Part V – Fliers, Buttons and Other Memorabilia
Above: From my button collection: 3 Mod buttons
Fliers were the communication lifeline for the scene. I have a collection of nearly 100 fliers from events during my time as a mod. Bands playing at clubs, parties, scooter rallies – just about any mod happening had a flier.
Above: Flyer: Mod Party in Covina
At the clubs people would hand out fliers for shows the next week, or dance clubs to go to the next night – and all of them got folded up and stuck in a pocket until I got home and thumb-tacked it to my wall.
Over time the collection kept getting added to the wall. When I took the fliers all down I put them in a folder and filed them away.
I first started buying the little 1″ buttons when I was a high school punk rocker, in the couple of years before my mod days. When I became a mod I just kept on buying them.
Everybody wore buttons with their favorite bands on them. Some ska kids would go a little crazy with it and cover their trench coat with buttons.
Above: 4 The Jam logo buttons from my collection.
I still love the little 1″ buttons, but now I have a button machine and I can make them myself.
My Parka and it’s patches
If you were serious about being a mod you had a parka (and not a trench coat) to keep you warm on your scooter.
A parka was an old U.S. Army fishtail parka that was about 3/4 length and hung to your knees. They had hoods on them and a quilted liner.
The parka not only kept you warm but protected your clothes, which was very important. When you got to the club you wanted to look sharp.
Above: One of the patches that used to be on my parka – The Modbeats.
New mods would usually cover their parka with patches of bands like The Jam, Madness or The Specials as well as British flags, targets, and anything else that looked mod. The longer you were around the less patches you usually had on your parka… towards the end I had only one patch on mine, a GO patch.
Above: Me on my scooter wearing my parka with the GO patch on it.
Like the fliers I collected, I hung on to my patches as well, and filed them away. I kept my parka, of course. My wife now uses it when we go camping.
I kept all kinds of little souvenirs from those days – my ticket stubs from The Untouchables shows, various drawings I made, a bunch of photos (as you already know), magazines and other odds and ends.
One reason I collected all these souvenirs was this amazing book that my friend Mark loaned me when I first became a mod called “Mods!”
Above: Mods! by Richard Barnes – one of my inspirations to document my mod days and collect these fliers, buttons, ticket stub, etc.
This “Mod Bible” was filled with old photos, fliers and information about the original mods in England in the early 60’s… Everything you needed to know about being a mod.
I wanted my own collection of mod stuff to look back on someday, maybe put it into a book, or, as it turns out, post on a website for others to enjoy.
By April of 1984, two years after I had first bought my scooter and began this amazing journey, I was coming to the end of this season of my life. I was headed towards new things… I was taking art classes at Orange Coast College and bought a Roland Juno 60 Synthesizer. I was becoming more interested in going on psychedelic trips then dancing the night away.
My wonderful Vespa scooter was nearing the end of it’s life. I had already replaced the engine and just about every replaceable part from front to back.
One day I came out from my art class to find my scooter missing from the college parking lot. The police found it a week later; spray-painted, out of gas and abandoned. It was never the same after that, and a few months later I stripped it to the chassis and sold the parts off to friends.
The cannibalized carcass was left in a garage in Costa Mesa at the house I lived in that summer. It was less than a glorious ending for such a great machine.
After my mod days were over I went on to play keyboards for a couple of bands, Train of Thought and Zombie Birdhouse. I started writing poetry, and making strange little recordings with my synthesizer.
In the Fall of 1986 I met a girl named Tania, and now we’ve been together almost 25 years. Most days I work on art projects, walk my two dogs and think about philosophical issues.
Some days I dream of owning another Vespa Rally 200…
Gallery of Images – Fliers, Buttons and other Memorabilia