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!


  1. Cool post pat! The amazing book "Your Face Here: British Cult Movies Since the Sixties" has a chapter on "Quadrophenia" that is quite unmerciful with a lot of the flubs in the film. BTW the guy in the photo of The Cross on the left is named Peter Hugo-Daly, he was in "Breaking Glass", "Absolute Beginners" and "Gang Of New York" (possibly many more I haven't seen).

  2. Hey mate, I was wondering if there's some regular venues in Montreal as I'll have to move there for a 2 year contract apparently.

    Re Quadrophenia: Good stuff, I just love the booklet with those 78'er kids.

    1. Welcome to Montreal! To answer your question, I DJ on a regular basis on Saturdays at the Mod Club night at Bar Blizzarts.

      To keep up to date on the city's Mod related events, I suggest you join the Parka Avenue Facebook page!/pages/Parka-Avenue-Living-as-a-Mod-in-the-21st-Century/135553979850246?fref=ts

      or the Modtreal Facebook page!/pages/Modtreal/162681370438383?fref=ts

      Get in contact once you are here and we will take care of you!

  3. I'd like to pose a question...

    Could a "Modern"- Quadrophenia film work today..?

    And why or why not?

    What would it be like..?

    Or is this hallowed ground not to be treaded on?

    1. Good question Erik! That's a tough one.

      Did you know that there was talk about a sequel? The author Peter Meadows wrote a book inspired by Quadrophenia that tells Jimmy's story after 1964.

      Have a look here:

      I also saw a 21st century American "Quadrophenia" type movie called We Are The Mods. It will never have the cult following Quadrophenia has but I actually enjoyed it. I did a post about it.

  4. The song's not bad actually - floating somewhere in time in-between The Specials and The Streets...

  5. I remember I went and bought the album the day it came out in September 1973. I played side 4 constantly for almost 2 years.

  6. But how does jimmy have the right key for the Vespa??

  7. When I saw the film at the time it looked a bit ridiculous, all the modern cars and shops in the background, and little details like the obvious late '70s spotlamps on Sting's Vespa.. All made it very hard to suspend my chronological disbelief.... I saw it again last year in 2014 though, and 1979 now looks very much like 1964!

  8. In 1979, I recall the hilarity in the cinema, when Jimmy is on his scooter on the Goldhawk road, with the high rise flats on the south side of Shepherds Bush Green behind him, and a Ford Capri car been driven beside him. A lot of late-70s incongruity for a film set in 1964 - still great though!

  9. Great article! When did the Quadrophenia film begin filming? Late 1978 or early 1979? Just curious.

    1. I don't have a precise answer for you. All I can tell you is that the film was released on September 14 1979 at the Toronto Film Festival.

  10. Jimmy doesn't necessarily use his Lambretta key to start Sting's Vespa. He has a whole bunch of keys on his keyring. Also look out for the disappearing windshield on the Vespa just before Jimmy sends it over the cliff. First it's there, then it's not, then it's there again.