Living as a Mod in the 21st Century

Monday, February 28, 2011

The perfect Mod night out

I recently came upon a topic that peaked my interest while scrolling through the discussion forum at "The perfect Mod night out" was the topic in question. It was interesting to read what Mods from across the globe thought about what is the ideal setting for a memorable night.

I expected to read more stories like "Having a pint with Paul Weller" and "Going backstage and hanging out with Pete after an intimate Who concert". The stories were relatively uncomplicated and centered mainly around good friends, good music and a few cold beers. It goes to show how sometimes the simpler things in life are often better.

This was my response:

The perfect Mod night is when I'm behind the turntables! If the music is bad, I know whom to complain too.

Vinyl is the way to go and 45rpm is the speed it should be played at. I am guilty of playing the occasional reissue. Mea Culpa. I don't see myself paying £25,000 for a copy of Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) by Frank Wilson. I sometimes play an LP if the track isn't available as a single.

And I loooooove the feeling of arriving at the club on my Vespa and seeing a bunch of scooters parked in front.

That being said, I didn't know that February 19th 2011 would end up being what I had described a couple of weeks before. All the ingredients were there: cool venue, a great line-up of DJs, a good selection of beer on tap and most importantly, the best friends a guy could wish for. That was the set-up for what would be the best birthday party I ever had. I was going to hit 40 in a big way. The event was a Parka Avenue / Mod Club Montreal collaboration and the place was packed.

It was an incredible feeling to turn your head in any given direction and have a friendly "Faces" smiling back. I felt like I was not a day over 38.

Fifty or so friends had answered the call and I was surrounded by all the people that I love. I'm a lucky guy.

Jonathan, looking as suave as ever
My mate Eric and his lovely wife Jen had even traveled from the States to partake in the festivities. He gave me one the coolest gifts: a pair of monogrammed cufflinks made from typewriting keys.

Speaking of amazing gifts, Lee Modern, the person responsible for letting me spin some wax that night, brought me back a great mix of Caribbean spices from his recent travels to St. Maarten. I had to wait two days to try a blackened tilapia recipe but the wait was worth it.

Eric, Jen, Lee Modern and his fiancé Shareen
My friend Claude was also generous and gave me a limited edition Madness / Ben Sherman polo. Madness and Ben Sherman, two things that I love. Can't see a reason why they shouldn't join forces!

The feeling that I got when I got behind the turntables and saw the dance floor full of my mates dancing their hearts away to the beat of my tracks will be indelibly etched in my mind. My friend Stephane V. described it best when he said: "I don't think I've ever seen Patrick this happy before".

A visit from Gen, more beautiful than Brigitte Bardot
My DJ friends Benjamod, Eric B. and Lee Modern all got us steaming up the place with their great selection of soul favorites, R&B floor fillers and garage classics.

Lee Modern, ready to take over the duties
It was great to have some of my uninitiated friends come up to me and tell me that they had no idea this type of night existed and that the music was amazing. Some vowed to be back. In a show of support, my neighbor Veronique arrived in a very space age white wig and a skirt that would have made Twiggy proud. But nothing beats your compatriots coming up to you and saying that they haven't had this much fun in a while.

Frank, my friend of 23 years, also celebrating his birthday
I was on a natural high for the following 2 days. And that is all thanks to you my friends! I'll leave you with one of the tracks I played that had feet moving and hips shaking. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Britac and Adam of London: New Additions To My Mod Wardrobe

I was looking for something new to wear for my upcoming 40th birthday bash. I can already hear my girlfriend say: "Seriously Pat! You really need an excuse to buy some clothes? You have something new every other week!" Well... I have to admit, I buy my fair share.

But how often do you turn 40, right? The space dedicated to clothes in the loft is slowly getting scarce. I'm responsible for occupying most of that prime real estate. But this is a special occasion that merits some new threads. This is what I tell myself not to feel guilty.

First, I decided to go with my dark navy bespoke 4-button suit. It's either that or my birthday suit. And nobody wants to see me in that! The thing with suits is that unless you have unlimited funds and a walk-in closet, you have to reinvent your look from time to time. A new shirt, tie and pocket scarf can quickly spice things up.

I was contemplating buying a Britac shirt for a while and one of their sharp looking button-down shirts had recently caught my eye. Relatively new to the scene, Britac has adopted sixties inspired chic with nouveau Mod flair. I love when a company knows their roots but at the same time are not afraid to be bold. With bright colors reminiscent of the swinging London of Carnaby Street and vibrant checkered patterns, their shirts make a statement. That is exactly what I needed.

Britac being only distributed in Europe, I had to rely on the web to make my purchase. Sometimes, that's a gamble. In this case, I ended up with exactly what I was hoping for, a good quality shirt that fitted me nicely.  I opted for the light blue button-down, long sleeve shirt with a dark blue contrasting collar and cuffs. The attention to detail we are all used to are present: button on the back of the collar, center back pleat with loop and the subtle embroidered company name on the breast pocket.

I will coordinate the shirt with a new square end, navy knit tie from Adam of London. Knitted ties have always been part of the Mod wardrobe and I don't see them disappearing in the near future. Add to that a nice pair of chelsea boots and you're in business.

I had the chance to visit Adam of London on a vacation to the UK a few summers back and was pleasantly surprised by their stunning suits, vast array of shirts and professional service. Tucked away in the Portobello Market, it's worth  seeking out. Unfortunately, I had attained my clothes quota for the trip (bloody TK Maxx!) and left empty handed. But I always promised myself that I would eventually make a purchased via the web. I was not disappointed and I can guarantee that I will be a repeat customer.

Have a look for yourself:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Top 15 Northern Soul tracks about dogs

I was going through my 45 collection and noticed how many soul records I owned that had a dog reference in the title. Other animals also seem to have a prevalent place in the Northern Soul repertoire but the pooch is by far the most popular. The monkey, the duck and the chicken also have a place of choice. It's logical that they all do since dances were named after them.

Maybe it's because it's the man's best friend but the term "dog" was also part of the sixties vernacular. Come to think of it, it still is. It was only replace by the overused "dawg" or the unflattering "bitch". Back then, it sometimes had derogatory connotations or it could just be cool street slang. Whatever the reason, here's my top 15 favorite soul tracks that mention our 4 legged friends.

1) My Wife, My Dog, My Cat - The Maskman & The Agents - Dynamo

2) Baby, Do The Philly Dog - The Olympics - Sparton

Do The Philly Dog came out on Mirwood in 1966 and reached #63 on the charts.

3) Every Dog Got His Day - Eddie Bo - Ric

I have a mint example of this 45 and is probably the most expensive single I own. Worth it? I think so!

4) Dog - Jimmy McCraklin - Minit

5) Dog Eat Dog - Archie Bell & The Drells - Atlantic

6) The Dog - Rufus Thomas - Stax

This single is the lesser known of all the "dog" songs Rufus Thomas came out with. The most popular was Walkin' The Dog that came out in 1963 and reached #10 in the charts. I think maybe he should have changed his name to Roofus.

7) Can Your Monkey Do The Dog - Rufus Thomas

A double whammy with both the monkey and the dog being featured.

8) Monkey Dog - O.V. Wright - Black Beat

Another great monkey / dog hybrid.

9) Ain't Going To Walk Your Dog No More - Otis Williams - OKeh

10) Jerkin' The Dog - Mighty Hannibal - Decca

The video is simply stunning.

11) Poor Dog (Who Can't Wag His Own Tail) - Little Richards - OKeh

12) No Puppy Love - Jackie Paine - Jet Stream

13) Hound Dog - Jeanette Williams - Black Beat

14) Watch The Dog That Brings The Bone - Inez Fox - Volt

Released in 1972, it has a heavy dose of funk.

15) Beware Of The Dog - Georgie Fame - Epic

The only instrumental track that made the list. Good old blue eyed soul.

Did I miss a classic that should of made the list? You tell me...