Wednesday, April 27, 2016

In the Wake of Mod: a succinct history, clarifiying a distinction, diagnosis, and the looming question

England--swinging London circa 1967--has always been for me "Mod Ground Zero".  But otherwise the closely-related Mods vs. Rockers phenomenon escaped my notice until I listened to Quadrophrenia, but it was still rather vague to me even then (the film at last brought clarification).

I have always viewed Mod as something along the lines of James Bond, The Beatles, the jet set, but focused through even more specific data points: Roger Vadim, Italian neo-Realism (Antonioni - Blow Up), James Coburn playing a gong. With such models under our belts, did we dare to believe in a Mod Internationale?

The Grateful Dead ethos of know-nothing auto-destruction, Charles Manson, Laurel Canyon, Peter Fonda, and so on, brought it all tumbling down, until 1971, when, thank goodness, Stanley Kubrick stepped in to pick up the pieces and get us back on our feet. But in the meantime we had lost our innocence. These days, nostalgia for the technology of the Cold War seems to fill in what's missing, but this is clearly not the path to reviving the spirit of
Mod Internationale, assuming of course we should want to do so.

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