Saturday, August 4, 2012

This Is The Modern World... Again.

40 Year Old Sturgeon - Coming Soon to a Mod Gone Wrong near you

Mod seems to be everywhere right now.
And it is.

but the return of my brand of Mod started to kick into gear a couple of years ago...

Things started to get clever again for the Fred Perry creative department.
Paul Weller was back. Pretty and Green now but streamlined and vibrant with a striking new single.
An Adidas/Vespa collaboration was launched. Somewhat of a branding curveball which surprisingly worked.
The reunion show by East Bay mod heavies The Loved Ones at the Burritt Room in SF only perpetuated the rumblings of a colorful rebirth. Strobe lights and harmonicas crackled to life, and shapeless Mondrian-style dresses were boldly on the racks as if to confront the San Francisco nightclub fashion fog and the monochrome hipsters that swam there. The mood was engaging in the name of everything danceable and fun. But with a new found sophistication, we wouldn't let this exposure go the Austin Powers route again.

Digging the scene in Paris

What'cha Gonna Do About It. With little time to process the resonating mod rebirth, France again beckoned and I responded with an extended work/play trip. Third only to Italy and Great Britain on the mod hospitality meter, it is France who is responsible for the effortless element of contemporary suburban style. That devil may care finesse. In France the clothes hang differently. In France you don't fall down. 
At this time France was giving us the early incarnation of pop modernist sextet French Boutik, we'd witnessed a blistering sold out live show at the Olympia in Paris by The Specials, and a proper scooter rally weekender in Paris went off brilliantly, the first of it's kind in many many years. As it would happen the development of a hot new offshore multihull sailing class called the Multi One Design aka MOD classe was percolating at the VPLP drafting tables in Vannes and in nearby Lausanne, SUI. While completely unrelated, the modernistic synergy was beginning to spark and click, a strong argument for the anomylous power of style and passion which Mod encompasses. Mod is indeed everywhere, but only if you have your presets saved.

Okay, who let the damn greaser get his bike in pole position?!

Nutty Never Dies. Wish we could say the same about the Gold Dust Lounge.

Rally. Once home again in SF, the momentum continued with a series of must attend live events, namely a crushing set from rocksteady pioneers The Skatalites in Oakland. Nutty Camden Town skankers Madness at The Warfield were the next night. and flawless. The next week brought a Film Festival showing of Quadrophenia on the big screen at the infamous Castro Theater. and then the weekend to follow, Paul Tunkin's legendary UK Blow Up club blew into town and blew up the Monarch bar with Paul at the helm of the ones and twos, and Cellar Doors providing us with a smoking set of distorto psych pop. The old SF mod crowd came out in force for all of it. We attended these events in fine style, paying our final farewell to SF's iconic Gold Dust Lounge with a cocktail gathering before Madness, and arranging a very memorable scooter ride to the showing of Quadrophenia.

Some things never change. Much of the old crew at the Orbit Room for the ride to Quadrophenia

Yerself is Steam. The now thriving Mod Male blog had found it's footing and a loyal audience.

Levi's revived their essential Sta-Prest line of trousers.

Scooter Rage celebrated it's 25th event.

PULP had an epic return to SF.
Back in the UK, Noel Gallagher was making some noize on the airwaves with his High Flying Birds and Amorphous Androgynous.
Andrew Lindsay turned his attention to footwear
It was still steady on in our humble San Francisco scene. The club nights 'Phonogram' and 'Mod Make Out' were getting traction.

Enter Bradley Wiggins, The Krys Ocean Race, and The Who announcing their North American Tour.
Prepare for takeoff. 

Brit Paup. Much has been reported on Wiggo's rise to fame and his affinity for mod culture and I've honestly enjoyed having the radar tuned in. Always nice to hear soundbites of our little subculture making the news especially in the global context of a victorious Tour de France campaign. As expected there have been a few novelty and poorly researched editorials in the mix, but on the whole the Bradley Wiggins Mod connection has put a unique cultural veneer on the sport of cycling.

And as I write this, Wiggo has bagged the gold medal for the cycling time trial. Yep, he's Mad For It.

Oasis may be gone, but we get the Stone Roses back again.
Fair enough trade. My Ian for your Liam.
and I'll raise you a Wiggo.

Wiggo giving Brannif a run for their money for title of coolest Space-Age uniforms

The Real Me. As I enjoy to champion all things Mod, the opportunity to prop up the new MOD70 trimaran circuit became inevitable. Though the MOD70 sailboat class has little to do with the traditional mod scene, the pure intoxication one receives onboard one of these vessels will snuff out a handful of leapers. Why dabble in the artificial blues when you can call upon your reliable dealer ocean? These boats are the newest sexiest multihulls to have a go at the offshore circuit and as predicted the program is off to a smashing start, the Krys Ocean Race was sailed from NY to Brest, FR with much fanfare earlier this month. We joked with the british sailors about the MOD connection when we were in Newport and there are several similarities which propose a fun juxtaposition. As my friend Jean-Philippe says - "Real Mods ride bigger scooters" ... In this case sans wheels and mirrors, and injected with wind powered carbon fiber, but just as sexy and efficient as a decked out Rally GS. Have a look at this video I shot onboard the Oman Sail MOD70 'Musandam' ... If these are the new mod bikes, we've grown leaps and bounds in the style department. So perhaps this is an Aquaphenia for the new mod generation? However I'm not sure where to send these guys shopping for big enough mirrors!
Professional sailing has become my new Mod. It is my work and my pleasure. There is little to compare with the sense of community and camaraderie found in the sailing circles, and the mere concept that this sport is dictated by wind and weather and water gives us a romantic presence of freedom and mysterious adventure. It's new and invigorating to me. It brings me right back to scooter meetings and band rehearsals, and those not to be missed concerts of the 80's.

and just like those simple days of discovery, I can sail a wicked tune, but I am still a rusty trawler.

MOD 70 in flight - Onboard the 70 foot trimaran Race For Water / Multi One Attitude

Makin' Time. The announcement from The Who that they will be touring the Quadrophenia album in the US in the coming months was timely indeed and came hot on the heels of the 1 day only North American screening of the Quadrophenia 'Making Of' film. The band aren't in the Bay Area until February 1st, so that's plenty of time to re-apply all those old patches to the fishtail parka. A jacket which has seen as much action in 2012 as it did in 1987.

For you San Francisco residents, Pete Towshend's son Simon will be playing the Boom Boom Room on September 15th. 

Simon has managed to channel Keith Moon in recent days. It's a difficult job as the drummer for The Who.

Power to the people. My mates French Boutik have returned this week from a two day stint in the UK supporting groove all-stars DC Fontana. French Boutik have just released their new EP which you really need to pick up. 

The now sound of France

If you missed them live, perhaps you were cuddling with a cup of PG Tips and tucking in to the Olympic Opening Ceremony. We got a brief Mod101 refresher there, was especially nice to hear The Kinks, The Jam, et al soundtracking some highlights of the opening shindig.
I'm so sorry to say Paul MacCartney however was like listening to an amplified ill-fitting burlap crombie.

As much as I love Macca, it might be time for him to step down before he pulls a Bette Davis.

With every action there is a positive reaction... so bring on the new breed.

and a 70 foot trimaran for Sir Paul.


Big Ups to our SF home team Mod Deejays:

Carlos Perez aka Thee Mod Male stylin and profilin

Ground Control to Major Sean...

Rude Boys Out On Bail

Turntable Hooligans Miki and Liam up to no good. ...ever.

Part Mummy. Part Monkey.  Russell always spins the fever

Mixtress Galine blows it up up and away

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