A new exhibition about the Mods has opened at Leicester’s New Walk Museum and Art Gallery – Mods: Shaping a Generation.
Mods: Shaping a Generation tells the story of the 1960s mod scene in Leicester and Nottingham and how they were connected via exclusive first-hand eye witness accounts, archive material and unpublished images.
The exhibition, which is based on Shaun Knapp’s book, Mods: Two City Connection (more on that in a moment) also celebrates the 40th anniversary of the release of The Who’s Quadrophenia movie, and includes ephemera and original 1960s clothing as seen in the film which has been provided by designer Roger K Burton.
The exhibition also contains a selection of classic scooters and re-visits legendary hang-outs visited by the Leicester and Nottingham mods including The Nite Owl, The Il Rondo and the Dungeon.
‘The Mods were an incredible 1960s youth sub-culture who shared a common desire to embrace a newfound financial and parental freedom and to stand out above the crowd with regards to originality in fashion, music and social status and what they achieved still influences aspects of contemporary life,’ said Shaun Knapp. ‘Mod culture provided teenagers a way out from the mundane lifestyle that their parents and older siblings had experienced, it provided them with an identity. National service was out, escapism and independence, both financial and creative, were in.’
The exhibition explores all of the above and more but from the perspective of the young people from Leicester and Nottingham. ‘The exhibition concentrates on the social, financial and creative freedom that most young people from the day enjoyed,’ said Shaun. ‘It has a focus on Mod fashion, music, individuality, transport, drug use, gender and race, anti-social behaviour and legacy, with the majority of the stories being told for the first time.’
Mods: Shaping a Generation exhibition, takes place at New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester, between April 13th and June 30th. Free admission. For further details, visit the website. Or watch the video above.
As I mentioned before, a book is also available, going by the name of Mods: Two City Connection.
It tells the story of how the mod scenes in Leicester and Nottingham were connected via exclusive first-hand eye witness accounts and unpublished images.
The book takes a generic ‘story of the Mods’ approach but told from the standpoint of young people who weren’t from the established ‘trend-setting’ areas of London, Manchester or Liverpool.
Like the exhibition, the book re-visits legendary hang-outs visited by the Leicester and Nottingham Mods including The Nite Owl, The Il Rondo, The Mojo, The Twisted Wheel and the Dungeon. It also includes a series of chapters written by the creatives and ‘faces’ from the two cities.
‘Both sets of mods visited each other’s cities to explore the various venues and to attend the now legendary all-nighters at The Dungeon, The Nite Owl and The Burlesque,’ said Shaun. ‘They all shared a common desire to embrace a newfound financial and parental freedom and to stand out above the crowd with regards to originality in fashion, music and social status and what they achieved still influences aspects of contemporary life.’
It’s a 216-page book and one that’s available to buy now, priced at £14.99.