Monday 3 October 2016

“A nod back to the 1960s does it for me”: Lee Parsons writes about the Mod Weekenders

Modernism – Seeks to find new forms of expression and rejects traditional or accepted ideas (Cambridge English Dictionary)

The above definition of modernism is more relevant today personally than when it was back in late 1950s London when the movement first started in and around Soho Jazz clubs.

There is, however, a contradiction in terms here as lots of modern ways don’t really cut it for me. In particular the marketing of cheap throw away clothing and downloading music rather than owning music. We live in a modern, superfast world, where not all modern stuff is ideal, so a nod back to the 1960s really does it for me, certainly in terms of clothing and music.

Modernism or Mod seems to be in vogue again on the high street, with leading high street stores offering a nod back to the 60s on many lines of cheap clothing. Also there seems to be more writers and broadcasters looking for a piece of the action or an angle. That angle often refers to the riots at English seaside resorts during the summer of 1966. For the true modernist then the movement had already died and was becoming commercialised, a view that is perceived in today’s collective. And we are a collective, a collective of like-minded people dressed sharp, vintage dresses and suits with immaculate attention to detail with a love for Italian scooters and black American music.

However, for many of us it really has been a way of life since it hit us sometime in our teens. Today's scene is vibrant with youngsters rejecting today’s fashions and music for a smarter, more intelligent way of living alongside original fellows and ladies from the 1960s and us middle aged revivalists from the late 1970s & early 1980s. Gatherings are a cocktail of respect for those who came before us, and all following a code, a code that has been adapted and developed with time. But the code is always sharp.

From Brighton to Lowestoft, to Wolverhampton and Skegness. Four  key weekenders within our fair land where we all meet for 2-3 days to embrace our way of life. I was asked to do a review of one of the weekenders, but I think an overall review will sum up any of these fantastic weekends.

Weekenders last two nights or three nights if there is a bank holiday with those in the know and that can, arriving on Friday afternoon. A quick stroll around the local vicinity with nods and handshakes accompanying hugs for those you know better something to eat and then back to the hotel to get ready for the evening event. No, we don’t travel light and there are three days of clothing and accessories to consider with multiple shoes and bags joining multiple ties, pocket squares and socks on the bed so they can be considered for the nights pursuits, attention to detail is key.

As you walk through the door of the venue, the elegance, kindness and warmth hits you. That’s the warmth of the people; the warmth of the bouncing wooden dance floor is another matter as groovers twist, turn and slide to the sounds of black America from a time long passed.

Saturday brings a more casual approach as we head back to the venue to sample vintage stalls and DJs spinning their collections in a quick turn over. The array of 60s clothing, shoes, bags, etc., are second to none. Classics that stand the test of time. Outside more gather, to socialise, and the air is filled with two stroke as gleaming Lambrettas and Vespas join the collective. Laughter and stories from the previous night fill the air and there is always a photographer or two documenting moments.

With numbers swelled, Saturday night becomes hotter again, the dance floor a little more congested. Saturday night restricts the twists, turns and slides a little but each vibe always gets a hand clap in appreciation of the spin doctors behind the decks.

The days and nights are long energetic but always appreciated. Organisers and DJs are saluted across social media as the photographic recordings of a weekend come to life. Memories are embedded and friendships old and new and forged and reconfirmed.

Away from the modern world modernists are enjoying their smart and elegant way of life, mixing with others who know and yield a desire for something different. Something different, away from the crowds, throw away clothing and downloaded fabricated music!

About the reviewer

London born, Brighton raised, East Midlands dwelling 40 something male that has an addiction for 1960s black American music and smart clothing. Budding photographer and enthusiastic DJ of vinyl. Enjoys contacting with likeminded people from across the world and can often be found on a wooden dance floor long into the night. Believes that good things happens to good people.

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