‘What would they know about Green Onions?’
Musical lifestyles of 1960s London mods
Keywords:dance, fashion, gender, London, mod, modernist, musical sensibility, purple hearts, R&B, Scene Club, ska
This article examines the early modernist movement from a musical perspective with regard to gender relations. It is mainly autobiographical and uses a scholar-practitioner approach. Mod originated in London around 1961 and by 1962/63 was a full-blown youth movement; nevertheless, there is a dearth of personal records documenting and analysing the aesthetic aspirations of original mods despite the fact that they represent an influential historical phenomenon with significant socio-cultural implications. This article addresses this situation with regards to Soho’s Scene Club—‘mod central’—where this author was a participant observer, and describes the music and dances that took place there. Stereotypical notions that appear in the literature that mod girls were merely followers and lacked musical sensibility are challenged; instead it shows that some girls took the lead, serving as conduits for mod aesthetics.
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