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Proper – A Modernist Guide to Impeccable Taste


5.0 (8 reviews)

3 in stock

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Proper explores the concept of beauty and good taste in music, cinema, food, vehicular design and clothing, through a Modernist lens.

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8 reviews for Proper – A Modernist Guide to Impeccable Taste

  1. Luke Ridley

    I have never read a book quite like this one. It’s hilarious, thought provoking and at times quite inspiring.

    Andy’s passion for the subjects covered really shines through and I share many of his views on the Alfa GTV!

    To compliment this book though I think a playlist to consolidate the music covered would be really useful. The opportunity to open my ears to this ‘proper’ music and fully appreciate them for myself would be a welcome addition.

    Look, no one is ever going to agree on the entire contents of this book but most will appreciate the thought provoking narrative Andy provides on the day to day subjects it covers.

    Highly recommended, this is a Proper Book!

  2. Ed Silvester

    Proper; A Way Of Living.

    This is Andy’s personal odyssey of impeccable taste, starting with a chapter on ‘Taste’ which goes right back to the beginnings of humanity, highlighting the advantages and individualism of the first bipedal intelligent ape.

    It is Andy’s own personal modernist guide to exemplary living, each chapter covers his own thoughts and preferences, but never patronising. Covering many subjects close to a modernists heart; Mods, Food, Clothes, Motors, Films, Music, and finally, Living.

    I found the chapter on ‘Clothes’ particularly engaging, and I agree with Andy with regard to shirt colours, I’m also a big fan of the lighter shade of pink.

    Being a big history buff, I found the historical anecdotes of great interest. For example the origins of ‘white’ and ‘blue’ collar workers certainly ticked all the right boxes for me.

    As a teenager we only ever eat fast food grub on the hoof, it was fuel to get keep our active lifestyle going. But, like Andy as we got older (and wiser) ‘Food’ has become more of an art form, and certainly an enjoyable experience.

    The section; A Cool Capsule, Five Wardrobe Enhancers, is an inspiration. No mod can be without a pair of Clark desert boots and a pair of chinos. But, can you still buy snake belts?

    The chapter on Proper ‘Motors’ is very enjoyable and thought provoking, although I’ve always been an E-type Jag man myself.

    As a big movie fan it was nice to read about two of my favourite films, Quadrophenia and the dark beauty of Taxi Driver.

    The final two chapters cover ‘Music’ and ‘Living’, and Andy’s love of House Music shines through, a natural musical progression for him.

    Proper, is a real labour of love, a very personal journey, with an extremely broad church of opinions, covering a wide range of subjects.

    I found Andy’s second book a real pleasure to read. A book to enhance any modernists bookcase, it’s certainly a stimulating and an inspiring book.
    Well done, Andy.

  3. Brendan Farrell

    Andy has delivered yet again!! What a book, I couldn’t put it down. There are so many points that will resonate with you and no doubt having you laugh out for sure just like I did! Love also seeing the same pair of corduroy shoes on the inside cover that I have too!

  4. Rafael Diez De Riviera Boluda

    IN PRAISE OF ANDY MORLING’S ‘PROPER’ – Rafael Diez De Rivera Boluda

    First, this book is a delight, as you might have gathered from the review’s title; get yours before it sells out. Second, this book isn’t for everyone.

    A youth subculture–or culture, but I’ll leave that old debate for another time- that has managed to survive and thrive for more than 60 years (oddly or not ending as a preserve of mostly middle-aged folks) has of necessity generated its own chroniclers, sociologists, narrators and even bards. No shortage of those categories in Modernism in its British aception.

    But what was missed (I missed it at least !) was a ‘thinker’, someone who reflects on the traits of the given subculture and turns them inside out, contributing in the process an individual and ideally suggestive point of view that can be conductive to reflection and debate on the readers’ part.
    To our ‘thinker’ to be sussed is a given, but he also needs a keen, piercing eye, and the skills to articulate his reflections into meaningful statements and draw valid conclussions that can be starting points to enrichen one’s life (and not strictly as a mod). He has to be able to look between the lines and challenge perceived wisdoms and set-in-stone rules (more on them later).

    Enter Mr Andrew Morling and his ‘Mod Ghosts Project’. The first book of the project, ‘Mod Ghosts’, was basically an outstanding idea superbly realized, a win-win situation. Andy was clever enough to let others –and of course the disarming photographs- do the talking there, his reflections on modernism and nostalgia being the proverbial icing on the cake that wrapped things up neatly.

    ‘Proper’ is a different kettle of fish. Using a bull-fighting metaphor, this time Andy has rolled up his sleeves (figuratively, Andy !) and jumped into the bull ring to handle himself the ‘faena’. And to me he has succeeded again.
    While Andy is crystal clear in his statement of intentions and purpose, ‘Proper’ still runs a certain risk of misinterpretation, as some members of the mod fraternity find solace in living by restricting rules and herd conformity, which in itself is OK but at odds with the spirit of this book. I can even see the elitism accusation being thrown at Andy, but if you’re one of those who think this game has to do with highly-flammable suits, bowling shoes and parkas, this book, as I warned, just isn’t for you, folks.

    On the contrary, the fierce individualism lying behind the mod ethos is what fuels mainly the attainment of a developed taste which is at the core of Andy’s thesis. In fact, I’d say this book is ‘proper’ reading for anyone who has even a remote interest in style and a well-lived life, not just mods. It just happens that Andy applies to his subject matter the gaze of a Modernist.

    I mean, the lists of food, music, clobber… that Andy proposes are mere excuses to show us the way the human process of acquiring impeccable good taste works. You can hate, say, chorizo or house music, and still agree with Andy in the abstract. In fact, the lists might be the main source of controversy here (and believe me, contentious they are), as it’s difficult to argue with Andy’s main thesis : that there is an intrinsic, objective beauty in many natiral and man-made products alike, and that our appreciation of them can be heightened by educating our innate taste, in this case filtering it through a mod sensitivity.

    It’s not an agreement -or the self-complacency that comes from belonging to a select club- issue either; what’s admirable in this book about Modernism (in the widest sense) is that Andy practices what he preaches : from the sober, classy layout to the mature way in which he poses his arguments (no ‘we are the mods’ chanting here), the philosophical, historical and ethnographical apparatus backing him, the delightful digressions, the well curated metaphores, the sense of humour deployed ; the overwhelming sensation of care and style, yes, STYLE, the book radiates.

    Far from my aim (how unstylish that would be) to try to sum up or disembowel the well crafted –and very personal- mechanism that is Proper. Enough to say that while enjoying the ride, it came to my mind more than once one of those blissful days during a travel through France or Italy in which the stars aligned to make everything perfect, from the weather to the lazy, humble meal, from the view from a hill’s church to the silent walk on the beach promenade after a late dinner beneath the stars ; proper indeed, Andy, thanks for the journey.

  5. Johnny Bradley – Mods of Your Generation

    Proper should be renamed the Mod Bible of Impeccable taste. A detailed guide covering the proper qualities of life and the mod scene. This book is definitely a feature in any collection. A Proper good book!

  6. Heath Leftley

    The latest salvo from the Morling cannon takes looks at the world through the eyes of that most critical of groups, Modernists. That the eye of the author sees what makes some everyday items ‘Mod’, buts also has a mischievous glint, makes reading this tome a pleasure. From veg to Vespa Andy looks at life and style in a way that those of us with a fascination for the subculture will fully understand. ‘Queer Eye’ Mod? Hell yeah. House Music, natch.
    If you want your Modernism filtered through the sieve of Quad’ and Secret Affair, then this will confuse the hell out you. Good. But if you’ve absorbed ‘The Knowledge’ over say the last 40 odd years, then you’ll find yourself nodding in agreement. Get this book on your coffee tables!
    I suggest a Volume 2, including the Loake Burford boot, the Omega Seamaster Cosmic, and late 60’s/early 70’s Carry On wardrobe of Sid James.

  7. Matt Ward – Blow Up Mod Radio

    The first book, for me, that defines the essence and spirit of true Modernism.

  8. Anthony Daly

    What a book! I read it in Chapter size chunks so as to keep with the ideas and concepts and enjoy the arguments been made. As others have said, it is a personal view on things from Andy and is by no means a ‘guide to being a mod’ or somesuch. Instead he dissects some concepts around beauty, style and essence. Of course he hits off clothes and scooters but also veers into food, cars, and less expected territories. The chapter on music is a great example of how far he expands his concepts and describes a love for House music and brilliantly links it to the heritage and lineage of what is normally referred to as ‘soul’ music. Which of course it is linked to. This may well rattle a few cages as those in the orthodox Mod community my see this as too much of stretch (for a group who continuously expound the ‘broad church philosophy!). The great thing about it is you wont agree with everything Andy has written. It is his view but one which is humorously and intelligent argued and one which gets the cogs going in the head, without being dogmatic or passive aggressive. I have so much respect for a man that can extoll the value of ‘nduja in the same way as he can vespas. So I could be biased. Great book, buy it!

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