A Mod Epic – The Jimmy Mack saga.
On New Year’s Eve, 1969, I was twenty. At the time I didn’t appreciate how lucky I had been to have lived through the best decade of my life. At least, not until I retired and reflected on my time as a young Mod between late 1965 and 1969. Those years shaped and influenced my life more than I imagined.
I always wanted to write, but a busy career and family life prevented me. Shortly after retiring, I wrote a rough first draft of what became the first chapter of Jimmy Mack (Some Kind of Wonderful). Three years later, on trip to Malta, I found the inspiration to complete the rest of the novel. By the time I returned home, the rough draft had been completed. I also had an outline plan for a ten-novel saga and related novels. So far, I’ve written four of the projected ten and one of the related novels. (Alice).
The Jimmy Mack novels are the ongoing story of a young Mod. It follows his life from teenager to manhood and his rise to the top as a fashion photographer between 1964-1969. His shared love affair with two young women, Effy and Angie, is at the core of this Sixties saga. James ‘Mack’ MacKinnon is a Sinner and a Saint.
Mack is everything Quadrophenia’s Jimmy is not. Sharp and smart is not only a description of his appearance, these are also his personal qualities. This is a clever, quick-witted, and determined young man. He can be utterly ruthless and dangerous when the need arises, showing no fear in violent confrontations.
So far, there are four main novels, three of which form the 1967 trilogy. When completed, the saga will trace Mack’s life and those of his friends from 1964 to 1969.
Some Kind of Wonderful, the first novel in the series, reveals how he meets Effy Halloran and Angie Thornton. The drug-fuelled, Sixties all-nighter club scene and Soul music form the backdrop to their lives as they struggle with family problems and secrets. These two girls will become best friends and one day will form a strange, shared lovers’ triangle with him.
In the second novel, Strong Love (The first 1967 novel of the trilogy) a fateful encounter at Angie’s eighteenth party will lead her, Mack, and Effy into a new life in London’s Swinging Sixties fashion world. Their mutual passion for fashion creates the perfect opportunity to have new careers. Once in London, their future lives change for good, but there are those who are out to stop their runaway success.
Let the Good Times Roll (the second 1967 novel) see the trio achieve fame and fortunes. Along the way, Mack and his girls find themselves in all the iconic Mod clubs of Manchester and London. Touted as a teen David Bailey, Mack and Angie follow Effy to London. She is a rising fashion designer, while Angie is set to become a top model. their lives begin to change. As their fame grows, it takes them to London, Spain, and New York. Along the way, they encounter fresh intrigue, deceit, and malice. These nearly destroy the threesome’s unusual relationship. Not everyone wants them to succeed some are keen to destroy them. They take the plunge and move to London. A new life is set to begin in Chelsea, next to the fashionable King’s Road, when Effy Halloran mysteriously disappears.
The New Breed (the third 1967 novel) sees Mack searching for answers about Effy’s disappearance as he and Angie establish their modelling agency in Soho. At every turn, someone appears determined to spoil and destroy their success. Scandals involving aristocrats, dangerous Greek shipping tycoons, and the lives of their various friends’ inter-twine with their lives. Will they forget their roots as they find themselves drawn into the Sixties celebrity circus, enjoying the high life?
Alice (Dying is simple. It’s coming back when things get interesting). is a related series novel. One which links to the main novels. Alice Liddell is one of Mack’s models and a close friend of Angie Thornton. Her story is strange and not to be taken at face value. It’s an allegorical tale that should get everyone thinking about who they are. This eighteen-year-old is not who she appears. Her story fills gaps in the other novels. If pressed, I like to say it should be man-datory reading for men, if they want to understand the world through female eyes. Sorry, I cannot say more about it as this would be a serious spoiler.
As an author, I write novels that can be read as superficial tales. But there are also much deeper levels and themes for readers to find. Don’t expect to find any mention of Brighton and beachfront battles. They are a Mod cliché. There was far more to Sixties Mods than what happened in 1964. Mods came from different backgrounds and had ambitions beyond drugs, dancing, and getting impeccably dressed. They understood when you became twenty-one, you were expected to become an adult. This was the way of their world in the Sixties.
By John Knight
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