Mod Week

‘Quadrophenia’s’ Hyperrealistic Portrait of Teen Angst, 1960s Mod Style

Plenty of films that came out of England in the ’60s featured a mod aesthetic, but the one that definitively captured the mod subculture was Franc Roddam’s 1979 film Quadrophenia. Based on the 1973 concept album of the same name by The Who, the film, like the rock opera on which it’s based, is both a celebration and a critique of the subculture — which, by the time of its release, had already found a revival. It’s a brilliant piece of cinema that captures the counterculture and moral panic in post-war England, an early nostalgic look at a movement that defined and era and influenced fashion, film, and particularly music in the latter half of the 20th century. … Read More

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Why Mod vs. Rockers-Style Subcultural Riots Don’t Happen Today

The 50th anniversary of England’s mod vs. rockers riots has inspired the current Mod Week here at Flavorwire, and as much as anything, the anniversary highlights a major difference between the musical subcultures of today and those of a couple of generations ago: that the fierce tribalism of the past seems to be absent from today’s cultural landscape. It’s hard to imagine #seapunks (if they still exist) and burners hurling deckchairs at one another, or pop-punk kiddies and goths having pitched battles over who gets to wear more guyliner. This, of course, is no bad thing — a riot is a riot, no matter whether it’s over politics or one’s preference for jazz over rock or Vespas over motorcycles. But still, it raises the question of why tribalism is in decline. Do kids these days care less about subculture? Or is it just that their allegiances manifest in different, less violent ways? … Read More

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The Essential Mod Playlist

While the mod subculture is known for a lot of things, particularly fashion, the most influential aspect of the mod aesthetic is the music. Many of England’s most important figures in rock ‘n’ roll started out by dabbling in garage-rock and rhythm and blues in the early and mid-’60s. Inspired by African-American musicians who released blues records decades before them (as, in turn, the second wave of the subculture would be inspired by Jamaican artists in the ’70s, developing the ska revival), these artists took an American sound and added a manic, post-war British sensibility which, in turn, influenced a generation of American musicians. Here is a collection of the movement’s musical contributions. … Read More

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Quiz: Are You a Mod or a Rocker?

It seems like a simple question: are you a mod or are you a rocker? The thing is, most of us aren’t entirely one or the other. That’s why for 50 years, well-dressed adults and angsty teenagers alike have wasted hours wondering which side of the line they fall on, raising questions of aesthetic preference, philosophy, and musical taste. So, which one is it for you? Mod or rocker? Answer these questions to find out. … Read More

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10 Essential Mod Movies

Considering the heavy cycles of biker movies, hippie trip flicks, and “Blaxpoitation” epics that took over drive-in screens and movie theaters around the world in the late 1960s and early 1970s, it’s a little surprising that the mods were so oddly underrepresented in cinema. But enough representations of the culture made their way into the movies for us to present this little primer of mod at the movies. … Read More

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The Mod Suit: How a Uniform Defined a Subculture

The British and the Italians have always done suits better than anybody else, and each of the countries has a style all its own. To understand the differences between the two, you might start by picturing some stately looking British gentleman stepping out of a Savile Row tailor in a suit that makes him looks good because the lines are cut with such classic precision. In contrast, an Italian suit might conjure up a mental image of a sleek-looking gentleman who jumps on his scooter after sipping an espresso with a lemon twist. He’s the definition of modern, and he does it so effortlessly. … Read More

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