Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mod Gone Wrong: Another Mod Revival. Of A Revival. Of A Revival. Of A...

When there's a Mod "revival" every 2-3 years, is it even a "revival" anymore?

With MySpace and Facebook constantly churning out people with re-invented new Mod profiles, a guaranteed Mod spread in fashion magazines at least once a year, and Paul Weller/The Who/The Small Faces gracing the cover of Uncut and Mojo several times a year, you would think that there's nothing here that really even needs "reviving." But, it seems I'm incorrect.
For the latest news on the latest "Mod revival," read on:

Now I present to you the 5 things that bug me most about this article:
  1. "Known for scooters, amphetamines and punch-ups, the Mod sub-culture sprang up in the late Fifties."Yes, the essence of Mod distilled into 3 ingredients and not one of them is style. Or fashion. Or 'attention to detail.' Heck, not even a love of soul music made it into this description or the article itself! Well, Quadrophenia (the movie), you strike again. To an outside observer, this is the legacy you've left behind: a bike, a pill, and a fight.
  2. "It peaked with startling clashes between Mods and their arch rivals the Rockers – who rode motorbikes, wore leathers and listened to rock 'n' roll. "
    Yes, Quadrophenia (the movie), it seems you've helped glamourize thug battles so well that this is what Mods are remembered for by the general public. In fact, the primary focus of this article really seems to revolve around the fun days of handing out black eyes and bloody noses to guys dressed different than you.  According to the author of this article, this is the peak of Mod culture. Sigh...

    For all the "Mod vs. Rocker" events that still seem to go on these days, thank you. Thank you for keeping the dream alive.

  3. "On the seafront, everyone looks the same – green parka jackets, smart haircuts and pointy shoes. "
    For a sub-culture that stresses the idea of not wanting to be like everyone else, the people involved sure do like to be like everyone else. Let's remember the basics of how this whole Mod thing started: a group of like-minded young guys who strove to dress better and look better than those around them through the power of their own pocket books and their own set of rules. Constantly, they developed new detailing to their outfits to set them apart from everyone else, other Mods included. Fast-forward 40 years and it seems a good number of the originals' ancestors are happy enough with a parka, a smart(?) haircut, and pointy shoes. Progress.
  4. "And his experience of Mod culture goes way beyond fashion."
    Luckily, they've tracked down an 'original' Mod to give us some insight into those days. No, not one of the actual originals who helped create the look over 5 years before the riots took place, but rather someone who was there in the heat of battle. In 1964.

    Now, up to this point, this article has defined Mod 'fashion' as green parka jackets, smart haircuts and pointy shoes, along with wearing badges on a jacket. (Come to think of it, this article only mentions fashion around 5 times while anything violence-related is mentioned at least 12 times!) Mod fashion really takes a back seat here.

    But this guy, see, he goes beyond that. Yup, he goes beyond fashion straight to the violent side of Mod culture. In fact, this is the stuff he's actually nostalgic for: fighting Rockers at the beach!
  5. "'I went to all the riots. I remember in Clacton that one of my mates was stabbed in the back and through his hat, too. ... But he was all right in the end – and the guy that did it regretted it. I threw him through the window of a Wimpy.'"
    So is this how aging gangsters fondly look back upon their gangbanging youth? Will the gangs that were around when I was growing up come together to celebrate an anniversary release of the 1988 film Colors or 1992's American Me? (Yes, I know there's a whole escalation of violence thing here, but still.) There was just something about this guy waxing poetic about a beating he gave that made me feel a little weird.
It's easy to get down on 'the media' for articles like this, but seems there's plenty of subject matter out there on Vespas strengthening the stereotypes we see all the time. Sigh again... It's too bad too, since these days a lot of people who grew up and still actually take part in the Mod thing have actually tried to start businesses reflecting their love of it. We've got people trying to sell their original clothing designs, records, graphic work, etc. Yet, people celebrating the 'Mod vs. Rocker riots' get the press.

Well, I've griped long enough.  If you've read the article, what did you take away from it? In the mood to beat someone in a leather jacket up? Is this a proper Mod revival, even?


  1. Not being English I'm not at all familiar with The Sun. How credible is that news source? Is The Enquirer its U.S. equivalent? In other words, who reads this trash?

    In the 80s I "collected" several articles from 60s U.S. magazine archives at the library (Newsweek, Time, Look, Life) about mods and almost all of it was about the riots. A sad legacy.

  2. Dean, I'm going to be honest with you. I used to have some of those articles xeroxed and pinned to my wall when I was much younger.

    Keep in mind I was young, angsty, and full of adolescent rage! Plus, back then, it was so hard to come across other articles on the subject that I took what I could get.

  3. Carlos: Of course you did! My favorite photo from those articles was the one of the sharp mod in the suit and hat starting his dented and beat up Lambretta. He had the right priorities! I have to find that and scan it.

  4. Just a cub reporter for the Sun gathering a few chavs and getting them to dress up.

    Don't worry - it's not real.

  5. As an antidote - the new issue of The Chap (cover line - Mods & Fokkers) has a more accurate, sartorially inclined article. Highly recommended.

  6. Thanks Blue Shed Thinking! I'll google search that today.

    I thought the Sun article was just funny. I was running out of things to post for this 'Mod Gone Wrong' segment (which is a good thing!), but that article arrived right on time!