Monday, 31 January 2011

You Are Awful......But I Like you.

All normal social conventions tell us there are certain things in life that you should never ever admit to doing if you're a bloke. Things like sitting down when you go for a wee, trying on your wife's lipstick when she goes out, liking Glee, wearing flip-flops in winter or heaven forbid.....supporting Spurs! (you sick sick bastards)

Yet, sometimes it's nice to throw off the cloak of conformity, stick two fingers up to the haters and declare an abiding love for the things that other people find 'shit' or what the kids today would call 'well gay blud'.

So, to blow the froth from the top of this pint of fizzy mass produced lager I'm gonna give a selection of my own cringeworthy likes. I'm willing to take one for the team on this one and shrug off the accusations of being a 'gaylord' or a 'fucking idiot' and get the ball well and truly rolling.

Brothers, sisters, lets join together hand in hand, puff our chests out and revel in the things that other people despise. Because haters gonna hate....

Russell Brand

Amongst many people this long haired, foppish, Oscar Wilde quoting, Katy Perry smashing (respect to my bredrin Richard Keys for making that fashionable again) dandy is about as popular as a a fart in a wetsuit. Well i reckon those people are wrong. Very wrong. His stand-up shows are as sharp as a carving knife and beautifully observed if you can get past his obscenely tight trousers and daft voluminous tramps hair. His Radio 2 show (before he got caught up in that media created storm) was equally as good too. Even his acting roles in the few big budget films, even though he's essentially playing himself, have been pretty engaging performances.

Yes it's easy to dismiss him as a cartoon character and a bit of a prick who 'talks funny' and he does look like an old wino but be honest now, how many of you blokes reading this would like to be him eh? Yeah.....thought so.


Yes, I've gone there.

'Surely it's only watched by angst ridden teenagers?'

Nope. It's watched by blokes in their mid thirties who dig the writing, the acting and most of all the soundtrack. Dark and funny in equal parts, it's probably the most subversive television programme of modern times and long may it continue to be so.


'sum ppl are bluddy bstards!!'

'wassup hun? u okay? stay strong! luv u xoxoxo'

'don't wanna talk abt it innit!'

Once you blank out the attention whores and idiots Facebook is actually fantastic. There's nothing better than cracking open the beer on a Friday evening and systematically clogging up people's news feeds with YouTube clips of rare Style Council tracks or Chelsea goals from the 80s. 


A gang of fellas pissing about while they do up  peoples houses? What's not to like?

Level 42

"I’m one of the leading exponents of the jazz-funk movement. I’m the slap bass president for God’s sake! Ohhh yeah, it used to be Mark King, but we had a thumb duel. And I smashed ‘im into the ground like a blonde tent peg. “Get back to Level 42, and go about your business!"

Star Child, Love Games, The Chinese Way, The Sun Goes Down, Something About You, Running In The Family.....the list goes on. 
Jazzfunk wasn't just for the Wayne's and Kevin's cruising round Basildon or Chelmsford in their RS Cosworth's. It was for all of us.......probably.

Big Brother

If ever there was a TV programme it was fashionable to hate it was Big Brother. Some people couldn't even tell you why they hated it....they just did.

Yet didn't watching the procession of idiots, performing seals, socially inept, semi retarded, feckless wannabe's make us ALL feel better about ourselves? Of course it did. For no matter how rubbish we felt about ourselves at least we weren't Preston from the fucking Ordinary Boys.

Kings Of Leon

"oh yah i like, seriously, hate Kings Of Leon these days!. They've like, totally sold out now they're mega rich from playing huge stadium gigs and having multi platinum selling albums. They were so much better when Caleb was a lank haired, bearded, gak addled mess when they released their first album."

We all know this person don't we? We all think this person is a tedious, self-righteous mug don't we? We don't mind a spot of balls out stadium rock now and again do we?

It's only rock n roll........but we like it.


There's nothing wrong with nice gentle comedy. It doesn't always have to be jokes about 'paedo's, rape, murder or abduction', unless you're Frankie Boyle of course.

I like a spot of knockabout clowning and Miranda Hart is absolutely superb at what she does. She reminds me of Norman Wisdom in the true sense of being a proper 'clown'. It's an art form.

What i enjoy most about 'Miranda' though is sitting watching my wife watch it. She's not bothered about subtlety in the writing or biting social comment when she watches comedy. She wants to laugh.........and Jesus Wept does she! Watching it through her eyes doubles the enjoyment.

Toby Carvery

Beloved eatery of the Irish Traveller, the single mum with the screaming kids 'ritalined' up to their eyeballs and doddery old couples nationwide, you could be mistaken for thinking this was a place to be avoided at all costs.

But no...

Plate in hand, the anticipation as you queue for a couple of slices of "all three please mate" is exquisite. Help yourself to a skip full of roast spuds, too much cauliflower cheese, a ton of carrots and brussels and one of those whopping great Yorkshire Puds and you've got yourself some good eating for less than the same ingredients to make your own roast dinner would cost at Sainsburys.

Take my advice and treat yourself.

(probably best to go on a Monday evening to avoid the Travellers though and also probably best not to go to the one in Langley, smells funny)


So there you go. I've laid myself bare to the reader with an insight into all things supposedly 'shitty' that i quite like. I'm pretty sure there aren't many other thirty seven year old married men out there who would publicly declare their love for Russell Brand or Miranda Hart but i don't care. If something is good then it's good. You could call these guilty pleasures, but i don't feel any sense of guilt for liking them.

Stop worrying about being cool and start declaring your love for all things 'uncool', although i will still despise Glee with every fibre of my being.

I await the deluge of abuse that is inevitably coming my way.

Rob H

Monday, 24 January 2011

Sounds From The Seaside.

Amongst the faded Victorian grandeur of Brighton something is stirring....

Amongst the ear splitting noise of a hundred bands and their trademark ironic tinny electronica sound. Amongst the grey drudgery of yet another thrash metal band who wouldn't know a melody if it tapped them on the shoulder and introduced itself to them saying -  "hello, I'm a melody".
Amongst the clubs and bars playing The Who and The Jam to middle aged Mods who have parked their scooters outside for the day trippers to photograph and yearn for 1965 again.

Amongst all this there is a band emerging who grasp the concept of the 'song'. A band who understand how to hit the listener with melodies and hooks. A band who understand that the only way to become truly great is to play live. A band with a front man who is one part Liam Gallagher, one part Johnny Cash and two parts George Best and who brings a dash of West London style to proceedings. A band who pay no attention to what some spotty, fresh out of college journo from the NME says is this weeks 'must listen'. 

This band have Fire & Skill. This band is Sun Of Souls. 

I've known front man Pete Jones for a long while now. I even used to manage one of his old bands Model Citizens, who split mainly because of a smack head bass player, a lead guitarist with stage fright and a difference of opinion over whether they wanted to be The Libertines or Buffalo Springfield....but that's a different story for a different day.
I've always been a staunch believer in Pete. He's always had a passion in his belly for making music and even when various incarnations of bands he's been in have imploded he's never lost that fire in his gut. Band split up? Pete would say "fuck it I'll go and do some solo acoustic gigs." There are a million bands and artists out there today who would do well to summon up just an ounce of Pete's belief. If you've got a tale to tell, a message to share or a song to sing then get off your arse and do it!

Hard work's the only way.

So, on hearing that Sun Of Souls had finally been signed i thought I'd speak to Pete and check out how the land lies for 2011....

Sun Of Souls then, can you give us a brief rundown on what you're all about?

Sun of souls are about making good music that don't just appeal to one audience, it's about turning someone on to something they can relate to. A voice for the Everyman..... 

Nice. Music for the people by the people. 

A bit of a history lesson for the reader, how did the four of you arrive at this point together? Previous bands etc?

Me & Nick are the founding members. We played in a band together here in Brighton called The Black Flowers, it was an average band but the songs weren't particularly strong, so we left it and started writing songs for six months on our own in my basement flat. Nick then brought his mate Gareth "George" down the studio to help out on bass until we found someone... we hunted high and low for a bassist, but no one wants to be just a bassist and sit in the corner with four strings. So Nick decided the best thing to do was to play it himself, which left the spot open for a lead guitarist which George fitted nicely into, which worked well as both of them are great guitarists. Sometimes it's like you've got two leads except one of them is playing it on a bass... All that was then left to do was to find a drummer, someone who could hold a beat, yet fill out the song when required... So we started calling all our old drummers we knew from different bands, auditioning new ones... But it just didn't feel right... Except for this one kid that just kept popping up, we played with him in The Black Flowers for a while, then he left only to return and leave a further THREE times before we finally nailed him down now he's in and in for good, The job was always his, enter Phil...

So seeing as you've just been signed by a decent indie label what is the plan of action for this year?

Gig, gig, gig and then gig some more. We've got shows lined up until May, with promo bits and bobs in between and radio shows and reviews coming up over this next month, which will be to plug the first single launch due for the 1st of March the track is called Given The Chance and then keeping up the buzz with a second shortly after at some point in April which is also being launched on an EP produced by the label.... By the end of summer we are looking to finalise dates for a UK tour.... And in between all of that writing and recording more songs...

And the grand masterplan? World domination and a complete escape from the day to day drudgery? Or just making music that you like and sod the world?

Its all about writing tunes for yourself to start with, because you never want to  write a tune that you think is shit. If you don't like it then no-one else will... All you can do is hope that what comes out at the end and played live is well received...

Lets go back in time. Early days, what first turned you onto music and wanting to make it yourself?

Oh God, what turned me on... Well my very first memory of music was sitting on the front room floor in front of a Hitachi three speed record player, you know the full stack with the double tape decks, the lot... It was mega... And putting on some big old bins on my ears and sticking on the old mans vinyls of Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Leadbelly... It wasn't until around '97 though until I really worked out I wanted to be a musician... For me that was the best year for music. Oasis released Be Here Now, such an underrated album when it came out. The Verve had Urban Hymns, Prodigy had Fat Of The Land... I was just discovering life that summer going out getting pissed and what ever else and all I knew I wanted to do was to be in a band for the rest of my life, nothing else made sense to me back then.

So who would you say are your musical influences or icons either past or present. What music always flicks your switch?

If you said the name 'Gallagher' most people would answer, what Noel? But for me it's always been Liam... He's a fucking legend, he looks cool, he is cool... But keeping to my roots Johnny Cash is also an icon for me. The bloke is like gold to my ears, there's something hypnotic about his vocals... But others that I'd never leave off my iPod are... Bowie / The Stones / The Kinks / The Small Faces / Rod Stewart / The Doors / Pink Floyd / Stereophonics... And to obviously save the best until last... The Beatles, you can't top their work, no one can, they are almost God-like... Gotta say on that point though have you heard the new Beady Eye b-side to Four Letter word its called World Outside My Room and it's epic.... I'm digging that at the moment, I'm wearing the needle out on my record player at home on that one!

On the flipside of that musical coin, what bands / artists aren't you digging? 

I couldn't tell you band names because i don't pay enough attention to them but its the generic soulless, faceless indie pop... It's grates my teeth, kids in tight jeans pulled down below their arse, in bright coloured t-shirts and a cap jumping up and down, with spiky guitar sounds and loads of synths... Why the fuck have you got a synth player in your band??  It's a lazy fucking piano players job... Jog on. Enough said.

That sort of contrived shit is enough to almost make me hate music. So what are your views on the state of the music industry in general today?

Well I don't think it's screwed like most would have you believe, it's just different from ten or fifteen years ago. The sooner people realise technology has moved on and you have to start looking at selling records in other ways the better... For example give your CD away for free at gigs, I know I'd go to more gigs and pay the ticket price if I was getting the hard copy of the CD in your hand for free or a couple of quid or whatever, you know what I mean?

Anything that gives the paying punter value for his hard earned money has to be applauded. 

Any advice for kids starting out in bands nowadays?

Yeah, always make sure you have a laugh doing it and don't take yourself too seriously. Leave that to someone else to deal with... whatever way you look at it its all just luck of the draw anyway.

Absolutely, there are more decent bands that fail than make it. 

Would you like to leave a message for the masses? A Sun Of Souls manifesto if you like....

Cheers for all the support so far to new and old friends but keep on keeping on because the band is nothing without anyone to play to.

Peace & love.

From small acorns mighty oaks do grow. If anyone deserves to be fronting a 'mighty oak' of a band then it's Pete Jones. Catch this lot while you can.

Upcoming Gigs:

19/02/2011- Hoxton Cell, Hoxton

25/02/2011- The Hydrant, Brighton

18/03/2011- The Roadtrip, London

25/03/2011- Prince Albert, Brighton

08/04/2011-  229, London

24/04/2011- Purple Turtle, Camden, London

Pictures by The Brighton & Hove Studio Ltd/ 07792308722

Friday, 21 January 2011

Carl Stanley Interviews Svengali's Jonathan Owen.

Just as music artists today are learning to create, self fund and release their material via the internet, so are TV and filmakers. One such person who has grasped this medium is Jonathan Owen who co-wrote, co-produced and starred in the excellent 'Svengali' series that was released via Youtube, Myspace and iTunes.

I suggest you all get on this if you haven't already because if you can get past Alan McGee's shocking headwear you'll find one of the wittiest and well written comedies of the past few years. 

Carl Stanley one of the sharpest writers around today interviewed Jonathan Owen recently and re-produced below is that interview in full.....

What's the score with you then Jonathan, how did you get the part of Dixie in "Svengali", what have we seen you in before...?

Well I co-created it with Dean Cavanagh one rainy night in Soho. We were in a bar chatting and Dean said we should do something about a Manager of a band. And I christened him Dixie (after the manager of my old band) who was a great guy...still is! and we decided it should be one man's journey in trying to get his band signed in the murky world of the Music business...which is currently in a complete state of flux as the internet destroys the traditional industry. The irony of course being that we are using this very medium to go out!! ha.

I've done a few things. Films like Little White Lies (Which is currently winning the Amazon International Film Competition) and 'A bit of Tom Jones' (That's the biggest grossing Welsh Indie Film ever and recently won the Welsh Bafta for best film). I was the lead in those..I've also done lots of TV from My Family to Being Human to Torchwood. I'm most well known though from 'Shameless' and I recently finished filming opposite Minnie Driver in 'Hunky Dory'.

What's the story behind "Svengali", there's some great names in their but who wrote it and put together, is the idea based on actual person, if so who...?

As I explained earlier it was Dean Cavanagh and myself. Dean is Irvine Welsh's writing partner. We also got our old mate and the Director Phil John on board. He'd done Ashes to Ashes and Wedding Belles among others so it was a good team. It's loosely based on Paul 'Dixie' Dixon, the old manager of my band 'The Pocket Devils'. A beautiful spirit who just never took no for an answer and was permanently positive. There ain't many people like that in the world so we thought it would be ripe for that kind of person in the Music World only this time we can make it want we want. That's the magic of we control it! ha. We can make them the biggest band in the world. 

You have just finished series 9 and I for one am looking forward to it,..who's in this series..?

I got Eddie Webber from 'The Firm'..Paul Gallgher, James Endecott, Lena Corner, Jamie Fullerton and Tim Lovejoy. It's all based on a true story...supplied again by the real Dixie. It's an hilarious ending and I wanted a real 'Cockney Villain' type and there's no one better than Eddie for that..he's the best out there. It all takes place in Acid Jazz offices with the wonderful and ever young Eddie Piller looking after us all. 

The story of Dixie, This Welsh boy from the valleys who goes to the big smoke looking for his fame and glory in the music industry is one that is played out on a daily basis in the Capital,...I suspect many in the industry identify with it, have you in real life been through the same situations as Dixie has, do you identify with the character....?

I's an age old story isn't it. The modern day Dick Whittington. Even a touch of the Don Quixote in there too. I think it's fair to say that London is still the Worlds Capital of Rock and Roll. The 'set' is London itself...very much like LA is the set for Entourage. So I've been keen to use the streets of Soho and Shoreditch so that kids across the world can see London. The thing with Dixie is that he kind of kills them with kindness. Naturally, Svengali has been the most popular among the Music Industry..I dont think there's anyone from that world who hasnt mentioned it to me and they all love him, because we were all that guy who just was in it for the love of music once. He's that kid we all once were who would tape John Peel or the chart show or queue up for the NME...And god bless him for it too..

How has "Svengali", the series,.. been so successful in getting the likes of, Carl Baret, Boy George, and of course Alan Mcgee involved, was this a case of these people loving the project and wanting to be involved, plus its all filmed round the west end so its not like you have had to drag them to some mad location, I suppose that helps...?

I just asked them all to be honest and ever since we've had a 100% hit rate. Which is important..I didnt just want anyone, they had to be right. Some have actually approached us and that's great. Boy George for example was taking some photo's for a Charity, and they asked me and he was talking about Svengali and I just said...'Would you like to be in it George?' and he laughed and went...'I thought you'd never ask!' haha..He was great on set too. I'd never been with anyone of that level of fame too. Martin Freeman (who filmed that Episode and has become a close mate was on about it too)...George is so ridiculously recognisable...probably one of the most recognisable people on the planet and even in London literally EVERYONE stopped and shook his hand or gave him a kiss. This was while we were having a ciggie outside 'Fopp' in Cambridge Circus. And he'd be talking and practically every person either shouted hello or asked for a photo..and he took it all in his stride. And I thought after, he's been that famous for decades now. And it must be just like breathing, the way you react to people on the street. He was brilliant I have to say.

 I'm also guessing the out takes are quite funny, what's it like when Maggot or Bonehead struggle remembering their lines, was there plenty of "Tom foolery" going on..and which artist surprised you with there acting talents,..Alan Mcgee seemed really comfortable delivering his lines, has "Svengali" given any of them the wanting for more of the screen....?

Well it's very difficult to get those kinds of people to learn lines!! I just tell them there's going to be a certain situation (Like I'll try and give you a tape) and then I'll act off them. Some it is improvised, and I'm a huge fan of Curb so you've got to be on your toes and there's lots of takes. The best stuff is usually off the cuff although Dean does a great basic script. All of Ep 3 for instance is improved, where a Ep 1 is all script. So we can move it around how we want. The latest is about half and half. Broadcasters are obviously scared of this kind of work as they like it rehearsed to death (often over rehearsed) but the actors absolutely love it, I think because it's so different to what they usually do. Alan McGee is a joy to work with. The blokes a born natural. He's better than most actors I work with.

Plus names like Martin freeman, it must of been great to work with such actors...?

Martin Freeman is one of the coolest people I've ever got to know. His music and fashion sense it perfect and I was very very keen to get him involved. I was lucky enough to have a good mutual friend (Paolo Hewitt) and he got him the series and he loved it. We met in Wagamamma's in Soho and spoke for hours about music, film and fashion, it was pretty obvious we were kindred spirits in that world and of a similar age. I was delighted when he said he wanted to do it as I was a massive fan and he was great to have on set. He's also fiercely intelligent and really brought that to the part. I was delighted he got the Jackson film. Other actors like Matt Berry, Michelle Gomez and Ciaran Griffiths are close friends and I just asked them if they'd like to do it and they all said they'd love too. It was about creating a Svengali family really. Sally Phillips was another. Just great fun to have around and brought so much to the part. It's been my favourite thing about it all, seeing great actors really take on the part. Matt, South African, Ciaran Mancunian Jew and Michelle as the company boss. I also have to remember my co-star Roger Evans as Horsey, without whom there would be no Svengali, he's that important and many people's favourite character.

 I have to ask, since "Svengali" have you been hounded by any "Dixie's" looking to break into the industry, you do realise you will now be seen as the patron saint of " Industry lost causes" yet Dixie's grit and blind faith is quite commendable, Mcgee actually says in the last series about Dixie " He's relentless, I reckon he'll make it", and though it was in jest there are a lot of positives about Dixie's character, wouldn't you say...?

Haha! Well.........the honest answer is yes. Lots of people email, send tapes and often say...I'll keep nagging like Dixie...what can I say to that? In Soho especially people often shout 'Alright Dix?' which is quite funny. I think it's pretty big among the 'meejha!' as they say. I try to listen to everything people send and I reply to actors, photographers, bands all the people who get in touch. I wish I could employ them all!! But I cant alas...Otherwise I'd be like Beatles Apple..;)

So what little ditties have you got from filming "Svengali", what about trying to film as I can imagine plenty of by standers in the West End doing a "Dixie" half way through a scene to ask for an autograph while you were trying to film, what's the funniest thing that happened on set, off camera that is..?

There's a huge group on Facebook who are pretty fanatical. We do little comps offering the bag he carries and the t-shirt and stuff. We got lots coming along to shoots so it becomes like Theatre really. I also INSIST there's beer on set and a major party afterwards. I mean we're doing something about Rock and Roll so the least we can do is try. It tends to be a bit boisterous but that's the point isn't it? Svengali is meant to be something new and different, a child of a new medium 'the Internet'. So we're basically making this up as we go along..which is great but it means that sometimes you're thinking 'fuck me, we'd better strap ourselves in here' when we're filming in the street without any permission and with people flying around. But do you know what? I'll be old one day and I wont have the guts or energy to do it, so while I'm still young enough I'll take the chance.

Funny story? Yes, we were filming a scene with Boy George and Martin Freeman in Fopp and the store was open (we couldn't afford to ask them to shut it) and this guy goes..'Do you mind!! I'm trying to get to the Jazz we had to wait while he picked his way through Miles Davies', Martin Freeman and Boy George all standing there waiting for this grumpy fuckin Nick Hornby lookalike to finish browsing....wouldn't get that on anything else I can tell ya!! Ha.

Where next after this series for "Svengali", and what's next for your self, will we be seeing more of you now in new projects..?

I'm doing a Rachel Trezise play in Cardiff that starts next week..and then there'll be Svengali the this space..;) 

Interview reproduced by Kind Permission of Carl Stanley 21/01/2011

Rob H

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Modernism: A New Decade?

mod·ern·ism -

a. Modern thought, character, or practice.
b. Sympathy with or conformity to modern ideas, practices, or standards

'often Modernism The deliberate departure from tradition and the use of innovative forms of expression that distinguish many styles in the arts and literature of the 20th century.'

'Modernism. Clean living under difficult circumstances.' - The oft chanted mantra repeated monotonously by your friendly local Austin Powers lookalike as he minces down the street with his feather cut and winkle pickers looking like an overblown extra from Blow Up.

Yeah baby!

Well no actually. Let me explain.

'Mod' has always been a strange paradox to me. For a 'scene' (Jesus i hate that term) that likes to think of itself as cutting edge and forward looking it has always struck me as being firmly rooted in the past for it's inspirations and culture. From it's 'look', to its music, to it's heroes and icons and more or less its whole ethos.

Maybe it's time the movement took a look at itself in 2011 and decides where it goes from here.

Of course back in the late 50's into the mid 60's working class kids using their new found money to seek out the latest jazz and R&B records or hunting down the sharpest threads was quite obviously a new, forward looking phenomenon. It was continuously evolving and outsiders looked in on these kids with suspicion and probably no little fear because much of what made this movement tick was brand new to a lot of eyes. These newly unleashed teenagers living for cheap thrills on amphetamines whilst riding around on Italian scooters must have been a hell of a shock for the establishment to deal with in what was a pretty grey and drab post war Britain. These kids had money to burn and burn it they did and from it a proper working class cult was born.

Skip forward 50 years and where does 'Mod' find itself today? Well in essence no further evolved than it was during it's heyday or it's underrated revival in the late 70s - where incidentally the music was as sharp as anything that had preceded it back in the 60s - and that to me is a shame. The 'look' has barely moved on, with the classic parka / Fred Perry / desert boot / 501 / feather cut / sideburns / RayBan's being sported up and down the high streets and clubs the length and breadth of Britain. Yes, it's a completely 100% bonafide classic look (which even i thieve parts from like a greedy magpie) but it begs the question that if you have to look back fifty years for inspiration does it make you a 'mod' in the truest sense of the term? Surely for a 'scene' to be sharp and revolutionary and cutting edge it has to keep evolving, but as i see it 'mod' is firmly stuck in the past. "Oh no no no no! If you're a mod you can't listen to dubstep or house music! You have to listen to Green Onions or Itchycoo Park on repeat to be considered one of us!" Progressive, inclusive and evolving? Can't see it myself.

It's still a marketing mans dream though. Take Liam Gallagher and his Pretty Green label for instance. Nice looking clobber, very smart actually, but are Tootal style silk scarves (£95 by the way), a Clarke's desert boot copy (£90 by the way) and velvet pea coats (£480 by the way) 'mod'? Because that's the target demographic the range is aimed at surely? Would anyone call Liam a mod too? If it earned the fella a few extra quid then I'm pretty sure there's a team of executives and advisers alongside 'Team Liam' who are more than happy for him to be branded a mod because he's reinvented a fifty year old fashion and nabbed himself a Carnaby Street boutique. I remember going to Oasis gigs when i was younger and Liam looked cool as fuck in his Stone Island, Chipie and Gazelles and not a sign of wanting to look like the bastard offspring of Paul Weller and Long John Baldry. Yet have you ever heard him profess his love for Northern Soul, Reggae, Ska, Stax, Chess, Motown, Bluenote, Steve McQueen, Alfie, John Coltrane, American Preppy fashion, The Small Faces, The Yardbirds, Secret Affair, The Chords, Squire or a million and one other mod icons in any of his interviews? No. He likes The Beatles though. Which is nice.

Notable exceptions to the rule are the likes of Eddie Piller, Paul Weller, John Hellier, Keb Darge etc who always seem to be doing something fresh and exciting. Yes they keep a foot firmly planted in the past but have never been scared to innovate and try new things that would be seen as being outside the spectrum of being a mod. Try getting your local Austin Powers lookalike to listen to some Krautrock or Chicago House and see the reaction you get.

And now for the controversial bit....

Football casuals are the new mods. There I've said it.

A massive movement of people all bonded by a common love of football, fashion and music. They have and will always be on a constant quest for the sharpest and newest labels that they can sport on the terraces. It's a constant battle for one-upmanship over their peers. You turn up one week wearing a rare Fjall Raven jacket you can guarantee your mate will arrive the following week wearing the newest MA Strum coat to try and blow you out of the water. Yes, like the mod movement it has it's classic staple items like the Adidas trainer, the Stone Island patch, the Lacoste polo or the Aquascutum scarf but it also has strange stuff like Ellesse bodywarmers, deerstalker hats and waxed Barbour jackets.

Also the music is from a far broader palette. Soul, reggae, funk, mod revival, punk, new wave, pop, indie, two-tone, acid jazz and house music are all linked directly or indirectly to the casual movement. Instead of hunting down old 60s vinyl to reminisce over there are lads out there who actively seek out the latest, most cutting edge house records, which i find very impressive.

And.......they still manage to keep the Old Bill on their toes.

I never meant this article to be a hatchet job on a movement i hold very dear to my heart. I will always love the music and the look just as i always will the skinhead movement or the casual movement which i see as natural extensions of mod anyway. I just wanted to highlight that somewhere along the line 'mod' became corrupted by copyists, marketing men and Luddites and that putting a man in a Fred Perry and a pair of bowling shoes does not make him a mod.

Anyway, we all know that the 'Emo' is the only true youth cult out there today.

As ever Keep The Faith and massive respect to all those who still live the life they love.

Rob H