Arnold (bluedk) wrote in mod_swings,

  • Music:


In honor of our first foreign member, I think this community should go international. So my posts will be in English from now on.


In 1963, Howard Baker published his novel The Cellar Boys.

Snippet from the novel: "The Cellar Club was a coffee bar down fourteen steps and narrow stairs from the pavement. A dark, damp and disused cellar before the dawn of the Espresso age, it had rapidly been converted by two existential artists... Its seating had been wrenched from the diseased bodies of old buses in breakers yards. Tables were rickety and assorted shapes and sizes...They had ridden high on the wave Espresso enthusiasm...Business had continued to boom. The Cellar Club was a vortex of noise, frenetic movement, and cigarette smoke."

As the book is still on its way from the UK to the Netherlands, I can't give you a review yet. One of the descriptions I found online is 'a mystery novel about some kids, who pick on the wrong kid'. I will write a review eventually. For now you have to settle with the following:


Cellars are an interesting phenomenon in the Mod-era. I have chosen this particular book for an obvious reason. Especially in the beginning, when the movement was still underground, you could find most of the Mods literally under-ground, in cellars.

As the fifties were drawing to a close, some London youth wanted to distance themselves from the Rockers, which their generation produced en masse. These new 'Modernists' started listening to jazz, at the same time spending a lot of money on clothing, which they wore with flair. They were respected by the elderly and trendy as well. Their gatherings took place in cellars, which soon became the perfect settings for pounding underground jazz-entertainment.
Parking their Vespas and Lambrettas outside, the first Mods were followed by Beatniks and modern jazz enthusiasts, who brought some different styles of music to the scene like soul, ska and bluebeat. In those days, it was not uncommon to bump into Twiggy or Mary Quant while dancing to some underground ska tracks.

Not that many years later, there were numerous British youngsters who called themselves Mods. Even within their ranks, there was a division. There were the Tickets and the Faces. Basically, the Faces were the ones strolling along Carnaby street, being the leaders and trend setters of the Mods. The Tickets worked in town and looked to the Faces to know what to wear. Actually, in that period, the movement was already in decline. Where the original Mods looked upon the Rockers as an oafish, rough bunch, seeing themselves as being notably superior to them, the Tickets were agressive. They 'invaded' night clubs, causing trouble, which came to a head in the May Day Bank Holiday of 1964.
Like all years, British youth descended upon Margate and Brighton. That particular year, there was an extraordinary number of Rockers present as well. There were numerous little riots and big fights on the beach. Lots of youngsters who labelled themselves Mods connected the movement to violence and chaos this way, of which the Faces publicly distanced themselves. A Brighton judge labeled the arrested cases 'Sawdust Caesars'.

The time of the cellars was truly in the past.


Howard Baker also published a novel about the last group I mentioned.


Some websites for your liking:

Fred Perry.
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