Monday, 20 April 2015

Former Mod Steve Austin recreates 1964 picture – and is courted by Tokyo scooter group reports The Cambridge News

A villager in Cambridgeshire has become an honorary member of a Japanese scooter gang. 

Steve Austin, 67, made a picture of him in his Mod days from the 1960s his Facebook profile picture, which was spotted by an author and used on the front cover of a book about the scene. 

A Tokyo-based Mod group, who number about 2,000 and are all in their 20s, then saw the book and invited Steve, who was 17 in the picture, to join their group. 

The photograph was taken by his girlfriend, who is now his wife, by the sea wall at Clacton-on-Sea in Easter 1964 at the height of the infamous series of seaside battles between Mods and Rockers. 

They recreated the picture last year on a return visit to the Essex town last year. 

Steve, who is retired and lives by the river in Fen Ditton, is pleased – if surprised – to see the movement still going strong after all these years. 

He said: "That picture has been sat in a box for more than 50 years and we could never have predicted this would happen. 

"I think it's amazing that the Mod scene is still going in 2015 in places like Japan and there are people dressing just like I did in 1964 and they are all in their 20s. 

"They saw the book and then asked me to come and visit and join them. They wouldn't have asked me if they saw me now!" 

Mods are traditionally clad in green Parka coats, which protect their designer suits, and ride Vespa and Lambretta scooters. 

Their music of choice tends to be ska and northern soul, as well as flagship bands including The Jam and The Who. 

Rockers had modified motorbikes and wore leather jackets, often emblazoned with skull and crossbones, and listened to rock n' roll music such as Gene Vincent. 

Steve's teenage self appears on the front cover of Sawdust Caesars by Tony Beesley, which explores the development and reinvention of the Mod scene over the past 50 years. 

The name of the book is a reference to the remarks of a magistrate in Margate, Kent, as he sentenced those involved in the Mods v Rockers violence, which filled newspapers for much of 1964. 

The term "Sawdust Caesar" was previously used to describe the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini after the country's capitulation in the Second World War. 

Steve said he loved the scene and was not part of the violence, which he believes was exaggerated. 

He said: "The rockers were really old-fashioned, their music and fashion was history really. There was a big rivalry but the violence was overblown. I was too small to get involved in that anyway."

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