Book review: Mods! By Richard Barnes

Mods! by Richard BarnesI had this book back in the day, shortly after it was published. It became my bible… a revelation, an eyeopener, source of information, and the definitive reference work when it came to solving arguments. I bought it from the sadly missed ‘Books, Bits & Bobs’ from Kingston-upon-Thames, a cavernous place that sold a vast array of pin badges, patches, books, comics, posters and all sorts of other ephemera… and they weren’t picky, the mod stuff was intermingled with the 2tone, punk and heavy metal patches. It was across one road from the cinema where I first saw Quadrophenia, and across another from Jack Brendon’s, the clothes shop that sold an unlikely mix of Mod and Teddy Boy gear.

But I digress. Back to the book. Firstly, it’s worth buying for the pictures alone. And there are a ton of them. In fact most of the 128 pages are pics. And they’re great. A lot have been reproduced over the years in various other formats, and all over the internet, but there’s nothing like having them together as a collection. And they close inspection! There’s a load of scooter pics, as well as clothing, hairstyle and music shots. There are also a fair few reprints from 60’s newspapers, lots about the the seaside battles of Brighton, Margate, Clacton and the like. The text is insightful and although the author, Richard Barnes, was by his own admission not a mod himself, he was at the heart of the scene and saw it happening all around him. In fact, being a slightly removed, dispassionate observer has probably made this a stronger, and less biased book.

To finish my story, this book became a part of my library in the early eighties. Much read, much loved. And then, in a clearout it ended up in a charity shop. Doh! So, for many years, I didn’t have it. And then, my lovely wife got me a copy for Christmas. Only then I realised how much I had missed it!

I know more that most, that being a Lambretta rider doesn’t automatically make you a mod, and you may even hate the tag. But you’ll more than likely have more than a passing interest in the scene. A scene that has not only become a integral part of British subculture, and cultural history… been at the root of many revivals over the years, and passed on essential elements to many youth cultures that have followed it. Do yourself a favour, and add this book to your library.
It doesn’t tell the whole story of Mod as a movement, and there are other books that deal with other aspects of the scene. But this book was the original, and as mods will know, the original is often the best.

Get it here on Amazon

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Gabicci Photoset

1377263758S32_Vintage_brochure_Page_01 1377263758S32_Vintage_brochure_Page_02 1377263758S32_Vintage_brochure_Page_03 1377263758S32_Vintage_brochure_Page_06 1377263758S32_Vintage_brochure_Page_09 1377263758S32_Vintage_brochure_Page_10 1377263758S32_Vintage_brochure_Page_14I posted the Gabicci video back in July, here’s a second bite of the cherry, featuring images from the brochure. I’ve stripped out the pictures of the cool, skinny model dudes in mod influenced gear, and focused on the scooters. Personally, my memories of Gabicci are not as a mod brand, back in the day, but as a premier “Casual” (with a capital C) knitwear brand, worn alongside Lyle&Scot, Fila, Ellese, Farah and Lacoste. But then again, Casuals were basically that generations incarnation of Mods. (Discuss… can of worms opened!). Anyway, it’s one of those labels I would have avoided just on ideological grounds. But they’ve got some pretty decent looking clobber there, so if I was a few years younger, and a few stone lighter I’d give them a whirl. Probably.

Anyway, the scooters are courtesy of the New Originals scooter club, and they look bloody brilliant.

If it’s your cup of bovril, check out the Gabicci website here.