Friday, 25 July 2014

Thank You For Your Support

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your fantastic support of The Modernist Society Blog over the last two years.

As many of you will have noted, the regular news stories, reviews and events flyers came to an abrupt halt at the end of May. This is because I have taken on a new job role from the beginning of June whereby I am now leading the engineering company that I have worked at for the last 3 ½ years. With responsibility for over 100 employees (and therefore the well-being for over 100 families personal economies), it now requires my 24/7 attention and dedication. Even my part-time PhD and academic research has now had to go ‘on hold’ indefinitely.

On a positive note, this doesn’t affect the clothes I wear, the music I listen to or (some of) the books I read.

Furthermore, I am very proud that The Threads have been included within the forthcoming Cherry Red box-set, ‘Millions Like Us – The Story Of The Mod Revival 1977-1989’, which will include ‘Step Back’ from the 1986 Phase III EP (Unicorn).

Many thanks for your support, and I’ll see you out and about at the usual gigs and events.

Mod For Life.

Paul Hooper-Keeley

Friday, 30 May 2014

Mod scooter is star prize at Heart and Soul evening in Digbeth on Saturday 31st May (in aid of Heart Research UK) says the Birmingham Mail

A special Mod icon will be the star prize at a soul night organised to raise funds in memory of a Birmingham boy who died of a heart condition.

A Vespa scooter will take centre stage at the Heart and Soul night organised by Andrew Marshall, whose son Ethan died, aged three, from congenital heart disease in 2009.

The event will be held tomorrow at the Irish Centre in Digbeth from 8pm till late and will raise funds for Heart Research UK in the Midlands, a charity that supports the prevention, treatment and cure of heart disease.

The Heart and Soul evening is £6 entry, and tickets to win the scooter and other prizes are £5 each.

Andrew and his wife Julie have already raised nearly £12,000 for Heart Research UK in Ethan’s memory – including funding for projects at Birmingham Children’s Hospital – and they hope to raise further funds from tomorrow’s event and another in September.

Andrew said: “We wanted to increase awareness of congenital heart defects and to raise funds for projects at Birmingham Children’s Hospital in memory of our son.

“My wife Julie and I felt compelled to set up Ethan’s Gift as our way of supporting the work of the cardiac unit. Working alongside Heart Research UK enables us to bring our message to a wider audience and to see our fundraising go into supporting bigger projects.”

Andrew, who is a big Northern Soul fan, raises a lot of the money from his Heart and Soul nights, with the events attracting around 200 people who enjoy Northern Soul classics. Andrew is now combining his other passion, scooters, with the nights.

As well as the fully taxed and MoT’d scooter on the night there will be a raffle and a great party atmosphere with five local DJs playing sets – including Andrew.

Barbara Harpham, National Director at Heart Research UK, said: “We’re so grateful to Andrew and his wife Julie for getting involved in fundraising and raising awareness of heart disease, and it’s events like these that are so important for raising funds into the prevention, treatment and cure of heart disease. Andrew’s events have such a great atmosphere and it’s a really unique way to raise money.”

Sixties sensation of a show coming to Bolton says The Bolton News

AGENT to the stars Carl Leighton-Pope has spent his entire career working alongside the biggest names in the music business.

Now the 68-year-old is bringing a ‘60s sensation of a show — Carnaby Street: The Concert — to the Albert Halls, Bolton, on Sunday, featuring much-loved and iconic music from the era of The Beatles, The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Searchers.

Carl, who currently represents global stars including Michael Bublé and Bryan Adams, started his career working at the famous Marquee Club in London’s Carnaby Street.

In his first week alone, the club’s stage was graced by blues singer Long John Baldry, Rod Stewart, The Who, The Moody Blues and The Yardbirds, which featured Eric Clapton.

Carl said: “In 1964, I got a job there.

“I worked in the club for a couple of years.

“Nobody was famous in those days. Nobody knew who Rod Stewart was. They were just in groups, playing in the club. Mick Jagger would come in, Paul McCartney would come and watch a band. No-one had mobile phones, nobody was taking pictures of anybody.

“When I’m out with Michael Bublé and Bryan Adams and you are walking down the street, the phones are out.”

One of the original mods, Carl’s life revolved around music and the club while Carnaby Street was a breeding ground for some of the most iconic music of the last century, as well as leading the world in fashion and culture.

He said: “I was a mod, I had a scooter, I fought on the beaches, I did all that stuff — all that mad stuff people did in the ‘60s.

“It was quite interesting that something happened after the war. My dad and my granddad looked like twins and I came along with my winklepicker shoes and drainpipe jeans — he thought I was a zombie from out of space. My dad thought jeans were working clothes.

“Now, my kids look like me. We wear sneakers and jeans and T-shirts.

“Something that changed, that revolution that took place in the ‘60s. That’s why I think the most important 10 years in the 20th century was the ‘60s because it changed dramatically.

“The music was the key, the music gave you clothes, gave you clubs, gave you the girl and your mates.

“Music was the key and the centre of your life. It was way more important than music is to my children now.”

Carnaby Street: The Concert recreates the Marquee Club and features a seven-piece band playing hits of the decade including You Really Got Me, I Only Wanna Be With You, Mustang Sally, Dedicated Follower of Fashion, My Generation and You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me.

Carl said: “It’s fabulous, so much fun.

“The great thing about this music, I think a lot of young people know the songs.

“They see them on TV ads and on films.

“It’s really feel-good music, you want to get on your feet and dance and sing.

“It was a great era. Paul McCartney is still singing, The Rolling Stones are still playing. It’s quite extraordinary.

“I think what we’re trying to say to the audience is come on back with us.

“I know it’s 2014, I know there’s a recession and we’ve got problems, there’s doom and gloom in the newspapers but just for a couple of hours, let’s go back to the ‘60s. Forget all our troubles and cares and go downtown and have a bit of fun.”

Carnaby Street: The Concert is at the Albert Halls, Bolton, on Sunday. Phone 01204 334400 for tickets.

Paul Weller: 'I've seen Toy Story 300 times' by Colin Paterson for the BBC

Thirty-seven years is a long career for any musician, but Paul Weller is still going strong.

From his first hit with The Jam, 1977's In The City, to 2012's solo record Sonik Kicks, he's scored six number ones, 10 Brit nominations and sales of more than 6.5 million albums in the UK alone.

Famously fan-focused, The Modfather put a price limit on tickets for his gigs with The Jam and made sure they finished in time for the audience to catch the last train home.

When Prime Minister David Cameron named Eton Rifles as his favourite song in 2008, the singer spluttered with anger.

"Which part of it doesn't he get?" he asked of the song, written after Weller watched a news report in which unemployed protestors were jeered at by a group of young Etonians.

But as he prepares to release his second greatest hits collection, More Modern Classics, the 56-year-old firebrand tells the BBC he has given up on politics.

Instead, he has been watching Toy Story with his young twin boys.

We've been watching you sound check. Is this your natural domain - on a stage between the drums and guitars?
This is my territory. Yeah.

How do you feel before you perform a gig?
A mixture, really, of nerves and excitement. Mainly nerves. I've been doing it for a long time, as we know, but I still get the same sort of nerves beforehand. Probably from the time I wake up on a gig day.

Why is that?
I don't think it ever goes away. You're either like that or you're not. But it's good, because it adds a bit of edge to what I do.

This is all to launch More Modern Classics, which looks back over the last 15 years of your music career. How does it make you feel?
Old! The last 15 years are probably like the 15 before it. They've just gone so quickly. I didn't even realise that time had elapsed. And that's one of the reasons I wanted to put this Greatest Hits thing out. Because there was so much music since the last Modern Classics, which came out in the late '90s. So many songs.

When you look over those 15 years how many different Paul Wellers can you see?
Multiple probably. My life has changed so much over the last 15 years. I've got four more kids. I got remarried. But essentially I'm still doing the same thing, which is writing and playing music.

What gives you that hunger to change?
I get bored very easily. I get bored with what I do. I couldn't do what a lot of bands do and play the same stuff all the time, year after year.

How do you feel about Greatest Hits albums in general?
I think they are fine, really. When I was a kid my introduction to a lot of music was buying a Greatest Hits. When you are young, especially. So whether it's the Four Tops or Smokey Robinson, it was an introduction into that person's music.

Any man with children ends up gaining knowledge about very strange subjects. What are the favourites in the Weller household?
Bear in mind I've got twin boys. I've watched Toy Story 300 times in the last few months, but I like it. It's good fun.

Are you still political?
I'm not really. Like the majority of people I'm disillusioned with it all. I can't tell the difference between the majority of the parties.

I get angry with what's going on in the world, like most other people hopefully would do [but] I don't know what to do about it. I haven't a clue.

But you were very heavily involved in the past.
Yeah I was, back in the '80s. It was a different time with Thatcherism. Very definite - you were either with it or against it. There were clear lines drawn. But now, who knows? They all look the same to me and all sound the same. I've very little interest in it.

You've played Glastonbury several times. I was wondering what you made of this year's headliner Metallica?
Not really my bag, but lots of people like them, so who am I to say?

What advice would you give them?
Take your wellies. It was disgusting when we did it. Shocking.

People are saying there are a lack of new bands who can headline...
If you don't let them headline how will you ever know? How will they ever get the chance or the experience? There are loads of great bands out there - people who at least should be on the main stage. But I suppose you do have to pull in the numbers to headline.

If you had Weller-fest, who would you choose?
Villagers, Syd Arthur, Erland and the Carnival. But these are just people I like. I'd be happy to sit in a field and watch them. I'd be on my own. It would be good for me.

When you go and watch one of your music heroes play, how much are you hoping they do the hits?
I like to hear the hits, but I also like to hear what they are doing at the time, because so few people are doing that. Why is there such a boom for nostalgia? I don't know, really. Is it something to do with recession?

In the past I've heard you describe yourself as a bit of a technophobe. Have you warmed to it yet? Have you got a computer?
I haven't got a computer. I wouldn't know what to do with it, mate. I'm quite happy with my notebook, but my wife's very young and she does all that for me. So it's fine, you know?

What does she load the music onto, then?
I haven't even got that far yet. I've got to catch up with everybody and get an iPod or whatever people do these days. I'm still carrying around bags of CDs on tour. Before that I used to take my own record player and bags of records. It got a little bit cumbersome.

So when you are on the tour bus are you using a CD Walkman?
Normally we just have a blaster on the table. Proper old school.

One story I've always wanted you to clear up - when Band Aid performed on Top of The Pops 30 years ago, you ended up having to sing Bono's famous line. How did that happen?
I was hoping you were going to answer that question! I've no idea how I got roped in on that. No idea at all. I was asked on the day, kind of pushed into the crowd, and that was it.

You look like you are a wee bit embarrassed by it now?
Not at all. I was at the time, but I don't really give a monkey's now. But it was very strange.

What do you hope to still achieve in your career?
When you think of a lot of the jazz greats and the blues people who carry on playing right up to the time they literally can't play anymore. I'd like to do that if I could. That would be enough for me.

Paul Weller's More Modern Classics is out on 2 June.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Windows smashed, elderly "terrorised" and chaos in the streets: the day the mods and rockers clashed in Bournemouth in 1964

THE Whitsun bank holiday 50 years ago saw Britain in shock at what was going on in some of its seaside resorts.

It was the weekend when mods fought rockers – prompting a reaction that gave rise to the term “moral panic”.

Concern about the behaviour of the rival factions had been bubbling since March, when 97 young people were arrested following clashes at Clacton-on-Sea. Watch video of the clashes at Hastings and Margate at the bottom of this story.

On Friday, May 15, the Evening Echo’s front page gave no hint of the trouble to come.

Under the headline “B’mouth blooms for the holidays”, it reported: “Visitors who are expected to throng to Bournemouth this weekend will find the town booming and blooming in the sun.”

The gardens were “at their glorious best” and “there is more entertainment available for Whit visitors than ever before”, the report said.

But the following day, it seemed some people had a different entertainment in mind.

“Police Leave Cancelled!” ran the headline and the paper warned of a “B’mouth smash-up threat”.

Officers’ leave in Bournemouth had been cancelled “in case young hooligans descend on the town in force”.

An anonymous source had told the Echo that Bournemouth would be the centre of a “smash up” on Monday evening by two groups. One would start at Bournemouth Pier, one at Boscombe Pier, and they would meet at the Square to “clash with the police in a big way”.

“One of their targets is to be the Winter Gardens, during a symphony concert and all cars in the vicinity,” he added.

Trouble broke out in other resorts over the weekend, and on the Monday the Echo reported that the police were prepared.

The deputy chief constable, Chief Supt George Gates, said: “We are determined not to permit any ‘mods’ and ‘rockers’ or other hooligans to interfere with the leisure and pleasure of the residents and visitors at Bournemouth.”

Trouble did break out, along the lines predicted by the Echo’s source. The paper reported the next day: “In one of the biggest ever police operations in Bournemouth, uniformed and plain clothes officers made a dramatic swoop in the town centre last night to break up crowds of milling teenagers, many of whom were arrested after disturbances.”

There had been several hours of tension after fighting broke out among a crowd of around 30 at the pier, the paper said.

As darkness fell, a gang of around 150 smashed some windows at the back of the Winter Gardens while the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra was performing, the report said.

Soon afterwards, trouble flared at the Exeter Road end of the Square. Three young people were taken to hospital.

Around 50 police officers arrived in vans. Officers drove motorcycles and other vehicles through the footpaths in the Lower Gardens to keep the gang moving and began to break it up. The paper added: “A big obstacle to the police was the number of ordinary people who collected in the Square, near the Pier and at other trouble spots, apparently intent on seeing everything they could. Even family parties seemed to be hoping for something sensational to look at.”

By Monday May 25, the first of the arrested young people were in court.

Opening the prosecution at Bournemouth Magistrates Court, Philip Evans said: “There is no doubt whatever in the view of the chief constable, or of his officers who were present at the scene, that large numbers of the public were upset, frightened and indeed, in some instances of very elderly ladies, terrorised by the behaviour of these defendants and others who are not in custody.”

Thirty-three people were due before magistrates that day. Among the first to be convicted was an 18-year-old who was fined a total of £10 and nine shillings. A 20-year-old lorry driver was fined £60 for threatening behaviour, £5 for obstructing police and five guineas in costs.

Mr Evans told the court: “There is no suggestion by the prosecution that this was an organised attack by one gang against another gang. This is a group of young hooligans who have behaved like young hooligans in Bournemouth.”

It was said in court that 150 young people had gone to the bus station in Exeter Road, five or six abreast around the bus station’s footpaths and shoving members of the public out of the way.

They kicked bins, smashed fittings, shouted and screamed, before the police broke them up.

They then made their way through the town centre “wilfully damaging the flowers and shrubs in the Pleasure Gardens and continuing to frighten elderly people”, the court heard.

Eventually, eight young people would be sent to prison or borstal, 27 would be fined and 16 discharged.
Their prosecutions took place in a climate which the sociologist Stanley Cohen would later describe as a “moral panic”.

Bournemouth West’s MP, Sir John Eden, pledged to put questions to the Home Secretary, advocating “the use of judicial corporal punishment” as well as open air camps to deal with “idleness and boredom in youth”.

For years afterwards, coastal towns would worry about a possible influx of mods, rockers or Hell’s Angels and would act to break up any of their holiday gatherings.

Meanwhile, the events were to be mythologised in The Who’s album Quadrophenia and the 1979 film adaptation.

Jon Kremer, former record shop owner and the author of Bournemouth A Go! Go! – A Sixties Memoir, recalled that “if you believed England’s newsprint media in the spring/summer time of 1964, we should head for the nearest Saxon hilltop fortress”.

He said the events were the 1960s equivalent of a phenomenon “going viral” – with young people responding to what had already been picked up by TV cameras around the coast.

“It was never truly some sort of battle. The mods outnumbered the rockers by at least 10 to one,” he added.

Paul Weller joins Shaun Keaveny in the BBC6 studio – available on iPlayer

Duration: 13:32

The legendary Paul Weller joins Shaun live in the studio with a pile of records. He'll be chatting to Shaun about his new compilation album 'More Modern Classics' which features 20 favourites by the former Jam leader recorded over the past 15 years. They'll be chatting about Paul's new single, 'Brand New Toy' and some of the material that Paul unearthed that made it way onto the bonus discs of extras and rarities.

“A great send-off for Tony Class” reports Andy Gillard of Scootering

A great send-off for Tony Class
Scootering were privileged to be among the hundreds to attend the funeral of DJ and promoter, Tony Class, in Chiswick, West London.

Known to many on the Mod and scooter scene as a promoter and DJ, Lambretta rider Tony sadly passed away recently after suffering from cancer.

As he would have wished, West London was brought to a temporary stand-still yesterday as the funeral procession, complete with scooters from all over the country, braved the rain to congest the Hogarth Roundabout on the A4 en route to the church!

Following the service a wake was held near Tony's house where his son Richard and a number of guest DJs – along with a live set from the Purple Hearts – entertained all those in attendance until the wee hours.

Rest In Peace Tony - you'll be missed by so many scooterists and Mods out there, who along with the scooter scene owe you so much.

‘Modernist Revival’ book by Jon Mortimer (Café Royal Books)

Jonathan Mortimer, who documented the mod scene for six years, gives a never before seen look at the scene; in his new photo book ‘The Modernist Revival’.

Out of Jonathan’s vast photo collection, which has thousands of images, the book showcases a timeless feel which lets the photos seem as though could have been taken anytime and "would show a truth about the scene", explains Jonathan.

The Modernist Revival shows "the importance of having your own identity" in the mod scene "whether you do that through your clothes or your music or what you do with your life."

Jonathan is also compiling film footage of his time spent in the mod scene and will be creating a documentary. Production on the documentary begins over the next couple of weeks, so be on the lookout!

The photographer introduces us to the weekenders Mod scene of the late 90s, and explains why not belonging can be more empowering than you’d think…

“I have never been a Mod, but I have always loved the music, style and ethos of the movement. It’s a movement some of the die hard Mods believe only really lasted from 1962 to 1964, then became a step along the development of youth culture from the Jazz clubs of the 50s, through the Suedeheads to the Football Casuals.

But it has had various revivals along the way, famously with The Jam and The Who, and has never really laid down and died. In 1998, I met the mod DJ and founder of The New Untouchables, Rob Bailey, at a weekender in Brighton and there followed a seven-year project, documenting the modernist revival scene through stills and film.

When I photograph any project, I like to remain an outsider. I feel this way I can find more truth and translate that into my images. I am very grateful for the Mods embracing me, and welcoming me onboard without being one of them. On reflection, this harks back to when I was growing up: I never really belonged to any scene (although I made a weak attempt at being a faux rude boy for a while) but I would hang out with various different groups, from Rude Boys to Goths. I’d flit between them all and it is this, I think, that’s gone towards my love of photographing people who are passionate about what they do and how they lay claim to their identity, whether that be through their style, their beliefs or their whole way of living. I may not be one of them, but I feel like I understand their motivation implicitly.

My new book, Modernist Revival, is a small selection of my archive taken from 1998 to 2005. The book centres around the weekenders club scene across Europe, but also makes reference of the iconic scooter. I’m in the process of planning an exhibition of the work, and the book is out today.”


Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Heavy Soul Modzine Issue 23 out on 2nd June (available to pre-order now)


Woohoo - another issue of the excellent HEAVY SOUL MODZINE available to pre-order now!!

Interviews this time with Allan Crockford, The Electric Mess, Drew Orr of The Scene, Button up band, The Sound Of Pop Art, Dizzy at Detour Records, Pinata Records (NY) and young Aaron Turner.

Plenty of other articles, a tribute to the man who organised my teenage life; Tony Class, new releases and reissue's, 45s of desire, a RSD rant, the "Reggae Newsletter" and obligatory 20 track CD. Out June 2nd

Tracklisting; 1. THE SINNERS – Nice Try 2. NEAL FORD & THE FANATICS – Shame On You 3. THE CREATION – Midway Down 4. PLATFORM SIX – Money Will Not Mean A Thing 5. THE ORGANISERS feat. HAROLD SMART – The Organiser 6. THE KINKS – Too Much Monkey Business 7. LITTLE RICHARD – It Ain’t Whatcha Do 8. PHIL FLOWERS – One More Hurt 9. SLY & THE FAMILY STONE – You Better Help Yourself 10. THE DAVE PIKE SET – Big Schlepp 11. CAL TJADER – Samba Do Suenho 12. BOBBY VALENTIN – Batman’s Bugaloo 13. HUEY PIANO SMITH – Don’t You Just Know It 14. ROSCOE GORDON – Just A Little Bit 15. JAMES BROWN & THE FAMOUS FLAMES – I’ll Go Crazy 16. BILLY THOMPSON – Black Eyed Girl 17. JACK MONTGOMERY – Do You Believe It 18. JUSTIN HINDS & THE WAVES – Drink Milk 19. JOYA LANDIS – Moonlight Lover 20. THE ACTION – Just Once In My Life

Rude boys: Shanty Town to Savile Row – article by Sean O'Hagan

The rude boy has come a long way from his origins in Jamaican subculture, as shown in a new photography exhibition celebrating the movement's distinctive style.
It was towards the end of 1963 that the Wailers released their first single, Simmer Down, on the legendary Studio One label in Jamaica. The song was written and sung by an 18-year-old Bob Marley, the lyrics intended to placate his mother, Cedella, who was worried about the company her son was keeping in the Trench Town ghetto of the Jamaican capital, Kingston, where they lived. Simmer Down was aimed directly at the often sharply dressed young men locally known as "rude boys", who were making headlines in the then newly independent island with their violent and antisocial behaviour. "Simmer down, oh control your temper/Simmer down, for the battle will be hotter," sang Marley over a frenetic rhythm by the studio's stellar house band, the Skatalites. Produced by Clement "Coxsone" Dodd, Simmer Down was not the first song to address the rude boy phenomenon. The previous year Stranger Cole had released Ruff and Tough, produced by Coxsone's rival, Duke Reid, a song now recognised as the first rude boy anthem. Simmer Down, though, had an urgency that caught the edgy, increasingly unruly atmosphere of Kingston's mean streets. It was also an early example of what, as the fast-paced, jazz-inflected thrust of ska gave way first to the slower "bluebeat" and then to the even slower, but deeper, bass-heavy rhythm of reggae, would come to be known as "sufferer's music" – a song voiced by, and for, the oppressed, who ordinarily had no voice in Jamaican society.

"The figure of the rude boy with his swagger and casual disrespect for the law harks back to older archetypes like the semi-mythical Stagger Lee character in black American folk blues, the bad man who seems invincible," comments Paul Gilroy, academic and author of several books on the politics of race, including There Ain't No Black in the Union Jack. "That kind of figure also appeared in various guises in the imported Hollywood western and gangster movies that young Jamaicans lapped up. But the emergence of the rude boy at this particular moment also marked out the acquisition of a new self-confidence and sense of self-reinvention among the young and disaffected that was related somehow to Jamaican independence in 1962. The rude boy was a recognisable, if culturally complex take, on an archetypal bad-boy figure."

Since then, the rude boy has recurred throughout the history of popular music both in Jamaica and Britain. His sartorial influence – sharp suits, pork-pie hats, shiny shoes – was felt in both the early mod and, more problematically, skinhead movements of the early and late 60s, as imported ska and bluebeat singles from Jamaica ignited the hipper dance floors of London and beyond. It was revisited, too, for the 2 Tone movement that emerged out of the Midlands and London in the wake of punk in the late 70s, when bands such as the Specials and Madness reinvigorated Jamaican ska.

Now an exhibition of photography called The Return of the Rudeboy is about to open at Somerset House in London. Curated by fashion photographer Dean Chalkley and stylist and creative director Harris Elliott, it aims to "depict a collective of sharply dressed individuals, who exemplify an important yet undocumented subculture …" With live events, DJs, merchandising and even a rude boy barber shop, as well as screenings of fims such as The Harder They Come – perhaps the ultimate depiction of the lawless rude boy lifestyle – the exhibition will, say the curators, "document the life, style and attitude among a growing group of people that embody the essence of the term".

What, though, is the essence of rude boy in 2014? For many young people, the term is now synonymous with the 2011 single of the same name by Rihanna, the reigning rude girl of sexually suggestive R&B. "Come here, rude boy, can you get it up/Come here rude boy, is you big enough?" she sings, rendering the term reductively literal and blatantly stereotypical.

I put it to Harris that, in their interpretation of the term, the rude boy also seems to have travelled a long way from his edgy ghetto roots, shedding his anti-establishment tendencies to become simply an arbiter of a certain kind of post-modern urban style in which the past is rifled and recontextualised, and, in the process, stripped of real meaning. (An installation will show off a range of "handcrafted items" made by the luxury luggage designers Alstermo, that "will reflect the precise environment that our rude boys cultivate and inhabit".) Are they, in short, elevating style over substance? "We are definitely looking at the rude boy as representing a particular kind of style that has evolved over the years," says Harris, "The show is really about the contemporary expression of that style, even though there are elements and details that refer back to Jamaica in the 60s and to the influence early Jamaican emigrants had on British style."

Chalkley concurs. "It's a celebration of a kind of sartorial attitude that has endured through early bluebeat and rhythm and blues through mod, skinhead and all those 60s working-class style movements. Today, it is much less tribal and much more refined – guys with English tailored tweed jackets, brogues and vintage Levis or whatever, but with loads of attention to detail."

Missing for me, though, is the rude boy attitude – the edge that added somehow to the cool. It strikes me that, if one were to go looking for the contemporary equivalent of the original Jamaican rude boy, the forbidding housing estates of north and south London, where the so-called "postcode wars" are currently played out, might be a better place to prowl. Paul Gilroy agrees: "Originally, it was certainly very much to do with where you lived, where you could and couldn't walk, and the whole tense political geography of Kingston. So, a comparison with the postcode wars would certainly be valid. The rude boy was essentially about attitude first and style second."

Taking their cue from the archetypal "baddies" in so many Hollywood western and gangster movies, the rude boys struck fear into the hearts of respectable Jamaicans, but attained a level of respect in the ghettoes, where they fiercely defended their turf from rival gangs. They also made their presence felt at early ska and bluebeat sound-system dances, either as hired protection or as rampaging troublemakers – the so-called "dance crashers" immortalised in a track by Alton Ellis, who recorded a string of anti-rude boy songs including the almost existential Cry Tough – "how can a man be tough, tougher than the world?" Soon, the rude boys were being employed by the likes of and Duke Reid, a policeman turned record producer and sound-system owner, who thought nothing of beating up his rivals and their charges. Prince Buster, the legendary ska singer, began his musical career as a rude boy providing protection for Coxsone's sound system before becoming a performer. His early hits, such as Madness and One Step Beyond, became early rock-steady anthems in Kingston and London, and on a song called Judge Dread, he took on the role of a magistrate sentencing rude boys for "shooting black people". According Chris Salewicz, music journalist and author of Rude Boy: Once Upon a Time in Jamaica, Buster had "a serious indentation in the back of his head from a beating he received from rival rude boys".

This was the fiercely competitive and casually violent milieu that the Wailers stepped into when they recorded the placatory Simmer Down in 1963, but the song soon took on a life of its own. As the American music journalist Timothy White noted in Catch a Fire, his 1986 biography of Bob Marley, the main reaction to the song in the ghettoes of Kingston was "a communal shock of self-recognition". Despite its cautionary thrust, Simmer Down became both a big-seller and, paradoxically, a song much beloved by the very constituency it criticised, a constituency that was increasingly making its presence felt in the cut-and-thrust world of Jamaican music. "The militant rudies got bolder as Simmer Down got bigger," writes White "and, while Dodd was moving a thousand copies of the single a week, he was also paying for extra muscle around his premises. "Throughout the 60s, the rude boy was a constant presence in Jamaican music, whether employed as protection by producers such as Duke Reid or to disrupt rival sound-system dances. He was both celebrated and castigated in songs by the likes of the Rulers (Don't Be a Rude Boy), Baba Brooks (Gun Fever), the Clarendonians (Rudie Bam Bam), Derrick Morgan (Cool Off Rudies), the Pioneers (Rudies Are the Greatest), Dandy Livingstone (A Message to You, Rudie) and, perhaps most famously, Desmond Dekker, who had a UK hit with Shanty Town – "Dem rude boys out on probation/Them a rude when them come up to town" – and recorded several songs on the subject including Rude Boy Gone a Jail and Rudy Got Soul. The Wailers released two other rude boy songs, Rude Boy (1965) and Rudie (later retitled Jailhouse), both of which are celebratory. In 1972, the infamous "Rhygin" became the real-life model for the rude boy played by Jimmy Cliff in The Harder They Come, still the definitive portrayal of a Jamaican rude boy who buys into the outlaw myth even as he dies in a blaze of glory.

As reggae became infused with the spiritual message of Rastafarianism in the 1970s, the rude boy survived as an archetype and an often threateningly real presence through sharp-dressed, but edgy, artists such as Tapper Zukie and former Wailer Peter Tosh, who, in 1977, recorded the ominous Stepping Razor, its opening line almost a rude boy statement of intent – "If you want to live, treat me good."

"Like Bob Marley, these guys came from the west Kingston ghetto and so did many of the people they mixed with,' says Salewicz. "When they sang about the oppression and the poverty, there were voicing their own experience. For many, the only way out was music or crime, and it was only the gifted few who made it as musicians."By the late 70s, though, the rude boy was undergoing an unlikely rebirth via the multicultural 2-Tone movement – ska rhythms melded to punk politics – which emerged out of Coventry with the Specials at its vanguard. Founded by Jerry Dammers, the Specials had their own record label, 2 Tone, which bore the logo of a silhouetted rude boy based on a photograph of sharp-suited Tosh from the Wailers debut 1965 album, The Wailing Wailers. One of their hits was the loping A Message to You, Rudie, a cover of Dandy Livingstone's original anti-rude boy song but this time, the Specials were addressing the often far-right British skinheads that had become a disruptive presence at their otherwise celebratory gigs.

As the rude boy was being reinvented as a symbol of multicultural Britain by a new generation of ska bands that also included the Selecter, Madness and the Beat, many of the original Jamaican rude boys had become so-called enforcers for the two main political parties in Jamaica, the Jamaican Labour party and the People's National party. By the late 70s, the turf wars of old had escalated into often murderous sectarian feuds that left hundreds dead. In many ways, then, the trajectory of the rude boy from young delinquent to fully fledged gangster prefigures the rise of hip-hop bad guy – Ice T, Tupac Shakur – that stalked gangsta rap two decades later.

As Paul Gilroy says, the rude boy is a complex archetype as well as a real and recurring presence throughout modern black culture and popular music. That he has been reinvented once again purely as a style icon can be read as a positive development in tune with a contemporary Britain where race is no longer such a fraught issue – or as a reflection of our more conformist times in which style is constantly elevated over substance. For the time being, if Return of the Rudeboy is anything to go by, the rude boy is back: still cool, but no longer edgy; razor sharp but minus the razor.

Return of the Rudeboy is at Somerset House, London 13 June-25 August

Paul Weller's Track-By-Track Of Classic Songs video

Watch the first episode in a series in which Paul Weller tells the stories behind some of his most-loved songs from a new compilation album 'More Modern Classics', featuring tracks from the past 15 years of the singer's solo career.

Running time: 06:38   Video Tags: Paul Weller Pick interview exclusive video
Use the following URL: -

Ray Davies: "America has finally accepted The Kinks"

Ray Davies made an appearance at the Hay Festival on Tuesday, May 26.

During the interview, Davies discussed his forthcoming induction into the American Songwriters' Hall of Fame on June 12 and his ongoing relationship with the US.

According to The Telegraph Davies told the Hay Festival audience that the honour was "a big deal because it means that America has finally accepted the Kinks".

Following a string of bust-ups, The Kinks were banned from performing in the United States for nearly five years before being allowed back into the country in 1969. "We were dangerous and America felt threatened," Davies said. "America felt safe until all the Brit bands like us and the Beatles and the Rolling Stones came along in the Sixties. But we helped change America, too. When we returned after the end of our ban the culture had been liberalised. Bands such as the Doors, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention had grabbed back their culture."

It took a lot of hard work by Ray Davies and his brother Dave to gain popularity, in arduous tours that Davies said were planned like a "military exercise". The motivation was "vengeance" he added.

The American ban turned out to have a positive impact on the band's musical output. Davies, who will be 70 next month, believes that it allowed him to focus on creating his own English songs of identity.

However, Davies said that America has still had a profound influence on his life. His new book, Americana: The Kinks, the Road and the Perfect Riff speaks of the excitement he felt as a teenager in '50s Britain, when it was America's rock, jazz, blues, country, Cajun and Dixieland music that "liberated" him and "gave me an identity".

Asked whether the American influence had been the same for Keith Richards, Davies replied: "I can't speak for Keith Richards . . . somebody should."

Fans in the audience asked whether there would be a reunion. "Ah, we were always tempestuous," he said, recalling the time that drummer Mick Avory "tried to kill my brother on stage in Cardiff". The altercation ended with Dave unconscious and hospital treatment for a wound requiring 16 stitches. Ray Davies said a reunion would require new music, adding: "In any case, my brother still has an issue with the drummer. If they resolve their issues, I might be there."

A musical about The Kinks, Sunny Afternoon, opened this month to rave reviews. The show details The Kinks invasion of America as well as their ban at the height of their career, told with music and lyrics by Ray Davies.

Premier appoint Steve White as head of education

Premier, the original British drum company, is pleased to announce the appointment of Steve White as its new head of education. In addition to this primary role, Steve will be joining Premier’s product development team, bringing a wealth of experience and knowledge to the company.

Steve is one of the industry’s most respected drummers having turned professional at the age of 17. Throughout that time Steve is most recognised for his relationship with Paul Weller, having performed together for nearly a quarter of a century, firstly with the Style Council and then on Weller’s solo projects including the internationally acclaimed Stanley Road and Wild Wood albums.

As a session musician Steve has played with numerous legends of the British music scene including The Who, Oasis, Ian Dury and Jon Lord. More recently Steve has focused on his own funk/jazz super-group trio of Damon Minchella (bass) and Justin Shearn (keys). Notably recently, readers of Rhythm Magazine voted Steve second in their greatest British drummer of all time poll.

Steve returns to Premier having previously been involved with the brand as an artist and product consultant, leading to the development and introduction of the Modern Classic snare range and Premier Series Elite drum set range.

Strategic objectives for the new position will include the implementation of a new education programme, partnering with key teachers and organisations, developing online tuition aids plus support for charitable and community projects.

“It is both an honour and a privilege to be asked to be part of the new team that are now running Premier,” said Steve. “As a musician I have always strived for progress and improvement, this new opportunity enables me to push and challenge myself in a way that has filled me with enthusiasm and excitement for the future.”

On leaving his current position to join Premier, Steve added “I would also like to say a massive thank you to my friends at Mapex for the years we have worked together. I wish them the very best for the future. As for me I am raring to go and glad to be home.”

Vikki George, Premier’s general manager commented “For many years Premier was influential in the educational sector, supporting a host of schools and teaching facilities. Appointing Steve to head our new programme creates an exciting fresh era for Premier that will see the brand return to the forefront of a sector that is incredibly important – education.”

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

‘Move on Up - With Tony Class’ by TCR FM from 20th March 2014

Move On Up- Matt Partridge joined with Tony Class.

'MOVE ON UP' is a weekly music show playing Northern soul, 60's r'n'b, Motown, Hammond vibes, 60's SKA & rocksteady and is hosted by Matt Partridge. On this episode which aired 20/03/2014; Matt is joined with Tony Class for a bit of banter and good tunes.

Tony was one of the first MOD DJ's in the UK in 1979 and helped inspire the MOD revival scene, which was influenced by the original 1960s MOD subculture, at various clubs in and around London; he also helped to nurture the UK scooter scene in the early 1980's.

Detour records' The Electric Stars go to number 2 in the CD singles chart with their 'Belfast Boy' release

Heavy Soul Records - New Releases

Tony Class - URL to donate to TC's Just Giving page for Marie Curie Cancer Care

To Raise Funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care because of the care they gave Tony in his final days 

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Q-Magazine review of 'Mods: The New Religion'

With ‘Ska Crazy!’, Neville Staple Shows He’s Still Pretty Special

With ailing health and discouraged by inter-band strife, Neville Staple left the Specials for the second time in the fall of 2012, as the reunited ska legends had just completed a victory lap. While the band went on to stage a successful subsequent tour without the toaster/vocalist, Staple has re-emerged with Ska Crazy!, his latest solo effort that shows that he's still pretty special in his own right, with or without the band that brought him his greatest success.

The 59-year-old Jamaican-born vocalist was in a serious car accident in 2011 and subsequently suffered a few minor strokes. Still, he felt well enough to resume touring with the Specials, but during a show in Copenhagen, he began to feel strange while on stage.

"As I reached the side to go off, I must have collapsed in a heap and I went into a seizure with severe epileptic convulsions," he says. "This had never happened to me before and I guess with the pressures of the strict regime, the behind the scenes back-biting and the lack of band support for each other, that was the moment I knew I had to get out."

The following day, Staple became even more ill, suffering additional seizures. "I was in a really terrible state and knew that if I stayed in the band, I would probably end up dead," he says.

Instead of becoming another rock 'n' roll casualty, Staple left the Specials, with the band issuing a notice on of its website that said, "We are very sad Neville cannot join us on the Specials U.K. tour in May 2013 or indeed on the future projects we have planned. He has made a huge contribution to the fantastic time and reception we have received since we started and reformed in 2009. However, he missed a number of key shows last year due to ill health, and his health is obviously much more important. We wish him the very best for the future."

Staple isn't as diplomatic, revealing that his time with the band the second time around was not always pleasant. "The behind the scenes squabbling, back-biting, and certain members being two-faced was worse than ever," he says. "There was no equality about amongst us all and it was no longer about the music or the message."

Interestingly, Staple dedicated Ska Crazy! to Specials' founder Jerry Dammers, who wasn't part of the reunion. "Jerry first had the idea to get the band reunited and unfortunately after sharing that idea with [guitarist/vocalist] Lynval [Golding], it was taken out of his hands and he was never invited to be part of it. Business politics, I’m afraid," he says.

It seems that Staple also has some ill will towards Specials frontman Terry Hall, who went public several years ago with the admission that he's been battling severe depression. "I didn’t know about his depression as such but he has always been very moody and unfriendly," he says. "I guess that’s just the way he is, as I have friends who have severe depression but they are still nice to be around."

The first time the Specials split in 1981, Staple, Hall, and Golding formed the Fun Boy Three, the combo who helped introduce the world to their female counterparts Bananarama and recorded their own version of "Our Lips Are Sealed," a song Hall co-wrote with the Go-Go's Jane Wiedlin, which became a top 10 hit in the U.K.

"After the Specials split, it seemed like the right move at the time," Staple says now of the Fun Boy Three. "But to be honest, it was just a bit of fun." Given his animosity toward Hall and Golding, it isn't too surprising that when asked if there's any chance of a Fun Boy Three reunion, Staple asks, "Is that a joke?"

Yet on Ska Crazy! he does tip his porkpie hat to the trio by serving up a new version of the band's "The Farmyard Connection," first heard on the Fun Boy Three's second and final album, 1983's Waiting. "I had always thought that track could have been done better with a more reggae feel to it," Staple says. "So working solo with my band gave me the chance to do it the way I wanted."

The grow-your-own saga also seems timely now, especially in the U.S., with some states legalizing marijuana, something Staple is in favor of. "I believe there are a lot of health benefits in marijuana and these seem to be proven a lot more these days," he says. "I have never felt that the law should be so strict on it and think the legalization is a good thing, if done properly."

Elsewhere on Ska Crazy!, Staple pays homage to some of his musical heroes by serving up covers of Prince Buster's "Time Longer Than Rope," the Slickers' "Johnny Too Bad" and Max Romeo's "Wet Dream" as well as his own songs "Rude Boy Returns," "Girl" and "Roadblock," the album's first single and video.

Thematically, Ska Crazy! offers a mix of songs with topics ranging from sexual relations to politics. "I like to mix it up because we have major issues regarding gang crime, sex issues, and a lot of politics around the young people of today," he says. "Things seem to be getting worse again like they were during the Two-Tone years. The relationship songs were to put a lighter air on the album amongst the more serious stuff."

Lending a hand on those songs about relationships is Staple's wife, a singer he does enjoy working with. "It was great," he says. "It was my turn to be the bossy one and tell her what to do! But on a serious note, my wife Christine is great to work with and helps me so much with my career in and out of the studio. She’s my rock."

Musically, rocksteady and ska remain Staple's go-to genres. It's a sound that has managed to transcend being just a trend, time and time again. "I am not really surprised because when you think about it that’s what we did with the Specials, we used old-time ska and modernized it. This led to young people looking back to where it came from. This has happened again and again with the different waves of ska. I am hearing lots more young bands now also putting their own spin on ska – some with dance music and some with a rock beat. It's all good," he says. "The music just makes you want to dance. Even when singing about tough times, every-day things or bad things, the beat and the rhythm makes you want to move!"

Hop on your scooter for Midlands' biggest Mod and Ska weekender says The Birmingham Mail

Suited & Booted 2014 at Alvechurch FC to feature The Selecter, The Small Fakers, Badness, The Southmartins, DC Fontana, The Jam DRC, Tempting Rosie, Little Liam and The Coopers Samuel Rogers Band

Parkas ready! Baggy trousers ready! Boots ready! Scooters ready!

Suited & Booted 2014 kicks off on Saturday (May 24) at Alvechurch FC where the West Midlands’ largest independent musical event will have the twin goal of raising money for both Help For Heroes and Birmingham Autism.

The UK’s leading Mod and Ska weekender will be headlined on Sunday night by The Selecter bringing their 35th anniversary Too Much Pressure tour to a close.

Promoter Kris Gozra says: “We’ve already had 1,500 advance sales online with people coming from as far afield as the south east and Angus in Scotland.

“Who knows, if the weather is good we could even get up towards our capacity of 5,000.

“Both the Mod and Ska culture prevail in the West Midlands, which is home to more than 50 scooter clubs.

“The sight of several hundred vintage scooters coming up the road during one of the numerous scooter runs is a sight to behold – the region is literally the epicentre of UK Mod.

“Some have hundreds of members and host Mod and Northern Soul nights every week throughout the year.

“They also organise many charity events such as the recent March of the Mods.”

Kris says Ska history dates back to the 1960s and the Don Christie record shop – the UK’s first reggae, ska and blue beat importer on Ladypool Road, Sparkbrook.

“The scene was ignited with Two Tone, the last significant Midlands’ based musical movement,” he says.

“And it continues with club nights like Pressure Drop (Barcelona, Birmingham and Middlesbrough) and Scorcher.

“Both scenes have great colour and vibrancy and Suited & Booted 2014 will bring together the best of both Ska and Mod.”

The event features a mixture of national names including The Selecter, The Small Fakers, Badness, The Southmartins etc) as well as local acts DC Fontana, The Jam DRC, Tempting Rosie, Little Liam and The Coopers Samuel Rogers Band).

There will also be covers bands like The Iconics, Heavy Sol, Ordinary Affair and original artists The Universal and The Get Go.

DJ Sunflower will host the event and there will be food outlets on site as well as several bars and stalls including vintage clothes and records.

Accompanied children under 12 admitted free. An adult day pass is £20 or it’s £35 for the whole event which is being staged at Alvechurch FC, 53 Redditch Road, Alvechurch B48 7RS.

The stage has been built by Birmingham rehearsal studio Robannas and will be behind one goal, with fans given half the pitch.

The other half of the pitch has space for 150 tents, with farmer’s fields on standby nearby for more tents.

Tickets available on the door.