I always try to eat delicious food. Unfortunately I don't have that much money, so I have to cook a lot of it at home. But thats OK because I love cooking and I love eating at home with my wife. This is a website with my favorite recipes and a little bit of commentary.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Mods Vs. Rockers

I was riding around this AM and came up behind a guy on a scooter. For some reason there have been a buttload of scooters zooming around Louisville lately. Most of the people riding them are in their late 40's to early 50's. Apparently they think that scooters aren't dangerous because none of them wear helmets and very few of them wear anything but shorts and flip-flops.

I was getting annoyed because the guy was driving extremely slowly. Then I thought 'oh, he can't go any faster.' You see, scooters are so wimpy and underpowered that they can only go about 25-30 mph.

The thought of a Triumph sneaking up behind a scooter made me think about the movie Quadrophenia.

The movie was the acting debut of none other than Sting.

It was about the early 1960's cultural phenomenon in England known as the Mods and Rockers.
Here is an example of a rocker.
Rockers tended to ride motorcycles and wear leather. They were the 1950's equivalent of the modern day bikers. Rockers generally bought standard factory-made motorcycles and stripped them down, tuned them up and modified them to appear like racing bikes.
Here is an example of a stock bike that might be modified.
And here is an example of what it might have been modified into - a cafe racer.

They raced them on public roads and travelled to cafes such as The Ace Cafe, Chelsea Bridge tea stall, Ace of Spades, Busy Bee and Johnsons. Largely due to their clothing styles and dirtiness, the rockers were not widely welcomed by venues such as pubs and dance halls. The first rockers were primarily known for their motorcycles, but by the 1960s, they became associated with a specific music genre and clothing style. Rockers mostly favoured 1950s and early-1960s rock and roll by artists such as Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley.

The mods, on the other hand, tended to be from upper class or upper middle class backgrounds. The first mods had parents in the fashion industry and thus had access to very nice clothing for the time. From these originals sprang the mod culture, sporting suits, nice shoes and short haircuts.

They also tended to like parkas, especially the hooded German Army parkas like this one:
Mods like dancing late at night. They would take amphetamines and other stimulants to be able to stay up all night. Rockers generally looked down on mods for that particular habit. As a consequence of being out very late at night, public transportation was not available. Cars were too expensive so the mods, being too wimpy and canary-like to ride a real motorcycle, bought scooters instead.
Yes that is a real scooter that was ridden by a real mod. Seem a little ridiculous to you? All the mirrors were on there for two reasons. First, there was a law passed in Britain that all motorized vehicles had to have at least one mirror. To make fun of the law, mods loaded down their already underpowered and overweighted mopeds with a ton of mirrors. Cute. Second, and more importantly, mods were always starting fights and lipping off to rockers. As a result, the mods had to have something on their mopeds for the rockers to take as a trophy after they got their guts stomped out.
Lambretta and Vespa scooters were preferred.

The mods vs. rockers conflicts were highlighted in the movie Quadrophenia.

Rockers, wearing leather jackets and riding heavy motorcycles, poured scorn on the mods, who wore suits and rode scooters. The rockers considered mods to be weedy, effeminate snobs. Mods saw rockers as out of touch, oafish and grubby. Mods were usually city dwellers, whereas rockers tended to be more rural. Mods sometimes held down office jobs, whereas rockers were often manual workers (although there were many exceptions in both groups). Musically, there was not much common ground; with the rockers clinging to 1950s rock and roll, mostly by white American artists such as Elvis Presley, Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran. Mods generally favored 1960s rhythm and blues, soul and ska by black American and Jamaican musicians, although many of them also liked British R&B/beat groups such as The Who, The Small Faces and The Yardbirds. Fights occurred where territories overlapped or rival factions happened upon each other. Mods sometimes sewed fish hooks into the backs of their lapels to shred the fingers of assailants. Weapons were often in evidence; coshes and flick knives being favored.

Second Battle of Hastings (1964)

The conflict came to a head on the south coast of England, where Londoners head for seaside resorts on Bank Holidays. In 1964, thousands of mods descended upon Margate, Broadstairs and Brighton to find that an inordinately large number of rockers had made the same holiday plans. Within a short time, marauding gangs of mods and rockers were openly fighting, often using pieces of deckchairs. The worst violence was at Brighton, where fights lasted two days and moved along the coast to Hastings and back; hence the Second Battle of Hastings tag. A small number of rockers were isolated on Brighton beach where they – despite being protected by police – were overwhelmed and assaulted by mods. Eventually calm was restored and a judge levied heavy fines, describing those arrested as Sawdust Caesars.[1]

So would I have been a mod or a rocker? Neither. Here is the evidence.
1) I hate scooters and mopeds of any form, thus I could not have been a mod.
2) I liked the way the mods dressed better than the way the rockers dressed and thus I would not have been accepted by the rockers either.
3)I like the mods' music choice a little better and I would not have been accepted by the rockers for that reason alone.
4) I was not a part of either of the 2 large youth movements when I was in highschool and college. Having already been faced with the choice to join the crowd, I chose to opt out of both the grunge movement and the heavy metal movement. I like both kinds of music, I just don't all the nonsense that goes along with it.