Friday, 25 July 2014

Thank You For Your Support

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your fantastic support of The Modernist Society Blog over the last two years.

As many of you will have noted, the regular news stories, reviews and events flyers came to an abrupt halt at the end of May. This is because I have taken on a new job role from the beginning of June whereby I am now leading the engineering company that I have worked at for the last 3 ½ years. With responsibility for over 100 employees (and therefore the well-being for over 100 families personal economies), it now requires my 24/7 attention and dedication. Even my part-time PhD and academic research has now had to go ‘on hold’ indefinitely.

On a positive note, this doesn’t affect the clothes I wear, the music I listen to or (some of) the books I read.

Furthermore, I am very proud that The Threads have been included within the forthcoming Cherry Red box-set, ‘Millions Like Us – The Story Of The Mod Revival 1977-1989’, which will include ‘Step Back’ from the 1986 Phase III EP (Unicorn).

Many thanks for your support, and I’ll see you out and about at the usual gigs and events.

Mod For Life.

Paul Hooper-Keeley

Friday, 30 May 2014

Mod scooter is star prize at Heart and Soul evening in Digbeth on Saturday 31st May (in aid of Heart Research UK) says the Birmingham Mail

A special Mod icon will be the star prize at a soul night organised to raise funds in memory of a Birmingham boy who died of a heart condition.

A Vespa scooter will take centre stage at the Heart and Soul night organised by Andrew Marshall, whose son Ethan died, aged three, from congenital heart disease in 2009.

The event will be held tomorrow at the Irish Centre in Digbeth from 8pm till late and will raise funds for Heart Research UK in the Midlands, a charity that supports the prevention, treatment and cure of heart disease.

The Heart and Soul evening is £6 entry, and tickets to win the scooter and other prizes are £5 each.

Andrew and his wife Julie have already raised nearly £12,000 for Heart Research UK in Ethan’s memory – including funding for projects at Birmingham Children’s Hospital – and they hope to raise further funds from tomorrow’s event and another in September.

Andrew said: “We wanted to increase awareness of congenital heart defects and to raise funds for projects at Birmingham Children’s Hospital in memory of our son.

“My wife Julie and I felt compelled to set up Ethan’s Gift as our way of supporting the work of the cardiac unit. Working alongside Heart Research UK enables us to bring our message to a wider audience and to see our fundraising go into supporting bigger projects.”

Andrew, who is a big Northern Soul fan, raises a lot of the money from his Heart and Soul nights, with the events attracting around 200 people who enjoy Northern Soul classics. Andrew is now combining his other passion, scooters, with the nights.

As well as the fully taxed and MoT’d scooter on the night there will be a raffle and a great party atmosphere with five local DJs playing sets – including Andrew.

Barbara Harpham, National Director at Heart Research UK, said: “We’re so grateful to Andrew and his wife Julie for getting involved in fundraising and raising awareness of heart disease, and it’s events like these that are so important for raising funds into the prevention, treatment and cure of heart disease. Andrew’s events have such a great atmosphere and it’s a really unique way to raise money.”

Sixties sensation of a show coming to Bolton says The Bolton News

AGENT to the stars Carl Leighton-Pope has spent his entire career working alongside the biggest names in the music business.

Now the 68-year-old is bringing a ‘60s sensation of a show — Carnaby Street: The Concert — to the Albert Halls, Bolton, on Sunday, featuring much-loved and iconic music from the era of The Beatles, The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Searchers.

Carl, who currently represents global stars including Michael BublĂ© and Bryan Adams, started his career working at the famous Marquee Club in London’s Carnaby Street.

In his first week alone, the club’s stage was graced by blues singer Long John Baldry, Rod Stewart, The Who, The Moody Blues and The Yardbirds, which featured Eric Clapton.

Carl said: “In 1964, I got a job there.

“I worked in the club for a couple of years.

“Nobody was famous in those days. Nobody knew who Rod Stewart was. They were just in groups, playing in the club. Mick Jagger would come in, Paul McCartney would come and watch a band. No-one had mobile phones, nobody was taking pictures of anybody.

“When I’m out with Michael BublĂ© and Bryan Adams and you are walking down the street, the phones are out.”

One of the original mods, Carl’s life revolved around music and the club while Carnaby Street was a breeding ground for some of the most iconic music of the last century, as well as leading the world in fashion and culture.

He said: “I was a mod, I had a scooter, I fought on the beaches, I did all that stuff — all that mad stuff people did in the ‘60s.

“It was quite interesting that something happened after the war. My dad and my granddad looked like twins and I came along with my winklepicker shoes and drainpipe jeans — he thought I was a zombie from out of space. My dad thought jeans were working clothes.

“Now, my kids look like me. We wear sneakers and jeans and T-shirts.

“Something that changed, that revolution that took place in the ‘60s. That’s why I think the most important 10 years in the 20th century was the ‘60s because it changed dramatically.

“The music was the key, the music gave you clothes, gave you clubs, gave you the girl and your mates.

“Music was the key and the centre of your life. It was way more important than music is to my children now.”

Carnaby Street: The Concert recreates the Marquee Club and features a seven-piece band playing hits of the decade including You Really Got Me, I Only Wanna Be With You, Mustang Sally, Dedicated Follower of Fashion, My Generation and You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me.

Carl said: “It’s fabulous, so much fun.

“The great thing about this music, I think a lot of young people know the songs.

“They see them on TV ads and on films.

“It’s really feel-good music, you want to get on your feet and dance and sing.

“It was a great era. Paul McCartney is still singing, The Rolling Stones are still playing. It’s quite extraordinary.

“I think what we’re trying to say to the audience is come on back with us.

“I know it’s 2014, I know there’s a recession and we’ve got problems, there’s doom and gloom in the newspapers but just for a couple of hours, let’s go back to the ‘60s. Forget all our troubles and cares and go downtown and have a bit of fun.”

Carnaby Street: The Concert is at the Albert Halls, Bolton, on Sunday. Phone 01204 334400 for tickets.

Paul Weller: 'I've seen Toy Story 300 times' by Colin Paterson for the BBC

Thirty-seven years is a long career for any musician, but Paul Weller is still going strong.

From his first hit with The Jam, 1977's In The City, to 2012's solo record Sonik Kicks, he's scored six number ones, 10 Brit nominations and sales of more than 6.5 million albums in the UK alone.

Famously fan-focused, The Modfather put a price limit on tickets for his gigs with The Jam and made sure they finished in time for the audience to catch the last train home.

When Prime Minister David Cameron named Eton Rifles as his favourite song in 2008, the singer spluttered with anger.

"Which part of it doesn't he get?" he asked of the song, written after Weller watched a news report in which unemployed protestors were jeered at by a group of young Etonians.

But as he prepares to release his second greatest hits collection, More Modern Classics, the 56-year-old firebrand tells the BBC he has given up on politics.

Instead, he has been watching Toy Story with his young twin boys.

We've been watching you sound check. Is this your natural domain - on a stage between the drums and guitars?
This is my territory. Yeah.

How do you feel before you perform a gig?
A mixture, really, of nerves and excitement. Mainly nerves. I've been doing it for a long time, as we know, but I still get the same sort of nerves beforehand. Probably from the time I wake up on a gig day.

Why is that?
I don't think it ever goes away. You're either like that or you're not. But it's good, because it adds a bit of edge to what I do.

This is all to launch More Modern Classics, which looks back over the last 15 years of your music career. How does it make you feel?
Old! The last 15 years are probably like the 15 before it. They've just gone so quickly. I didn't even realise that time had elapsed. And that's one of the reasons I wanted to put this Greatest Hits thing out. Because there was so much music since the last Modern Classics, which came out in the late '90s. So many songs.

When you look over those 15 years how many different Paul Wellers can you see?
Multiple probably. My life has changed so much over the last 15 years. I've got four more kids. I got remarried. But essentially I'm still doing the same thing, which is writing and playing music.

What gives you that hunger to change?
I get bored very easily. I get bored with what I do. I couldn't do what a lot of bands do and play the same stuff all the time, year after year.

How do you feel about Greatest Hits albums in general?
I think they are fine, really. When I was a kid my introduction to a lot of music was buying a Greatest Hits. When you are young, especially. So whether it's the Four Tops or Smokey Robinson, it was an introduction into that person's music.

Any man with children ends up gaining knowledge about very strange subjects. What are the favourites in the Weller household?
Bear in mind I've got twin boys. I've watched Toy Story 300 times in the last few months, but I like it. It's good fun.

Are you still political?
I'm not really. Like the majority of people I'm disillusioned with it all. I can't tell the difference between the majority of the parties.

I get angry with what's going on in the world, like most other people hopefully would do [but] I don't know what to do about it. I haven't a clue.

But you were very heavily involved in the past.
Yeah I was, back in the '80s. It was a different time with Thatcherism. Very definite - you were either with it or against it. There were clear lines drawn. But now, who knows? They all look the same to me and all sound the same. I've very little interest in it.

You've played Glastonbury several times. I was wondering what you made of this year's headliner Metallica?
Not really my bag, but lots of people like them, so who am I to say?

What advice would you give them?
Take your wellies. It was disgusting when we did it. Shocking.

People are saying there are a lack of new bands who can headline...
If you don't let them headline how will you ever know? How will they ever get the chance or the experience? There are loads of great bands out there - people who at least should be on the main stage. But I suppose you do have to pull in the numbers to headline.

If you had Weller-fest, who would you choose?
Villagers, Syd Arthur, Erland and the Carnival. But these are just people I like. I'd be happy to sit in a field and watch them. I'd be on my own. It would be good for me.

When you go and watch one of your music heroes play, how much are you hoping they do the hits?
I like to hear the hits, but I also like to hear what they are doing at the time, because so few people are doing that. Why is there such a boom for nostalgia? I don't know, really. Is it something to do with recession?

In the past I've heard you describe yourself as a bit of a technophobe. Have you warmed to it yet? Have you got a computer?
I haven't got a computer. I wouldn't know what to do with it, mate. I'm quite happy with my notebook, but my wife's very young and she does all that for me. So it's fine, you know?

What does she load the music onto, then?
I haven't even got that far yet. I've got to catch up with everybody and get an iPod or whatever people do these days. I'm still carrying around bags of CDs on tour. Before that I used to take my own record player and bags of records. It got a little bit cumbersome.

So when you are on the tour bus are you using a CD Walkman?
Normally we just have a blaster on the table. Proper old school.

One story I've always wanted you to clear up - when Band Aid performed on Top of The Pops 30 years ago, you ended up having to sing Bono's famous line. How did that happen?
I was hoping you were going to answer that question! I've no idea how I got roped in on that. No idea at all. I was asked on the day, kind of pushed into the crowd, and that was it.

You look like you are a wee bit embarrassed by it now?
Not at all. I was at the time, but I don't really give a monkey's now. But it was very strange.

What do you hope to still achieve in your career?
When you think of a lot of the jazz greats and the blues people who carry on playing right up to the time they literally can't play anymore. I'd like to do that if I could. That would be enough for me.

Paul Weller's More Modern Classics is out on 2 June.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Windows smashed, elderly "terrorised" and chaos in the streets: the day the mods and rockers clashed in Bournemouth in 1964

THE Whitsun bank holiday 50 years ago saw Britain in shock at what was going on in some of its seaside resorts.

It was the weekend when mods fought rockers – prompting a reaction that gave rise to the term “moral panic”.

Concern about the behaviour of the rival factions had been bubbling since March, when 97 young people were arrested following clashes at Clacton-on-Sea. Watch video of the clashes at Hastings and Margate at the bottom of this story.

On Friday, May 15, the Evening Echo’s front page gave no hint of the trouble to come.

Under the headline “B’mouth blooms for the holidays”, it reported: “Visitors who are expected to throng to Bournemouth this weekend will find the town booming and blooming in the sun.”

The gardens were “at their glorious best” and “there is more entertainment available for Whit visitors than ever before”, the report said.

But the following day, it seemed some people had a different entertainment in mind.

“Police Leave Cancelled!” ran the headline and the paper warned of a “B’mouth smash-up threat”.

Officers’ leave in Bournemouth had been cancelled “in case young hooligans descend on the town in force”.

An anonymous source had told the Echo that Bournemouth would be the centre of a “smash up” on Monday evening by two groups. One would start at Bournemouth Pier, one at Boscombe Pier, and they would meet at the Square to “clash with the police in a big way”.

“One of their targets is to be the Winter Gardens, during a symphony concert and all cars in the vicinity,” he added.

Trouble broke out in other resorts over the weekend, and on the Monday the Echo reported that the police were prepared.

The deputy chief constable, Chief Supt George Gates, said: “We are determined not to permit any ‘mods’ and ‘rockers’ or other hooligans to interfere with the leisure and pleasure of the residents and visitors at Bournemouth.”

Trouble did break out, along the lines predicted by the Echo’s source. The paper reported the next day: “In one of the biggest ever police operations in Bournemouth, uniformed and plain clothes officers made a dramatic swoop in the town centre last night to break up crowds of milling teenagers, many of whom were arrested after disturbances.”

There had been several hours of tension after fighting broke out among a crowd of around 30 at the pier, the paper said.

As darkness fell, a gang of around 150 smashed some windows at the back of the Winter Gardens while the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra was performing, the report said.

Soon afterwards, trouble flared at the Exeter Road end of the Square. Three young people were taken to hospital.

Around 50 police officers arrived in vans. Officers drove motorcycles and other vehicles through the footpaths in the Lower Gardens to keep the gang moving and began to break it up. The paper added: “A big obstacle to the police was the number of ordinary people who collected in the Square, near the Pier and at other trouble spots, apparently intent on seeing everything they could. Even family parties seemed to be hoping for something sensational to look at.”

By Monday May 25, the first of the arrested young people were in court.

Opening the prosecution at Bournemouth Magistrates Court, Philip Evans said: “There is no doubt whatever in the view of the chief constable, or of his officers who were present at the scene, that large numbers of the public were upset, frightened and indeed, in some instances of very elderly ladies, terrorised by the behaviour of these defendants and others who are not in custody.”

Thirty-three people were due before magistrates that day. Among the first to be convicted was an 18-year-old who was fined a total of £10 and nine shillings. A 20-year-old lorry driver was fined £60 for threatening behaviour, £5 for obstructing police and five guineas in costs.

Mr Evans told the court: “There is no suggestion by the prosecution that this was an organised attack by one gang against another gang. This is a group of young hooligans who have behaved like young hooligans in Bournemouth.”

It was said in court that 150 young people had gone to the bus station in Exeter Road, five or six abreast around the bus station’s footpaths and shoving members of the public out of the way.

They kicked bins, smashed fittings, shouted and screamed, before the police broke them up.

They then made their way through the town centre “wilfully damaging the flowers and shrubs in the Pleasure Gardens and continuing to frighten elderly people”, the court heard.

Eventually, eight young people would be sent to prison or borstal, 27 would be fined and 16 discharged.
Their prosecutions took place in a climate which the sociologist Stanley Cohen would later describe as a “moral panic”.

Bournemouth West’s MP, Sir John Eden, pledged to put questions to the Home Secretary, advocating “the use of judicial corporal punishment” as well as open air camps to deal with “idleness and boredom in youth”.

For years afterwards, coastal towns would worry about a possible influx of mods, rockers or Hell’s Angels and would act to break up any of their holiday gatherings.

Meanwhile, the events were to be mythologised in The Who’s album Quadrophenia and the 1979 film adaptation.

Jon Kremer, former record shop owner and the author of Bournemouth A Go! Go! – A Sixties Memoir, recalled that “if you believed England’s newsprint media in the spring/summer time of 1964, we should head for the nearest Saxon hilltop fortress”.

He said the events were the 1960s equivalent of a phenomenon “going viral” – with young people responding to what had already been picked up by TV cameras around the coast.

“It was never truly some sort of battle. The mods outnumbered the rockers by at least 10 to one,” he added.

Paul Weller joins Shaun Keaveny in the BBC6 studio – available on iPlayer

Duration: 13:32

The legendary Paul Weller joins Shaun live in the studio with a pile of records. He'll be chatting to Shaun about his new compilation album 'More Modern Classics' which features 20 favourites by the former Jam leader recorded over the past 15 years. They'll be chatting about Paul's new single, 'Brand New Toy' and some of the material that Paul unearthed that made it way onto the bonus discs of extras and rarities.

“A great send-off for Tony Class” reports Andy Gillard of Scootering

A great send-off for Tony Class
Scootering were privileged to be among the hundreds to attend the funeral of DJ and promoter, Tony Class, in Chiswick, West London.

Known to many on the Mod and scooter scene as a promoter and DJ, Lambretta rider Tony sadly passed away recently after suffering from cancer.

As he would have wished, West London was brought to a temporary stand-still yesterday as the funeral procession, complete with scooters from all over the country, braved the rain to congest the Hogarth Roundabout on the A4 en route to the church!

Following the service a wake was held near Tony's house where his son Richard and a number of guest DJs – along with a live set from the Purple Hearts – entertained all those in attendance until the wee hours.

Rest In Peace Tony - you'll be missed by so many scooterists and Mods out there, who along with the scooter scene owe you so much.