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Mod (Modernism)

Mod (or, to use its full name, Modernism or sometimes Modism) was a lifestyle based around fashion and music that developed in London, England in the late 1950s and reached its peak in the early to mid 1960s. People who followed this lifestyle were known as Mods, and were mainly to be found in Southern England.

Mods were obsessed with clothes and music, including Black American R&B and Soul, Jamaican Ska, and Bluebeat and a select few British groups such as the Small Faces, the Kinks, The Spencer Davis Group and The Who.

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Mods would gather at all-night clubs to show off their clothes and dance. They would typically choose scooters as their mode of transportation, either the Lambretta or the Vespa. These were sometimes adorned with many lights and mirrors and were intended to gain attention.

An alternative youth movement known as 'Rockers' often clashed with the Mods, leading to street battles between the two factions in seaside resorts such as Brighton and Margate. These events led to much anguished discussion about 'modern youth' in Britain during the early 1960s. The conflicts inspired Anthony Burgess's novel A Clockwork Orange in which the anti-hero is arguably a futuristic Mod. The film Quadrophenia (1979), based on the album of the same name by The Who (1973), celebrated the movement.

Partly because of the success of this film, the mod movement enjoyed a revival during the late 1970s. Many of these later mods were fans of bands such as The Jam, The Chords, The Purple Hearts, The Merton Parkas, Secret Affair, and The Lambrettas, and Two Tone groups such as The Specials, The Beat, The Selecter, and Madness.

One logo of the mod movement is a stylized target, based on Britain's Royal Air Force symbol.

The band The Jam were highly influenced musically and stylistically by mod culture as are more recent musicians Ocean Colour Scene who often collaborate with Paul Weller, and The Ordinary Boys. Mod Culture also still runs strong in the german Electronic scene: keyboard wizard Erobique and electronic singer/songwriter lotte ohm. are very obviously mods, as is Frank Popp.

Mods made up (and continue to make up) a large proportion of the Northern soul movement, a subculture based on obscure American soul records from the 60's and 70's.


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