John Cooper Clarke on Mods

A brilliant quote from John Cooper Clarke:

”I was a mod – it’s the only youth cult I’ve ever actually been a whole hearted member of. The great thing about mod was that it was a very snobbish movement. We went to a club in Manchester called the Twisted Wheel – it was the mod club of the country. We used to get people from all over. It was the first place I heard soul music. You never heard any guitar music there – it was all Stax, Motown, Memphis Horns, Booker T and the MGs. Guitar solos not allowed. Strict dress codes, no guitars. At the Twisted Wheel, by 1965, you didn’t actually call yourself a mod any more. People in Burnley called themselves mods, people with targets on their parkas. We called ourselves “stylists” – and shoplifting was the big national sport of the stylists. You’d go to John Michael and pinch things – £80 sunglasses. It was a full time job. Food wasn’t high on the agenda, there was no hip food. You blew your wad on cloth, not even records.”

and even more insightful comment from Gibsonssyllabus, whose site I found this on:

Perhaps, at 48 years old, one shouldn’t still find this sort of stuff engaging, but I do. Like John Cooper Clarke, quoted and pictured above, I remain a working class snob, struggling to resist the pressure to conform to bourgeois notions of normality. Let’s strip away all the stuff that really matters, but is rather dull, like housing, education and health, and keep it simple – when it comes to clothes may the Lord keep me safe from the Satan Boden and his followers in West London in their rugby shirts (collars turned up) and sensible value for money Timberland shoes. Mod has always been about subversion of upper class dress codes, understanding then fetishising elements within a given style to produce your own version of it. I cringe at the term stylist, such an overused word with dreadful modern associations, but perhaps the best expression of the stylist mentality described by JCC is that an individual defines his own look within a given framework. So given that criteria I am prepared to put my head above the parapet and declare “I am a stylist”. There, I said it. Now don’t mock…

via The Syllabus –  ”I was a mod – it’s the only youth cult I’ve ever….

To me the author offers the most succinct and clear descriptions of what style really is – ‘an individual defines his own look within a given framework’.

The snobbery is what it is all about. All youth cults should be elitist, and the rules stay with you long after all the other paraphernalia has evaporated.


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