Mod - A Very British Style by Richard Weight

From the sharp-suited scooter riders of the early Sixties, through the hit revival film Quadrophenia in 1979, to the red, white and blue roundel that Bradley Wiggins wore proudly on his helmet as he raced to Olympic cycling gold last year, Mods started an enduring youth culture that has been passed down through and shared by generations.- Fergus Kelly of the Express - Via: 1 | 2

WE ARE THE MODS! Whitsun Bank Holiday weekend, 18-19 May 1964, on the south coast of England where Londoners often headed for seaside resorts, thousands of Mods descended upon Brighton to find that a large number of Rockers had made the same plans. Within a short time, marauding gangs of mods and rockers were openly fighting, often using pieces of deckchairs.  A small number of Rockers were isolated on Brighton beach where, despite being protected by police, were pelted with pebbles, overwhelmed and assaulted by Mods.  Mods were known to sew fish hooks or razor blades into the backs of their lapels to shred the fingers of assailants; the same thing was done by Teddy Boys in the 1950s. Weapons such as coshes, bike chains and flick knives were common. The violence in Brighton lasted two days and moved along the coast to Hastings and back. There were running battles at Margate and Clacton too. A judge described those arrested as Sawdust Caesars.  A prosecutor argued the perpetrators were youths with no serious views, who lacked respect for law and order. Newspaper editorials fanned the flames of hysteria and moral panic, warning that mods and rockers were “internal enemies” in the UK who would “bring about disintegration of a nation’s character”.  The Mods got on their scooters, the Rockers got on their bikes, and carried on regardless…

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Quadrophenia (1979) is not an adaptation of the ambitious concept-album by The Who. Rather, it’s a stand-alone social-drama/youth movie that allows itself to be freely inspired by its soundtrack. The film played a big part in the mod-revival of the late 1970s, showing all the stylish bits of what it must have meant to be Mod in the mid-1960s, with great eye for detail: slim fit suits and tennis polo’s, Vespa scooters and big parka jackets, loud British bands and amphetamines, rebellion and rioting – it’s all there, in a careful and stylized reconstruction. Director Franc Roddam also leans on elements from 1960s kitchen-sink realism, for a style that also has an eye for the darker sides of the working class youth culture - the alienation, the boredom, the search for a sense of belonging. This makes Quadrophenia a great and sophisticated youth movie about both adolescent anguish and cool.