Talking ‘bout My Generation

Talking ‘bout My Generation

Talking ‘bout My Generation

Convoys of parka clad youths streaming their way down to Brighton on a Bank Holiday to settle some score with their leather-clad foes, the Rockers, is probably the most common image that comes to mind when the term ‘Mod’ is mentioned.

Coming from the word ‘Modernist’, it’s roots can be traced back to Jazz clubs of the late 1950s where these ‘Proto-Mods’ would meet to listen to their preferred genre Modern Jazz.

The world they inhabited had one foot in the past and the other in a brave new world of the future. They grew up with post-war austerity where their parents still clung on to the constraints of their social conventions. Not for them the drab ill-fitting garments of the past. Mods rejected the old order. Unlike their counterparts, the Rockers, who looked to the USA for inspiration, Mods focused on Europe. The Rockers were welcome to their greased back hair and equally greasy motorbikes. Mods embraced the slick designer fashions from Italy and suits that fit perfectly. Lambretta and Vespa soon became familiar names as the Mods chose the scooter as their mode of transport.

Music was also changing. American Influences were in part also rejected in favour of home grown influences. The Kinks ‘Waterloo Sunset’ is often cited as the first pop song to refer to a British landmark instead of ‘Route 66’. Bands like the Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Small Faces, The Who and the young David Bowie were all drawn to the stylish new fashions the Mod lifestyle offered.

Britain was on the way to multiculturalism as people arrived from other countries. Unlike Rockers, Mods welcomed the influences from places like the Caribbean and Ska soon found eager new ears to listen to it’s off beat rhythms.

As the 60s gave way to the 70s different ideas came to the fore and Mods faded as Flower Power and Peace and Love took hold. By the mid-seventies attitudes were once more in flux as Punk battered the established music scene. But safety pin pierced ears and noses were not for everyone and New Wave which followed was a much broader church where those Mod influences could once again flourish. Bands like The Specials, Selector, The Beat and The Jam could reinvent Mod culture for a new generation. Even today those influences are very much still around with bands and artists like Oasis, Amy Winehouse, Blur, Jake Bugg and Miles Kane all bearing some of those Mod traits.

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