Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I had this conversation with somebody once. We were contemplating what we would have been had we existed in 1978. I dimly contributed that I would have liked to have been a mod with great hair. I would have been far too bourgeois to be a respectable punk, far too pussyfooted to be a real rocker.. but the truth of the matter is that I probably would have been a glittered up disco dancer with bad eye make up and a cheap perm.

But after reading this book only just yesterday, I can see now that personal iconography can be quite a malleable thing. Disco dancer one day, convincing punk the next. I always had this impression that you had to bid a very public (and very personal) allegiance to one movement and one movement only. The mod revivalists, in particular, were extremely finite about what means to be a mod.. and arguably, they had an obsessive compulsion to understand and embrace all the prescribed music, books, transport and clothes. It is a movement that continually honours (and rehonours) the past.

Punk is far more of a paradox. Never before had a musical movement been so frequently associated with a single prefix: anti. The term is bandied around so callously: anti-establishment, anti-authoritarian, anti-fashion, antisocial, Antichrist, anti-everything. Jon Savage and particularly Don Letts would have you believe that the movement was never meant to have a cohesive identity. It was not about safety pins or mohawks, it was about individual expression and personal empowerment. Yet that striking visual connotation exists. If you choose to perpetuate that image of the archetypal anarchist, are you being a complete and utter hypocrite? Are you conforming to the norms of a cultural movement which fundamentally abhors conformists? What the hell are you meant to do?

On that note, I leave you with Mod Podcast #4. I know that the extreme mod puritans wouldn't agree with a good many moments of this selection. To them, I say get over yourself.

Cassettes & Chocolate Milk: Mod Podcast #4
Pigbag - Pigbag
The Beatles - Wait
Tony Ronald & His Kroners - It Has Been Too Long
The Shivvers - Teen Line
Run 229 - Soho
The Jam - Burning Sky
The Circles - Circles
The 101ers - Keys to Your Heart

Download (23.4 MB)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the introduction to 'The Importance of Music to Girls'--shall read soon.

As usual, great writing and abfab selections. Cheers.