Fragments of lives
The real history of the Mod movement, from its emergence in the late 1950s to the end of the thirty year period in which it established itself as the world’s most influential youth subculture, was played out, not on the set of Ready Steady Go! or on the beaches of Brighton, but on countless unexceptional urban stages, in countless unexceptional cities, towns and villages across Britain.
This is what The Mod Project is all about. Fragments of lives, even small, seemingly insignificant ones from comparatively recent subcultural history, are everything. Exploring our shared past sharpens our understanding of the present. It provides a frame of reference, a context, and helps us answer many of today’s questions with greater clarity and wisdom. Marcus Garvey, the influential Jamaican born political leader had it right,
“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”
I hope this book and the rest of The Mod Project will allow our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to visit the places we visited and to understand the way we were.
They can also understand the movement from those places and, I sincerely hope, learn something new about us and about themselves. This book will show them the importance of identity, belonging and standing for something in an age in which these things are needed more than ever. Lofty ambitions for such a modest book. But lofty ambitions are perhaps the defining characteristic of Mod.
The cruel irony is that this time around, many ex-revival Mod parents are secretly hoping their off-spring will embrace at least something of the essential non-compliance that underpins the youth subculture. Would I be disappointed if my children did some of the things I did as a Mod in my youth? Probably. Would I be equally disappointed if they didn’t? Also probably.
I’d just like to be able to choose which ones.