Living as a Mod in the 21st Century

Friday, December 14, 2012

15 facts you (probably) didn't know about Quadrophenia

While the Quadrophenia tour is in full swing in North America, knowing that some of you will attend the event, I thought it would be a perfect time to present to you interesting facts about the album and movie. This could come in handy if you want to impress your friends while waiting for the concert to begin. Become a Quadrophenia expert in a matter of minutes! Amaze (or annoy) your entourage with your vast knowledge about this cult phenomenon!

Most of these bits of trivia were taken from a book called Chasing the Wind: A Quadrophenia Anthology by Gary Wharton. Not an easy read by any means, it's obvious that it was written by a fan. I don't know what the author has against paragraphs but they are non-existant. Short and concise sentences are not his forte. This is why it's such a harduous read but I have to give him credit for having done his homework. It's still worth seeking out because his passion for the subject is without reproach.

Anyway, I'm not here as a litterary critic but to inundate you with some useless information.

1) Jimmy's middle name is Micheal.

2) The lad used for the The Who's Quadrophenia album photos was called Terry Kennett. He was a 23-year old paint sprayer that was discovered by Townshend in a pub near the studio where they recorded the album. Rumor as it that he didn't show up for a photo shoot because he had a court date. He was accused of having stolen a bus.

3) The title given to the Quadrophenia movie in Japan was The Pain of Living.

4) Sex Pistols' Johnny Rotten was Pete Townshend's first choice to play Jimmy's role before Phil Daniels landed the part.

5) No demo of the song 5:15 was made before it was recorded.

6) When the movie was first released in theaters in 1979, it got an "X" rating which meant you had to be 18 or over to see it. This proved to be a problem for actor Mark Wingett who played Dave. Being 17 at the time, he was too young to see his own movie legally.

7) In the Brighton Beach riot scene, a women in a yellow coat was knocked over her deck chair by a mob of mods. She was apparently a trained stuntwomen.

8) In the Houseparty scene, Jimmy puts on My Generation to a receptive crowd. The Who's single came out in 1965 while the movie is set in 1964.

9)  Speaking of anachronisms, the 1978 hit movie Grease is being shown at the ABC theatre in Brighton.

10) Jimmy's beer of choice in the movie is Newcastle Brown Ale.

11) Love Reign O're Me is one of four songs The Who played at the Live Aid concert in 1985.

12) The Ace Face's memorable line, when he asks the judge if he could pay his fine by cheque, is based on actual events. The words were uttered by a petulant teenager named James Brunton at the Margate Magistrate Court. It is said that he didn't even have a bank account.

13) Have you ever asked yourself how Jimmy was able to steal the Face's Vespa GS using is own Lambretta key?

14) Sting's grey silk suit, aka the Ace Face, cost £500 to make.

15) Sting's scooter was actually a Rally 200 disguised as a Vespa GS.

Original Ace Face scooter, part of the Littledean Jail Quadrophenia Collection. Photo courtesy of my mate Dominic Chevrier.
Bonus trivia:

Did you know that actor Phil Daniels once formed a band called Phill Daniels + The Cross. I was once given their single has a present. It's hard for me to say if it was ever good but I can tell you that it hasn't aged well at all!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Mod It Up With The Club Collar

When you think of a classic Mod shirt, the button-down is at the top of the list. But if you want to mix it up a little, why not go for a different type of collar? Let me suggest seeking out the club collar. 

DJ Eric "Boom Boom" Boulanger sporting a stunning blue tab club collar.
Also known under a variety of different names like the beagle collar, the spoon collar, the  round collar, the golf collar, this type of collar might have been a staple in Ivy League circles since the 20s but it has an unmistakable 60s feel to it and is the perfect way to add a touch of variety to your wardrobe.

Miles Davis
Smokey Robinson

For a clean, sharp look, you want a nicely pressed collar in order to avoid the ends sticking out in every direction. That’s why the button-down shirt became so popular amongst Mods. To avoid this fashion no-no, a few options are at your disposal. First is the pin-through. In many cases, the pin goes through holes in the collar but sometimes you just need to make your own by using the pin. 

Scan from The Modern Man catalog, a shop based on Carnaby Street in the 60s.

Your basic pin looks like a classier version of your average safety pin or a bar with two balls on each end. But with a little bit of research on-line or by visiting your friendly neighborhood thrift shop, you might find some more elaborate and upscale ones.

Ace Face Oliver Twist. Photo used with his permission. Photographer: Jackie Roman
The second option is the tab. Two small pieces of cloth will join in the middle and hook up using a small button or a snap-on button. This will insure that the collar is firmly pressed around your neck. 

Wearing a tie with a tab collar is the norm. You need it in order to cover the said tab. There is a downside to using a tab in my humble opinion. If you’re like me and like wearing very slim ties, the tab will sometimes show on either side of your knot. A minor detail that would be relevant only to the detail obsessed fashionista.
A stylish Ronnie Bird wearing a tab collar sans tie.
On a few occasion, you might come across a rounded collar that is actually buttoned-down. Take this funky example from DNA Groove for instance. You will be dressed to impress with its massive rounded collar, vibrant colors, attractive stripe pattern and a couple of buttons to make sure that the collar doesn’t curl up like a cheap spring-roller blind.

Another very clever take on the rounded collar is this prime example from burgeoning company Tuk Tuk. I bought this shirt unaware of its ingenious design. Well look at that! It’s a combination of a button-down and tab collar with all of it hidden from view.

If you like well adjusted, slim fit shirts with mod friendly patterns then you should definitely check out the Tuk Tuk website. Here’s your chance to judge their quality workmanship by entering the latest Parka Avenue contest. Up for grabs is this funky floral number (only available in large) and this great little pocket book / wallet.

The rules are simple. Send me an email stating that you want to enter the contest.  In a month, all the names will be entered in my very advanced Selectotron 2000.  Once I have pulled down a lever, pressed on a big red button and all the blinking lights and computerized beeps have stopped, a punch card will slide down a chute and the name of the winner will be revealed. Good luck!