Essays

Sexy Sixties – The ‘Dolce Vita’ Effect

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Sexy Sixties

Sexy Sixties – Part 4, Chapter 1C – The ‘Dolce Vita’ Effect

Yes, that film. That actor cat. What’s his name? Marcello Mastroianni. Hmm. A bit ruthless, in the film. A bad-guy character, indeed. But – God – he’s smart as hell. Went to the movies three months ago and woke up the morning after with a strange feeling. A feeling that I had to dress, walk, behave and act like Mr. Mastroianni. Sure enough, he’s got that somewhat I was always looking for.

1960. “La Dolce Vita”, the new film of Federico Fellini, divides critics and public from day one, but is about to become both a classic and one of the most influential films ever. The film is formed by various episodes, all connected with the late 50s high-life in Rome.

Marcello Rubini is a journalist, writing gossip features but dreaming his immediate future as a proper writer. Life in the mid-late 50s Rome is made of chances and he’s always there to get them. He’s got to aim high, so he embarks in all those adventures that can shorten the distance between himself and his career. Hiring his photographer friend Paparazzo, to take pics of this blooming jet set, no place in and around Rome is too far for his ambitions.

Despite the producer De Laurentiis’ scepticism – he and Fellini argued about the choice of the main actor – La Dolce Vita earned a lot of money in the first two weeks of screening in Italian cinemas, and the sharp characters Marcello and Paparazzo (the latter eventually becoming a common name for any kind of gossip ruthless photographer) set the ethos and the aesthetics of a brand new young and modern man-about-town.

So, here we go. Marcello. Trying one of them well-tailored Italian suits. I have three of ‘em. Got the first one from a Soho spot, that man in his forties, how’s he called? Mario, I think. I popped there one day and told him “I’d like to look like Mastroianni. Can you make a good suit for me? I mean, the works”. And he went, with his very typical Southern Italy accent: “eh, I do wottya like, young man, but you gotta wait a week, so fulla bizinéss to do, diz days…”

And then, the following week I went there again for fittings. He took him sort of one month, which is not that quick, but – oh boy! What a result. I know my name ain’t Marcello, nor I am a fashionable Italian actor, but this is exactly the way I want to look like.

Can you imagine? Very few films have been so influential to early 60s Mod culture as La Dolce Vita. The very expression “Dolce Vita” became synonymous with “high life” and “jet set” , and eventually went to represent a new style for wool jumpers in Italy – dolcevita = turtleneck.


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Max Galli

Max Galli was born in Rome in 1969, the son of a photographer and a housewife. Illustrator, graphic designer and writer, he embraced the culture and the aesthetics of the Sixties more than two decades ago. Max published three novels, an anthology of short stories and four comic books, and contributed to several magazines ( "Storie", "Vintage", "Blue", "Misty Lane" and “EyePlug”). During the years he realized loads of illustrations, pin ups, record and cd covers and posters for Italian and European clubs and bands. He lived in London from 1998 to 2003, joining in the London Mod scene, from which he took inspiration for his work. His comic books “The Beatnix” and “The Adventures of Molly Jones” reached international success, especially in United Kingdom and USA.

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November 22, 2012 By : Category : Articles Essays Europe Fashion Film Front Page Inspiration Media Scene Style Tags:, , , , , , , ,
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Sexy Sixties -Those hedonistic Modernists (1959-1961)

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Sexy Sixties

Sexy Sixties – Chapter 1 Part B 

Those hedonistic Modernists (1959-1961)

The suit is a blue pinstripe model, made by that Italian tailor cat somewhere just behind Charing Cross Road. It looks good. Well, it looks damn right. It has three front pockets, plus one for the hanky, two eight inch side vents and it’s cut like a piece of art. It’s just perfect. Jean Paul Belmondo and Marcello Mastroianni couldn’t have desired anything better than that.

The owner of that suit – and many others – is a seventeen years old boy from Stepney Green. He works, of course, and his job is all about metal sheets to be folded and shaped. Not that it can be called “the best job in the world”, but it’s enough money to make him afford some very good clothes and fuel for his Lambretta Li 150. And some pills, too. “’Cause life’s gotta be brilliant. You have to be brilliant, mate”, he usually answers when someone asks him questions.

Meanwhile, he also invests his wages into the latest jazz imports from the US, exploring all those many microscopic Soho music shops. He spends a lot of his spare time looking at his image in the mirror, and – hey!, he likes a lot what he sees. He meets somewhere in the West End with a few other cats very much into the same music and lifestyle, but he doesn’t consider himself as part of a group. In fact, he’s an individual. He’s a Modernist.

Music and cinema started it all, in the 50s or maybe earlier. American GIs living in UK wanted jazz musicians to play for them. A bunch of sixteen years old boys, bored to death with the too understated, post war-ish national imagery, found themselves tasting a bit of that ‘modern jazz’ thing being imported. And they liked it. In the same time, French and Italian films added new ingredients to the cinema as a form of art, making British films look plain and unexciting, to say the least.

If we add to these two fundamental things a third, no less important one, the mass motorization, with the introduction of brilliantly designed Italian scooters, you should have a complete frame about our boy with the pinstripe suit, or about his attitude and lifestyle. “Being brilliant” as the opposite of “being plain”, “being dull”, “being a post-war number dressed in a boxy, badly cut jacket”. Or, in one word, “being square”.

All of a sudden these hedonistic teenagers didn’t want to be the average English boys anymore, they wanted to be American, French or Italian. And for the first time ever, they had enough money in their pockets to look smart, to buy imported records and to drive a very good looking scooter – a wheeled piece of the most desirable Italian design.

And the boy with the pinstripe suit irons the crease of his trousers to a sharp, razor-like finishing. A light-blue, tab collar shirt is waiting on a hanger, as the ice-white mac, ready to be worn.

“Just stick a good John Coltrane or Wayne Shorter on the record player, before I go. That will give me a kick”. It’s nine o’clock pm, and the night is there, just behind your flat’s door.

The night is yours and it’s full of new sensations.The gathering of a new kind of knights – the Modernists – will take place at the club, all night long.

You only need to read a book, to learn what’s the story. And this book can only be Colin McInnes’ “Absolute Beginners”. It’s all there.


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Max Galli

Max Galli was born in Rome in 1969, the son of a photographer and a housewife. Illustrator, graphic designer and writer, he embraced the culture and the aesthetics of the Sixties more than two decades ago. Max published three novels, an anthology of short stories and four comic books, and contributed to several magazines ( "Storie", "Vintage", "Blue", "Misty Lane" and “EyePlug”). During the years he realized loads of illustrations, pin ups, record and cd covers and posters for Italian and European clubs and bands. He lived in London from 1998 to 2003, joining in the London Mod scene, from which he took inspiration for his work. His comic books “The Beatnix” and “The Adventures of Molly Jones” reached international success, especially in United Kingdom and USA.

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August 8, 2012 By : Category : Articles Essays Europe Fashion Film Front Page Inspiration Media Scene Style Tags:, , ,
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The Age of Charm & Restlessness (Sexy Sixties: 1959-1961)

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Sexy Sixties

Sexy Sixties – Chapter 1 Part A

The Age of Charm and Restlessness (1959-1961) Girls of the ‘Nouvelle Vague’

The young man leaves the cinema with an expression of deep satisfaction printed on his face. The film he watched had very little to do with anything he had ever watched before. It was a French movie and it had that continental charm that wasn’t very common in British films. And that girl, the actress Jean Seberg… the girl with the very short hair. What a girl! And how cool she was!

He is aware that there’s gonna be something new in the very way he’ll perceive these new films. Because they ‘are’ new, aren’t they?

These French films talk about the present, about real problems, tormented and contemporary love stories. They’re not just ‘movies’. They are the changing.

Walking under the thick rain of a greyish London, the young man knows that things will never be the same again. He thinks he’s falling in love with Jean Seberg. Or maybe with some other actress he’d watched in some other French film? Was she Jeanne Moreau? Brigitte Bardot? Bernadette Lafont? Anna Karina? God! They all look so modern, so different… Their world is made of groundbreaking frames, striking whites and deep, very deep blacks.

They don’t just ‘play’ the part. They are the part, they mean, resume, represent, symbolise the part. They produce real emotions and create from nothing a brand new way of being sexy. Hands up who wouldn’t date Jean Seberg, the young man thinks, his post-War shoes completely soaked with water, sinking in a landscape made of brown puddles.

And who are these new directors? Truffaut, Malle, Godard, Chabrol… Their names sound rather exotic. Where are they from? Are they all French? And – above all – why are their films all so incredibly sharp?

The young man is going home. Probably he’d find his mum screaming at his dad: “where ‘ave ya been? You’ve ‘ad a couple, you did. Didn’t ya?” and probably his dad would answer “Well, leave me alone now, I’m dead tired!”.

Yeah, probably.

But one thing is for sure: he’s not going to have something like that planned for his life. He doesn’t want that. He wants Jean Seberg.

The young man is continuing to walk, his home now behind his shoulders. He can’t see what his mum and dad are saying. Are they arguing or something? His girlfriend’s house is a few yards away, a two-storey Victorian semi-detached. He thinks he’s going there.

Knock knock.

His girlfriend opens the door. She’s nothing special really. And she does look a bit too old fashioned, with those curly things coming down off her head. “Too bloody Shirley Templish!”, the young man thinks.

“Hi”, he says.

“Hi” she says.

“Know what?”, he says, “Get a new haircut, girl, time for a change!”.


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Max Galli

Max Galli was born in Rome in 1969, the son of a photographer and a housewife. Illustrator, graphic designer and writer, he embraced the culture and the aesthetics of the Sixties more than two decades ago. Max published three novels, an anthology of short stories and four comic books, and contributed to several magazines ( "Storie", "Vintage", "Blue", "Misty Lane" and “EyePlug”). During the years he realized loads of illustrations, pin ups, record and cd covers and posters for Italian and European clubs and bands. He lived in London from 1998 to 2003, joining in the London Mod scene, from which he took inspiration for his work. His comic books “The Beatnix” and “The Adventures of Molly Jones” reached international success, especially in United Kingdom and USA.

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May 22, 2012 By : Category : Articles Essays Europe Fashion Film Front Page Inspiration Scene Style Tags:, , ,
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The dual-dancefloor dilemma

Over the last decade weekenders that have been my favourites for a long time have suffered from the decreasing number of Mods attending these events for diverse reasons and there has been one remarkable reaction to this problem: Make it bigger – to make more people interested in the scene and possibly join it. Sounds nice, but does it work? Possibly in Spain, obviously in the UK. It doesn’t seem to work in Central Europe, though. It seems like most people over here prefer to enjoy whatever comes there way without wanting to commit themselves for a longer period, as commitment to them – so my guess – means limitation.

Now, as Modernism is very much about commitment it’s clear that we can’t count on those people to bring new life to our scene. They’ll be there for some time, maybe even dress up a bit, but sooner or later they’ll go another way, find their kicks somewhere else. What has the Mod scene to give them after some easy thrills of a tourist being in a new holiday resort for the very first time? Tourists know they’ll leave home after a fortnight or so, they’re not supposed to live in the resort for a few years or longer, so they try to have a hell of a good time and then they’re gone. And the next year they’ll spend their holidays somewhere else, of course. Why go to the same old resort again? You’ve been there anyway!

Yes, some people may stay on the scene, just like some tourists may decide to visit the same old resort year after year again. And yes, this is a valid argument when it comes to the question whether a mod event’s door policy should be rather strict or rather liberal. There’s always a chance that some people might feel so much attracted that they’ll at last commit themselves. And yes, this is why I would never denounce the idea of those really big events open for any kind of person interested in it. After all, we’d organised Beat-O-Mania back in the 9Ts, which was very much about this idea. Besides, once you’ve reached a certain number of guests it really does make sense to offer bigger venues and even different rooms, to sort of give back some kind of an intimate atmosphere you wouldn’t be able to experience in a big hall for 1,000 – 2,000 people.

There are quite some more reasons in favour of bigger events, at least from an organiser’s point of view: when you never try something new you might risk missing the party/all-nighter/weekender of your lives, and of course, all the big events started some time and were possibly not that successful at first, but as the organisers persevered the events became established and successful. Still, when you want to start a new weekender, it should offer something unique, e.g. more bands from far-away places, a compelling DJ line-up, a boat-cruise, a swimming-pool party, a headliner everyone’s always wanted to see.

Yet, thinking of the “standard” Mod-weekender, hardly anyone from abroad will bother to even consider coming, and even most people in your own country might let you down for the sake of their local party incidentally taking place at exactly that same weekend. Frankly speaking: why should you travel to a minor event knowing quite well that you can listen to the same music in your hometown every weekend in one or another club? Why should you travel there in times like these, when more and more people barely make ends meet?

So is there another solution to the problem, apart from making your do big?

There seems to be one: specialisation.

Separate the dancefloors. Set up a black dancefloor for anything from Jazz and R&B, via Soul to Ska and hope to attract many more people who like that sort of music, but hate anything that sounds white. And set up a strictly white dancefloor embracing Beat, Freakbeat, Psych, Prog and Funk-Rock (I’m still waiting for a Mod DJ to play early Mother’s Finest) for all those who really hate all of  that “lousy disco music”.

But what about those stupid old sods, I mean “Mods”, like me? Do I have to hop from room to room, always running the risk of missing the new killer number that’s being played in the other room right now? I always thought Mod is about picking out the truffles from a vast pool of yet undiscovered, unknown gems from the sixties, no matter if it’s black or white.  Isn’t Mod about expanding one’s horizon, not about narrowing it? Unfortunately, over the last few years I’ve had the funny feeling that more and more people voluntarily are in danger of limiting their scope.

Of course, predilections change, it’s inevitable, but why narrow down the choice so much? As for me, I love all those styles of Mod music, and I enjoy myself best when there’s variation on the dancefloor. A bit of this, a bit of that, and when I don’t feel in the mood to listen to or dance to this or that DJ, hey – time to go to the bar and have a nice drink and a chat.

But I’m really worried today that when you separate the dancefloors you start to separate the scene. This reminds me of HG Wells’ “Time Machine” – when you separate a group of people who’d lived in the same habitat for ages they will end up being complete aliens to each other – it’s just a matter of time.

And apart from that – what’s the lesson we teach those who attend a Mod do for the first time? What we show them is the following: there is not one scene, there are two scenes and each group doesn’t appreciate the other one very much. And you have to decide which side you are on.

I’m in constant anxiety these days that this might bright about the end of everything I’ve always found essential and worthwhile about the scene. To me this scene has never been narrow-minded and intolerant, quite the opposite. But by separating the scene at an event where the people should be “in one”, together, not separated, don’t we run the risk of generating more stereotyped thinking and breeding more narrow-mindedness?

Please understand that I’m just trying to throw in my five cents here, I do not intend to point my fingers at anyone on a moral level, I’m not trying to judge others. In fact I very, very much do appreciate all the hard work and the efforts made by all those folks around the globe trying to keep the scene alive by organising parties, clubs, all-nighters and weekenders, no matter how many different dancefloors they opt for. In the end a good party is a good party is a good party.

So this is just a (slightly provocative) attempt to start a discussion without wanting to generate bad feelings in anyone on the scene. I think our scene is grown-up enough to sensibly discuss controversial issues these days.

By the way: I’ll be attending Beat Bespoke 8 this year, and wouldn’t you know? I’d love to see the Poets AND Maxine Brown/The Pepperpots. Alas, they seem to play at the same time in different rooms.

So if you feel a breeze or a draught while you are in the one or the other room at Easter, or if you see a blurred shape for a split-second, who knows ….  that might be me trying to achieve the impossible: being in two rooms at the same time! Now that’s what I call a dual-dancefloor dilemma!


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Harry Vogel

I wish to apologize for my sloppiness and inaccuracy and would like to state that I have never been, am not and will never be the first, best, coolest or whatever-est Mod on this planet and do not intend to be or even arouse this impression. Those who know me do know that I couldn't care less about these things. Yes, there was a time when I was not a Mod and so of course you couldn't have met me at the *** (any place) *** (any year) do, but at least I still do attend a fair number every year. However, I've been on the scene for quite some time, have played in some not completely unknown bands such as Swinging London and The Heartbeats (both definitely NOT the first Mod Bands around), have written for and edited fanzines ever since 1984 (but I must admit that as far as I know the first Munich Modzine was edited by a guy named Joey Vogl), co-organized some weekenders, and had some occasional DJ spots (which I've given up in the meantime as from my point of view record prices have reached an absurd level and because I know darn well that there were, are and will be loads of better DJs on the scene). Did I do these things because I was desperately trying to get my fifteen minutes? You bet! When I was much younger I thought that sooner or later I'd have to leave the scene because I'd be too old, but as the years passed I realised (like so many of you) that I just couldn't live without my annual share of Modernism. Talking about music: I love all styles of Mod Music as I believe life is too short to voluntarily narrow my horizon. To quote producer Joe Meek: "If it sounds right, it is right"!

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March 9, 2012 By : Category : Articles Essays Front Page Music Tags:, ,
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High Times: Hamburg – Part 2

High Times: Hamburg – Part 2 ‘Journey into the 70’s’

Continued from ‘The Star Club and the Swing Kids’ (http://www.newuntouchables.com/nutsmag/?p=789)

… Anyway by the early 1960’s it wasn’t all about the Star-Club, of course. The Hamburg scene revolved around the Kaiserkeller, Indra and Top Ten way before the Star-Club opened its doors. Then came the Beer-Shop, Mambo, Holle, Wagabond and the Pacific Hotel, as well as the less popular clubs like Grannies, the Ice Cream Shop, Chugs, and Sacha’s. The Beatles also played at the Kaiserkeller and Top Ten Club. 60’s legends, the Monks, a band of G.I.s who were originally stationed near Frankfurt, were the ‘house band’ at the Top Ten Club all through 1965 and ‘66 and recorded a complete album plus three 45s before disbanding in the late 60’s and going back to the States. They were quite successful in the north of Germany but the south would have liked to hang them up on their nooses that were used as neckties in their black monk uniforms. But also in Hamburg they sure weren’t everybody’s darling. Tony Sheridan hated the Monks and never got tired of telling everyone the Monks were completely free of any talent. Luckily that didn’t stop them from gaining cult status. Sadly the band never became successful during their existence and were forced to play other songs by their record company, Polydor. The album was a total flop, the 45s sold poorly too and the band were made to play much more mainstream songs by their record company Polydor.

Of course there were plenty of local groups to be heard as well. The Rattles were probably the best known group from Hamburg at that time and there was constant rivalry between them and Berlin’s the Lords. The Rattles had a charismatic front man in Achim Reichel – a blonde guy that on stage looked like momma’s darling gone wild on amphetamines. After he left the band to serve in the army the Rattles lost their popularity and never really recovered. They continued to play and record songs but only had one last hit with ‘the Witch’ that was also covered by bands from the UK and USA. Achim Reichel and other members of the group had numerous side and solo projects like Wonderland, Herbet & Birgit or A.R. & Machines and drifted more and more into psychedelia and progressive rock.

Other great groups from the Hamburg area were the Blizzards who came from a small place called Stade just across the river Elbe. They formed in 1961 and during their career recorded some of the best Beat songs to come out of Germany. Their version of the Het cover “Hab keine Lust heut aufzustehn” is a classic and they also recorded great versions of Yardbirds songs in german along with brilliant self-penned tracks. Then there were the German Bonds who released the german mod anthem “We Are Out of Sight!” or the Bats of “Got a Girl” fame. The sheer number of bands that emerged around Hamburg in the 60s is well worth their own article that might follow in the future.

The year 1967 saw Hamburg’s first ‘official’ love-in with hippies handing out flowers to everyone in the middle of St. Pauli. By that time flower power had taken over quietly just like in London or New York and San Francisco. The Ones recorded their legendary psychedelic single “Lady Greengrass” for the Star-Club label and the Monks released their last piece of evidence on Polydor. John’s Children with Marc Bolan played at the Star Club on a stage that was decorated to its maximum with flowers of every kind. It was their self declared ‘Love & Peace’ gig that ended in a fist fight between some band members.

Jimi Hendrix played in Hamburg in 1968 and after his gig, everything changed. The Beat Boom was over. Psychedelia, Heavy and Progressive Rock were the new sounds of the day. People got tired of ‘old’ Rock’n’Roll like Elvis or Little Richard. Now the Stones, Beatles, Cream and Hendrix were ‘where it’s at’. Also the drugs changed from Coca Cola and sometimes Schnapps to pills, pot and acid. As Kuno Dreysse of the Star-Club band the Rivetts once said in an interview, “It all changed when the VIP’s arrived. Their Sound was different to all the others – more heavy and black. The singer Mike Harrison sounded more grounded than Ray Charles. But also their lifestyle was another. When you came to their room in the Pacific, there was always a big glass for candy in the shelf that was filled with Mandrax, Preludine, Purple Hearts, Romela, Cappies and so on. They took it to function during the daytime but also ‘tripped’ alot. They were the first to put me in contact with Pot or Acid.”

The trends were the same almost all over the globe and the music changed with it. The music became more ‘mind oriented’ and less dance friendly. People used to smoke joints during the concerts and sit down to relax and enjoy the music. Also the sales of drinks in the clubs were going down because everyone was already high or turned on some way or the other and when people got thirsty they simply drank water from the washing basins in the rest rooms. On the other hand the cost to have a band playing was going up more and more. The equipment got bigger, heavier and took more and more space. As a result the club owners had to calculate higher prices for the shows and therefore less people were coming.

So, one day our hero Klaus found himself in front of his favourite ‘Beatschuppen’ just to discover that his Club would have to close its doors forever on new year’s eve 1969/70. He took a long deep breath, fished a cigarette out of his pocket and let a few memories of the last years stream by. Then he walked up the Grosse Freiheit to the corner of Simon-Von-Utrecht Straße and went inside the building Grosse Freiheit 58. The Gruenspan had opened here in 68 and immedeately turned into the new ‘Hot Spot’. The outside of the house was decorated with great Pop-Art paintings by Hamburg based artists  Dieter Glasmacher and Werner Nöfer. Inside it was hippie heaven – brilliant sound system, Go-Go Girls in cages hung from the ceiling, a state of the art lightshow with effects, oil slides and stroboscope and everything else a psychedelic space ship needs for a life long trip through inner space and into the 1970s!


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Ben Jones

Born and raised in ‘Star Club City’ Hamburg, Germany in 1977. Got turned on to the sixties through listening to daddys Jefferson Airplane records. Graphic Designer and Illustrator. Dedicated record collector and DJ since the age of 15. Founder and resident DJ at the Hip Cat Club, Hamburgs prime 60s/Mod club night which is now in it's sixth year.

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March 9, 2012 By : Category : Articles Essays Europe Front Page Scene Tags:, , , ,
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Vespa Licence Story

‘Something has hit me, I’m outta my mind…’ To paraphrase Reggie King.  I was definitely out of my mind in retrospect. A worrying account of how things can change.

All was going well on that sunny June morning. Riding from South East London into the West End for work on the burgundy 1964 Vespa with the PX 150 engine that had been my pride and joy for a year or so at that point. Two up with the lady in pillion, us both sporting our open face helmets and period goggles.The middle of summer with the sun shining. It was a lovely ride indeed.  Embankment along the river, then up to Trafalgar Square. Smiles on our faces and not a care in the world. It wasn’t until we turned into The Mall in the direction of the Palace that the heart stopping moment occurred. Out of nowhere, a rozzer stepped into our trajectory and waved me vigorously into the layby area used once for the carriages of her majesty. This did not look good. The conversation went something like this:

Rozzer: Morning son. Please turn your engine off for me.

Me: Good morning Occifer how can I help?

Rozzer: (To soften us up). Enjoying the ride?…. Are your helmets both legal?

US: Yes of course *gulp* (both helmets were illegal however one of us at least had a kite mark/BS Mark showing it was at some stage legally approved for use in the UK)

Rozzer: Uh huh. And are those goggles you’re wearing road legal?

Me: Of course (I think the wording on the packaging was ‘for show and display use only’)

Rozzer: I see. What size engine is in your scooter?

Me: (the panic started to set in at this point) 150cc (could he check?)

Rozzer: Right and what motorcycle licence do you have at the moment?

Me: (feeling nails dig deep into my sides from my pillion passenger) err (time to come clean and face the music. ) C.B.T.

For those not aware, the law currently states that to ride on two wheels you have to you complete a day of ‘Compulsory Basic Training’ with a riding school both in a safe environment and on the roads. This will provide you with a certificate enabling you to ride anything on two wheels up to 125cc. It is valid for two years and used as a ‘provisional licence’ until you take your full test (this currently includes a theory, followed by a ‘track section displaying manoeuvres, then an on road competency section). Until you pass the full test you must display ‘L’ plates on the front and rear of your vehicle and you cannot take passengers. Also it’s worth noting that helmets pre 1985 are not actually road legal even if they display the British Standard mark aka kite mark.

Rozzer: I see. *walks around to the rear of the scooter and completes a full circle of the bike* (Then, after the worlds longest pause….) Nice scooter. Very nice mate. Ride on and enjoy your day.

About half a mile down the road I started to breathe again at around the same time I had realised that I had managed to blag my way out of a fine/impounded vehicle or potentially arrest and suspension of my provisional licence. My pillion passenger summed up the experience rather succinctly as is her way: ‘If ever there was a sign for you to take your bike licence that was it’.

 


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Nicky Bubbles

Nicky Bubbles was bitten by the bug as a young lad in Australia. With the sounds of Otis, Diana and Marvin in the background of his youth, it was a deep seeded passion for Tamla that helped propel him towards the Mod scene in his mid twenties. The love of scooters was also apparent from a relative obsessed with Vespas. This led to Nicky joining and subsequently taking over the reigns at Central London’s only dedicated geared scooter club as ‘El Presidente’- Bar Italia SC. Based in Soho, the spiritual home of the Mod/ern/ist, the club meet on sundays at the iconic all night coffee bar, drink some of London’s best ground blend, and plan/ride through Central London throughout the year, as well as collaborate with fellow clubs in the South East region. The club, now approaching it’s tenth year anniversary as an official club, has a heavy influence by the scene and represents the more sussed part of the scootering fraternity. All other clubs are welcome, as well as any solo riders, Mod or otherwise.

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February 6, 2012 By : Category : Cars and Scooters Essays Front Page Tags:, , ,
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What Is Mojo?

What Is Mojo? – If you’ve been too shy to ever ask.

It has been the subject of many a song and film in the 1960’s and beyond, but what is it? I took a trip to New Orleans to ask the Gypsy woman and find out for myself. I walked in to her shed way yonder in the bayou and there she sat with a crystal ball and what seemed to be detached chicken legs. I told her about my love troubles and she smiled as she handed me a bag and a wooden hand and said, “Have you ever heard of Love Potion #9? Come back if you ever have trouble again”. Of course, as she had suggested with her confident toothless smile (which was surprisingly sensuous) I never did go back and never did regret losing those 15 US$. Instead I began to feel a power beyond description, my feet began to sweep rather than trod, my worries metamorphosed into ideas, my sweat smelt of rare rose petals, my voice became thicker and more balanced – in short, I had my Mojo working.

Mojo is when you know nothing can stop you. It’s when you encounter a Victoria’s Secret Top Model and casually remind her of her hidden elektra complex.

It’s arrogant compassion.

When you instinctively yell at the big guy cutting the queue and he feels ashamed to have intruded upon your chivalrous territory.

It’s the alchemical transformation of inconvenience into elegance.

It’s the legislation of near future fashion. It’s light feet and a heavy soul. It’s an inexplicable synchronicity with your intuition.

Mojo is equivalence of form with the sinister powers that shape human thought. It is a world where ugliness does not compute in the game of seduction. It is the triumph of Soul over corruptible matter in the many dance floors of life.

As the perfect words flow out of your mouth from your soul without ever passing through your brain you create fantasies upon foreign ears.

As you effortlessly move from the many corners of the club and appear to be all places at the same time your mission is a mystery to the sea of curious eyes that worship your serenity. Yet when you grace the overwhelmed with sincere and nurturing conversation the veil is lifted and a trusted friend is revealed.

Mojo is hoodoo, voodoo, charms, spells and wishing wells encompassed into a heart of bold intentions and secular sincerity.

Speak to me if you ever need a ‘hand’. You’ll find out what Robert Johnson really did at the Crossroads.


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Eron Falbo - EDITOR

Brazilian polymath Eron Falbo came to London in 2009 after leaving his band ‘The Julians’ to pursue a solo career and become a cosmopolitician. Falbo began writing at the age of 11 for the school newspaper. By the age of 16 he had got his first job as a journalist. His experience in other magazines stretches from film critic to travel writer, passing through much but never leaving the culture spectrum. Apart from writing, Falbo is also an emerging singer. He was invited to record an album in one of the best studios in Nashville, Tennessee by none other than legendary producer Bob Johnston, who recorded the best material by the likes of Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, Leonard Cohen and Johnny Cash (all acclaimed writers). As of yet he’s only released one single, ‘Beat the Drums’ which was featured on Dermot O’Leary’s “Go Buy Monday” (single of the week) for BBC Radio 2, among other media. Currently, Falbo fronts the band ‘the Kyniks’ in venues in London and around the UK and can be occasionally spotted prowling the scene of the New Untouchables taking notes.

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February 6, 2012 By : Category : Articles Essays Front Page Tags:, ,
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Vintage or advantage?

Top image: ‘River Island’ resurrects 1960s fashion chain ‘Chelsea Girl’ with this “vintage” 1960s angel sleeve mini dress.

By Angie Smith @ HippieLongstocking Blog

The concept of wearing vintage clothing in conjunction with modern is a relatively new concept in the history of popular fashion. In fact the term “vintage” has been distorted in recent years to mean anything which has a retro vibe or has had the appearance of age added to it during manufacture. It can also mean reworked clothing; vintage clothing that has been altered significantly beyond the designer’s original concept to create an entirely new garment. But in truth the definition of vintage is a design or object which is 25 years or more in age. For example, you cannot call a new car a vintage car, nor a new wine vintage wine. So why is it acceptable to call new clothing vintage?


The original 1960s lace angel sleeve mini dress at a vintage fair. Sold by Victoria & Albert Vintage www.etsy.com/VicAndBertieVintage

 

Well for me personally it is not acceptable – there is a distinct difference between new and vintage and one has an entirely separate definition from the other. So why am I so passionate that this difference should be not only noted but adhered to?  I believe in the old adage “a place for everything and everything in its place” for a start and then there’s the historian in me that requires me to make a mental chronological catalogue of fashion trends – historic; vintage; contemporary.

It appears to me that the term “vintage” has been adopted by many high street retailers in order for them to cash in on the expanding trend of wearing vintage clothing. Many are faithfully reproducing a vintage garment and selling in all sizes in every store.  So much has the term “vintage” become distorted that should a public survey be carried out the majority would mostly reply “something that looks old”.

The origins of the vintage clothing trend stretch back to the mid 1960s when young people both in the UK and the USA began accessorising their trendy new boutique clothes with antique clothes and military uniforms bought in antique markets and army surplus stores. There had been strong historic influence in clothing before especially with the Teddy Boys of the 1950s with their Edwardian style jackets (hence the term “Teddy”) but wearing old clothes from past periods was not done to any notable degree before the mid 1960s.


Marianne Faithfull and Anita Pallenberg wearing new and vintage clothing in 1966.

 


1960s Mods searching through second-hand clothes in Portobello Antique Market before the term “vintage” was coined.

 


Portobello Market, London circa. 1968. Young girl tries on an old fur coat from one of the many antique clothing and military uniform dealers.

 

The boutique phenomenom of the 1960s brought about a change in attitude to dressing oneself. The youngsters of the day were not interested in being dictated to by the catwalks nor high street chains who sold either children’s clothes or adult’s clothes and the teen section tended to be a compromise between the two. It was in fact this lack of understanding of the youth market in the high street that led Mary Quant to design, make and sell her own clothes from her boutique Bazaar which she opened in 1955 on London’s King’s Road. However, it was not until the very early 60s that Quant’s designs began to take off and be noticed as a new direction in youth fashion.  Doubtless to say that Quant was the pioneer of youth fashions in the 60s but it was boutiques such as BIBA and Granny Takes a Trip, both run by their designer owners/proprietors, who first sold ‘second-hand’ clothing alongside their sharp new designs.


‘Granny Takes A Trip’ boutique circa 1966.

 


A young girl lounges in BIBA’s mock Art Nouveau window seat circa 1967.

 

The vintage trend waned by the early 70s with the exception of some small subcultures such as Rockers and Teddy Boys but came into popularity again in the late 70s with the Mod revival.  The Mod revival began around 1977 with newly made outfits inspired by original 1960s clothes but also the girls especially found it easy to source original 60s Mod clothing as it was only just being passed on to charity shops. But as the Mod revival became a purist cult its followers adopted the authentic 1960s Mod look and began to wear vintage 60s youth clothing to create an entire look in the same way as the Rockers and Teddy Boys had been doing before them. It was from this point on that the wearing of vintage clothing became mostly and entire historic look for many years because of the popularity of these three subcultures.


Mod revival band The Jam. Singer/songwriter Paul Weller (far left) was a principal figure in the Mod revival movement of the 70’s and 80’s.

 


1970s mod revival girl wears original 1960s “Op Art” rain mac.

 

In recent years we’ve seen a return to the 1960s attitude of mixing new and old styles together. This trend has been picked up on by high street retailers who have seen a way to cash in on this trend by producing “vintage inspired” collections of their own. The success of “vintage inspired” clothing is down to four main factors: there is no need to search for it through second hand sources; it is available in any size; it is in new condition; it can be bought at any and many outlets. Pure vintage on the other hand needs to be sourced in mainly small independent shops and comes as individual pieces in one size and in varying condition. My preference is always to choose pure vintage first for the individuality it gives to your look.

Away from the high street a strong interest in vintage clothing in its purist form exists and there are some excellent shops to supply the demand. By “purist” it is meant largely unadulterated clothing of an age of 25 years or more.  In London, where I have lived, worked and shopped all my life, there are some of the best purist vintage shops to be found.  Here are a few of my all-time favourites, all are well-established and reputable vintage clothing dealers:

Rellik –  8 Golborne Road London W10 5NW.  www.relliklondon.co.uk Fine vintage clothing and accessories from the 1950s onwards. Has an amazing collection of vintage Vivienne Westwood as well as other notable British designers such as Ossie Clark and other boutique labels.

The Girl Can’t Help It – Alfie’s Antique Market, 13-25 Church Street, London NW8 8DT.  www.thegirlcanthelpit.com  Amazing, well-established and very well stocked vintage shop specialising in mainly American clothing and accessories from the 1930s-1960s period.

What The Butler Wore – 131 Lower Marsh, London SE1. http://www.whatthebutlerwore.co.uk/  My favourite vintage clothing & accessories boutique.  Specialists in 60s and 70s clothing, shoes and accessories for men and women but also stock clothes from earlier periods.

Radio Days – 87 Lower Marsh, London SE1. http://www.radiodaysvintage.co.uk/  Just further up the road from What The Butler Wore this Art Deco style vintage shop stocks mainly 1930s-1950s clothing and accessories as well as magazines, homewares, collectables and memorabilia from the same period.

Retromania – 6 Upper Tachbrook Street London SW1V 1SH.  http://faracharityshops.org/site/shopsspecial.html Retromania is a vintage charity shop which is part of the FARA group of charity shops. Impressive clothing selection which covers all periods from Victorian to 1980s. They have a vintage homewares section in the basement for those looking to expand their vintage interest to lifestyle!


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admin

Pip! Pip! Are the Creative Business Engine behind various music based organisations of the cool underground variety. Providing angst, confusion, bewilderment and annoyance in equal amounts. We design/host/manage great sites like this one! Why not hire us one day soon?

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January 28, 2012 By : Category : Articles Essays Fashion Front Page Listings Picks Scene Style UK Tags:, ,
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Clubs and Bands of California

Within the sunshine way of life here in California lies a thriving Mod/60’s scene. Do you and your friends in the scene wonder what it’s like to be a mod here? Well put on your sunglasses, grab a Corona and join me for a little sightseeing.

It is all on a smaller scale than in Europe but there is a pretty exciting and ever growing Mod/60’s scene here in California, made up of people who are into all kinds of different shades in the spectrum of the scene, from swirly to soulie, to revivalist and all the shades in between, with lots of bands and clubs that cater to the different varieties and interests within. The mentality and approach to it is a bit different to Europe in ways I can’t explain, but that’s probably down to local cultural more than anything. No matter what shade of Mod/60’s you are into, there are pretty good clubs here that cater to all of the various parts of the entire mod spectrum.

The music scene in California is pretty awesome. We are host to a number of great shows, clubs and bands. There are hundreds of great bands here, it would be impossible to tell you about them all so I’ll just let you know about a few of my favorites. From San Francisco one of the greatest new bands I’ve seen has to be the soul shouters Nick Waterhouse and the Tarots complete with full horn section and beautiful female backing singers, really authentic stuff! Bart Davenport is also really excellent and from time to time his old band The Loved Ones get together again for one off shows – always worth seeing.  Further east in Sacramento are pure ‘66 garage punk band The’ Loosin Streaks. On more of a hazy swirly psychedelic tip is Los Angeles group the Allah-Las, kind of a wild-west meets Aldous Huxley sound. Going further South to San Diego, the home to a legendary group fronted by Mike & Anja Stax, The Loons, along with psychedelic sensations Silver Sunshine. Lastly a shameless plug for your humble scribe’s own group, The Swarm, who have been buzzing around the Sunset Strip and beyond stinging people with our sonic wall of fuzz.

Most of the Mod/60’s clubs in California are in L. A., and there are constantly new ones popping up. Here’s a listing of a few off the top of my head, The Bullet (Hollywood), Soulside (Santa Monica), Romper Stomper (Hollywood), International Beat Club (L. A.), Spinout (L. A.), Psychotonic (Los Feliz), Mods vs. Rockers (Costa Mesa), Secret Affair (Long Beach), Curreation (LA), Long Beach Sound Society (Long Beach), Trojan Lounge (Santa Monica), Downtown Soul (Santa Ana), Chit Chat Club (L. A.), Funky Sole (Echo Park), and my own club that I run with Jackie Hoodoo, Blackeyed Soul Club. There may possibly be others but the ones I know about in San Francisco are 1964, Oldies Night, Club Phonogram & Tailor Made. There used to be an amazing club there called Diabolik, but sadly that is gone now.


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Jason Ringgold

I’ve been DJ’ing on the Mod/6Ts scene about 12 years now. I moved to London in 1996 where I would live for the next 5 years. In 1997, I was asked to help him co-found the New Untouchables. In late 2001 I moved back to the States landing in San Francisco where I would live for another 5 years doing guest DJ spots at the infamous Diabolik and often travelling to LA to spin at Club-Au-Go-Go and other clubs there. Most recently, I co-founded the Blackeyed Soul Club, along with Jackie Hoodoo. We both share in promoting and running the club along with being the resident DJ’s. Prior to the Blackeyed Soul Club I did a club in Hollywood with Lord Albert, called Pandora's Box. I've DJ’d at are the Euro YeYe (Gijon, Spain), Modstock (London), ModChicago, 6699 (San Diego, CA) & Stateside Satisfaction (San Francisco, CA). I also play bass in a Los Angeles based garage/psych group called The Swarm.

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January 28, 2012 By : Category : Articles Essays Front Page Scene USA Tags:, , , ,
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Scooter Choice – Nicky Bubbles

Being a lover of classic scooters for such a long period of my life, I had always aspired to one day own what I perceived to be the best scooter of all. The Vespa GS160. Having worked my way along the Vespa chain for a good few years to end up with a fantastic professionally restored burgundy VBB with 10 inch wheel conversion (thanks to a certain reputable North London dealership), I decided that, with my 30’s fast approaching, it was perhaps time to bite the bullet and trade up to that dream scooter. As luck would have it, I managed to tick the box in a short period of time. However, as it was effectively found propped up in a mate’s garage, it raised a question in my mind that I know is pondered by so many fellow/potential scooter riders on the scene: what sort of condition should/would you opt for when owning a classic scooter?

Let’s look at the options here. The first one, and to be fair the most popular through the years, is to fully restore the scooter to it’s ‘original glory’. This means (hopefully) finding someone, if not yourself, skilled enough to strip and rebuild an engine, as well as someone to paint the bike. Now, here’s where us peacocks will tend to deviate from the standard and opt for ‘off spec’ colours which can look fantastic and will certainly gain the attention it deserves as it parades, rider in charge, along the promenade. This is great and is wonderful to see people’s imaginations dictate the final aesthetic. Queue the Brighton Rideout trophy judges….

The next option, and perhaps not sitting so well with a few I’m sure, is the ‘original condition’ scooter. This is where my aforementioned comes into the picture. Finding something that is either a ‘barn find’ or ‘daily rider never touched’ is becoming more and more of a rarity these days. Especially when you bring into the equation the provenance (original log book and number plate). Yes, I will admit the above paragraph fits neatly into reason but there are also people realising that these hairdryers we adore are in fact worth more with the scratches, paint flaking and hand painted names/numbers on the panels from the 60’s. A condition that, once restored, will never be present on the scooter again.

I found that the ‘patina’ on my scooter immediately set it apart from other GS’s and, while not perhaps the most eye-catching in a parade, did certainly gain a few nods or comments of recognition along the way. Most citing a certain book published by Richard Barnes…

Still, using the machine on a daily basis with an original engine (10000 miles in total) meant not being too precious about the overall condition as, after all, they were designed to be ridden!

Another option that is again increasing in popularity is the ‘Rusteration’. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it does what it says on the tin. Find a scooter, no matter the condition (usually fairly well preserved original condition scooters). Then degenerately restore it, if that makes sense. Add your own patina to it. Rub the paint off and leave to oxidise until some rust appears. Hand paint the panels with a brush really badly… effectively knacker the scooter. Usually most decide to then add a racing type engine which in my mind only adds to the comedy value when you decide to ‘race for pink slips’ with that chap on one at the lights…

As you can see, I am slightly biased with my comments here. Having owned scooters from the first two categories, I can say that I have immensely enjoyed them regardless of the condition.  However, with prices quite high against the current climate, it is perhaps a question more people will ponder when it comes to the winter scooter purchase. Concours restoration is time and wonga in a big way but ultimately your personalised scooter to cherish for many years. Ride the original find and you can, if you’re not careful, end up spending a lot of money just keeping it on the road but the benefit of having an unmolested machine straight out of a time warp can have its advantages.  Rusteration: Spending money to make it look like an original condition scooter? Hmmm..


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Nicky Bubbles

Nicky Bubbles was bitten by the bug as a young lad in Australia. With the sounds of Otis, Diana and Marvin in the background of his youth, it was a deep seeded passion for Tamla that helped propel him towards the Mod scene in his mid twenties. The love of scooters was also apparent from a relative obsessed with Vespas. This led to Nicky joining and subsequently taking over the reigns at Central London’s only dedicated geared scooter club as ‘El Presidente’- Bar Italia SC. Based in Soho, the spiritual home of the Mod/ern/ist, the club meet on sundays at the iconic all night coffee bar, drink some of London’s best ground blend, and plan/ride through Central London throughout the year, as well as collaborate with fellow clubs in the South East region. The club, now approaching it’s tenth year anniversary as an official club, has a heavy influence by the scene and represents the more sussed part of the scootering fraternity. All other clubs are welcome, as well as any solo riders, Mod or otherwise.

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January 27, 2012 By : Category : Articles Essays Front Page Objects Style Tags:, , ,
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High Times: Hamburg – Part 1

Part 1:  ‘The Star Club and the Swing Kids’

Klaus was on his way home when he saw something that would change his life forever, as it would so many other teenagers and young folk in 1960’s Germany – if not Europe or even the whole world. He saw a poster that someone had put on a wall near his work place in Hamburg, Germany – a bright orange advertisement with black letters that read: “Die Not hat ein Ende! Die Zeit der Dorfmusik ist vorbei!” (Misery has ended! The times of village music are over!). It was an invitation to the opening of what would become the world famous Star Club in Hamburg, St. Pauli. The event was scheduled for Friday, 13 April 1962 and the line up of bands included the young Beatles.

For many this night marked the beginning – Hamburg as the birthplace – of the so called “Beat Boom” that shook the European continent throughout the early and mid-to-late sixties. For good reason, others see the beginnings in the Cavern Club in Liverpool. Maybe the ‘boom’ was born from both clubs, though it’s hard to say which one would be father and which would be mother. Fact is that many of the later famous bands from Liverpool or London were going through a hard school in Hamburg before making it big anywhere else. In Hamburg they had to play in the night clubs for hours on end, resulting in development of their technical skills as well as their experience of playing to fairly big and sometimes very rude audiences.

The Beatles had already played their first gigs in Hamburg about two years earlier, in 1960 at the still existing Indra Club, which is located just a few meters up the street from where the Star Club had been. Gerry & the Pacemakers and King Size Taylor were among the first bands to play at the Star Club. The Remo Four, the Hi-Fi’s, Ian & the Zodiacs, the Spencer Davis Group and many more followed suit, and some even stayed for years. Tony Sheridan was already stranded in Hamburg at that time. Graham Sclater (organist of the Manchester Playboys) stayed till the late 70’s and worked with a lot of German musicians. Another Group that first came to Hamburg in ’65 and stayed there for longer were the VIP’s who evolved into Spooky Tooth two years later. The Pretty Things released almost all of their early singles in Germany on the Star Club label. The list could go on till New Years Eve!

But the Star Club wasn’t the only or first “beatschuppen” (beat shack) in town. Hamburg always had a thriving music scene, especially in and around St. Pauli and the harbour. There sailors and immigrants used to bring with them the ‘latest’ sounds of their native homelands and played them in the pubs, varietés and strip theaters. Hans Albers glorifies St. Pauli with a few songs in the movie “Große Freiheit Nr. 7″ in 1943. The movie was censored by the Nazi regime and wasn’t screened in Germany until after 1945. Before and during World War II Hamburg had a huge ‘swing & jive scene’ whose parallel was only to be found in Berlin and operated, of course, completely underground. In those days hearing or (even worse) organising dances with ‘negermusik” (black music) meant to risk imprisonment or even deportation to concentration camps and therefore your life! But kids of the “swing jugend” (swing youth) even dared to dress in the style of the hipsters and had their own slang. The latter not only because they tried to imitate their idols from the USA but to be used as coded language that the Gestapo and Nazis couldn’t understand. One surviving member of the original ‘swing kids’ is still DJ-ing for todays cool cats and older folk once or twice a year with his massive collection of original swing and jazz 78’s.

In the 50’s and early 60’s, Palette, in the still destroyed center of Hamburg, was the essential hangout for ‘Exis’ or ‘Existentialists’, who were more or less a mix between Beatniks and Mods (Picture: Hamburg 1962 / Fotografie Heute 1962). The Palette was more like a pub, but maybe with the first jukebox in Hamburg playing records by Elvis or Cool Jazz and French Chansons. The crowd was a bizarre mix of art students, gangsters, dropouts, bohemians and sometimes the motorcycle rockers from another Pub next door. The first ‘happenings’ were held here, with young authors and poets like Hubert Fichte who used to read or improvise lyrics to Jazz music just like the Beats in San Francisco. One of his readings exists on a rare LP but ironically the reading and recording took place at the Star Club. The Star Club became so famous that the owners Horst Fascher and Manfred Weissleder were able to start their own record label (Star Club Records), their own magazine (Star-Club News) and also a franchise of other Star Clubs in other German cities.

To be continued on the next issue of NUTs Mag…


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Ben Jones

Born and raised in ‘Star Club City’ Hamburg, Germany in 1977. Got turned on to the sixties through listening to daddys Jefferson Airplane records. Graphic Designer and Illustrator. Dedicated record collector and DJ since the age of 15. Founder and resident DJ at the Hip Cat Club, Hamburgs prime 60s/Mod club night which is now in it's sixth year.

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January 27, 2012 By : Category : Articles Essays Europe Front Page Tags:, , , ,
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Sexy Sixties – Prologue

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Sexy Sixties

The man is walking along the corridor. His expression shows anything but happiness, yet he goes on head strong with a light, almost imperceptible grin on his face. It is not the first time he’s looking at those walls. They’re quite familiar to him; many a time he’s been judged and condemned in that very place. But he’s not concerned about things to come. Not at all. It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last. The faces of the two guards at his side are indifferent, controlled by years of routine.

“Let the culprit in” – a voice says.

The trial begins.

The corpus delicti is an illustrated magazine, “Folies de Paris et de Hollywood”. It sells very well but some issues are blocked and seized by the police. Needless to say, it’s not the usual magazine that middle class families like to be found at their homes.

Less than fifty minutes later, the defendant is charged with several crimes, all connected with the word ‘decency’.

The year is 1957 and the place is Paris. The man is taken away from the court and arrested but he knows he’s going to be out of jail within three weeks. As a photographer, he considers himself an artist. Taking pictures of naked women – completely naked – is part of his art, part of his talent. How can they expect him to stop using his talent just because they deem it ‘offensive’ to public morality? It’s never going to happen, of course.

The problem is that we are in the Fifties and showing pubic hair in a nude picture is considered a proper crime, according to French law – especially when a lot of the girls depicted look so much more like typical girls-next-door than actual experienced models. This is totally intolerable to the bourgeoisie of Paris, a city ironically well known for decades of licentiousness.

The man grins, thinking about himself appearing in the papers, often described as a ‘subversive’, while his hands are soaked in the photo-processing liquid, lifting the paper from one basin to another and contemplating the images emerging from the white.

Another set of pics, another girl, another issue of “Folies” ready to be printed with its sexy contents. And – probably – another charge with offence to public morality. There’s nothing he can do about it: he loves women and he loves the way he can celebrate their beauty through his very own vision of sexiness – a sexiness often blatantly exhibited but also ironic, suggestive, sometimes even poetic. From time to time he also becomes the subject of his shots, being photographed with his models.

The photographer produces a huge quantity of pics during the years, out of the Fifties, straight into the Sixties, Seventies and so on, a true, original agent provocateur of sensuality, establishing – very much like Russ Meyer – a new direction for erotic imagination. As times get more tolerant, he finds himself less involved with courts and judges – a sort of victory, we’d say.

            Is this the end of the story?

            No, it’s just the beginning.

            And, by the way, did I not mention the man’s name?

            Serge Jacques.


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Max Galli

Max Galli was born in Rome in 1969, the son of a photographer and a housewife. Illustrator, graphic designer and writer, he embraced the culture and the aesthetics of the Sixties more than two decades ago. Max published three novels, an anthology of short stories and four comic books, and contributed to several magazines ( "Storie", "Vintage", "Blue", "Misty Lane" and “EyePlug”). During the years he realized loads of illustrations, pin ups, record and cd covers and posters for Italian and European clubs and bands. He lived in London from 1998 to 2003, joining in the London Mod scene, from which he took inspiration for his work. His comic books “The Beatnix” and “The Adventures of Molly Jones” reached international success, especially in United Kingdom and USA.

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January 26, 2012 By : Category : Articles Essays Front Page Inspiration Literature Style Tags:, , ,
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Option Paralysis – Harry Vogel

‘The tendency, when given unlimited choices, to make none ’  
D. Coupland 1989

It’s not that I’m a huge Douglas Coupland fan, nor do I approve of all those attempts to find a label for a whole generation. Of course, I could be considered a part of “Generation X“, “The Lost Generation“, “Generation Pop“, you name it. Yet, oversimplifications have never been my cup of tea (unless we’re talking about football of course).

However, I feel that what Coupland called “Option Paralysis” in 1989 somehow hits the nail on the head. Confronted with a plethora of possible choices of contemporary pop music from all parts of this little planet, in the end more and more people seem to prefer to choose none at all – or everything. Living in a world of unlimited choices (thanks to the internet) seems to blur the notion of a freedom of choice. In the end you either take it for granted or do not even realize there are choices and simply consume whatever comes along.

These days pop is everywhere and everything is pop. The next big thing is already lurking somewhere in a corner waiting for its mission, for the moment when the consumers of contemporary pop music are bored by xxx and are eager for a new shade of grey. Names, styles, bands and artists do no longer make a difference to consumers, even if we’re told the respective products always have that special extra something. Have they? Well, ketchup is ketchup, no matter in which supermarket you buy it.

What am I aiming at? Well, in the 7T’s or 8T’s the average record collection of a 14-year-old was rather limited, due to a rather limited supply (at least in Germany), little pocket money and a lack of information. Today, digitalisation and globalisation enable 10-year-olds to compete as regards their mp3 collections, and we’re not talking about the average 1980s teenager’s 50 LPs and 37 singles, we’re taking about “I’ve got 15 GB of mp3s, what about you?“ 15 GB, that’s maybe about 5000 songs, 250 hours of music, 10 1/2 days music nonstop. How important is an individual artist or band in a mass of music like this? Do you remember the very first mp3 a friend gave you just like I remember the very first 45 I bought?

Music has become a functional minor matter, ubiquitous ambient noise, muzak. What’s the difference between a song that’s used in a commercial and the music that’s played in a supermarket? It seems that pop music in the 21st century has become a lubricant of everyday life, it is no longer emphatically absorbed. It has lost its function to express ideas, define personalities, create a universe of its own.

And this is exactly why I’ve spent most of my life in this funny little subculture of ours. The Mod Scene is where I meet people who still have a clue about music. Not just “mod“ music (whatever that may be), but any kind of music. Quite contrary to all the clichés about mods I have found out that lots of people on the scene listen to so many diverse types of music and are far from limiting themselves in any respect. They seem to follow 6Ts producer Joe Meek’s slogan: “If it sounds right, it is right!“.

So while my colleagues’ so-called CD-collections are rather dull, depressing affairs that only seem to either signal “I’ve got no clue“ or “I hate music“, it is ever so nice to find out what gems someone you meet at a Mod do has at home apart from the obvious mod-related stuff. I guess this is what I love so much about the scene: we seem to know when it’s time to focus on a special style (I want 6T’s music at a Mod do and nothing else), yet we’re open-minded enough to listen to anything, no matter how old or new it is, as long as it is interesting, inspiring, funny, weird, awkward, sublime. So yes, I went to see Kraftwerk recently, just like I danced at the Specials’ gig in Munich. I talked to friends on the scene about my love for a band called Devo while browsing a sales box of Northern Soul. I love to hear about a Roddy Frame gig while grooving to some Psych on the Bad Breisig party boat. If you ask me, mods are the most broad-minded people around today, simply because they don’t suffer from option paralysis!


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Harry Vogel

I wish to apologize for my sloppiness and inaccuracy and would like to state that I have never been, am not and will never be the first, best, coolest or whatever-est Mod on this planet and do not intend to be or even arouse this impression. Those who know me do know that I couldn't care less about these things. Yes, there was a time when I was not a Mod and so of course you couldn't have met me at the *** (any place) *** (any year) do, but at least I still do attend a fair number every year. However, I've been on the scene for quite some time, have played in some not completely unknown bands such as Swinging London and The Heartbeats (both definitely NOT the first Mod Bands around), have written for and edited fanzines ever since 1984 (but I must admit that as far as I know the first Munich Modzine was edited by a guy named Joey Vogl), co-organized some weekenders, and had some occasional DJ spots (which I've given up in the meantime as from my point of view record prices have reached an absurd level and because I know darn well that there were, are and will be loads of better DJs on the scene). Did I do these things because I was desperately trying to get my fifteen minutes? You bet! When I was much younger I thought that sooner or later I'd have to leave the scene because I'd be too old, but as the years passed I realised (like so many of you) that I just couldn't live without my annual share of Modernism. Talking about music: I love all styles of Mod Music as I believe life is too short to voluntarily narrow my horizon. To quote producer Joe Meek: "If it sounds right, it is right"!

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January 24, 2012 By : Category : Articles Essays Europe Front Page Inspiration Literature Media Tags:, , ,
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Contemporary Walls of Troy

Part One: Psychedelic Conundrum – By Eron Falbo

As time elapses and the threads of History unfold, paradigms shift, turning inside out. The Fates weave a colourful garment as we attempt to focus a now expressionist painting of our moral standards. Concepts that were once immutable flags waved by the proudest expectations are now but ashes in an assembly line of Phoenixes. We awake as if from a dream and pretend that we will not awake again. Our obsessions over the past are the architects of an unrecognisable dystopian future. How will we end the recurrent crisis of our hedonistic mania? Who will survive the torrents of hatred? Who’s bloodline is the purest? Who has a right to receive the pleasures of the Earth alone? I ask my faithful reader to consider rather who takes pleasure in receiving alone at all. In our collective future this is what we must ponder and this is what this column is about – the walls that we create of finer and finer material, until, it seems, inevitably, the quantum barriers of the atom are all that will remain between us. What seems to be impossible is an enigma that will soon become our second nature and this humble column only claims the object of any other column in world – to provide a foundation for the construction of our shelters.

Contemporary Walls of Troy

We open our digital pages with Troy, a city of wonder and mystery for man since, as far as historians can tell, circa 800 BCE (the current educated guess about when Homer may have tread). Thus. it seems, we have been attempting to break down her walls with our horse for nearly 3000 years (at least). Yet it must still stand because Odysseus has clearly not left the front. Yes, faithful reader, the walls of Troy stand proud and I will show you where.

Many new age geeks insist on calling Scientists and the consumerist common man ‘materialist’. I, on the other hand, insist that we are all Scientists and consumerists and what some shallowly inspired persons really wish to say is that some among us prefer a less insightful view of the Universe than others. This, perhaps, is because each time we expand our view we must arm ourselves with more knowledge of how to deal with the ‘slings and arrows’ of an expanding Universe’s ‘outrageous fortune’. In consequence of this most natural fear many archaeologists have attempted to locate Troy amongst the rubble of geological Turkey and its neighbours (I believe we are now in Troy failure VII). So as a Scientist I shall begin by creating a hypothesis of an experience that clearly lies before us.  When we are satisfied that my hypothesis lies true for at least the current situation I will then correlate it with other instances and we shall agree to keep a watchful eye for its replicas in the future.  Mind you, faithful reader, that as any Scientist I take the risk of being Aristotle and claiming that a turntable will fall faster than its needle only to be ridiculed by some later Galileo.  So let all Scientific theorems be as the columns of Troy, waiting to be demolished.

Here is our thesis: With the events of the Illiad Homer presents an image of a distant future and not of a recent past and we can all see Homer’s stories with our own eyes. For who would argue that 3000 years later we do not see the world at war, creating leagues that are knocking down walls one by one driven by unconscious forces seeking to give access of the beauty of the Earth to all its sons? Do we not see an Europe that was once impenetrable to itself picking one an other up from the financial crises that emerge from its less decent past? Cannot an Italian national live in London and write these words for you, an experienced foreigner yourself? And so like any careless man would, Paris falls in love with the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen. But Paris wants all of her beauty for himself, so he seduces her and secures her behind the walls of Troy. What are we to do about that, friends? It is natural that one should wage war against the man who stole beauty from his brother. Even in the dance floor we see friends protecting each other’s lovers as if they were their own with their evil eyes trailing the inconvenient drunken seducers. How can we bare testimony to beauty if she is trapped behind impenetrable walls?

The fact is we build bullet trains and sonic aeroplanes in order to witness beauty quicker and more regularly and not as the materialistic pessimist will have you think, to cash cheques. Indeed, we cash cheques in order to witness beauty and not because we are hypnotised by some hardly ‘Swiss’ banking cartel. Indeed anyone who hypnotises at all would only be taking advantage of a natural necessity to witness beauty, a condition that all of us are willing victims of. So how can the Achaeans (what is vulgarly known as Greeks) be any different and allow Helen to be taken from them and trapped behind a wall?

If America and Britannia’s illegal wars are twittering Mubarak and Gaddafi into submission perhaps one day our children’s children will have a passport with only their own names on it, only their own flags and a photo of a sphere that we can all see in our dreams. That is this month’s ‘Psychedelic Conundrum’. The blind prophet is not the blind historian. Homer spoke of a time when the walls of Troy would fall and Odysseus could finally return to where he belongs. We belong in a world without the silly walls of exclusive glorified ‘cults’, fascist scientific opinion or insecure peer-pressured fashion trends. So instead of following Agamemnon faintheartedly or asking pious Priam to not lend ears to his high-priests, we Odysseans must simply pray that Achilles joins our cause more quickly.


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Eron Falbo - EDITOR

Brazilian polymath Eron Falbo came to London in 2009 after leaving his band ‘The Julians’ to pursue a solo career and become a cosmopolitician. Falbo began writing at the age of 11 for the school newspaper. By the age of 16 he had got his first job as a journalist. His experience in other magazines stretches from film critic to travel writer, passing through much but never leaving the culture spectrum. Apart from writing, Falbo is also an emerging singer. He was invited to record an album in one of the best studios in Nashville, Tennessee by none other than legendary producer Bob Johnston, who recorded the best material by the likes of Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, Leonard Cohen and Johnny Cash (all acclaimed writers). As of yet he’s only released one single, ‘Beat the Drums’ which was featured on Dermot O’Leary’s “Go Buy Monday” (single of the week) for BBC Radio 2, among other media. Currently, Falbo fronts the band ‘the Kyniks’ in venues in London and around the UK and can be occasionally spotted prowling the scene of the New Untouchables taking notes.

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January 23, 2012 By : Category : Articles Essays Front Page Literature Media Tags:, , , ,
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