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Sunday 30 October 2016

Book Review: Ready Steady Girls - The Other Side Of The Mod Equation

Being a Mod was a lifestyle synonymous with style, soul, Italian scooters, amphetamines and an all-encompassing twenty-four hour lifestyle.The scene was reported to be predominantly made-up of art students and working-class teenagers, who were deemed to be narcissistic, hedonistic and avowedly consumerist.

The boys however were not alone. Perhaps fitting for a movement that was so very hard to define and that existed under the radar for so many years, an even greater revolution was happening within its own ranks
 
In the foreward to Ready Steady Girls - the other side of the Mod equation - the new book by Mark Baxter, Jason Brummell and Ian Snowball - Claire Mahoney(Journalist, Broadcaster and Mod) says: 

'Mod has always been a very male domain. But behind the peacocks in their three-button jackets stood a no less flamboyant breed of bird: the Mod girl.'

Many female mods dressed androgynously, with short haircuts, men's trousers or shirts, flat shoes, and little make-up — often just pale foundation, brown eye shadow, white or pale lipstick and false eyelashes.

Miniskirts became progressively shorter between the early and mid-1960s. As female mod fashion became more mainstream, slender models like Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy began to exemplify the mod look. 

Maverick fashion designers emerged, such as Mary Quant, who was known for her miniskirt designs.


And so begins 'the first book of its kind to offer an insider's view on what makes a girl a Mod and why.'

Ready Steady Girls lets the girls do the talking. Their passion for fashion and eye for detail is just as committed as those of their male counterparts.

The boys among their number threatened to subvert the class system, the girls challenged on a whole other level; and when the boys descended into tawdry uniformed beach fights the baton was picked up by the girls with their own unique styles and individual challenges to the societal norm. 


Mocky Marzan De Cabo says: 'Mod is my whole life. That crazy feeling that invades my soul everytime I dress in my Mod clothes, listen to Mod music and party with other like-minded people.'

In chapter two - Icons & Idols - Celia Lucchitta, among many others, lists her icons from the sixties that includes models, actors, musicians and singers. 

Celia lists Twiggy, Jean Shrimpton, Jane Fonda and Cathy McGowan. While Rhoda Dakar adds Emma Peel's outfits, as well as a continued desire to become Emma Peel herself!

Chapter three delves into the Modernist's preferred mode of transport, the scooter.Annabelle Lichfield offers the truism that: 'Scooters are just like the clothes - streamlined and stylish with no frills. It's almost impossible to look un-cool riding a scooter.'

Shelia Hughes sums it up nicely: 'Sea-spray, candy-floss and two-stoke.'

In the wonderfully named chapter - Daylight Turns To Moonlight And I'm At My Best - the female Mods delve into the night when parents were left in front of the telly and their new found independence was explored to the maxim.

Val Weedon reminisces about seeing the Small Faces and, after the show, walking back to the car with them while holding Steve Marriot's hand! 

On the other hand Connie Sullivan says she's been to many Mod gigs and lists her favourite as The Specials at Brixton Academy in 2013. 

And so in - As It Was In The Beginning, So Shall It Be In The End - what of being a Mod in the present day?

Karen Amass: 'I've been back in the scene for over a dozen years. It sounds like a cliche but I don't believe it ever leaves you.'

Ready Steady Girls is a book presented with all the style and detail of the Mod scene itself. It offers, by way of testimony and beautiful photography, the flip side of the Modernist coin .. the side that's just important .. the female Mods.CLICK HERE to purchase.  

by: Mike Cobley




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Pic by John Morgan

The music of much-loved Belfast singer-songwriter Bap Kennedy is being celebrated with a new release Raving for Bap by Brighton-based ravers, The Raving Beauties; all profits going to Belfast's Marie Curie Hospice

You know the story and have probably seen the films, now Brighton Rock is back and this time it's a stage adaptation that features a soundtrack composed by the acclaimed singer, musician and composer Hannah Peel.

Straight off the back of a string of summer gigs and festivals up and down the country, The RPMs return with a bigger sound and a new focus.
Pic by Phil Nicholls www.philnicholls.co.uk

UK-based singer/songwriter Sarah McQuaid's new album, If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous, muses on mortality, but it's by no means all gloom. 

Reading the wonderful new Ronnie Lane oral biography, Can You Show Me A Dream?, it would be easy for the reader to be left with the impression that Ronnie's life cycle had been a wild journey with a sad ending. But for Ronnie the journey hadn't ended. The letter had left the envelope, that's all.

On the back of last weekend's gig at Sticky Mike's Frog Bar, in Brighton, Jordan Allen are releasing new single and firm live favourite, R.O.S.I.E.

Jim White gets around. When he's not releasing his own critically acclaimed solo albums he splits his time producing records for other songwriters, exhibiting his visual art in galleries and museums across the USA & Europe and publishing award winning fiction.

To mark 150 years as a performance venue, Brighton Dome is seeking memories from across its rich history. Submissions will help inform new heritage displays which will go on show when the refurbished buildings re-open in late 2018.

Paloma Faith – one of only two British female artists this decade to have their last three albums go double platinum in the UK – has released her fourth album, The Architect.

Greg James and Chris Smith's Kid Normal has been chosen as the 2018 'big read' for children across Brighton & Hove and beyond. 

Son of Dave is fifty years old, and has lived for twenty-one years in the UK, hailing originally from Winnipeg Canada where he was steeped at a young age in the blues-bar tradition. 

The stand-up Jon Richardson is chatting from a rather unusual location. He reveals that,“I'm currently in the Aldi car park in Clevedon.” Who said that the life of a comedian isn't non-stop glamour?

A remake of one of Brighton's most iconic films, Brighton Rock, is set to take place this week on the 70th anniversary of the classic starring Richard Attenborough – and members of the public are invited to dress up in vintage 1940s attire and take part.

Brighton charity Same Sky has launched its crowdfunder for Burning the Clocks 2017 – an uplifting antidote to the excesses of a commercial Christmas. 

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