska. Actually the front man was a confident and interesting man to watch on stage, energetic and engaging and with a strong voice, and with the brass section and chunky bass lines they looked and sounded "Pretty Good" .
As they depart the stage I notice the audience is a mix of old and new mr and mrs mods awash with Ben Shermans' and Fred Perrys' and more tartan checked shirts than Scottish Fashion week (if it exists). The scooter rally these days is a family affair-kids and parents into the same scene and I guess that's pretty cool when you consider the government lays claim that the family unit is in decline, certainly not the case in the mod/skin/scooter world.
As I ponder this point the DJ plays a mix of ska two tone and rudeboy tracks to keep the audience happy and chants along "Lip up fatty" -the alcohol kicks in and people bob up and down in two tone unison. I down a few Jack Daniels in response.
Next up is Secret Affair the darlings of the mod revival who now have the respect of many a non mod fan from Goths to skinheads and the new mods of today. The lads play an hour long set with as much energy as they did in 79 to a mish mash of old and new fans, one skinhead girl told me she had forgotten how many songs she liked from the boys until they played. Maybe it was the string of snappy tracks from the covers Get Ready and Going to a go go or the rousing lyrics of My World and Glory Boys that moved the audience soon all the boating blazer types were singing in unison with the boots and braces crew to the chorus. The encore finished with an outstanding 8 minute version of I'm not free (but I'm cheap) to whistles and cheers of approval.
The music continues til 5:30 after a dance competition of the Northern Soul genre, and as I see one gallant girl fling her legs in the air and do the splits in the words of Harry Hill "I made my excuses and left". I rejoined the dance floor later to relive the days of 79 when I was somewhat more athletic and join DJ Tony Class on the dance floor who leapt off the stage to "Move On Up" and joined me for a few nifty moves (where does he get his energy from?) Secret Affair have just announced more dates for 2012 www.secretaffair.info