We are the Mods! Mod Weekender 2010
‘I became a mod when I was in school,’ says Mikey Collins, co-organiser of Glasgow’s annual Mod Weekender and the city’s monthly mod night Friday Street. ‘The Jam were the biggest band in Britain at the time and I managed to see them twice at the old Glasgow Apollo when I was about 13 or 14. I have this really vivid memory of the moment I walked out of Central Station and up Renfield Street that second time, the street was packed with guys in parkas riding scooters. That was when I realised what mods were all about. It’s been an obsession since then.’
It’s an anecdote which typifies the fact that the mod scene isn’t just a cultural movement with its own enduring sound and style, but one which those who subscribe to it retain a lasting loyalty to. ‘It’s not just a passing trend,’ says Collins, ‘it’s people’s lives.’
Now in its eighth year, the Mod Weekender – which Collins runs with his partner in Friday Street Paul Molloy – has grown to include live gigs, club events (including June’s Friday Street, ticket-only for just this month), clothing and record sales and a scooter ride-out on the closing Sunday, but it isn’t just a nostalgia event for people of a certain age. Naming such ever-popular Glasgow clubs as Divine! and Eyes Wide Open as sharing much of the mod ethos which his own night is rich in, Collins elaborates upon the fact that being a mod is about an attitude more than it is about any particular look or sound.
‘A lot of people think that to become a mod they’ve got to go and buy a parka and dress a certain way,’ he says, ‘but it’s more about people’s own tastes. Don’t dress the same as everyone else, dress as an individual, because it’s individuals who stand out. Everyone knows the classic three-button suit look, but a guy dressed casually in 501s, smart shirt and vintage trainers might also be a mod.
‘The whole idea is to pick the best of everything, and it’s the same with music. A mod might like psychedelic, soul, rhythm & blues and ska, and they’ll pick the best of it. My favourites at the moment are Paul Weller, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Nicole Willis and [Glasgow band] The Five Aces, and that’s a pretty broad selection of styles right there.’
As well as Collins and Molloy, guest DJs at the event will be Rob Bailey of The New Untouchables in London, Gavin Arno of the Pow Wow Club in Sheffield and local DJ Dishie of Glasgow’s Grow Your Own. Collins expects a four-figure crowd not just from all over Scotland, but Britain and even elsewhere in Europe. It’s an event for those who are prepared to make an effort, after all.
‘I never thought we’d still be doing this a decade down the line,’ he says, referring to Friday Street’s ten-year anniversary in July, ‘and I’ll tell you why we are. Because we love it, of course, but also because the crowd of young people who have come onto the scene are just brilliant. I only hope they get as much enjoyment out of being a mod as I’ve had.’
Various venues, Glasgow, Thu 24–Sun 27 Jun.