Living as a Mod in the 21st Century

Monday, November 19, 2018

A Mod's letter to America

Dear America,

I never thought that my generation would live through social changes the magnitude of the civil rights movement of the 60s or the protest over the Vietnam war. I'm a Mod who grew and florished during the Revival. I'm from the Generation X. Huge cultural shifts was not our thing. I remember when I was in high school, I wrote a poem for the local neighborhood newspaper advocating against the death penalty. The last time we executed someone in Canada was in 1962. What did I know? I guess I wrote the poem for you America.

One of the reasons that got me into Mod Culture was its stance against racism and its openess to other cultures. That's you America! Well, at least it was until recently. The Ivy League look, the penny loafer, the botton down shirt, Jazz, RnB, Soul, the M-51 parka, is all thanks to you. What would a Mod be without any of those iconic contributions?

What is happening to you America? As your neighbour to the North, I don't recognize you anymore. My parents have a home in Florida. You're part of the family! I feel like we are at a crossroad right now. I admire you too much simply to stay silent. This moment is a turning point for women, survivors of sexual assault, the dissavowed and minorities. There's an assault on simple decency and the truth. I implore you America. Don’t be on the wrong side of history. I was never part of any big marches, I can't recall protesting loudly against any significant cause. But now I feel I should.

Did you know that in 1966, twice as many Americans had an unfavourable opinion of Martin Luther King Jr as a favourable one? He was seen as a pariah and a disruptor by many. Virginia congressman William Tuck blamed King for his own murder, telling the House of Representatives that King “fomented discord and strife between the races … He who sows the seed of sin shall reap and harvest a whirlwind of evil.” A few months after the March on Washington, 59% of northern white Americans and 78% of southern white Americans disapproved “of actions Negroes have taken to obtain civil rights”. Witnessing the constant attacks on the free press, immigrants, women, Blacks, the LGBTQ community, Jews, Muslims, Latinos, the poor, I strugle to believe that society has evolved much since 1966.

I love my neighbours to the South. A few weeks ago, I visited you again and I found proof that the vast majority of your citizens are decent, welcoming, warm, open-minded people. I spent four days celebrating African-American culture by spinning, sharing, searching, digging for Soul records across 3 States plus the District of Colombia.

I didn't let the news of the day dampen my spirit because I was contiously surrounded by wonderful people. I have to thank Christine, the warm owner of Twilight Vintage Clothing in Troy, NY who opened her shop early, just for me. She’s the reason I looked sharp on Saturday night in DC. We definitely crossed the line from the boutique owner / client relationship right into the friendship zone.

A very rare piece of London based Biba wear.

Beautiful downtown Troy.

When I think of you America, I am reminded of those hip black dancers getting down while I was spinning at the Savoy Soul Club in Albany, New York.

I still have warm feelings of that moment I shared with that proud, joyful black matriarch that is the backbone of the best Soul Food restaurant in Baltimore, Ida B's Table. We actually said that we loved each other right before we left.
The few hours I spent in a secret storage locker making deals with Gary, one of the nicest record dealers I’ve met in a long time. I almost pissed in my pants after he dropped a few Yiddish bombs on us.

I will never forget that Lesbian couple making out to my records right in front of the turntables at Save Your Soul in Baltimore, a party filled with 300 people, held in the basement of a Lithuanian private club. 

Rob Macy in his element.
I have a smile when I think of that slightly intoxicated “fifty something” woman who came up to the DJ booth in Washington, DC to tell me that I reminded her of her favorite Beatle, Paul. Or Tariq, the barman of the Showtime Bar that is a close image of a young Eddie Murphy and has a cool factor of a 1000.

Speaking of being cool as a cucumber, I got to hang with 2 of the most talented female Soul / Garage DJs on the East Coast. I raise my headphones to you my sisters! Here’s to you Baby Alcatraz and Sally Round. I met the nicest people from a myriad of different cultures, age, religion, sexual orientation, men and women. We all got along and I felt welcomed everywhere.
DJ Baby Alcatraz doing her thing.
After spending quality time with my close friends Rob, Cailin, Robert, Sommer, Jonathan, Sun, Alyssa, Edward and Rachel, I realized that the US is in good hands. So go and have a long walk on that hill America, I’ll let you have a second go at it.