Becoming a Mod in 1966
Becoming a Mod….When asked why I became a Mod in 1966, I always give the same answer. Sex, soul music, and style. (N.B. No scooters). Even before I set foot in my first Mod club, I already had my priorities.
Girls? Mod girls looked cool, acted cool, and to my teenage eyes, were cool and glamorous. At that age, my hormones were raging, and young women fascinating me. I’ve always preferred a woman on my arm and female company as a general rule. I was never one for standing around a bar, pint in hand, gassing about footie with a bunch of blokes. Give me a woman’s company every time.
Music? Has always been a passion. Especially the music I heard in Mod clubs back in 1966. My kind of music: Motown, Soul, R&B with the occasional Ska 45. The best dance music ever. I fell in love with soul music listening to the early records of Marvin Gaye, The Marvelettes, The Drifters, and Little Stevie Wonder long before I became a Mod. It was music made for dancing and most girls liked to go dancing so it all came together. What better way of getting to know them, while enjoying a bop. As a twelve-year-old, I loved to do the Twist at social club parties. Dancing wasn’t something I ever saw as a ‘cissy’ activity unlike the other boys in my school.
Clothes? It didn’t take me long to fathom that dressing well and looking good in a suit was the best way to attract the opposite sex. Clothes counted, and I always liked to look smart. My mother made a point of constantly reminding me that I should look clean, smart, and well turned out at all times.
“Once on the scene, it didn’t take me long to appreciate this. I became a fashion obsessive with a passion. More so as I discovered the true meaning of what being a Mod was all about.”
Scooters? Yes, (large yawn). I had one, then soon after another. Let me be honest. Scooters were low on my list of priorities, but I needed one.
My Lambretta TV175 was a means of transport. Without one so I couldn’t get to clubs and parties, or go hunting for records further afield. Having a scooter meant you could persuade your latest flame back to her parent-free house on an evening or Sunday afternoon.
(Two could have a party to misquote a Motown song). Also, your stock went up if you rescued a damsel in distress and got her home after missing the last bus.
Did having scooters help you get the girls? Yes, but at a club or party, charm was way more important than having a scooter. Fact.
Was there a blinding flash? A moment when I knew I wanted to become a Mod? Yes, there was an epiphany moment, pretty much like the one in the opening chapter of my first novel. It happened when I was fourteen in 1964 on a Saturday as I walked down Godwin Street in Bradford. These guys came past on their scooters, a breath-taking, impression-making sight. Cool, dressed to impress, the way they looked, everything about them had me hooked. I wanted to look cool and be like them. The fact that one rider had a pretty young girl as a pillion made it all the more memorable. At that moment, they defined cool for me. That’s when. I decided I wanted to be just like them, a Mod.
So how did I become a Mod? My best friend Ryk and I grew up together. His mum looked after us from two years old until we went to the local Infants school. Shortly after my parents moved from Halifax to Bradford. Our mothers remained close and so did we. We were almost like brothers. We spent many weekends over the years alternating between his house and mine. Ryk was the one who got me into the Halifax scene. That was around April or May 1966. He used one word to entice me, and I didn’t need much persuading. Girls. He was the one who took the first steps. I ended up tail-coating him on to the scene. He led the way. Ryk’s guidelines about what to wear, how to act, and his older mates from work, helped me fit in quickly. We were lucky enough to have the Halifax Plebeians Jazz club (The Plebs) where the action was. It was one of the most amazing clubs in West Yorkshire and where I was to enjoy many great all-nighters and evenings. I was lucky enough to see so many of the top brilliant acts of the day there.
The video shows the Interior of the club and many of those who went there in 1967.
By John Knight