Mod a Very British Phenomenon: Clean Living Under Difficult Circumstances (Anglais) Broché – décembre 2000
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When I received the book in the mail and cracked it open, I was instantly a bit disappointed. Its very worthwhile on one hand because its full of old newspaper clippings, quotes from interviews with original mod pioneers, historical events, clothing and style descriptions, hairstyle descriptions, and other cultural detail it gives readers-- no matter how well-versed in mod-- an informative and entertaining read. It is indeed a great source relative to the shabby body of work that exists on mod. Unfortunetly, there is an obvious drawback. I hoped the book would be in glossy coffetable format, filled with crisp images but the book instead has rather poor printing quality, distorted photographs and is lacking in format. The resolution is poor and the style choices of both the text and photos in the format are cheap and sometimes cheesy, pseudo-mod. So, I was a bit disappointed-- While great for information, the book is not one that I enjoy picking up and getting lost in the visuals--- instead, its more of an informative read for me.
This book is a 4.5 at the very least. Definatley worth the $20-or-so for the photos alone.
And fashion is what Mod was all about. It was a uniquely British affair at the time, a teen movement that claimed to be a break with the staid past, but was almost fascistic in its relentless doctrine of 'dress this way or risk being ostracized'.
It didn't really hit in the US. Here, our teen culture was way too ethnocentric in the early sixties to adopt anything from overseas. Look, how even The Beatles' early singles died. In fact, it wasn't until the 1980's - in a post-modern, post-punk world - that new wavers on both sides of the pond embraced many of the basic dress tenets of the 1960 Mod culture.
So, what do we have here in Mr Rawlings book? It's a chronicle of what that time was about. Told in a broad sweeping narrative that is supported by a spectacular series of photos and first-person stories, the book confirms the title...Mod was a very Britsh Phenomena.
But, oh what a great time it was for music. And, that's real story in Rawlings' history. Sure, the Mods were self-absorbed fashion plates. But, while dressing for their own success, they also forged an amazing amalgamation of US R&B music with British skiffle and music hall beats. It was this synthesis of sound and culture that formed the foundation for most of The British Invasion. Listen to any of the early LP's by The Who; The Kinks; The Animals; or any the scores of one and no hit wonders. How many6 of them were covering Motown hits? How many of them took that beat and revved it up?
That's why so much of the book is a history of the rise and fall of groups. And, a comparatively unknown history it is. Just like current Brit charts are far more secular than in the US - where it is more the trend to 'Jim Crow' hits into a veritable plethora style-specific music - most of the groups chronicled are all but unknown here.
If you're into music - with a bias toward the 1960's - or if you just miss the good days, Mod - A Very British Phenomena is a worthwhile additiona to your library.