August 03, 2004

The in-crowd (from mod to post-mod)


A few more notes inspired by Mark's glam piece....

on the Mod/glam continuum...

Sinker: 'As anyone knows whos ever been edged from a charmed circle for being not young enough, or thin enough, or queer or prole or cool enough its the aftermath nag of those of your values which made the circle seem so charming to you, that you have to make your peace with, to survive. Your real friends can teach you to see the faults of the lover whos just dumped you, but when an in-crowd cast you out, its your ideal of friendship thats been turned against you. The treacherous complexities of such self-reappraisal are often enough to turn radicals into reactionaries.'

Ferry: 'In 1965, we all wore the same outfit - American track sweaters and bobby sox.'

(Quoted in The Bryan Ferry Story, Rex Balfour, 1976)

Ferry returned to his mod past - there's a picture in Balfour's book from 66, Ferry the predictably immaculate mod (sadly, my scanner is no longer functional or else I'd reproduce it here) - when he covered Dobie Gray's 'The "In" Crowd', which was taken up as a mod anthem when it was released in 1965. Yet as the NME noted:

'The In Crowd of 1974 is a very different of caviare from that of 1965... The whole thing sounds like it was yanked off a New York subway while fixing an overdose of heroin, and then ground between the sides of two collapsing skyscrapers. All of the slyly hip self-congratulation of Gray's postcard-to-home from the wonderful Big City goes out of the window. Nowadays, being part of the In Crowd is a perilous after-dark affair. spiked with trans-sexuality.'

Ferry on his own in-crowd, 1974:

'I found them [gay males] more sympatico. A year ahead of everybody else. Being so close for so long to the art world, my friends have nearly always been gay. Mos of the people I really know or see at all now are in fact in fashion because they're attractive, personality-wise, and therefore not incredibly deep. They are not really interested in what I do, mostly they're only interested in themselves - which really, I suppose, is fair. If I disappeared tomorrow most of them wouldn't notice the difference... It's fairly international, it's your fashion-society type scene, who I happen to get on with very well. It's because they're interested in style basically.'

How terrifying, how - genuinely - vacuous...

(Quotes from Balfour)

And in Nuttall's Bomb Culture

'"Mod" meant effeminate, stuck-up, emulating the middle classes, aspiring to a competitive sophistication, snobbish, phony. ... Mods, in whom alienation had become something of a deliberate stance... ' (33)

Then, in 1964, mods and art students 'cross-fertilize':

'Art students and pop had, until this point, been separate, except for an odd overlapping in the world of trad and skiffle. But R & B was that little bit less commerical than rock had been. It appealed to the authenticity cult and the rock 'n' roll cult. The students and the mods cross-fertilised, particularly in Liverpool. Purple hearts appeared in strange profusion. Bell-bottoms blossomed into wild colours. Shoes were painted with Woolworths lacquer. Both sexes wore make up and dyed their hair. The art students brought their acid colour combinations, their lilacs, tangerines and lime greens from abstract painting. The air in the streets and clubs was tingling with a new delirium.' (34)

Posted by mark at August 3, 2004 01:55 AM | TrackBack