Saturday 18 January 2020

Once a Mod, always a Mod - they never really went away

Mod Culture is back, but scene stalwarts will tell you it never really went away. Three of Ireland's most prominent Mods tell Eamon Sweeney that once you're a Mod, you're always a Mod

Jannette Flood
Jannette Flood
Eamon Flavin, owner of the Rebirth of Cool in Temple Bar
Joe Moran, co-founder of Sussed magazine
Eamon Sweeney

Eamon Sweeney

Music and fashion make our worlds go round, but Mods truly bring it to another level. Since the Swinging Sixties, Mod has been the most 
stylish and suave subculture of modern times. Let's face it, grunge and rave are hardly renowned for their sartorial elegance...

Jannette Flood, Eamon Flavin and Joe Moran aren't just Mods who are into their music and clothes, but active participants in a healthy and thriving scene. They let Insider into their world and reveal what being a Mod is all about.

 

Jannette Flood

Promoter of Mash It Up Club in Thomas House, DJ, designer, works in advertising

My parents were really into the Beat scene in the 60s and they're really passionate music lovers to this day. My first boyfriend was a Mod and his older brother was a Mod. He used to teach us Northern Soul dancing.

I started running nights when I was 19 back in 1992 because there was nothing going on here in the early 90s. The whole scene seemed to die off at the end of the 80s. We just wanted stuff to go to. I still do it because I can't go over to England to see all the bands and DJs I want to see because I have kids and responsibilities, so instead of going there I bring them here.

I've Jerry Dammers from the Specials 
coming over this week and Eddie Piller is coming back in September.

The scene has become massive again. It is much bigger than it was in the 90s. You can go out every weekend. It makes a big difference having a shop (The Rebirth of Cool) and a pub (Thomas House) to go to. It's not just about us in our early 40s any more. It is teenagers and people in their early 20s. We overlap and go to each others nights.

Mod culture is not about living in the past. I'm a very practical woman. I don't have time to live in the past! I work in advertising and I live in the here and now. If we lived in the past, we wouldn't be doing magazines, or opening shops and running nights. Everyone is pushing things forward and trying to make the scene bigger and better all the time.

There are just as many girls into it now than there ever was, which is great. The early 2000s were a little quiet, but it has picked up again. Girls love the look. It's a great look and it's also a very easy style to do on a day to day basis, so girls are drawn to it. There are lots of great girls on the scene now - photographers, make up artists, designers. They're all involved and all doing their own thing. I'm a huge Mary Quant fan. I love her, and Twiggy. The designer Barbara Hulanicki is also a huge personal influence.They were women who stood out and became household names.

I dress this way all the time, even picking up the kids from school. My job are great with it. They've no qualms about me turning looking like an extra off Mad Men!

Eamon Flavin

Proprietor, The Rebirth of Cool, Temple Bar

My journey started around 1979 or 1980 through my brother. He was one of the original guys who was on the scene back in the early days. He was very polished and well into looking after himself so the whole Mod thing suited him.

Mod culture developed through a passion for style going through hard times. Life was tough and hard, but people wanted to look good and stand out from the crowd and make a statement.

The late 70s and early 80s were a horrible time in Ireland. I started going to Bubbles around 1981/82, which used to be on a Wednesday night between 8 and 11. It was mineral-bar-only and there was no grog on sale. It's where everyone went, from a Mod perspective.

In 1986, I went to college in London so I went on the scooter rallies to Brighton and all that. It was incredible. I gravitated towards the soul scene, but I kept the Mod look. I became immersed in it.

Casual culture never came into it, so my mother used to love it! It gets into your blood. It might be a cliche but it does become a way of life.

I always wanted to own my own shop. It harks back to hunting for stuff in the old days. If you were lucky, you got to go to Carnaby Street. I have a lot of youngsters that come in who love the gear. There's a vibrant young scene now.

At Christmas, a 14-year-old came in with his father. He looked amazing. That's the big satisfaction for me. It's making a difference and dressing people up.

It is all about providing a solution for people to get suited and booted from head to toe. The sentiment and reaction has been fantastic. I get 14-year-olds right up to 50 and beyond. Who knows? Maybe we'll be able to add on a coffee shop to compliment it as a cultural centre.

My other half gives out to me because I wear everything from out of the shop but as I say to her, it's a necessary evil! Once you're a Mod, you're a Mod all the way.

I wish I had a shop cam to record some the people coming in. A lot of people's jaws drop. The amount of guys who came in before The Blades gigs getting kitted out from head to toe was amazing. They came out looking absolutely delighted with themselves.

Joe Moran

Co-founder, Sussed Magazine

I'm from the East Wall in Dublin and a few lads I knocked around with got turned on by the Mod thing, so I started getting an ear for it too. My elder brother was into The Jam and The Blades, so that was another signpost. Once all those things coalesced it was where I was going

We're looking at the fifth generation of Mod culture now. The original Mods grew out of a jazz scene in West London. In 1963 or 1964 it went mainstream. There was a revival in 1979 and that's were the majority of the 40-plus Mods would come in.

You had Britpop in the 90s, which came at it from more of a shaggy Mod thing. Now, you have a current reaffirmation and celebration of Mod culture. They've all brought something different to the pot. My idea of Mod culture would reference all of those things without singling any of them out. For me, the Mod idea is about being active and being a producer rather than a consumer.

I'm more interested in the guys who aren't doing the Electric Picnics and the Glastonburys and writing about them. I love Gangs from Tallaght and The Urges. French Boutique and The Riots are amazing, too. They use past influences but aren't derivative.

That's what our magazine is about. We're into new music. A couple of years ago myself and my business partner, Ray Gilligan, made plans over a pint, which, of course, Irish people tend to do. We though it'll be cool to knock out a magazine for our crowd. It's great to see that plan over a pint becoming a reality.

Irish Independent

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