A story about our very own Mousetrap in the olden days of the 1990’s (originally published in Loaded Magazine August 1994)
‘So who’s the ‘Ace Face’, then?’ was not a good way to introduce myself to a group of Mods. Saturday night at Jaci’s nighclub (now at the Orleans nightclub), Finsbury Park, and I feel like I just walked across a set at Ready Steady Go and written ‘rockers’ on Roger Daltry’s target. The ‘Mousetrap Mod Allnighter has the club’s dark, low, smoky basement filled with hip royalty, done up from head to toe, with enough hairspray to make their own hole in the ozone layer and the lowest hipsters in town. Before midnight the place was packed tight. Standing around, looking sharp, immaculately turned out in full Mod attire from French crop to Italian shoes. At first no one was dancing to the classic R’n’B, instead checking out the scene, deadpan, icy expressions like they were hiding a big secret. With no hassle or hesitation they eagerly got in front of the camera and struck poses straight out the 1960s Vogue. But there was one complaint from the photographer; ‘Stop chewing, that’s it, no, stop chewing.’ Everyone had gum in their mouth; Mods chewing like crazed ‘chain smoking’ sheep. A different DJ, wrapped in shades, shimmied behind the decks and broke the ice: ‘Let’s move onto some classic Motown, Marvin Gaye, ‘One More Heart Ache’.” The sudden change of music spread the chewing gum motion down to the cool feet; the boogaloo, footwork that has lasted through time performed tonight with such excellence. The look, the style, the attitude, every inch a Mod night down to the expressions straight out of that famous club scene with the Yardbirds in the film Blow Up. Regular trips outside are essential for oxygen. Standing by the two Vespas outside, I asked if there are still any original mods around from the 1960s?
Looking through his fringe a stylish Brian Jones lookalike replied ‘Yeah Jessie Hector, he’s a cool bloke. He’s been around a long time, he’s in a band, touring Europe now.’ I hear his name a few times in the evening, a man, a legend, he can jump across the stage, Superman style. I didn’t find any superheroes but outside two Mods, one in his twenties the other old enough to be his father, in a tonic suit, shades, thinning on top; had a box of seven inch plastic wet-dreams, original Soul and R’n’B records from £15-£150.
As the night moved on the floor became knee-deep in chewing gum wrappers. If you’ve run out of the chewy forget about your tie. The seven inch records get played at breakneck speeds classic old soul is turned into bizarre high
energy. Judging by expressions, you either dance or implode. The old vinyl was spun by Putney Sean, Catford Chris and Speed. When the night gets a little wired ‘The Block’ becomes the favoured move, named after the 1960s experience of too many ‘purple hearts’. These are regulars who live and die for the lifestyle; enjoying every beat minute of it. Around the bar, spearmint mouths talk cockney tales of the ‘weekend runs’, 1978 and how being a Mod is a full-time lifestyle! Men and Women aged from 24-34 with not a mohair out of place, living the scene. This July, it’s the big one, 30 years of Mod celebration taking place in Saarbrucken in Germany. A convoy of scooters will be leaving England to grace the party; but forget Quadrophenia this is ‘Modstock ‘94’!
The next Mousetrap Mod Allnighteris on Saturday 6 August at Jaci’s 259-261 Seven Sisters road, Finsbury Park, London. *(Please check the REAL 2012 dates of course