Living as a Mod in the 21st Century

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mod Gone Wrong: The Parka Avenue Edition

Disclaimer: This Mod Gone Wrong concept is directly inspired (if not stolen) from the fantastic Mod Male blog.

Fellow bloggers Anorak Thing, Mod Male and I seem to have all been inspired by each other in the past. I’m convinced that we’ve all been guilty, at one time or another, of saying: “Damn! Why didn’t I think of that?” So I urge you to have a look (right after catching up with your latest Parka Avenue posts of course!) at these two highly entertaining Mod infused blogs.

Now, enough with the love fest and on with the subject at hand. Since Mod has hit the mainstream, some say around 1964, some merchants and even certain artists have tried to capitalize on Mod’s hip image. Some have successfully done it with an acceptable amount of good taste like Mary Quant, Twiggy, John Stephen and Pete Meaden with The Who. But others have simply bastardized the movement and reduced it to a series of commercial clichés.

About a year ago, I was grabbing a few essentials at a generic Dollar Store and came across a CD rack. Curious, I flipped through it quickly and found some surprisingly good titles. Amongst them were a Marvelettes Greatest Hits CD, a Sam & Dave album and a series of RnB Classics compilation. For a couple of dollars each, it wasn’t going to do significant damage to my wallet. Then this caught my attention.

With the cover sporting a typical mid-century modern look, the name Flabby written in the classic Vespa script, the “modern tunes for everybody” as the title and a classic Vespa on the back, I was definitely intrigued. Who is this Flabby fellow? Or maybe we’re talking about a group? My curiosity got the best of me and I added it to the pile.

It was the first album to make a trip in the CD player when I got home. My first reaction was a mixture of disdain and disgust that quickly turned to laughter. With titles like Cheek-A-Boom and Diggy Doggy Do, it’s hard to keep a straight face. Not Mod by any means, it’s sort of an exotica, kitch, jazzy, space age, organ driven modern lounge music. The best way to describe it would be William Shatner meets a less cool Esquivel.

Once I got over the initial shock, I sort of liked it. You know when something is so blatantly bad that it actually becomes good. It’s similar to the way I feel about Kraft Dinner.

I also bought this on eBay a while back.

I can’t argue the fact that it’s a tacky 60s souvenir from Carnaby Street but I think I deserve some credit for the fact that it’s from the 60’s famed I Was Lord Kitchener’s Valet boutique.

It was known for promoting  the military look amongst the Mod and fashion conscious psychedelic youth of the time. It was also the place that was credited for inspiring the Beatle's suits seen on the cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. So I won't apologize for having it in my collection.

Just remember that bad sometimes turns out to be good.


  1. Kudos for the mention and great find on the "Welcome To Carnaby Street" item!!

  2. Haha! First off, thank you so much for the mention and honor! Secondly, that souvenir plate is such an amazing find! Heck, I'd hang it up on my wall just to display the bottom.

    Now your record story reminds me of a similar experience, but not as good. During my sophomore year of college, I found an LP called 'Mod F*** Explosion' which seemed to be a soundtrack to a new movie.

    Of course, all I needed to know is that the word 'Mod' was in there. Heck, back then if you put the word 'Mod' on a can of dogfood, I probably would have bought it! So, I got this album, brought it home and... to this day, one of the worst albums I've ever heard. Seriously misleading advertising.

    The funny thing is, years later, some of the guys behind the movie used to run a warehouse where we held a monthly mod club. (And in case you're wondering, neither the movie nor the soundtrack have anything to do with Mods.)

    1. I have that movie!!! And to be honest, I've never had a crack at it. That's what happens when you have HBO at home. You accumulate movies for a rainy day and never get around to watching them.

      Well... I guess I can put that one aside. I have a copy of Soul Boy I've been meaning to watch.