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Category Archives: Mod Revival

The SHOES of the MOD Revival Bands Part 1

mod-shoes-banner-shoes-pf-the-mod-revival

With Mods Mayday in Cambridge in a couple of weeks, and leafing through my mate Andy Cunningham’s growing Mod Revival collection, I thought it was time to have a look at the shoes on the feet of so many bands from that time.

mod shoes mods mayday 2013Fancy 3 days of Mod Revival Heaven then click here https://www.facebook.com/events/368036319952403/

I do want to say before we start, that I am not going to do The Jam. They really require several articles to themselves. I am going to include some Two Tone, because despite protests of not being strict Mod, they did influence literally 1000s of us. Also I am not going to go on about the merits of the bands, that’s a book’s worth of text.

So perhaps before any going any further you should go up in the loft and go and get down all that vinyl that has been left up there for too long. I did and I think I may have hurt myself!

The Circles

mod shoes the circles opening tassel loafers and desert boot

So I am going to start with The Circles. Why you ask? Well, they prompted this article. The Circles released 2 great singles at the time, and one later in the 80’s. Opening Up, the bands debut, is a classic. The song is a strong one and is still played on rallies now.

There, on the cover, are all four members, 3 of them in Parkas. Mick Walker is centre ish on the Lambretta. I have met Mick a couple of times and he is a good fella, so I hope he doesn’t mind me asking why the hefty boots? I like desert boots and white jeans. Shading wise it has always worked for me,and  to his left, Tony Howells is also in white jeans and desert boots. These boots look better. Both Keith Allen (in the parka) and Glenn Tranter, in the left of the picture are wearing Tassel Loafers.

I ponder if the white jeans was part of the band look then. I have always thought they stamped their MOD allegiance with this sleeve.

The 2nd single you can see the feet again! This time no parkas, but again stable MOD Revival clothes. On the feet again, Mick has desert boots and can of lager! I have often thought could the photographer not have told them, move the can and do something a little more interesting with the hands! More loafers on the rest of the guys.

mod shoes the-circles-angry-voices-vertigo

The Circle’s songs are all strong and played with gusto. I have seen the band a couple of times since those days and Mick has one of the best voices and one of the few that can do a good Steve Marriott. Certainly at MODS Mayday 99 they were one of the strongest on the day.

In terms of their look, they epitomize to me what I feel is the classic mod revival look, one that was played out all over the country.

The Purple Hearts
The Hearts only have one single where you can see their feet, and it is the classic Jimmy. In terms of dress The Purple Hearts always looked good to me, they were early adaptors of ‘op art’ shirts and their clothes fitted well.

mod shoes the purple hearts jimmy

So Bob Manton, suede lace ups. The picture is black and white so I am assuming the shoes are black or dark brown. I like to think they Hush Puppies. On the right of the picture is Gary Sparks, again good outfit, the striped jumper I would have loved then, the feet though. Guess what those bloody Quadrophenia desert boots!! Why are there so many of them?

My favourite of this image though, Jeff Shadbolt. Jeff always looked great in any pictures I saw of the band. You can’t quite make out what the shoes are in the pic, but shiny and laced up. Along with op art shirt and black top he looks really good, but hold on I have forgot to mention the WHITE, yes WHITE socks. Classic Mod Revival look.

The Purple Hearts hung around into the 80’s. Splitting up and getting back together every now and again. I saw them several times and they always looked great and influenced a lot of us MOD revivalists.

The Merton Parkas, yes the Merton Parkas
The Parkas released a lot of singles, and lots of picture covers.

Cover wise of the single of You Need Wheels, again stamping MOD all over it and on the reverse. The Two SX150 look cool and the band too, only Danny isn’t wearing a tie !

mod shoes the merton parkas you need wheels

But do you know what, I don’t own the single and the pics online are not clear enough. So I can’t comment more, but I do have the next one.

By the time of Put Me In The Picture the band look like they are trying to inject a little fun. Style wise it is out of the window, but on Simon Smith’s feet , Tassel loafers! Neil Hurrell (far right) is in some ok shoes, a bit dad looking, but the hat , spoils a possibly nice outfit, Danny just looks daft! And Mick! He looks likes a 20’s bar owner.

mod shoes the merton parkas put me in the picture

So why am I bothering with this cover at all. Again the Mod Revival look is played out by Simon Smith. Is it important ? Well in context possibly. The song is a good one and as a young mod you are looking for reference points. You can tell the others are a mile out, but Simon is not, certainly his look was attainable. Young mods, me included ,needed something we could achieve with limited budgets. The suits looked great, but where can a 15 year old lad get a suit like them, then have the money to actually buy it?

The Merton Parkas didn’t have a good rep at the time, certainly many thought they were plastic! They did have 4 good songs, and judging by the audience reaction on the MODS Mayday deluxe edition, were very popular live.

I will do some more bands in another blog soon. Mod Revival always gets stick for being retro and not very good. I have always liked and loved some of the records, for every cringe worthy “you need wheels” there is a classic like “my world” or obscure stuff like “opening up” by the Circles.

I know we are meant to be about shoes on here, but here are some tunes you should try and hear, which you may not have heard of.

Think Mod Revival was just The JAM and Secret Affair….? Enjoy!! 

Squire – My Mind Goes Round in Circles | http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeEp-u0E830
The Cirlces – Opening Up | http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_SFnEKuCC8
Missing Persons – Forever Young | http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PAsncd8ba4
The Merton Parkas – Flat 19 | http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqJVJ4ykY2c
Sta Prest – School Days | http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMORwnrK5GU
The Blades – Hot For You | http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GSfHOVmkF8
The Times – Big Painting | http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4G_vTZZ57dg
Modettes – Satisfy | http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ke4t1CJIzJ8
The Amber Squad – Can We Go Dancing | http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnlvukphous
The Chords – The Way it’s Gotta Be | http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsRwl5XK6X4

For those with Spotify here is the above list as a playlist. Mo-dettes songs is “white mice” and couple of the tunes are live recordings. http://open.spotify.com/user/movingupmedia/playlist/6ZgmnMe3aARSqeThU1SKnC

Blimey managed to get through all that and didn’t mention Jam Shoes once!

Quadrophenia – The Shoes

Before we even start, I am one of those people that has watched this film far too many times, and in the 80’s could recite every word without the aid of the film itself. Was I obsessed ? o yeh twenty times over!

The film itself has been talked about 100’s of times, and I am doing this article because Warren at ‘we are the mods‘ did a recent show about it, and to be a little light hearted just before Christmas 2012.

So for first time in over 10 years I watched the film. As I began to watch one thing dawned on me! The film is really dark, not in the subject matter, but that most of it is shot at night. Also the print that has been used for the DVD is not the sharpest. Eddie Piller has mentioned that there are very few sharp prints of the film. Meaning that even if you can see the feet, the quality lets down the tell tale signs of the shoes.

I think the ACE Face would have better shoes.

The opening sequence with Jimmy going to what we are led to believe is the Goldhawk Club, appears to be wearing Desert Boots, and these boots seem to stay on his feet for most of the movie.

Throughout the film Jimmy seems to have several outfits, from casual to a tailored suit. I like most of the outfits he wears, but I must admit I thought there would be more diversification on the feet. In fact, I thought there would be more shoe types from the main characters, the only time we see something that’s different is on Sting’s feet.

Sting’s grey or gray shoes I think nearly look the part. The buckle is cool, but I think the film’s designer was actually trying for a smarter loafer, in a flash colour to match the suit he wears. Sting’s suit does look that little more flash as you would expect as he is meant to be the ‘Ace Face’, but personally the shoes need to be better!

So what other shoes can we see?, well not a lot to be honest.

As I watched I thought there would be loads in the fight sequences. There are lots to be seen but no real what I call out and out mod shoes.

In the opening Brighton sequence the camera pans along the scooters, lots of cool scooters and loads of people. In the crowd you can see the Northern Scooter clubs that took

How many trilbys ?

part in the filming. I maybe wrong but i believe that they Olympics Scooter club and also the people that run Armando scooters in the 80’s were in the film, but i am not 100% on this.

The style of the Northern Scooter Mods I can see, is Parka, Jeans and on the feet, Doc Martens and Adidas Trainers. Certainly there have been pictures in “Scootering” of the clubs involved in the film, the makers tried to disguise the Lambretta Gp orientated look to make them look like LI’s etc.The producers must have also been dishing out the hats, how many trilbys! But why not the feet as well?

Are these Cherry Reds ?
There are loads of red socks in the fight sequence!

There is one guy in the riot sequence in a Black Harrington, and he has Cherry Red DM’s on. Another thing you do see a lot of is ‘Red Socks’. There is a guy coming out of the water, he is standing next to Nasty Nick from Eastenders. The amount of sock on show could seriously take an eye out!

I must mention a continuity bit here. For us UK people Nasty Nick can be seen wearing a light blue Polo shirt for the beach fight, but once he is in the lanes running around he has magically found his Parka.

I have read some other blogs saying the style of the clothes in the film is a little lacking in ‘Style‘. I wonder if the mods saying this have pondered whether the reason we think of the 60’s MODS being so much smarter, is because we have only seen pictures of MODS dressed up for the weekend. Meaning in the going out parts of the film, such as the Brighton sequences, Jimmy, Spider, Chalky etc are all wearing suits. But we also see the cast midweek and at work. And with the best respect even the toppest MOD dresses down sometimes. In the Documentary “British Style Genius” a MOD from that time suggest that the original mods had jobs that allowed for wearing of decent clothes. But I always think of Jimmy is being ‘Run of the Mill Mod‘ not a top face.

How did she run in them heels ?
Stepth in Suede Loafers, blink and you will miss them in the film

Anyway this is meant to be about the shoes !

Steph for most of the film lives in little white heeled shoes. How she runs around in heels even little ones is beyond me. She wears these in nearly every scene apart from one. When she arrives at Brighton on her feet are smart pair of suede loafers!The rest of the film the women seem to be in one inch high heels, and flats worn with Ski Pants.

These seems to be the closest to jimmys http://www.robertcoleshoes.com/amblers-desert-87002-boots.html

The Desert Boots that the male cast live in, don’t look that good to me either. They seem to be the heavier boot style, with brass eyelets. I have had some of these boots myself and they did last ages, but they are not overly smart.

Dave does seem to have smarter Clarks looking ones in the Brighton bits. Chalky and Jimmy though, let the side down.

Another technical point is that because Jimmy is the central character we dont see the whole of him much in the film. When Jimmy is in shot he is up close,for obvious reasons but the director is trying to help us see what he is thinking. Towards the end of the film as Jimmy is starting to reflect we see more of him.


Now I am saving the best for last.

Jimmy and Stepth actually looking smart, the shoes as well. Thanks to Carlos to drawing attention to this picture and outfit.

We see Jimmy in a decent Boating Blazer early on in the film, and some of his outfits are cool, but on his feet are a pair of loafers.

On the right here is a still from the filming where the shoes can be clearly seen. They look good to me and no doubt influenced lots of guys in the 80’s to wear them.

I am not sure if they are Bass Weejuns? They look like they are Bass Weejun Larkins, as they are quite narrow and the lip is rounded . Other makes traditionally are a wider foot.To be fair the wardrobe department may have just got some smart shoes from a local shop. These days Loake have Georgetown which looks very similar. The Bass Weejun in the UK is getting harder to get, stock seems to be very limited in any shops.

I think Jimmys Loafers are Bass Weejuns Larkins

At the time I loved this film so much, for many reasons that lots of us loved it for. As I have got older I would draw different bits from it. In my scooter days i would happily watch just the scooters. I have only seen the film once on the big screen, in the 90’s, when I was going through my raving days, then I loved the dancing all night etc sequences.

Now I look at the film differently again. In my 40’s I can see lots of the fashions are a very late 70’s take on the 60′s, but the overriding feeling to me now is what a great film about youth and all that it entails, take away the clothes (and perhaps the scooters) and it becomes timeless.

From a shoe perspective not as much to say as I thought there would be. But I really did enjoy taking the time out to watch the film again. If you have the time over Christmas try to watch the film, as i think you will get more from it than you might think at the moment. And I hope you find some little gems just like I did.

Have a good Christmas and Happy New Year
Andy @ Modshoes

Boxing Boots

Boxing Boots
Not sure why these became MOD, if at all!

Again, popular around our way and I think because of a few pictures of The Jam. Were they a Northern Soul thing?

Rick Buckler can be seen wearing some red ones on the front of The Snap compilation. And at the time Weller was wearing a lot of Lonsdale, so perhaps it was a ‘I will give these a go’. I await an answer on this one.

From Steve Overbury

In fact some of the lads used to wear Lonsdale boxing boots on the street, but they had Rizla-thin soles and wore out very fast – still stylish uppers, but nothing twixt foot and floor – and since they cost more than Monkey Boots they were a short-lived and expensive fashion statement.

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