Book & Mags Reviews – Aug 2012

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series Book Reviews

Midnight To Six Man – Max Galli

Illustrations and thoughts about the Mod Scene from our very own Max Galli who will premiere drawings from this exhibition at www.euroyeye.es in Gijon between 16 July and 19 August at Cleo Modern & Vintage Clothing, C/Antonio 14, Gijon, Spain. Thirty four black and white modernist inspired illustrations included in this book from the hand of Max appropriately entitled ‘Midnight To Six’. The content is usually beautiful ladies, sometimes with the guys, on scooters or inside club’s where you find most self respecting Mod’s and always dressed sharp. Influenced by his father who was a keen photographer this labour of love features drawings inspired by fellow scenesters who Max met on his journey starting in London back in 1999. The attention to detail makes this a must buy for those who collect modernist inspired paintings or books. You can reach Max here www.maxgalli.net and follow the adventures of Betty Beat comic strip on NUTsMAG. If you would like to purchase the book click HERE.

 

Shindig! Quarterly #3

A firm favourite here at NUTs HQ, Shindig is quarterly now and issue number three features a Fab article on cover stars the Left Banke. A fascinating read on one of Americas many one hit wonder bands who career had barely got started. Interviews with founder members Tom Finn and George Cameron give us a unique insight into the fame, fortune and the eventual chaos. Other vintage acts include Buffalo Springfield who revisits their Gold Star recording studio days and too continue with the American acts the often overlooked Beau Brummels. Contemporary bands Wicked Whispers and 80’s cult band the Nashville Ramblers get a well deserved interview along with other obscure 60’s and 70’s bands.  Other topics include “thoughts and words”,” it’s a happening thing” and “twenty questions” accompany thirty plus pages of reviews of the best compilations, re-issues, new releases and books. Shindig is available quarterly from WHS and www.shindig-magazine.com

 

Fab Gear – The Beatles And Fashion

The Beatles knew how much image mattered in the 1960s, and whether it was Nehru jackets, skinny ties, granny glasses, or the Cuban heel boot-if John, Paul, George, or Ringo wore it, the rest of their millions of fans followed. Renowned music and fashion author Paolo Hewitt takes readers on a fashion tour of the Beatles’ career and the trends they co-opted. From their Hamburg debut in sunglasses, leather, and black sweaters to the conservative suits they were ordered to wear by their manager Brian Epstein; from their infatuation with Pierre Cardin’s collarless jackets to their more casual corduroy; from their Mod madness to psychedelic spaciness to faux-military attire to hippy-chic-each style is revealed as a reflection of the music they made and the world views they embraced. Filled with fabulous photographs and with an appealing retro feel, the book features numerous images, many of which have never been published before. It offers insights into how the band’s meteoric rise and enduring success shaped their fashion choices. There’s even a chapter devoted to their great hairstyles. Fans of all ages, as well as anyone interested in fashion, will be enthralled with this first ever Beatles stylebook that proves the Fab Four really were as timely as they were timeless.


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drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

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August 8, 2012 By : Category : Front Page Literature Reviews Tags:, , ,
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Book & Mags Reviews – Nov 2012

This entry is part 2 of 7 in the series Book Reviews

The Action – In The Lap Of The Modsby Ian Hebditch & Jane Shepherd with Mike Evans & Roger Powell

With any book about music, film or subculture, the first thing I look at are the photos and graphics. Rest assured, no stone has been left unturned when it comes to the photos and graphics here. This book comes in two formats. The standard edition and the boxed set, which includes the main work plus ‘Where The Action Is’ a meticulous gig guide and press cuttings compilation and a replica test pressing of ‘Why Do You Wanna Make Me Blue’.

Ian Hebditch had spent years working on this project. Sadly, he passed away before it was completed, but his partner Jane Shepherd decided to carry on and finish Ian’s work and what a fine tribute to both Ian and The Action this book is. Intros from Mike Evans and Roger Powell and a Foreword by Sir George Martin CBE set the tone. As you would expect the story of The Action comes in chronological order from the very early days as Mark Twain and The Strangers, which included Keith Moon in the line-up, through to Sandra Barry and The Boys, which was the basis of the band celebrated herein.

The story of The Action is not remarkable in the context of their contemporaries from the Sixties. Many had similar experiences, but in terms of influence on successive generations and having a knack of avoiding the recognition they deserved, it is of particular interest. The interviews with band members and others, such as Pete Townshend are terrific. It’s not always easy getting people to recall events from decades past (I should know, I’ve done it myself) and it is even harder to get them to talk about the difficult times, but Hebditch seems to have managed this. Instead of being a read-it-all-before scenario, I particularly liked the way Ian did not rehash oft-told mod history in the conventional sense. By relating mod history to his own experiences growing up in Portsmouth, the local club, The Birdcage (which The Action played many a time) and Ian’s other mod experiences, it all makes for a refreshing and valid viewpoint.

The story of the band does not end in 1969. They split up and some formed the Mighty Baby. Alan King joined the band Ace with Paul Carrick on vocals, and then many years later our own Rob Bailey begins the painstaking process of getting all the band back together in 1998 for some gigs that will live long in the memory and rock folklore. Perhaps fittingly, the epilogue is provided by long-time fan, Phil Collins. It is a pleasure to read, a joy browsing the photos and interesting absorbing the details of an often-overlooked band. If you ever want to know about The Action, this is the only book you will need.

 

Record Collector – October 2012 Issue

Not every issue of Record Collector is of interest to us, but as and when an issue does appeal, I’ll happily review it. October’s offering is one such issue. The Kinks are on the front cover and with good reason. Within the pages of the mag is the first of a two-part special about the ‘Muswell Hillbillies’. Ray Davies gives a fairly candid account of the technical side to Kinks songs. The production, the studios, the technicians… all fascinating stuff.

Aside from The Kinks, there are another three great features of interest; Bunny Lee, The Dells and The Merseys.

 

Scootering – October 2012 Issue

The institution that is Scootering Magazine comes out with all guns blazing for the October issue. The ‘Scootering Sounds’ feature has been a very enjoyable and welcome addition, this time looking at The Clash’s ‘London Calling’.

Then we move on to a really good feature on the inside story of the Olympics closing ceremony and those 50 scooters, but without doubt, huge thanks goes to Sarge for a terrific three-page report on the NUTS Brighton August Bank Holiday. Plenty of great pics (as you’d expect) and we have the first sighting of a new descriptive term: comedy mods. Those of you who were there and witnessed the comedy mods will know what Sarge was taking about. He concluded by saying this year was the best so far, many would agree.

Further in to the mag and we find a nice two-pager on Euro Ye Ye, an interview with Bruce Foxton and Russell Hastings about Bruce’s new album ‘Back In The Room’ and a very nice review of the Strypes EP ‘Young Gifted and Blue’ by Paul Hooper-Keeley.

To top it all, this issue includes a 48 page supplement looking back at reports about the Isle Of Wight Rally from the past. October 2012 will be one of those collector editions I suspect.

 

Ugly Things – Spring Summer 2012 Issue

For those of you with Garage/Psych/Freakbeat tendencies, you may well know about this very substantial publication from Mike Stax based in La Mesa, California. At $9.95 (£6.21 at time of writing) plus postage, this is quite an impressive offering. I freely admit, I’m not as into this music as some, so I did wonder what there might be to grab my interest.

How pleasantly surprised I was to find some fascinating articles about the San Francisco scene, an interview with Johnny Echols (former member of Love) and my favourite, an interview and article on the Craig (who were formed out of the King Bees).

Meticulous in its research, thorough in its interviews and great photos. A must for anyone who is in to the era.
Website: www.ugly-things.com
e-mail: uglythingsmag@gmail.com

 

Uncut – Ultimate Guide to Paul Weller 

When you think of the most high-profile influencers on mod and pop culture of the last 35 years, there is only one name that springs to mind, Paul Weller. Love him or loathe him, his impact on British music is without comparison.

So this major retrospective of his career is a timely reminder of the astonishing output spanning over three decades. Every album, from ‘In the City’ to ‘Sonic Kicks’ is re-evaluated. Key interviews are reprinted and there are lots of photos.

This is just about as ‘ultimate’ as you can get for a magazine guide to Weller’s career, whether you’re a long-time fan or someone just discovering Weller for the first time, this publication is a ‘collectable’ in the making. Coming from someone who has been a fan for 35 years, that’s saying something.


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Graham Lentz

AKA ‘The Baron’ - Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

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November 16, 2012 By : Category : Front Page Literature Reviews Tags:, , , , ,
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Book & Mags Reviews – Feb 2013

This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series Book Reviews

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Scootering Magazine  – February 2013

Sadly, time and space prevented a review of the January issue of this great mag, but thankfully, I did manage to get February’s edition in time for the latest NUTSMAG updates. So, we begin by looking at the usual features and this month, the ‘Scootering Sounds’ (records that shaped the broad church we all love so much) focuses on the Virgin Records reissue of The Who’s ‘My Generation’ in 1980. Like many, I too bought it at the time and still have my copy. And I agree that it had a massive impact, ‘Out In The Street is still one of my Who favourites. Moving on, Sticky’s tongue-in-cheek feature on how to spot other road users had me roaring with laughter. For all you Lammy owners, you may well enjoy the tribute to the series one. Sarge has been as busy as ever covering the Northern Noise event at Southend and the Christmas Mod Ball at the 100 Club with Steve Craddock headlining. Wolfy jetted off to the USA to catch up with Mr Townshend and Mr Daltry as they begin their mammoth world tour of ‘Quadrophenia’. My pick of the featured scoots is the Lammy GP 150 at the back of the mag. It’s a beaut. To cap it all off, there’s a free double sided poster to go alongside the calendar from the January issue.

 

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Blues Magazine – Issue 3

One of the primary reasons for reviewing this publication, is due to the feature article by Claudia Elliott on the impact of the blues on British bands favoured by mods during the first half of the sixties. As you would expect, all the usual suspects get a mention. Small Faces, High Numbers / The Who, Yardbirds, Meaden, Guy Stevens, Scene and Eel Pie clubs etc. Authors; Barnes, Hewitt and Hellier all get a nod, and on that basis, any reader who does not have prior knowledge will be well informed by this piece. The link between Alexis Korner and Cyril Davis’ contribution in launching many careers that started with a love of blues is a fact often over-looked and it’s inclusion here adds weight to the argument that without them, British music may not have been the powerhouse it became during the decade. That said, the article is accurate with the facts and for those who know nothing about this aspect of mod, it’s a good starting point for the more inquisitive reader who wants to find out more. If you are into blues music, then this magazine will be of interest though. Three other very good articles on John Mayall, Chris Barber and the Blue Horizon label feature prominently and South London’s mod/blues purveyors Get Go have a nice one-pager. Blues Magazine is published by monthly by Future Publishing.


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Graham Lentz

AKA ‘The Baron’ - Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

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February 4, 2013 By : Category : Front Page Literature Reviews Tags:, ,
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Book & Mags Reviews – Sep 2013

This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series Book Reviews

Mods! A Very British Style by Richard Weight & published by Bodley Head

This book has courted controversy within mod circles so I was keen to read it and make my own mind up. The author Richard Weight has tried to analyse and put together a convincing case that mod culture has had a lasting and continuing effect on British cultural life and social change. My initial thoughts were why? Why would anyone but an academic attempt to do such a thing?

The other big question is: Who is this book aimed at other than the academic community or those studying sociology? There is a Mod related book released almost every month now and herein lies the problem I suspect as the author has tried to come at the subject from a different angle. Sadly it just doesn’t work or inspire me. The other annoying thing it is littered with factual inaccuracies and written in such a dense style as to be almost unreadable.

While it’s true that the authors Hewitt, Rawlings and Barnes feature heavily in the extensive notes, for the most part, the other sources with a few notable exceptions (Piller, Savage, Elms etc) are simply more people from the academic world.

Finally there is far too much emphasis placed on Sixties icons like Quant, Hulaniki, The Beatles and The Who. To sum up I found the whole book a struggle and would have been a bit disappointed if I found this in my Christmas stocking.


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Graham Lentz

AKA ‘The Baron’ - Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

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September 20, 2013 By : Category : Front Page Literature Reviews Tags:, , ,
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Book & Mags Reviews – Nov 2013 (Part 2)

This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series Book Reviews

Tadhg Taylor

Top Fellas – The Story Of Melbourne’s Sharpie Cult

This was a very pleasant and thoroughly enjoyable surprise when the postman dropped it into the Nutsmag office. It is the third edition of a book that came out in 2004 and is an in-depth look at the ‘Sharpies’. They were a kind of youth cult that was not quite Mod, nor Skinhead, but somewhere in between and was uniquely Australian. More specifically, it was uniquely Melbourne. Tadhg Taylor has done a brilliant job obtaining the interviews with the key characters from the early sixties when it all started, through to the late seventies and early eighties when it finally lost its appeal to new young recruits and fizzled out. Being something of a consumer of Mod and youth sub-culture history, I found this book to be hugely entertaining, but more importantly, informative and interesting. A book like this is important because of its historical value. It highlights the rise of mod due to immigrants from the UK arriving in the early to mid sixties and bringing their style with them.

‘Sharpies’ were the Australian interpretation with their own style and became almost a fore-runner of what we in the UK might liken to a Soulboy/Skinhead hybrid look. One thing is for certain though, these lads were as hard as they come and the gang rivalry is quite frightening, even on the written page. While it is true, there are not a vast number of photos in this book, the ones that are included are also of historical importance. ‘Sharpies’ had their own favourite bands as well. The Easybeats, Billy Thorpe, Max Merritt and the Meteors, Chelsea Set, Purple Hearts featuring Lobby Loyde. Then into the seventies Coloured Balls, Rose Tattoo and…. yes…. AC/DC.

‘Top Fellas’ is 121 pages of insight into a fairly unknown sub-culture and for that reason alone, it is well worth buying. Now, does anyone know where I can get an original Conny cardigan? BUY HERE!

Blues Magazine

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Issue 9

If you like all things Blues, then this is the magazine for you. Packed full of great features and interviews, it also comes with a cd sampler. Of particular interest in this issue are the great pictures that accompany Claudia Elliott’s article on photography legend Gered Mankowitz, who has an exhibition and book of his career out now.

I also liked the comparison piece looking at three interpretations of the blues standard ‘Need Your Love So Bad’, the story of Howlin’ Wolf’s recording sessions in London in the sixties and a look at the life and times of Ike and Tina Turner. The mag does keep up with the current movers and shakers on the scene now, so you always know what’s going on.

Scootering Magazine

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October 2013 Issue

I know I don’t review every issue of this ‘instituion’ because anyone with even a passing interest in all things Scooters or Mod will know about it and read it. However, there are times throughout the year when I do need to bring certain issues to your attention and October’s issue is one such. As well as all the usual features and Scooters, they have continued their wonderful ‘Scooter Sounds’ page with Bad Manners’ ‘Ska ‘n’ B’ in focus. Also of particular interest are the two reviews of both Euro YeYe at Gijon and the Brighton August Bank Holiday. Our thanks to Sarge, for the coverage.

Shindig Magazine

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Issue 35

With Jon Mills and Andy Morton at the helm, Shindig never fails to produce the goods. The second part of the Nilsson feature is as superb as the first. Also included are interviews with Young Sinclairs (who I rather like), the venerable Mike Stax who has been a stalwart of the US scene and the man behind ‘Ugly Things’ magazine and a double-header of sorts: a terrific piece on the bands and LPs inspired and influenced by The Beatles, followed by an in-depth interview with Neil Innes about the career of The Rutles. In some ways I wish this mag was published a little more often, but you can’t deny the quality.

Ultimate Music Guide Magazine

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Small Faces

The last time I reviewed an edition of this magazine was almost a year ago when they did one on Paul Weller. This time the Small Faces get the full treatment and again, you will not be disappointed. The premise is to reproduce original articles and interviews with the band from their earliest days and although it is titled as the Small Faces issue, the mag continues after Steve Marriott left the band, and looks at the careers of Humble Pie and Marriott after that band fell apart. It also examines The Faces, Rod Stewart, Ronnie Lane’s solo career and with Slim Chance. The photos are fantastic as are the original interviews which really put you at the heart of where the various bands and members were over the years. I wonder who will be next in the ‘Mod legend’ category to get the ‘Ultimate Music Guide’ treatment?


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Graham Lentz

AKA ‘The Baron’ - Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

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November 25, 2013 By : Category : Front Page Literature Reviews Tags:, , , , , , ,
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Book & Mags Reviews – Nov 2013 (Part 1)

This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series Book Reviews

A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange
Anthony Burgess

Published in 1962 it is becoming increasingly difficult to ascertain whether the literary masterpiece that is Anthony Burgess’ ‘A Clockwork Orange’ has had the impact on youth (sub)cultures that many proclaim it has, or indeed whether it is Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 cinematic portrayal with it’s heavily modern/pop art influenced stylising, fashions, sets and architecture. A portrayal quoted by Burgess as being “badly flawed”. Kubrick’s film was interestingly the second adaptation of the book – the first being the little known ‘Vinyl’ directed by one Andy Warhol.

Due to the conflicts of aesthetics between the two one could strongly argue the latter – its main participants being dressed in black with waistcoats and cravats. A far cry to the visually aped-by-many attire of the young Malcolm McDowell .

Having first read A Clockwork Orange during the early 1990’s, at a time when Kubrick’s film was still officially banned in the UK, I was immediately thrown and confused, yet enamoured, to the (I now see) wondrous use of’‘nadsa’ – the street tongue dialect of our antihero, Alex and his wily gang of cohorts, affectionately and tribally referred to as his ‘droogs’.

Set against a dystopian and futuristic backdrop, Alex is the atypical 15 year old young man, whose desire and pursuits in life firmly revolve around the satisfaction of desire – be it sexually, violently, psychotropically or aurally – through his passionate desire for the music of Beethoven, whose music makes Alex stir, feel moved, driven and alive – a comparison easily levied against most or all sub-cultures since their post-war emergence with the Teddy Boys and Mods.

Set in three parts, each detailing a significant and specific part of Alex’s life, part one begins at the Korova Milk Bar, where our gang of unruly droogs sit drinking the establishments finest Milk Plus – a little concoction made of milk and laced with whatever chemical stimulant one requires – whilst plotting their nights activities. A night which invariably will encounter the vilest of antisocial behaviour from rape to theft to gang warfare to senseless and opportunistic violence on whomever crosses their paths.

Burgess perfectly portrays young Alex as the iconic face of anti-establishment, the ultimate anarchist, the cock sured teenager with an answer for everything and not a jot of remorse for his actions and who they effect. The literary genius of Burgess now comes into play as the figure you feel you should revile, despise and hate throughout the books 200 or so pages very quickly becomes ‘your’ hero in the tale as he takes on the system in his determined battle to exercise his own thought and his freewill.

Ultimately, and not surprisingly caught out in his activities, the second and third parts all revolve around Alex’s time spent with the authorities – his gang of droogs having deserted him – and the innovative aversion therapy used to kerb his desires, triggered by the sounds of his beloved Wolfgang Amadeus.

Initially published with twenty-one chapters, the UK release of the book saw the omission of the final chapter in which Alex realises the error of his ways and ultimately that all he thought was right was wrong. Now available in either format the omission or inclusion of this concluding chapter has both its faults and merits, and that is ultimately a matter for the reader to decide.

What A Clockwork Orange in it’s literary form has done more than anything is to shape and influence all those who come into contact with it. Be it Warhol’s surreal adaptation or Kubrick’s iconic visualisation or the sensibilities of all youth cultures that followed, with its scripture of being accepted, of being part of the tribe and fervently adhering to the principles and uniform of whichever one you choose. Life choices that we all make in the bloom of our adolescence.

So, what’s it going to be then eh?

Publisher: Penguin; Re-issue edition (7 April 2011) ISBN-13: 978-0241951446 BUY HERE!

Absolute Beginners

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Absolute BeginnersColin MacInnes

Colin MacInnes’ Absolute Beginners is the book, more so than any other, which has stamped its place well and truly in the annals of modernist history. Though heavily referenced and recognised to this day, I am very surprised by the amount of people I meet who have never indulged in the pages of this landmark novel set in Soho (amongst other notable locations) in the summer of 1958 at the birth of the movement.

Like many, I was never eager to read the book myself – having seen the somewhat neon glow and wooden cinematic portrayal of the story starring David Bowie, Ray Davies and Patsy Kensit, amongst other celebrities of the early eighties. However, with my own tastes and styles edging more towards the late 50’s and modern jazz as a musical genre, thought it about time I did.

Arguably containing the first cultural reference to mod culture – describing young style obsessed, Modern-Jazz loving Brits with a passion for smoky clubs and coffee bars as ‘Modernists’ – Absolute Beginners is the tale of the nameless narrator and central character’s quest to living his life on his own terms. Striving to stay a step ahead of others in terms of wit, mentality and most of all, style. Whilst avoiding the pitfalls of the post-war adult generation that surrounds him, our narrator makes a living as a freelance photographer to the straight, the crooked and the seedy of London.

MacInnes captures the essence of the period detailing the birth of the ‘teenager’ and the struggles they face, which makes one realise that though times, politics, cultures and fashions have developed, Absolute Beginners is as relevant today as when it was first published.

Though not a book that is truly defined as having any great and gripping story, its main and central theme appears to be the narrator’s wish for us to view his life, his eclectic friends and aesthetic surroundings through his own eyes. The references to Jazz are many and one can sense the passion our narrator has for music – a theme that has stuck firm throughout the history of mod and its many incarnations and generations that followed.

Of what plot there is in Absolute Beginners is the peppering throughout of the narrators ongoing desire and attempts to rekindle his relationship with his ex-girlfriend, Suzette, who is on the verge of entering into a marriage of convenience with her boss.

What is most striking and defining and ultimately special about the book however, is its portrayal and literary visualization of a piece of London’s past that has remained paramount to the foundations of a youth culture that has endured half a century. The snapshot created whilst reading of this now semi-mythical view of the smoky streets of Soho only serves to clarify the visions dreamt up in the mind of the birth of Mod, before its explosion into mass consciousness via the media in 1964 – a period of the movement that has been rarely captured on camera.

Though not filled with the kind of references one is so used to in a book with mod as it’s central subject, there can be no doubt that Absolute Beginners was not only a manuscript that detailed the birth of a movement from the eyes of a protagonist, but was, and has remained the original style guide for modernists for well over five decades.

‘College-boy smooth crop hair with burned in parting, neat white Italian rounded-collared shirt, short Roman jacket very tailored (two little vents, three buttons), no turn-up narrow trousers with 17-inch bottoms absolute maximum, pointed toe shoes and a white mac lying folded by his side.’

As a document that gave us everything else to come, Absolute Beginners has stayed the test of time for good reason. We should all own it.

Publisher: ALLISON & BUSBY (13 Jun 2011) ISBN-13: 978-0749009984
BUY HERE!


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Lord Savage

Bitten by the bug as a child in 1981 after being fed a mix of his fathers rock n'roll and his brothers 2 Tone records, David became involved in the Mod scene through a healthy diet of the revival, the Buzzcocks and Dexys Midnight Runners. Having first attended the Mousetrap in 1997 and spending time at both the New Untouchables and, the now defunct, Untouchables events he took a period of scene paternity leave in 2003 to rejoin again and find things as healthy, diverse and as vibrant as his obsession with hair straighteners. Now proud to be in the NUTs fold, David began working as the New Untouchables Social Media Manager in September 2012 and can generally be found chasing people around the depths of the Mousetrap with his dodgy pink camera. Crate digger, OCD hooverer, vintage shop raider, jazz listener, scooter tinkerer, wine drinker and cheese enthusiast. Sums it up nicely!

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November 13, 2013 By : Category : Front Page Literature Reviews Tags:, , , , , , , , ,
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Book & Mags Reviews – Feb 2014

This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series Book Reviews

Mojo Magazine

March 2014

Every-so-often, one of the hard copy magazines seems to put out an ‘almost total’ mod edition. Given that there is no-such-thing as a ‘mod culture’ magazine available at your nearest shopping centre (we don’t have high streets anymore do we? It’s so last century !) This issue of Mojo is one of those occasions where mod is the dominant force mainly because of a few major events in music happening at the same time.

Front and centre are the Small Faces. The Immediate box set ‘Here Come The Nice’ being the focus of the main feature, while Mojo itself, comes with a very handy 15 track cd of Small Faces-related material. Actress Maxine Peake gives us a glimpse of her musical tastes, which is neatly timed as she can be seen in the upcoming film ‘Svengali’ with Jonny Owen, Vicky McClure and Martin Freeman.

There’s a great interview with Wilko Johnson and Roger Daltry about their recent collaboration and a ‘must read’ article by Bob Mehr on the Hi record label that gave us Al Green, Ann Peebles and O.V. Wright.

Mark Paytress does the honours with the Small Faces, while Jeff Dexter gives an insiders view of 60s Mod as Mojo celebrates 50 years since Mod hit mainstream consciousness, all of which is finished off with our very own Rob Bailey talking about the Modstock Easter weekender. Mojo March 2014 edition is one of those ‘keepers’ me thinks.

 

Scootering Magazine

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February 2014

The ‘bible’ in terms of our beloved two-wheeled motor transport has had something of an editorial shift. Gone are the music based features that were, for me, one of the many things I loved about Scootering. The decision to refocus on solely scooter-related matters may be something of a calculated risk. Only time will tell.

That said, the features are still quality, although I would beg to differ with Andy Gillard on the pros and cons of social media’s impact on the scene. He makes a well-thought out case, but I’m not sure I would agree. The ‘Another Man’s Cause’ custom Lammy GP is a treat and the reviews of ride outs and club nights are still going strong, but I hope this refocusing project doesn’t have any adverse impact in the future.

 

Shindig Magazine

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Issue 36

Shindig is without doubt one of the magazines I buy on a regular basis. As with all good magazines, it always has something interesting and informative about music from a certain perspective. Unlike its nearest rivals, Shindig  gives time and space to more contemporary bands and this issue is no different to past publications.

Along with some updates and info on Graham Day & The Forefathers and The Wicked Whispers, there are also some great features on Black Power music, The Purple Barrier, The Artwoods, Country Joe & The Fish and my personal fav, a terrific piece by Carl Tweed on Big Jim Sullivan.

The reviews section is always packed and consistently fair. If you haven’t seen this magazine yet, I suggest you grab a copy of issue 37 when it’s out. It will be money well spent.


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Graham Lentz

AKA ‘The Baron’ - Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

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March 7, 2014 By : Category : Front Page Literature Reviews Tags:, ,
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