By Dave Middleton
In Britain in that year the outlook was looking miles better and on the up and up with clothes, electrical goods, food and other delicacies now coming into the shops. The war, with it's ration books, was near twenty years gone by and the bad old days had been forgotten by some. Now, if you were born near at the end or just after the war, it was to be a great time in your life with what was going on at that time, living in London with the fashions clubs and jobs.
Into the shops there was now coming new looking clothes that were more trendy with more up-to-date fashions. Even the big stores and the clothing manufactures were jumping on the MOD bandwagon and cashing in by selling clothing that was more fashionable and more up to date, plus more affordable for the working class MODS. Some of the clothing was bright and colourful with nice looking shoes from Ravels shoe shop. Then the tops and lots more clothes that would keep you up with the fashions that the MODS of that time would spend their wages on. Hire purchase was good with it not being that hard to get away with a little white lie here and there but it was still better to buy anything outright. Sometimes you would have to have the hire purchase and most of the London MODS would have there scooters on the never, never as you would call it but most times the instalments would be paid up on or before time then, if not there was always Mum and Dad. The MODS way of getting about in London was on a scooter. Mainly one of the two makes of scooters that came over from Italy, Lambretta and Vespa, were the best looking scooters. At the end of your journey when you are getting to where you were going you still wanted to look good, and to the MODS the Italian scooters were clean, reliable and cheap to run-on the road and it was rumoured that the scooters were made out of old German tanks from the war.
Then, one good thing about riding a scooter was that you did not have to put all that leather shit on that come out of the fashion shop Millets (the fucking camping shop just to get from A to B) like you had to put on if you had a motor bike, as all they done was piss oil all over you leaving you looking like a bag of shit when you got to where ever you were going.
You wanted to look good and on a scooter you did, which to the MODS was the way they liked it. With the Italian scooters you could buy no end of accessories to do it up, to make your scooter look good, and when you were out on the road with the gang heads would turn to look at you. Speed to the MODS was not a big thing and, living in London, you couldn't go fast anyway and what was the point? In London at the time there was lots of work about and getting a job was not that hard. As the MODS were mostly working class youths being unemployed was only for the right lazy, hairy upper class wankers or them into ban the bomb or anything like that. All the MODS worked on the building sites, offices, shops or anything. That was the way you were told; after school you get a job and you did just that.
London was so different by now, not like it was back in the dark year of 1945, after the bashing that the German bombs had given it, when the bombs was falling out of the sky like rain drops on all parts of town. The bomb sites, with the streets of old houses, were being demolished and with them went the prefabs that were built on the bomb sites as temporary accommodation after the war. London was coming up like the Phoenix raising from the ashes one more time out of the ground, with new buildings of office blocks, lots of modern council and private estates of flats going up all over the place.
Over the bank holiday weekends in 1964 the MOD culture had made it's mark on English history with fights between MODS and there bitter rivals the Rockers. The fights had been mainly on the South coast of England, holiday towns being Brighton, Margate, Hastings and Clacton. Lots of the MODS and some of the Rockers were arrested, with some of the fines given out being very big ones, even over £75, and some were being sent down to Borstal in Kent.
The Newspapers, Television and Media were covering the fights, and loving it, as the weekend rampages and the MODS unruly behaviour over the bank holidays provoked absolute outrage at the time.
The MOD culture had come from nowhere in late 1961 and the cult was at its peak by 1964. London was full of MODS. It was a London and English cult to be MOD at first, but the cult did in time stretch out of London and into the sticks. This new cult, the MODS, for one thing did not have anything to do with America as other previous cults were in one way or another. Apart from the best MOD R&B records coming from America, then the best scooters coming from Italy, as the English scooters were just so bad and crap to look at and none of the MODS would buy them anyway as they would not be seen dead on any of them. Plus you could not buy any nice looking accessories for the English scooters to make them look better anyway.
The MOD culture's love was scooters, records, night clubs, clothes, coffee bars, rhythm and blues. The ultimate kick for most of the MODS was popping lots of pills [good gear] and in a club somewhere dancing the night away all weekend. The MODS' hates were people at work still thinking they were something big in the Army, Hairy fairies, upper class Bohemian's Twits, Beatniks, and most of the records from Liverpoo,l apart from SOME OTHER GUY by THE BIG THREE maybe then most of all the hates went on the out of date, Rockers with there oil pissing, all looking the same, boring motor bikes that went with the Rockers all American cult.
MODS turned their backs on religion. When you were seven or eight years of age you were made to go to Sunday school and it was the most boring way to spend a Sunday afternoon, singing silly songs, kneeling down, getting up, then kneeling back down again. Playing at war over the bomb sites was far better and, if you went to Sunday school after the age of eight or nine, the gang would think you was a bit of a girlie anyway. As you came into your teens you'd see with some of the religions it meant you were on your hands and knees most of the day and doing no work “How boring and well behind the times”.
Most MODS at the time never bought a newspaper as most of the time it was about things that went on half way round the world in some piss holes where you were never going to go in your life, so why the fuck do we have to read about the shit all the time. But, after the bank holidays, there would be some good photos in the newspapers of the day, with MODS getting up to something. So, maybe you would buy a newspaper for the photos, putting them up on your wall and the great reports which were right fun the read. Most of the reporters were old farts and never had a clue what MODS was all about anyway full stop.
Most MODS would never go into pubs as they were full of old boys with flat caps or trilby hats on and the main talk was still “What they done in the War” and then the Pubs did not have any jukebox in them, and even if they did the jukebox they would not have any MOD records on them. Plus the fact there were never really any girls in the pubs and pubs did not cater for teenagers of that time. On Saturday night in the pubs it was all that Roll Out The Barrel and doing the Lambeth Walk and the big turn on of the night was always a pissed Irish man that would get up and sing “Danny boy” and as an encore he would sing about a dead dog called “Old Shep” and that is not what you call cool. The pubs would also shut at dead on eleven o clock and not a one minute past, even on a Saturday night, and no MOD goes home at eleven anyway on a Saturday night. The pubs were just so boring to the MODS.
This is a story of a gang of MODS (not the ones that just put a five bob Fred Perry on and think they are MODS) they are from the working class pre war blocks of flats in parts of Battersea in South London. The gang could be real people of that time but not their real names. The gang are Horse (the gang leader) Dave, Doughnut, Cocker, Middy, and Jimmy. The gang are all seventeen and eighteen years of age and for some reason they all seemed to think the same and do what all MODS do as it was their way of life to them.
The story revolves around Dave and the way his MOD life is in 1964. It’s about the way he looks at life and his little world as a MOD. Dave is just one of lots of MODS of that time in and outside London, as the MOD culture was now catching on around the country.
For some reason, at that time, Dave had only just to look at a MOD girl (and it had to be a MOD girl) and he was in love with her from the stat. But he did not see what was coming into his life and the feeling of it as the story goes on. Some of the book is about his time at work and some of the relations he is having with girls that are coming in and going out of his life. Sex plays a bit of a part in the story and all the gang are up for it if it’s going with the MOD girls but some did and some did not.
Most of the MOD girls were just like the boys with them liking the MOD WAYS of life with the things the boys liked and would only go out with MOD boys.
Parts of the story tells of what the gang get up to in there weekends trips away down to the South Coast and up the West End of London with the clubs.
The story is a bit mad, sad, nice and loving then at times some may even find it funny but that was their MOD way of life and they lived it to the full at that time. The television did not have anything to do with the MOD culture as it was then. Television was not all that good anyway, so Dave would not look at the one eyed thing apart from RSG on Friday night when the weekend began.
The Newspapers and Media would give the MOD culture lots of bad headlines, with the fights and one hell of a time with pictures of MODS hitting Rockers with deck chairs along the Brighton sea front. One MOD, kicking a Rocker in the face as he lays flat out on the beach, a group MODS showing there hands full of pills, three big six foot policeman holding a skinny little MOD with his arms up the back of him and a picture of lots of MODS running up the beach with the police running like mad along the stones after them.
Then the newspapers would find out any little things about the MODS and then start having a pop at them and running them down with a lot of old cobblers.
Now, say if the all the cults were like football clubs. The MODS cult would be South London's Millwall and as they say down at Millwall.
NO ONE LIKES US, WE DON'T CARE, AS WE ARE THE MODS, WE ARE THE MODS, WE ARE, WE ARE WE ARE THE MODS.
I know Dave would love to hear any feedback on this story, which he is interested in publishing. Anyone with any advice or with an interest in publishing the story can discuss it with him on facebook HERE
The work is the copyright of David Middleton. The views expressed are purely those of the author and are not attributable to any other person or institution.