For the first time since I started this blog, five years ago, I had to scrap a post and start over. The one I just fed to the paper shredder was meant to celebrate the 5th year anniversary of this wonderful adventure. It was pompous, self congratulatory and it simply wasn't me. You could argue that it was very "Mod" though.
Instead, what I should be doing, is simply thank all you loyal readers for your continuous support. Many of you are also an integral part of Parka Avenue's success and you should be acknowledged.
First, the We Are The Mods radio show. Warren Peace might be vilified for his views but I rarely met somebody as passionate about the scene and as supportive of all my endeavours. I love doing my Vintage Vinyl From The Vault segment and I hope to continue to introduce you to many more unknown 45s from my collection. I haven't run out yet! Penny Lane, co-host with Warren on We Are The Mods, is just as important. Her own show, Punks in Parkas, has been on the air for 10 years! She works tirelessly and her positive attitude is contagious.
The Mod Generation website is, in my opinion, by far the best resource to keep you abreast of everything that is happening in the Modern World. It's always a source of pride whenever one of my posts is featured on their online magazine Mod Scene Weekly.
I want to thank my friend DJ Lee Modern and DJ ParkLife for handing me over the reigns of my city's longest running weekly Mod night, The Mod Club. Currently in it's 8th year, I hope I'm a good steward of its legacy. Our new location, the Bar de Courcelle, is simply fantastic. I couldn't ask for better management and a more dynamic staff. I love these guys! That place is truly like a second home. It's packed every Saturday and the atmosphere is second to none. I only have one complaint. It needs more Mods!
My crew of regular guest DJs are like family. Napoleon 67 and DJ Shado are like brothers. They are true Mods in every sense of the word and have impeccable taste. Then, we have my Soul brother (in spirit and in music) DJ Ben Shulman. I owe half of my record collection to this guy. He's my record pimp and an encyclopedia of knowledge when it comes to Soul music. And he's only 21! Put us on stage together and we are the Sam & Dave of DJs. If any of you are visiting Montreal and want to spent a great Saturday night, get in touch with me and you'll get VIP treatment.
Speaking of DJs, I need to express my gratitude to all of you out there that had me over or have extended an invitation to guest DJ in your city. Ty Jesso and Sean Quinn at Soulelujah in Boston, Mike and Teddy at the TNT night in Washington, Garry at the Mod Club in Ottawa, Rob Fearless at Save Your Soul in Baltimore, Eric at the High Rollers Weekend in Las Vegas, Tom at the Secret Soul Club in Cleveland and Sir Eric Colin at MODchicago.
Enough with the love fest. Let's get serious for a minute. There's a reason why I entitled this post "I AM a Mod". That's because I am and I'm proud of it. I'm tired of people saying things like "I used to be a Mod" or "I affiliate myself with the movement but I'm not really one". Better yet "I don't like labels" or "I see myself as one but I don't like to call myself one". Stop that! You're either a Mod or you're not. There's no grey area. I've NEVER heard a Skinhead say: "I'm sort of a Skin." With them, it's clear as day. There's no ambiguity. There's no such thing as a part-time Skin.
Now, I don't expect my vision of Mod to be your own. That's what's great about being a Mod. It's a movement of self-expression and individuality. And don't let others dictate what the definition of Mod is for you. Not even me! But for Mod's sake, proclame it and stand proud!
I'm also tired of people complaining about the state of the contemporary Mod scene. We all know someone like that. "It was better back then", "The scene here is nothing like (insert part of the world here) !" or "They're are no good Mod / Soul / 60s night in the city" are comments I hear too often. Stop whining and do something about it! Get involved! The scene is only as good as the people that are part of it.
Write your own blog. Play in a band. If you don't know how to play an instrument, book a band and organize a night. Don't have time? Go out and see a local band. Visit your local record shop. Start a podcast. Put a scooter rally together. Too big of an undertaking? Support the nearest one. Join a scooter club. Start your own scooter club. Simply call your mates and go out for a scooter ride. Wear a suit. Put some effort in what you're wearing. But please, I beg you, stop bitching!
I don't have all the answers. But at least I try. Who knew that a 43 year old Mod from Montreal, Canada would write these words 5 years after he had started. English is not even my native tongue! If you have followed this blog for a number of years, you know one thing, I'll never dictate what Mod is or what it is supposed to be. You can make up your own mind about that. I aim to inspire, motivate and ignite passion.
So, my fellow Modernists, adorn proudly your finest suit, straddle that Lambretta and head for the nearest dance floor. Invade it and stake a claim to it. "I AM A MOD!" is your new war cry and I'm right beside you chanting it. "I am a Mod! I am a Mod! I AM... I AM... I AM A MOD!"