This book has been talked about for quite some time, but I’ve just been told that the much-delayed Mod: A Very British Style by Richard Weight book is about to go to the printers and as a bonus, we’ve got the artwork for the finished product.
It looks a classy affair too, judging by the shots above. The images (first published on the Random House design pages), if they look familiar, are from Dean Chalkley’s New Faces mod project. You can read an interview with Dean here.
As for the book, we flagged that up some time back, weighing in at 400 pages. It now has a new pre-publicity write-up, that being:
Welcome to the world of the sharp-suited ‘faces’. The Italianistas. The scooter-riding, all-night-dancing instigators of what became, from its myriad sources, a very British phenomenon.
Mod began life as the quintessential working-class movement of a newly affluent nation – a uniquely British amalgam of American music and European fashions that mixed modern jazz with modernist design in an attempt to escape the drab conformity, snobbery and prudery of life in 1950s Britain. But what started as a popular cult became a mainstream culture, and a style became a revolution.
In Mod, Richard Weight tells the story of Britain’s biggest and most influential youth cult. He charts the origins of Mod in the Soho jazz scene of the 1950s, set to the cool sounds of Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. He explores Mod’s heyday in Swinging London in the mid-60s – to a new soundtrack courtesy of the Small Faces, the Who and the Kinks. He takes us to the Mod-Rocker riots at Margate and Brighton, and into the world of fashion and design dominated by Twiggy, Mary Quant and Terence Conran.
But Mod did not end in the 1960s. Richard Weight not only brings us up to the cult’s revival in the late 70s – played out against its own soundtrack of Quadrophenia and the Jam – but reveals Mod to be the DNA of British youth culture, leaving its mark on glam and Northern Soul, punk and Two Tone, Britpop and rave.
This is the story of Britain’s biggest and brassiest youth movement – and of its legacy. Music, film, fashion, art, architecture and design – nothing was untouched by the eclectic, frenetic, irresistible energy of Mod.
The current publication date is now 28th March, with a review on this site hopefully before then (if I can get hold of an advanced copy). Amazon is doing pre-orders for £12.80, discounted from the full £20 asking price.