Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Early Day Mods

What are the traits of a 60’s Mod? Scooters- not all Mods had scooters, Parkas- not all Mods wore Parkas. I, for example, never had my own scooter, but used to borrow my mate's, and I wore a long leather coat, or a second hand Crombie overcoat! Don’t ask where I got the cash from 'cause I won’t tell ya!

Music must lie at the number one spot in a Mod's heart! In the late fifties and early sixties Elvis, Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran were the music heroes of most of the world’s teenagers; and that included me- until one of the student lodgers at my mother’s boarding house started playing his 45’s. The sounds that filtered from his room into mine- to use a corny phrase- touched places which no other music had before! Sam Cooke, James Brown and Ray Charles – just some of the voices that broke through the thin wall! The seeds of a future Mod were being planted. One song that still sticks in my head to-day is  'Mocking Bird’ by Charlie and Inez Fox, a brother and sister duo; I  never grew weary of hearing it.

I was recently asked what I used to eat in those days. Don’t remember eating, but I remember the hairstyles, backcombed parting in the middle, parting to the right one day and then to the left the next. I preferred my hair razor cut, college boy, Boston finish.

Clothes; I think it was Mr ‘Blue Eyes’ Sinatra that said ‘it’s the suit that makes the man’, well in our case, ‘it’s the suit that makes the Mod’!

No, we didn’t all shoot, ‘up west’, to Carnaby street; most of us had our suits made at ‘Burtons’ on the never, never-  hire purchase, for most Mods this was a heavy sacrifice because a suit could cost a month's salary, so it was either paying it off by installments, or finding the money by some other illicit means! But, a Mod without a suit was like a knight without his armour. We also wore other brands besides the known, Fred Perry and Ben Sherman. I liked Van Heusen button down shirts, in fact these shirts were popular amongst many other of the brethren. Dunn and Co did some nice sports jackets,  and trilby’s which soon turned into a Mod trade mark. It was also easy to borrow without asking in their outlets - not that I ever did.

I used to go to Carnaby Street, but I don’t remember having bought much there, but to wander through ‘John Stephens’, ‘The Mod Shop’ and ‘His’, was always a pleasure for all of us- by the way, the major boutiques on the street were owned by one man- the legendary John Stephen, who is reputed to have designed the Mod suit.

This has been an introduction into the Mod world I knew, for many of us it was living in a dream; the trouble with dreams is- you wake up!

Photo of Mods on scooter courtesy of : Sergio Caleja



  1. Great post. Always great reading the accounts of a first generation Mod.

    Do you know the people in the photo?

  2. No. I had to borrow the shot- I've been asked many times if I have photos from then, but I do not remember any one I knew ever having a camera, or having photos taken- except for mug shots, but that’s another story! ;-)