Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mod Gone Wrong: My Yearbook's "MODern Misconceptions"

The other day, we were going through all our old photos and I decided to pull out my old high school freshman yearbook from 1988-1989. In that yearbook, I found this article:
Click to Mod-size it.
Oh yes, I remember reading this for the first time back then. By the time I read this, my knowledge of Mod stuff was still in its infancy and susceptible to misinformation. However, I immediately called B.S. on it.

We had just gotten these yearbooks and I was in a friend's room while we were getting ready to visit the senior graduation ceremony that evening. While my friends were listening to a Charlie Sexton cassette tape and going on and on about how cute he was, I was engrossed in this short article and pointing out the errors.

First off, what was up with the dude in ripped jeans and a Cosby Show sweater?? If this was 'mod,' then my classmates walking around in mullets and spiky hair must have been 'punk' by that logic!

I realized what was going on, though, once I read the article itself. It was lumping together all types of 'alternative' (I don't remember using that term back then) cliques. Punks, new-wavers, goths, skaters, etc. were the 'mods' referenced in the article. See, there were NO actual mods at my high school by the time I got there! Not one. Trust me, I was searching them out. The closest I saw was a guy who walked around in a trenchcoat with a Who patch on his arm, but that was it. Even as a 14-year-old, I knew there was more to being a Mod than that. (Sadly, my not-yet-wife went to my same high school when she was a freshman but moved away that same year. Had she remained, she would have been the only Mod there by the time I arrived. And she would have completely ignored me in my Smiths and Cure t-shirts!)

I interrupted my friends' Charlie Sexton gush-a-thon to point out how wrong this article was! "That's not what Mod is!" was all I kept going on about. Here it was, the mis-represented idea of 'Mod' going out to my fellow classmates. The thing is, a year or two earlier, I would have thought the same thing had my dad not set me straight. By the time I was getting into this whole Mod thing, 'mod' to the general public meant anything 'weird' or anti-trendy. Heck, that's what I thought at first, too!

After reading the article, I was even more driven to set the record straight... as I sat in that room, listening to Charlie Sexton, while my friends were styling and hairspraying my hair to look more like Robert Smith's.


  1. Ha! I have one from my yearbook in 1985 I can show you. And the most embarrassing thing: I WROTE IT.

  2. "Black, white and red persisted to be the permenant colors of the Mod Clicks." Hum... Interesting... Who knew that all this time I was wearing all sorts of colors and was utterly clueless? Thanks Debbie for setting me straight!

  3. Karen, I need to read that next time we're over! I joined yearbook staff in my senior year and ended up writing an article on the 'alternative' scene of the time as well, except I was a bit more specfiid (I think).

    Patrick, you can't get too down on Debbie. Poor thing probably just had an assigment to write about to fulfill her yearbook quota. Yearbook staff wasn't known for much research! My fave bit, though, is the guy who says browns and blues don't match... two colors that go together like peanut butter and chocolate!

  4. Hilarious read! Loved it. I had to have the "No , Austin Powers is not a mod!" talk with some friends recently. Makes me cringe to think that my friends assume that I am dressing in velvet suits and pirate shirts.

  5. I suppose every yearbook has a similar article. I Can't wait to read yours, Karen! Carlos, I wish we had graduated from the same HS (we came so close). Imagine? I could have been a MODern celebrity in black, white and red (my fave color). As if.
    Oh God, AND Dan Melendez is quoted. HAHAHA!