I want to die before I get old.
Pete Townshend, My Generation
Being a second generation Mod, I would be lying if I said that the Who's Quadrophenia hasn't had a profound effect on me. As a teenager in the 80s, the album as much as the movie, spoke to me. Jimmy WAS me. I could certainly relate to him feeling excluded and ostracized. Try being a French Canadian Mod living in Quebec, surrounded by kids that didn't have a clue what Mod is all about. See how misunderstood you might feel at 16 being into a British subculture living in a French community.
|Can you see the real me? There I am, to the left of Dave.|
Now well into my adulthood, I hope that I have gained some wisdom and dare I say, a bit of maturity. But the whole Mod thing has never left me. And my goal with this blog has always been to present facets of a grown up Jimmy Cooper. For one, I would rather wear a nice crombie then wear a parka covered in patches and pins. Being dressed casually and showing my adherence to a clan has been replaced by a desire to forge a strong sense of individual style and class. In other words, to always strive for the best.
My taste in music has also evolved. I'm more interested in finding vinyl records of original artists on defunct record labels then the British bands that covered them.
This brings me back to Quadrophenia. I sort of have a love/hate relationship with the music and the movie. (Makes sense, the album is all about having a split personality) On one hand, its one of the main reasons why I got into the movement. On the other hand, I hate the fact that Mods are depicted as violent drug addicts who wield deck chairs at rockers any chance they got. Yeah, that's right. I'll say it. Mods are NOT fighters. You look silly when you fight in a suit! Blood stains are a bitch to get off mohair.
|Picture taken while on a trip to Brighton in 2009.|
Lets talk about the music. I love the album but lets face it, it's not Mod music. It's a Rock opera! I'm not suppose to like this! It's not because you have lyrics like these that it instantly makes it Mod music.
My jacket's gonna be cut slim and checkedMaybe a touch of seersucker with an open neckI ride a GS scooter with my hair cut neatI wear my wartime coat in the wind and sleet.
It doesn't matter. It remains one of my favourite albums of all time. Oh brother... This is why I've dreaded writing this piece for the past two years.
But after last week, it was hard for me to put off writing this post any further. That's because The Who was in town! In 1997, The Who came to Montreal to do Quadrophenia. I was in the midst of leaving for a cross-North America summer-long trip on a Lambretta GP200. My riding parter Dennis, who was from Vancouver and hadn't seen his wife in 6 months, wanted us to leave as soon as I finished the school year as a teacher. That meant leaving just a couple of days before The Who concert. I've regretted it ever since.
So this moment was 15 years in the making. Would it live up to my expectations? Well, it did. It was a "20+ chills" concert. Everything was there. Daltrey's voice was strong (except maybe for one song). Townshend's windmill action produced a nice little breeze and the Mod imagery was everywhere.
A weird cocktail of different emotions made an appearance during the show: melancholy, nostalgia, excitement, exhilaration. Just the way I like it.
Aside from a few scooter problems getting to the venue, it was a perfect evening. The best part was probably meeting up with fellow Mods before and after the concert. I'm glad to report that no fights broke out between the Mods and the Rockers after the show. That's a good thing since we were less then 10 and they were 20 000.