The story behind the Original Southend Mods
Andy McAvoy came up with the idea of curating stories, memories and pictures of Original Mods of Southend when Inspired by a friend’s father at the age of 15. Andy was intrigued and fascinated hearing stories of post war Britain, all night dances, scooters and coffee bars. Unfortunately he missed the 1979 revival by 5 years, he was born in 1971 so at the height of its popularity he was too young to be involved. Although at age 15 in 1987 he did have a scooter but the mod scene was all but done apart from a few stragglers. Apparently any Southend revival Mod worth his salt had moved on by 84. He caught the crumbs of the tail end so morphed Into a scooter boy and went In that direction for a while.
Then the 90’s introduced a whole new audience to mod through Brit Pop and Andy’s passion for mod culture was Ignited once again. He always had an interest in the scene and was a regular at untouchable club nights from 1993 and played in various bands. The mod ethos and passion never really left him. Although it became more prominent when he met his girlfriend in 1997 (now wife) and was introduced to her mother who again was an Original mod. Once again hearing about the fashion, lifestyle and movement from someone who was part of its origins inspired him once again. That’s were the Idea really stemmed from and he wanted to put together a book which celebrated and showcased all those who were there and their stories. He put the Idea on the back burner until 2018 and then decided to fully focus on the project. He took to social media encouraging old mods to get In touch with him to share their stories, memories and photos. The response was phenomenal. He suddenly found himself meeting and recording Interviews with them as well as managing work, family life and at the time training for a marathon. It was at times hard to juggle but hearing about the clothes they wore, the bands they watched, the coffee bars and the seaside riots first hand really made It worthwhile. However the most pleasing part of the whole project for Andy was meeting up with them and watching their faces light up with excitement as they relived their youth to him.
Unfortunately as things were coming together, covid put a stop to things and he had to research and find more information from Library newspaper archives and books. Not being particularly good on a computer Andy enlisted the help of a designer, who as it turned out knew a couple of the guys that he had interviewed for the book. They worked together on it and produced a visually pleasing history of Mod in Southend in its first form.
After a hugely successful book on Southend’s original mods, Andy is currently focusing on it’s follow up. This will cover the mod revival in the town beginning from were this book finished.
The last mods in Southend were 1968 and the first evidence of revival Mods came through in 1976. Andy once again wants to briefly explore the youth cults and the gap between them. He also wants to hear about their influences particularly those pre Quadrophenia. Although he has said he also wants to focus on second Mod revivalist and may have the book continue right through to the 90’s with Brit Pop. Southend had a thriving young Mod scene back then so It will be Interesting to learn more about that too.
We asked our friend Jeff Shadbolt formally The Purple Hearts and now PH2 for a quick quote about his thoughts on the book. He Is a friend of Andy’s so thought It was only fitting.