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The Soul Stylists: Six Decades of Modernism - From Mods to Casuals
 
 

The Soul Stylists: Six Decades of Modernism - From Mods to Casuals [Kindle Edition]

Paolo Hewitt
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Review

"It's a great book that retraces the history of mod culture from post-war Britain right up to skinheads. It's probably too engaging for bedtime, but it's got lots of interesting details about music and fashion and social history" (Uncut)

Book Description

'You never look backwards at that age. What for? This is what's happening now. You need the music to go with the lifestyle to go with the attitude. Forwards. No looking back' - Norman Jay, DJ

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Could have been so much better 21 Jun 2007
By Andy Edwards TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
That there is a link between American R&B and British male fashion is inescapable - and this book seeks to draw a line from the immediate post war years to the present. If you were part of any of the movements described here you will find much to bring a smile to your face - but for those who missed it, you won't find any pictures to enlighten you. It is an incredibly perverse choice for a book about how people look - and that sets the tone for the book.

Hewitt has clearly researched his topic, and the sections on the original Mod movement are very interesting, but may frustrate those who lived outside London. There are many anecdotes which come with a very elitist tone - but doesn't this deny the huge number of working class kids who followed the trend without ever being a "face". Succesive style are given the same treatment.

So we move From Mods and Motown, through Skinheads and Ska, via Northern Soul and the 2 Tone thing to Casuals and ???? - yes Casuals - exactly how did they follow the modernist tradition? and what was their musical link? It doesn't work I am afraid.

I can't help feeling that this book has Paul Weller's name on it to create credibility. Hewitt seems to have fallen between 2 stools - he portrays Mod and it's successors styles to be an elite lifestyle choice, but at the same time he is telling a story which is inescapably working class and thus accessible, in some form, to all.

Buy this by all means, but there are better books on Mods in particular - and they'll have pictures too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What is wrong with groovin? 9 Dec 2000
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
As someone who has been there, done that - lived to my best abilities the modernist ethic, I found Paolo Hewitts compendium a none the less refreshing read. Somewhat London-centric and dwelling too heavily on a sort of "found" philosophy, could be two criticisms of the content - my early days as a young modernist/soul-stylist/whatever, were spent in mad abandon, roaring around Northern council estates - we were certainly stylish but a little less ponderous than some of the commentators in this book would have you believe. It is interesting to find out more of the scene that instigated a lot of my teenage beliefs - but most of the characters interviewed seem a little too sober to be believed - it was FUN, we were certainly "cool" and all the other attached epithets that go hand-in-hand, but I remember as much of the good times and laughing a lot, as I do the clothes. Great times, adventures, brilliant music that would live with me forever - but I've never been to John Simon's shop...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A very disappointing book.. 22 Nov 2000
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Having looked forward to the publication of this book for ages I was extremely disappointed to read the same tired old opinions from so called "faces," such as Farley and Mahoney.
There were adverts in the music press asking for recollections and photos but yet all we got was the rentaquotes from the same journo friendly people. Also the inclusion of some photos would have helped.
The opinion of the 'man in the street," should've been included. For instance the bit on Casuals/Soul Boys was absolutely dreadful..way off the mark, but that's what you expect from the likes of Sampson, Farley and Mahoney.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Paolo Hewitt's latest tribute to the multi-layered world of Modernism, will disappoint those looking for more pictures of children in fishtail Parka's fighting at the Seaside.
Soul Stylists is a celebration of working-class British street fashion and it's relation to a love of African-American and West Indian music. The connection is made between late '50's Soho Beatnik's, Mods, Skinheads, Suedeheads, Northern Soulers, Soulboy's and most recently the infamous Casual. Different names, different clothes, different records, but all united by a singular lifestyle perspective.
The absence of photographs may frustrate those who were never there. So too will Hewitt's less is more writing style. But for the rest of us, Soul Stylists will make the heart skip a beat and bring a smile to the face as we ponder the vivid descriptions of haircuts, clothes and rare funk 12inches.
A perfect companion piece to Hewitt's earlier The Sharper Word.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Beat Goes On....And On. 18 Nov 2000
By Simon
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Following on from "The Sharper Word", a collection of essays and writings about the mod cult in the '60s, Paolo Hewitt has created a similar type of book that attempts to link the cult of modernism with later youth cults - Skinhead, Suededhead, Northern Soul, Soulboys and Casuals.
Many people have already made the connection between mods and skinheads and the Northern Soul scene but few will have seen or will acknowledge the obvious similarities with the Essex soulboys of the late '70s, the sports gear-wielding casuals of the early '80s and the Acid House scene later that decade.
The author has tried to trace the stories of these cults by speaking to the people directly involved and the book is basically a collection of their reminiscences and observations. He also sews the story together with a series of short prompts between the flow of anecdotes. As we move year by year towards the present day, the lifestyle of particular type of working class teenager is shown to be a continuation of a tradition that was born in post-war Britain. The twin obsessions are clothes and music (namely Black American dance music) but the recurrent theme is that of existing in a world that is utterly incomprehensible and invisible to anyone who is not involved - and the determination that it should stay that way.
It can be seen how these cults were nurtured by their participants in secrecy and that once they became popular, the founders, the originals simply moved on in quiet disgust. These people, the author argues are the Soul Stylists.
For anyone who has ever experienced the joy of wearing a Ben Sherman shirt or a Fila velour tracksuit top or owning a rare Northern Soul 45 or an American jazz-funk import - that nobody else has!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Not great!
Lots of old people talking about how great their era was and how smart they were compared to others! Lacks any warmth or humour.
Published 10 months ago by J. A. O'sullivan
2.0 out of 5 stars irritating
No photos and I don't like Paolo Hewitt's style of writing as it's all this off-the-streets old cobblers which is irritating to read. Read more
Published 12 months ago by pete melvets
5.0 out of 5 stars Once a mod always a mod
This book gives a real insight to the way of life different styles revolve around over the decades the details are very accurate in description but all relate to one iconic style... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Popple
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book
A really good book that show a complet vision of the modernism culture and his evolution. It's a pity that does not include photographs.
Published on 29 Dec 2010 by Juanma
5.0 out of 5 stars A refreshingly parka-less Mod account!
A refreshingly Parka-less Mod anthology with an expert touch from Paolo. Drawing all parallels to the Casuals, Northern Soul and skinhead cultures, this Mod tale is unique in its... Read more
Published on 28 Oct 2009 by zips78
4.0 out of 5 stars well done
Very interesting book about what Mod is all about and at the end Paul Weller ist the only real Mod ever. Hope he'll write his biography as soon as possible.
Published on 17 Oct 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars LOVED THE BOOK...but casuals, mods?? please
Loved this book ( despite like everybody else involved at some stage in the soul movement who despises Hewitt)some good references to Mods, Skinhead, Northern Soul, Soul boys, etc. Read more
Published on 17 July 2003 by CHRISTIAN
4.0 out of 5 stars Not great, but it'll do
Thankfully Paulo and Paul finally got round to putting something out about this subject. Thoroughly enjoyed the section about Northern and skinheads (thankyou Jim Ferguson, your... Read more
Published on 8 Jun 2001 by TopGearSkin
3.0 out of 5 stars stick to what you know Paolo
i'm grudgingly giving this 3 stars for the the post-war jazz and sixties mod stuff. the, ahem, 'casual' section is laughable and gives the (never challegened) impression that the... Read more
Published on 14 Feb 2001
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