mod (10)


 Time to put the record straight.

Although her debut single I Want To Sleep With You was controversial and Over and Over her most popular and she even had a number one with You Only Live Twice, it’s the track Think For Yourself which was her personal favourite. So she would be the first to tell people to have an opinion and don’t be a sheep. So if you truly know the Eleanor Rigby story and you have genuinely heard all her music with an open mind and thought, ‘Nah, that’s not for me I don’t like the music’ then fine, she would salute you and say everybody is entitled to an opinion.

 Just because John & Paul Weller, Ray Davies, Blur, Oasis, Shirley Manson from Garbage, Sarah Cracknel from St Etienne, John Barry, Buster Bloodvessel and Cubby Broccoli all liked her and her music, doesn’t mean you have too. All that tells you is that the music probably isn’t crap and her singing must be half decent if such heavyweights like it that much, but as stated you can all make up your own mind and many of you did.

 Many Mods do undoubtedly like Eleanor Rigby and like her music, as was evident by her record sales, the fact that she got the 5,000 maximum friends on Facebook in just a week, 100,000 hits on Myspace when a page went up a few years back and about the same amount of hits on her videos at YouTube. Yes she is genuinely very popular even years after she disappeared. It’s a sad fact that internet trolls & misogynists seem to have the loudest voices in general and not just on the Mod scene and it’s easy to think this small minority who slag her off at a moment’s notice are the majority. They are not and we are even going to give some the benefit of doubt and say it’s not their fault they have been misinformed.

The best-case examples are a number of people writing in when Eleanor’s music went up on Myspace. Most of the emails all said very similar things like ‘I can’t believe I missed out on your great mod music all these years, it’s excellent and I was told it was crap so never got it’. This was the overwhelming sentiment. Lots of people were also very appreciative when the videos went up saying that at last they could give an opinion of this artist and not rely on someone’s second hand opinion of a rumour etc etc.

 Once again we point out that if someone had genuinely heard the music and not liked it fine, but what many did not know, although a few did, was that there was a big hidden agenda on the Mod scene in the mid 80’s so we think the time is right to put the record straight and to also put the case forward for Eleanor being a big positive for the Mod scene and give her some long overdue respect.

Eleanor was number one in the Mod chart for quite a while and sold out quite a lot of concert tours in Europe and also did well in concert in the UK but then along came a loud mouth yank that ran a weekly mod paper, The Phoenix List. He wanted to control the Mod scene and even worse he had a very dodgy hidden agenda. All we can say is ‘file under p and reverse it’ or maybe he moved to Rotherham. (If you read the news you will get the drift).

Eleanor & partner Russell thought his activities needed exposing and although his activities were common knowledge to many, nobody would speak out through fear or getting a bad review or not getting a lucrative concert date that he also had a big hand in.

 Eleanor spoke out and the next thing you know his weekly paper was saying things like her music was terrible, her concerts were terrible and also saying that they were cancelled and that she was cashing in on the Mod scene and not even a Mod.

 Sadly outside of London the only way people found out what was going on in the Mod scene was reading this weekly Mod List and they believed everything they read. So for many years this was the only opinion of Eleanor people had until as stated some finally heard her music and saw her videos via the internet and found that what had been written about her and her music was not correct.

 Of course Eleanor still had quite a few fans but here are some facts to show what effect it had and why a small minority still hate her today.

The P list had no influence outside the UK and her records got fairly reviewed and sold extremely well and she was not only the best selling Mod act as far as concerts went, she even out-sold both James Brown & Joe Cocker at the one venue she played.

 So with no hidden agenda Eleanor was judged fairly outside the UK and you will hear very few dissenting voices about her there outside the UK where The P list had little influence.

As for the charge of cashing in on the Mod scene. Luckily Derwent from Long Tall Shorty/The Rage was quick to her defence and pointed out he was at her first concert in London in 1983 and many of his mates had seen other concerts around that time. So far from just cashing in with a single in 1985 she was an established Mod act so The P List just totally lied. Fanzines usually took 3 months or longer to come out and it wasn’t until his interviewing in one mentioning this that things got a little more balanced but not everyone read that one zine.

As for the notion of her cashing in on the Mod scene. This in itself is ludicrous. It was 1985 and the height of the Mod revival was long gone, The Jam had split up and the Mod scene was very much in the doldrums although it still had quite a few people keeping the faith.

Eleanor had been offered the chance to sign with both Virgin and EMI but the caveats were that she dumped her Mod image and Mod following which they considered the kiss of death. Eleanor turned these down flat because like The Small Faces she was a Mod doing music as a career, not a musician looking to become a Mod for 5 minutes like some others did in the 60’s or around the time of the revival.

 WHAT ELEANOR DID FOR THE MOD SCENCEIt’s also true that the Mod scene for some reason got a bad press and was not considered cool in the mid to late 80’s by the outside world but Eleanor changed that to some degree and represented the cool face of Mod. Top style magazine ID did a special on her (one of the photos is at the top of page). The Victoria and Albert museum wanted to do a Mod exhibition and she was chosen as one of the main faces along with Paolo Hewitt & her songwriter producer Russell. This spun off into positive articles in NME & Melody Maker and Eleanor also championed the Mod life style in The Daily Mirror.

Eleanor was also the first person to be asked to do the Mod Aid single and it was said that Steve Marriott was very impressed with her singing.

Whilst the record struggled at first it was only because of Eleanor’s involvement in the record that hip TV show of the time The Tube would show any of the video and invited her to be on the show and also perform her own material.

Also how many Mod acts put out songs like Mod Girls and Mad Xmas about being a Mod that were unlikely to get mainstream airplay?

As many will testify Eleanor Rigby went out of her way to speak with fans and answer letters and at one Mod event in Peterborough she singed 1,000 autographs in one night.

If Eleanor had wanted fame and fortune as a singer, the easy way would have been to just sign with a big label and let herself be styled, get a big budget behind her and have lots of hits and retire. She did the opposite and turned down a £100,000 deal with Warner Brothers just before she disappeared.

 So what did this girl do so wrong? Was it her fault she was very good looking and could sing very well?  No, but unfortunately those credentials breed jealousy, as they do in all walks of life not just in the Mod scene so that no doubt accounts for some uncalled for hostility.

Some may criticise the way she dressed (see above). Many people who saw her off stage will testify to the fact that she always wore Mod gear. Also The Cavern Mod shop wanted a genuine Mod to model their clothes not just a model and chose her. (See below) She was also chosen for her Mod credentials for Shellys Shoes catalogue but she turned down non-mod modelling assignment which she got offered a lot in favour of Mod only things to be true to her ideals.

What people need to remember is that as a singer you need to stand out from the crowd and not to just get up and wear what you do every day. So she designed her own clothes, which were not high street, but very sixties looking that to her was in keeping with Mods love of the 60’s.

After all, if you are a Policemen or in the Army and a Mod when you do that job you don’t wear your Mod gear when working and so in Eleanor’s case she only really wore her outfits as a singer and not other days.



 Some people started to try and stir up rivalry between the bands and tried to get fans to choose one or another and an obvious one was Eleanor v Fay Hallam of Makin’ Time.

But it was Eleanor who was lead vocalist on the Mod Aid record All or Nothing with Fay Hallam nowhere to be seen. It was Eleanor that had the best selling Mod single from 85-87 despite some great records put out by Makin’ Time around the same period.

They had mutual respect for each other and were quite friendly and went to each other’s gigs, so there was no real rivalry, but I will leave you with one thought on this subject in a pure Mod sense. Eleanor and Makin’ Time were asked to be double headliners at a Mod charity gig in Birmingham, which was Makin’ Time’s home turf. Eleanor came up from London and did the gig but Makin’ Time failed to show up.

There was also a camp in the Mod scene where people liked what they called the harder edge bands like The Purple Hearts and The Chords, who could sometimes almost sound punk and thought Eleanor and Squire to be too poppy. (Squire also get a lot of stick and people often forget they were one of the original Mod’s Mayday bands).

If you know Eleanor’s music you will know that quite a few of her tracks have a harder edge but the poppy stuff was more reminiscent of The Kinks or Motown so since Mods like that music what’s the big deal?

 There were a lot of good Mod acts around and many better than what the charts were offering at the time. Yet despite a semi major label, Stiff, backing Makin’ Time’s releases and The Gents going all out for chart domination, with the exception of a one- off hit by U.S Mod outfit The Untouchables, Eleanor Rigby was probably the most successful Mod act of that period. Her debut single got to number one in Ireland and charted in the UK before being thrown out of the chart because it came with a free gift.

She was one of the lead vocalists on the Mod Aid single All or Nothing, which charted. Her album Censorship hit the top ten indie charts all around Europe and she had a number one hit in the Italian chart with You Only Live Twice.  She is the only act of that time excluding The Jam to be on a Number One’s hits compilation album and she was definitely the best selling Mod act on the live circuit in Europe and headlined a Greenpeace concert in the UK to 10,000 people.

So she managed to achieve a lot despite being a Mod when she could have taken a far easier route, so again this reflects well on her Mod credentials of not selling out.

So we think she deserves a bit more respect.

So if you haven’t checked out her music for one reason or another give it a listen and make up your own mind. More info about her plus music and videos can be found at Future Legend Records website.

A new limited edition ‘The Best of Eleanor Rigby Vol.1’ containing all her singles is out now more info at this link.




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A History of Dedicated Follower Mod Fanzine


Dedicated Follower fanzine was born in 1985 as an Eleanor Rigby zine initially, then becoming a fully-fledged Modzine by issue three but it still had a heavy Eleanor slant to it. So with a special Best of Eleanor Rigby CD out this month and a 30th anniversary imminent for D.F we thought it a good idea to do an article on the magazine. The last paper issue came out at the end of 1988. An Internet version was launched online around 1994 and stopped around the year 2004.

In it's time Dedicated Follower had quite a few landmark moments. It was the first fanzine to have a glossy photo stuck on the front cover.

 It also became one of, if not the best selling Modzine of the 80's. This was for a variety of reasons. Firstly Eleanor Rigby had over 5,000 fans in her fan club during that period and all got a free copy as part of their subscription.

It also sold 1,000 copies to non fan club members. When it became a proper Modzine not just an Eleanor zine it sold a few thousand more. However the real high point came when Caroline Exports (part of Virgin), who also sold Eleanor's records abroad started selling fanzines around the world as well. Sales were regularly 10-15,000 with one issue reaching the magic 20,000.

 Like all zines it started off ropey but got better as it went along. Although today they can look antiquated because of the sophistication of computers, printers and other things these days, back then it was put together by a rickety old typewriter, tipex, gum stuck graphics and photocopied by a copier that broke down on a regular basis (I don't miss those good old days) Add a touch of dyslexic to the equation and you get the picture. But it was about zine culture, which was the do it yourself culture that gave birth to fanzines in the first place.


The next big landmark came when the prestigious Victoria and Albert Museum wanted to buy a complete set of Dedicated Followers to feature in a Mod exhibition in late 1987. The following year they completed the full set when the last issue came out and they are now housed in the V&A on a permanent basis as a testament to the Mod culture of the time.



Above exclusive photo from The Victoria & Albert Museum Mod exhibition in 1987 ; Bottom left D.F editor Russell C. Brennan, Top right contributor Eleanor Rigby and you might just recognise ace face and mod author Paulo Hewitt centre bottom.

The final for Dedicated Follower landmark came when a set sold for over £100 on Ebay in the last decade. Lately individual copies have been seen to go for £15 -£20, So they also became very collectible. Only 13 issues were ever done.

Was D.F the best zine on the scene? Probably not, many were glossier and more professional. It did however contain many very interested articles and some interviews with big names like Ray Davies, Martha Reeves, Malcolm McClaren, and Bill Drummond to name but a few. Plus of course it had an exclusive insight into Eleanor Rigby during her time as a pop singer and a Mod face of the time.

A limited edition version of only 100 copies is out now and looking to recreate the look and feel of the original.  More info can be found at the link below.



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Future Legend Records 20th Anniversary



Future legend records grew from the ashes of hardcore Mod record label Waterloo Sunset.

Like W.S its premiere act was Mod Icon Eleanor Rigby. Loved by many mod but certainly not by all.

Considering she turned down major record deals when asked to turn her back on her mod following we thought she deserved more respect.

It’s interesting to note however that many of those who said they didn’t like her had not even heard her music.

In fact one mod summed up the reason very well. I grew up not liking Eleanor Rigby because I read bad reviews about her music in the Phoenix List, it was only years later I stumbled upon her music on myspace and realised what I’d been missing as I’d never heard the music. She actually made great Mod music. I was puzzled and then learned the person running the Phoenix list had a dark hidden agenda, which eventually got exposed, as many original mods will know by now.                  

We mention this story in order to say all we ask for with regard to any Future Legend records releases is give them a listen and make up your own mind.

Also FLR is about much more than Eleanor Rigby, Also included in the ranks are The Lambrettas, Studio 68, Ministry of Ska, The Reaction, The Honeycombs and many more.

But lets start at the beginning. One thing pioneered by the label was doing new versions of Cult TV and Film themes. Many Mods loved cult themes like The Avengers, The Man From Uncle, Man In a suitcase, The Prisoner, The Ipcress File, The Self Preservation Society (The Italian Job) James Bond and many Gerry Anderson Themes to name but a few.


The first album ‘Themes from the 60’s Vol.1’ really hit the ground running. With distributor Sony thinking only a few hundred sales were likely it sold many thousands and resulted in a number one hit single ‘You Only Live Twice; by Eleanor Rigby in Italy.

Six themes albums were released in all starting a bit of a trend at the time.

In 1993 groundbreaking band Box Office Poison released their debut track a cover of Eleanor’s ‘1995’ which mod D.J Gary Crowley said was one of the most popular tracks on his show at the time.

After Eleanor’s unexpected hit recorded (For she had long disappeared and was not around to promote it) there was a lot of new interest in her and a ‘Best of Vol.1’ was released in 94 which was good timing as acts like Blur and St Etienne were citing her music as a big influence.

Amongst the cult themes and Box Office Poison releases the most Mod release was ‘The 22 track Waterloo Sunset Story’ CD featuring everything released on this Mod label plus unreleased gems.


A single and EP were released to promote it. The 7” vinyl was a double A side ‘Love on The Phone/Play with fire’ by Eleanor which people called classy mod music. The 2 Bonus tracks on the EP however were more interesting as the introduced the world to sexy Modette Misty Woods doing ‘Wallpaper Man, that was initially written for Eleanor plus her own composition ‘Mod Boy’.

Misty then joined Box Office Poison after the initial singers left and the band returned to their mod roots doing ‘Louie Louie’ for a Dr. Martens Mod compilation ‘Generation to Generation’. This version was voted best ever version of this much covered song by listeners of XFM.



It was released on the bands next EP ‘Think for Yourself’ along with a cover of Bowies ‘Lady Grinning Soul’ and a track written for the film ‘Nightmare on Elm street’.


The Lambrettas came out of retirement to do their last ever release ‘Starsky and Hutch’ For Cult Themes from the 70’s Vol.1 in 1997.


Another scoop for the label was getting the original members of number one hit act ‘The Honeycombs’ out of retirement to do a Bond theme ‘Live and Let Die’ on ‘Cult themes from the 70’s vol.2’, Who can forget their classic ‘Have I the right’ (Come right back).


A number of albums release on the FLR label are now considered classic albums. The one and only Ministry of Ska album ‘Rarin to Go’ is one.

FLR re issued Eleanor Rigby’s ‘Censorship’ album that is listed as a classic album, so much so a whole documentary has just been made about it with Shirley Manson of Garbage saying it was one of the best albums ever made.

Box Office Poisons last album ‘Heavy Breathing Decade’ is now heading that way.

All the Cult themes albums are still highly sought after.


The label did have nearly as many downs as ups which feature in a limited edition anniversary Fanzine ‘The Future Legend Records Story’


(Where you can also check out all the releases although some are now sold out and deleted).


Many behind the scenes things feature in the fanzine like the label nearly hitting the buffers in 2002 but getting a second wind a few years later with downloads.

Despite Future Legends hard-core fans still buying vinyl and CD most days

A new breed of people are buying the downloads and the two current best sellers are ‘Mod Tunes: Three Button Legacy’ and ‘The Themes Bond ..James Bond’ featuring the labels great Bond covers that John Barry himself called the best ever covers.

The best selling CD at present is ‘Forever Pop Noir’ by innovative band ‘Psykick Holiday’

The best selling vinyl LP is the Scooter Picture Disc ‘The Best of Eleanor Rigby Vol.2 that also features Steve Marriott and PP Arnold. (But this is about to sell out and be deleted)

 In all the label has released 33 albums and 21 singles. This is a very brief potted history of the label it did a lot more over 20 years. Visit the label and get the fanzine to learn more.

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Article©: The Fishtail Parka, from war coat to fashion icon...
Copyright 2006

The fishtail parka started life in service to the US army in 1951 to help the American soldiers cope with the freezing conditions in the Korean War.

It was known as the M1951 parka and those wanting the full history on this please see Article©: M1951 Fishtail Parka, history of the vintage M51 parka.

However, in 1960’s Britain the Fishtail Parka took on a whole new life and came to represent an entire era, a lifestyle and a statement of intent.

You were a Mod !!

Buy a fishtail parka here...

By 1963 the mods were here, they had their own style, their own dress codes, their own transport and indeed their own language.

In a fashion culture that changed on a weekly basis forcing mods to work overtime to keep up with the changes, everything from colour to length of jacket side vents, to width of trouser bottoms and style of shoes only one item of clothing managed to stay a constant throughout the life of Mod.

This was the Fishtail Parka (US Army only).

The truth is that exactly how this came about no one really knows, it’s as much a mystery and it is a phenomena. The influencing factors can readily be drawn, fishtail parkas were cheap, warm, relatively water proof and great for riding scooters in a pre-helmet era as one could tie the fur hood right up around your face. Plus, no one else was wearing them on the street and that was important to the mods.

However, no one really knows who started it and how it caught on so quickly. It’s not like anyone can say oh that was Dave, he got one in Whitechapel for a bob and we all thought; “fuck it!…. let’s all get one”. Therefore, one is left thinking, why not any other warm coat of that time…why that parka and why ONLY that particular parka ??

Yes we all know mods wore other jackets and coats but only one coat kept its place as the first choice for scooter riding and only one coat became the most prolific symbol of Mod and that was the Fishtail Parka.

For me, it is not hard to imagine the early 60’s and a small group of early mods, or maybe even “Coffee Bar Cats” seeking out a warm coat and stumbling across a US Army M1951 Fishtail Parka in the local Army Stores. And seeing the price, seeing the quality, seeing the benefits of warmth, head protection and durability, and the fact that no one was wearing them, made the choice that this was the coat to wear.

They rode back into town adorned in their new gear, espousing the benefits of being warm and dry, the next day 4 more mods went back to that same army store and got themselves kitted out. Within a week, you a one gang of 12 mods all riding around wearing the same Fishtail Parkas.

The same processes took place as they chatted with the mod gang in the next block, and Mr Army Stores was having a good month with lots of new visitors. These early mods, being the trendsetters and likely to be looked up to by new and aspiring mods, were soon copied. By 1964 Mod was in full swing and thousands of mods were now springing up all over London and all needed to complete their uniform.

And by 1965, Mr Army Stores had retired to a small condo in St Lucia and every mod in London had a M1951 Fishtail Parka

No part of this article may be copied, transmitted, stored or used in anyway without the express permission of . If you wish to use this article simply contact me.

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Walking down the main street of a nearby small town I became conscious of my aversion to sportswear as a crowd of young men in hooded tops and trainers approached me spitting and smoking.  As a teacher I’m not easily intimidated by today’s youth and most of the time teenagers get a bad press, but it was their sartorial attitude I was judging as much as anything else.  Put them in chinos and a Harrington and I would have felt a lot more forgiving.  Of course there were also the customary phones super glued to their ears, or being caressed by their extraordinarily prehensile thumbs. This just confirmed it was a typical sighting of these creatures that were as busy ignoring each other as they were me. I felt a ‘Daily Mail’ inspired spasm of disapproval coursing through my body which thankfully I soon shook off.  


I think I would have had a lot more natural respect if it was a crowd of Punks, Goths, Rockers or even Skins.  At least identifying with a particular branch of youth culture indicates a belief in something, an ideological stand point that shows a greater understanding or exploration of the world.  Recently though, the streets of our towns display a much more homogenised adolescence than in my own formative years.


Sportswear to me shows a certain acquiescence that I naturally disapprove of, which manifests as an urge to belong, but not to display virtue in the process.  I shall qualify that by saying that this kind of sweat shop produced apparel, manufactured and promoted by large companies that appear to want to Americanise the youth of the world, removes any smartness and formality from our appearance.  It makes us sloppy by the virtue of its design and undermines the important social aspects of manners and appropriateness.  And whilst we are all victims of label culture in some way, of all the cheap things that benefit from the value of a logo-type, and are as result exalted and inflated its trainers, hoodies, joggers and anoraks. For better or worse, it shows a mainly working class British youth without a culture of their own, only too willing to accept the scraps from the table of the urban American ‘Gangsta’, rather than exporting their own ideas across the Atlantic as they did in days of yore.


Now you may be sitting there thinking that’s a sweeping statement and you’d be right.  It is, but sitting on a fence never made for interesting reading did it.  So as I walked around the corner and went in to a local menswear shop to check out the Fred Perry shirts I tried to pin point the seminal events in my life that made me feel this way, the events that revealed to me I was a Mod.  But before I do I confess to owning sportswear myself, which in my own defence I wear when I take part in, well ………sport.  This summer a holiday in Italy brought about the need for a casual lightweight approach. Beneath my Panama, I wore chino shorts, deck shoes and a polo shirt and that’s as close as I ever come to taking part in the kind of fashion activity I described above.  You would have spotted me because my shorts had a crease in them.  But this has always been typical of me, so you could say I was already a mod before I even knew such a category existed, which brings me to ….


EVENT 1: LIVING ON THE ESTATE.  Even as a very young child I had always experienced a compulsion to be neat, smart and well organised for a start, but it was the aspiration to what I perceived as better things that really marked me out from the most of the kids on my part of the council estate.  It was a great place, good quality social housing. Neat, modern, nineteen fifties terraces arranged around greens or formed in to sycamore lined avenues, a genuine gift from post war socialism.  I still grudgingly believe that Mod is a working class movement that perhaps reaches up in to the lower middle class.  As a kid television was my door in to another world, one that it seemed I could have if I worked hard.  I wanted a wife like Hannah Gordon from ‘My wife Next Door’. I always rooted for the social climbing Terry and Thelma in ‘The Likely Lads’ and I admired the suburban steadfastness of ‘Terry and June’.  I remember my father saying to me that I should be a bit less serious and then I’d be happy.  I nodded and returned to my homework.  School was difficult, I had to pretend to be doing very little, but at the same time do everything I was told.  I realised early on that some kind of education gave me an advantage as hard as it was to get one. My comprehensive school was once the local secondary school where the eleven plus failures used to go.  Despite the change in name there was not a change in staff attitude.  The Old grammar school was conveniently situated amongst the private housing in the town whilst the comp was at the confluence of four very large council estates.  I am not a subscriber to conspiracy theories but I am convinced that this was more than just a coincidence. 


Most of my male friends were content to enjoy a kick about and practice quiet indifference in the classroom.  They had been conditioned in to believing that they would leave school walk in to a job in one of the factories or refineries on the south bank of the Mersey.  Little did they know it wasn’t only punk rock that was on the horizon, there was Margaret Thatcher too.  I bucked this trend, in my own naive way. I set my sights on Polytechnic and strutted around like I knew everything.  Whilst the others shuffled about in kippers, polyester blazers and platform soles, I bribed my sister to narrow my tie, wore flats and badgered my mother in to buying a wool blazer.  I wanted to stand apart.  One of the teachers, one of the few that made an effort, smiled down at me on the first day and said.  “Looks like we have a Mod.”  I was none the wiser until……


EVENT 2:  THE LONE SCOOTER PILOT.  My father loved his bikes, those big, oily monsters, with shiny paint and plenty of chrome.  His Tony Curtis hair cut and his stock of Brylcream marked him out as a rocker.  Photographs of him in his National Service de-mob suit, and crepe soles, which my mother kept on the sideboard confirmed this. We went everywhere on these fire breathing monsters, ‘like the clappers’ as my maternal grandmother would say.  British and later Japanese, motorcycles were his thing and he never owned a car. Despite having driven tank transporters in the army he claimed they were too big and clumsy!  He and I would often make the journey to Birmingham via Wolverhampton and I would ride pillion, clutching the seat strap and watching the scenery zip by in a satisfyingly noisy blur. 


One day, as we toddled along a straight road between towns on his Honda 750 Four, I heard a noise.  A high pitched buzz, a bit like having a wasp stuck in your helmet.  Gingerly I turned around.  Fifteen yards a way was something I’d never seen before.  A young chap in an open face helmet, dressed in a suit and sitting perfectly upright was wobbling towards us on a silver machine clearly not designed for high speeds.  With great effort he overtook us and gave my father a cheeky wave as he literally buzzed off.  My Dad shook his head and called back.  “You don’t see many of those these days, a bloody Mod on a hair dryer!”    I still didn’t know exactly what a Mod was but it had certainly irked my father.  At this stage teenage rebellion and anything that wound up my old man was good with me.  To be fair to my dad, a Honda like that was probably faster than most things on the road, and he’d been taking it easy. Here was some jumped up little squirt that had had the temerity to overtake him.  Crouching down over the tank and notching up the revs the big four burst in to life and propelled us at light speed past the young chap on what I later identified as a Lambretta.  My father returned the wave and disappeared over the horizon.  I remember thinking that the man in the suit, though he didn’t have the cubic capacity, he had certainly won on style.  This brings me to the next event, when everything was explained.


EVENT THREE:  QUADROPHENIA.  In 1979 I was all of fifteen, a seething pustule of anarchy and dissatisfaction, flexing my political muscle with the junior section of my local militant group, flying the red standard above the roof tops…….  Ok I was a bit grumpy and helped the young socialists sell Socialist Worker on a Saturday morning outside the civic hall.  I was busily fending off the desire of everyone else in the town to become a punk by deliberately wearing the squarest polyester shirts I could find under my combat jacket, on top of my straight Levis and a pair of baseball boots.  Finding straight jeans in a town of flared pants meant a trip to Liverpool, a bus and a ferry to anyone without wheels.  I often tried to converse with the punks about anarchy, the socio-economic impact of mass unemployment and the rise to power in that year of the so called Iron Lady.  However they just wanted to fight and spit on folk.  Real punks were different, but in a small town they would only be punks until the next trend came along, which wouldn’t be long.  My musical tastes were influenced by my mother and father’s record collection of fifties and sixties sounds and that of my future brother in law.


Mike was in to Prog-Rock.  He went to Warwick University (Years later I was disappointed to find out it was nowhere near the castle!) in Coventry or some other such impressive midland town.  He liked Floyd, ELP, King Crimson, Led Zep and The Who.  He was a font of musical knowledge and his head was full of links and timelines that could recall the pedigree of any musician you could name going back to Bill Haley.  He even told me about the short lived Mods that sprung to mind now and then.  He assured me that The Who, a band both he and I really liked in all their forms, were never really Mods.  They were just associated with the movement by default as were the early Stones and the Beatles.  To him it was all blues or R&B.  Her explained how even bands like Led Zep were just an evolutionary stage of the blues. The fast becoming popular Heavy Metal thing was pretty much the same with a bit of classical music thrown in.  In the end he told me it was about attitude not tunes.  If you want to live life in your own way, do your own thing you were a rocker of some sort.  If you wanted to conform and work for the ‘man’, then Mod was your thing. 


Of course Mike was wrong, but that’s how it looked to him from the furry fuzz of his afghan coat collar and he felt a bit more of a rebel than most of his family.  They were from the private estate, he’d failed his eleven plus and still got sent to secondary school.  Looking back at the fiddling of post codes that went on, he must have failed by miles or they would have sent him to the grammar school anyway just cos’ his folks owned their own home.  He lent me his copy of Quadrophenia and he told me they were making a film about it.  He was dead chuffed he was in the know.  It was a big expensive thing in a gatefold sleeve, complete with a photo-book which made it progressive rock simply by virtue of its concept packaging.  Of course I fell in love with it and went on to buy half a dozen copies over the following ten years, giving it as a gift to every girl I fell in love with hoping they would ‘understand’ me.  Sadly they did, understanding pretty quickly what an idiot I was.


Then the movie came out.  You had to sneak in to see it, but frankly I was a bit dismayed as the would-be Punks morphed in to would be Mods and claimed it as their own.  But so did I.  I forsook my combat jacket for a parka, replaced polyester with Perry and my fake Converse with Clark’s dessert boots.  I had found myself, lurking in the gatefold of an early seventies concept album.  I wasn’t Mao, I wasn’t Kerouac I was Jimmy. 


However the Mods around me knew nothing of the working class struggle, nothing about R&B and clash of cultures that bore their predecessors in to the early sixties.  There wasn’t any modern jazz in their veins; there was simply the continuing desire to fight.  Unlike the pseudo-punks who had a go at everyone they targeted Rockers.  That’s what Mods did wasn’t it?  They fought with Rockers, every bleedin’ Friday at the youth club disco. I admit it now that most of my friends back then were rockers.  We shared a root musical taste and at least they were interesting.  Within a year or two most of the Mods had migrated to the swamp of the Casuals, the precursors in my opinion of those that inspired this article in the first place.  It’s not long before a Lacoste polo top becomes an Addias T-shirt.  Then before you know it, a track-suit. 


There were worse fates in store for my erstwhile Mod chums, some became skinheads.  The resurgence of Ska was one of many good things that emerged from the Mod revival I was part of, this notion of black and white youth standing together, making political music.  But it also gave rise to a species of skinhead that was looking for an excuse to perpetrate racism and take part in football hooliganism.  These are not the Skins from the eighties who were part of the spearhead to rock against racism, those who moon-stomped side by side with black British youth.  These were the same idiots that wanted to fight and spit on people a few years earlier whilst pretending to be a Punk.


EVENT FOUR: BOOKS, ART SCHOOL AND BBC2. I went to Art school eventually; here I became addicted to books. This is a world where we thought we had mastered the art of mass communication via the printed page.  The book was the ultimate capsule of knowledge and public lending libraries the place to find them.  If you do not remember a world without a PC or a mobile phone you will not understand the wonder of entering a well stocked reference library.  Even thinking these two words conjures an image of a tall grey Librarian in glasses and a bun putting her finger to her stern lips and hissing shush! Several novels stood out. ‘Absolute Beginners’ is pretty much the ultimate Mod novel, not that the M word is used.  He drives a scooter and wears Italian suits and drinks coffee rather than pints in his lunchtime.  He likes jazz and does wacky stuff.  ‘Lucky Jim’ is another classic that I devoured.  It’s about a young Grammar school upstart fighting his way towards tenure at a University that doesn’t really approve of him.  ‘Kes’, the classic Barry Heines novel, about a working class urban youth that adopts a kestrel and fights against his brutal background despite of it all. Then there was ‘Room at the Top’, about a social climbing ex POW. ‘Loneliness of a Long Distance Runner’ about a borstal boy determined to deny the system it pound of flesh and my all time favourite.  ‘Billy Liar’.  Not to mention ‘Saturday Night, Sunday Morning’ and ‘A kind of Loving’. The thread is simple; you can be more than you are if you aspire.  To help all this along was BBC2, a channel that had the habit of putting on decent movies late at night when most people had taken to their beds, including black and white British film versions of most of the above books.


Art school taught me very little about composition, drawing and colour.  But what it did teach me was to be creative.  I remember somewhere on the site, a series of Mod commandments.  One extolled the virtue of spending every minute of your creative day being productive.  It suggests you make music, paint and even writing poetry.  I agree, but just make sure you look smart when doing it when all around you look like crap.


So here I am, many years on still polishing my brogues every day and buttoning down my collar.  I don’t look like I stepped out of 1964 anymore but you can see where my heart lies when you see how well my flannels are ironed, my knitted tie and sharp blue blazer. I still have a little target badge on the lapel of my olive green Barbour Field jacket but I no longer have a parka with a patch on the back.  I have a black Harrington but my wife hates it and I only wear it for gigs.  But Mod never goes away, not if it’s heartfelt. As a result I have a few more commandments to add to the Mod cannon for any of the youth thinking of donning the Mod mantle.  Evolution works better than revolution.  Change things for the better from the inside out.  Use your Modness to get within, show them that you are smart and have principles to set an example, and then bring about the changes to make a better world.  Remember good manners cost nothing and always put you at the advantage.  Use them like ‘The force’ to do good and be strong. It’s a positive thing to help old ladies across the road, but only if they want to go.  Seriously, be seen doing good works and further the generally positive view that society holds of the Mod.  Most of all be an individual, but not to the detriment of those around you.  Personality is your uniqueness not the way you dress. Remember no one is an island and we all have to live side by side.


The next time I am confronted by a kid in a hooded top, I might pluck up the courage to ask him…”Have you ever considered a Harrington?”.

Bill V

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A Birds Eye View

Behind Closed Doors - The Ladies Rooms


Let’s face it-there are certain things that only us womenfolk are able to experience or understand, you know the sort of thing, the need for vast numbers of shoes for example or the reason we possess ten lipsticks all the same colour, and why it takes us hours to pick a dress yet less than five seconds to choose which chocolate we are going to devour from a tin of Roses Chocolates. It also struck me how we have the ability to make even the most mundane visits to the ladies room an extraordinary source of information and social occasion. How often have I been privy (excuse the pun) to boyfriend break ups, tears, tantrums and traumas in the ladies room? Often the powder room is the source of much gossip and bitching (who knows who is sitting in the far cubicle ear wigging?)


I recently overheard a conversation between the cubicles next to me at the recent Nottingham Pulse Festival which amused me


“I can’t believe Barbara isn’t wearing any knickers” said one Brummy accent. “Yes I know made me feel quite nauseous“was the response. Only to hear the aforementioned and evidently knickerless Barbara bang on the door and ask how they all knew and had they told anyone. On another somewhat urgent visit to the loo at the Light Bar I was left bewildered by the loud conversation in the queue. Two somewhat tipsy twenty something’s were audibly concerned at the prospect of removing what they described as their “fat sucking pants” in order to use the facilities. It took some moments for me to understand that “fat sucking pants” were the slang term for the latest line of lingerie for women in order to lift bottoms and disguise love handles-literally sucking in, smoothing and disguising any overspill reducing the chances of the muffin top but not terribly comfortable to wear. The problem being (apparently) is they are extremely difficult to get on and off with any sort of speed-all very disabling when there is an urgent bathroom visit on a pub crawl. As I sat there listening to these distressed females battling with their undies I tried to envision how our men folk would handle “fat sucking pants” in an attempt to disguise protruding beer bellies  lets say. Imagine if you will, the cries of agony at the saga of hoisting them up and down during frequent visits to the “crapper” (yes men have their own less glamorous lingo for the loo too) the trauma of such frequent visits especially since beer is usually the preferred tipple. The amplified groans of despair as their nether regions became compressed, lifted and hoisted in an attempt to look slimmer? No it just wouldn’t happen would it? Because most men-lets face it- would certainly never put themselves through such pain, indignity and discomfort. Rather, there is almost a sense of pride in having a rotund belly; I have even witnessed the patting of paunches with some sort of fondness and pride.


In the meantime the “fat sucking pant” girls having successfully managed to help each other to pull up their resistant lingerie departed the toilet slimmer and trimmer having but apparently slightly breathless and with the traditional piece of loo roll trailing from their left shoe leaving me to wonder if the days of the tight corset and fainting maidens really had past?


But I digress; rather let me ask our lady readers, how often do toilet visits descend into cosmetic, fashion and hair discussions? Recently while travelling  I had an audience of several female tourists watch in awe as I applied my liquid eye liner and eye lash curlers and before long we were all sharing tips on makeup techniques and the best mascara-they in broken English, me in various degrees of sign language and gestures. Further back I recall in the early 80s at a mod do in Watford hosting an impromptu dancing class  in the ladies room -egged on by some younger 14 year olds anxious to learn “60s style moves” they had seen me do on the dance floor. My boyfriend, thinking I was unwell, sent in a search party after thirty minutes of waiting only to find us all twisting and shimmying our way across a grubby tissue strewn floor.


Take a moment if you will, to remember the lovely toilet attendants  in rather more posher establishments and hotels who armed with copious bottles of perfumes and deodorants offer us some sort of refreshment for an agreed tip. I paused to talk to one pleasant woman in London’s finest loo and remarked knowingly in a nudge nudge wink wink sort of way “I bet you see and hear a lot in here don’t you?” She looks skyward and with a deep sigh whispers “You have no ideahow embarrassing it can be, and pointing to the last cubicle she added “last night there were two people having sex in there-they made such a racket you wouldn’t believe (but I got a great tip for turning a blind eye” Little wonder she had added condoms to her “shop” next to the Tic Tacs and Gucci fragrance.


So next time when you wonder why oh why does it take your lady friends  so much longer in the loo than men yes its partly due to the fact we are doing our hair and make up and squeezing our rear ends into fat pants but mostly its because we are having a whale of a time planning our weeks social calendar and are very likely talking about you…




This article originally appears in ZANI online magazine. You can find many other great articles, interviews and reviews on ZANI.CO.UK
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Mixing of the Pot: How I Got Into The World of Mod

As far back as I could remember, my tastes seemed to have stuck out from other children. It was the mid 1990s, and I was settling into my new home in Long Island, New York after spending my infant years in Queens. Along with other kids of my generation, I was sort of attached to my television set, except that I was absorbing the likes of Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' (the first music video I could remember seeing) and 'Dreams' by The Cranberries in tandem with the flow of cartoons and that. Another piece of music that stuck in my head was 'Buddy Holly' by Weezer through the original Windows 95 and was my entry into the world of the 'alternative' which would follow me forever after. In my teens, I fell in love with the likes of Daft Punk and Gorillaz via a strong presence of the former on the U.S. cable channel, Cartoon Network, during a time when hip-hop artist Eminem made clear that 'nobody listens to techno' even though, in regards to what my pop-culture interests were, I was pretty damn content with being a 'nobody' .

It should be noted that around this period, I was (jokingly) singled out by my older cousins for being far too 'white' for their liking, whilst they were immersing themselves in the Hip-Hop and R&B dump on BET. It did irk me a little growing up that some people had no shame in trying to confine me to one distinct culture of music/TV/etc. based on my race alone. Of course, it's the current 'popular' thing among black youths here in the States to venture outside the environs of social construct in terms of what stuff your into, but back then, your tastes seemed to be penciled in. Over at school, my oddball status was welcomed to a minor degree, with classmates being mildly interested in my 40% verbatim oral transcripts of documentaries about Bruce Lee and toss-away references to 60s Japanese Sci-Fi monster movies.

Undeterred for being called-out on my color-blind tastes by my family and the slight apathy from my classmates, I continued drifting through various sub-cultures before inadvertently hitting on a discovery that would change my life: a video on Youtube titled "Frankie Crocker - Ton of Dynamite", a two and a half minute, sepia-tinged video of several dancers played over the hypnotic 70s instrumental of the same name, written in honor of the legendary 70s NY radio DJ. In the 'related video' section of the webpage, there were a slew of clips featuring songs placed in this strange genre of "Northern Soul", these rare pieces of music that were long thought of as forgotten by the rest of the world, apart from pockets of the North or the Midlands of England.


So it was that I began a mini treasure hunt for these pieces, ultimatelyfinding gold with two other songs, "That Driving Beat" and "The Champion (part 1)", both by Willie Mitchell. For a time, the world of the Soulie was starting to consume me, leading me to develop a minor collection of hits on my Ipod (as I write this, my "Northern Soul Box" playlist consists of almost 180 'choons'). With my soft spot for rare 60s and 70s soul in place, I began to look into the history of the movement, finding its roots in Manchester's Twisted Wheel Club. As history states, the Northern Soul wave arrived near the end of the club's life in the late 60s/early 70s, when flower-power's grip was maniacally strong. The Wheel's true apex, of course, came during the Roger Eagle era of the early to mid part of the 1960s, which then catered to this odd gathering of sharply dressed men and women known as 'Mods'

Up to that point, the concept of Mod in the U.S. was pretty much stuck in the mid to late 60s Carnaby Street rainbow world of colorful short dresses, pinstripe suits, ascots, and a whole slew of repugnant proto-hippie gear, exemplified in the Austin Powers movies. The truth about Mod's genesis was, thankfully, a lot more alluring. Post-WWII British kids, fed up with the austerity of the past generation, choosing to develop something of a cultural melting pot by snapping up not only America's Ivy-League style and Soul/Jazz expertise, but also Italy's level of urbanity, both in sartorial flair as well as transportation, France's New-Wave cinema and literature, and The Caribbean's love of Ska and the Rude Boy culture. This melding of different lifestyles showed definite parallels to my own eclecticism, and a magnetism towards this world they call Mod was beginning to take shape. In time, I dipped my toe into everything the culture had to offer, only clicking with aspects that truly hit me on contact. The often stereotyped Mod diet of The Who, Small Faces, Quadrophenia, Paul Weller, et. al., while all entertaining, weren't (and still aren't) exactly my thing*. By contrast, I grew attached to uptempo classic and modern-day soul and garage-rock and a presently developing fetish towards one day owning a cream-colored Vespa smallframe, while simultaneously digging into outside influences such as funk, surf rock, 70s glam, etc.

In all honesty, however, I'm not a true member of the Mod scene as yet. Sartorially, I'm still stuck in teenager-mode, going for jeans and t-shirts, although there are plans for an upgrade. There aren't really any immediate places here on Long Island that fit this way of life, be it clothes, music, or people who share the same interests. But from that isolation comes strength and contentment in the knowledge that I'm a rare breed, someone who finds no joy in the tired world of velour tracksuits, gangsta rap, 'hipster' or  'emo' culture or Lady Gaga. I don't know where Mod culture is going to take me, but I do hope that this is going to serve me for a while.


- KK Akuoku


*The film version of Quadrophenia does have a sort of attachment to me above the other three, as the company that released the film in the U.S., World Northal, was the chief distributor or many a kung-fu movie in the 1970s, effectively feeding both present love of Mod as well as my childhood love of Kung-Fu flicks

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START! the modernist culture


This is a specialist MOD NIGHT that is designed to be held on a 4-8 week basis in Bedfordshire. Northern Soul and Mod-Beat music with retro lighting...


Since it's debut (which was originally called MOD REVIVAL), this night has become increasingly popular. Created and devised by the theme DJ, DJ Quinny and created from the core Mobile Disco business of GE-LUXE Mobile Sounds, this has been so far a great success.
Based in Dunstable in the fine surroundings of a modest Café Bar called, The Four Kings Bar & Café in High Street South, Dunstable, this 'Soul Town' really has welcomed this much needed Mod themed music evening.
Held only on Saturday Nights, these MOD nights have been an exciting venture since April 30th 2011 and as a result of the passion and crowds, will continue from 2012 and beyond.

Originally set-up as a 'feeler' to see if the MOD and Northern Soul community would enjoy this bespoke evening of great soul music, it has grown and therefore has re-branded as START!
So as not to be 'patronising' towards the MOD community, this has now been re-created to exist as more of an underground and finely tuned evening.
START! will not be as commercial as it was previously and will be host to great 60's retro lighting and music from the following genres:

- 60's POP
- MOD R & B

This is a night full of great tunes for the nostalgic MOD from the original cultural beginnings to the young 'N' hip new-age modernists who savour the culture and sounds of this renaissance of style, culture and music today.
Scoots, suits and Desert boots...
MODS & MODETTES from all over Herts, Beds and Bucks are welcome.
Scooter Clubs are more than welcome...
The MODS will never die, KEEP THE FAITH.....this is only the START!


DJ Quinny

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Art Gallery Clothing

Scoots, Suits and Boots .com  are really excited to announce that we have beome stockists of brand spanking new brand Art GalleryClothing. The collection is by Alex Banks who left his job as creative director of merc, and set up his own brand. Its the kind of stuff that made merc what they where before they “sold out,” err I mean changed direction.

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Dave Baby Cortez - Hot Cakes
Bo Diddley - You Can't Judge A Book By looking at the cover
Bo Diddley - Who do you love
Chuck Berry - Come On
Howlin' Wolf - Killing Floor
Mitty Collier - My Babe
Sugar Pie DeSanto - Soulful Dress
Tony Clarke - Ain't love good, ain't love proud
Marlena Shaw - Wade In the water
Robert Parker - Let's Go Baby
ZZ Hill - No More Dogging
Joe Hinton - Tired of walkin'
Frankie Armstrong - Stuffed Peppers (Humping)
Jimmy Holliday - The New Breed
Arthur Adams - Let Your Hair Down
Booker T. Averhart - Take Your Shoes Off Pt 2.
Bobby Miller - Uncle Willie Time
Nolan Chance - If he make's you (he's free to take you)
Nelson Sanders - Mojo Man
Georgie Fame - Sweet Things
Poets - She Blew a good thing
Impressions - You've been cheatin'
Detroit Spinners - I'll always love you
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