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Friday on My Mind: Scooter Boy - Mod Soul Boy - Pill Head Pt. 1 Paperback – 20 Oct 2010
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The Mods were undoubtedly the first real multi-culturalists, combining Jamaican ska, US soul, British beat, Pop Art graphics, French design and Italian suits and scooters into a sensational style explosion that still reverberates today. Academics, professional writers designers and photographers have all chronicled Mod in a thousand books and articles. Now, for the first time, a working class insider spills the beans on what it was like in the eye of the style storm. A time and a place when a Vespa SS could take you to the center of everything, to see The Who or The Birds - or to chat with Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Steve Marriott's Small Faces, John Stephen and Eric Clapton. Complete with unseen photos, rare graphics and authentic diary extracts, Don Hughes' Friday On My Mind is more than just another sixties curio, It is a stunningly original front-line dispatch from the style wars that shaped the look, and morals , of modern society.
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The Post-War years of Don Hughe's childhood and growing up period, I found really interesting... his storytelling is exceptional - and includes plenty of earthy and honest full of warmth humour - and draws you quickly capturing your imagination and inquisitiveness in one compelling sweep. These formative pages take up quite some space, but its never a dull ride and truly evokes what it must have been like to be coming of age just prior to the greatest cultural revolution ever! the Mod-enthused so-called swinging sixties!
As our writer becomes engrossed in the early sounds of Mod R&B and the subsequent merging into a new style of Gospel meets Blues- Soul, we can almost taste the same excitement as though we are back there with him, listening to his much-loved Dee Dee Sharpe and the rest of the early Cameo Parkway stable. We follow Don's natural progression into a fully-fledged Mod, complete with his own self doubts on where this will lead him, and further into the early Mod period and many tales of musical and teenage self discovery. From here on in, its absolutely unputdownable!!! one of those books that you really just don't want to end. The whole mid sixties Mod era explodes across the remaining chapters, and for a refreshing and very welcome change, its now being told not by a musician, rock promoter or self-reverential journo... but by Don Hughes; a child of the fifties... a working class kid with a deep love of music and all things Mod... an honest and uncompromisingly truthful voice telling the story exactly as it was for himself and many other kids all over the country, not only in London but in other cities as the Mod code spread further afield to future Mod strongholds such as Manchester and Sheffield.
'Friday on my Mind' is a true writing triumpth and quite likely the way forward for Rock memoirs. It swiftly sold out on its first run and is now due for a second print. The story continues in 'Pushin' and Shovin' which is yet another compelling read... and (for a change) tells the story from out of the inner circle of trend setters... but a more honest and refreshing tale of what it was like for a lad from the suburbs...job well done!
Friday on My Mind chronicles the life of a 1960's teenager growing up in the urban sprawls of West London.
By way of introduction the first few chapters provide a valuable insight into working class life in early post war Britain. The upheaval brought about by a regeneration programme that simultaneously re-housed families and destroyed whole communities is wonderfully observed through the eyes of child of the 1950's in a sympathetic yet unsentimental manner. This extended preamble, which in lesser hands could easily have become a parody of Monty Python's Four Yorkshiremen sketch, is essential in setting the scene for a decade where people's lives changed from black and white to colour. Here the reader is introduced to a variety of larger than life characters of all ages, from the author's grandmother (Nan) exercising a matriarchal control over all within her household to the kid next door who builds his own radio station!
With the introductions over the reader is swept along by the author's search for identity and community in a rapidly changing world. That quest, albeit temporary, results in the author embracing the sub cultural world of the Mod. This unique social phenomenon, destined to last but a few short years, is the answer to his prayers. Underpinned by music, fashion and the ubiquitous motor scooter all the doors to life seem to be opening up at once. Hedonistic, hilarious and sometimes downright dangerous escapades follow. Surely nothing can go wrong in boom-time Britain where unemployment is virtually non-existent and thousands of young teenagers are flush with cash and ready to spend it. An endless whirl of seven nights a week clubbing and a burgeoning music scene that is so accessible as to allow the author to meet some of his heroes face to face, he's 16 and he's gonna live forever!!
However as the 60's progress, fads and fashion come and go with alarming regularity. So self assured and confident at 16 the author at 17 going on 18 is confused and cast adrift in a world that is becoming less and less recognizable to him by the day. One by one the reassuring constants in his life are disappearing, clubs are closing, bands are switching to new seemingly alien music, his clothes are no longer the height of fashion. Worse still the spectre of racism and the barbarity of the English judicial system continues to haunt him. His large circle of friends has dwindled as one by one the 'up for a laugh' teenagers have become Mum's and Dad's, responsible young adults or career criminals. Should he cling on to the last vestiges of the Mod movement or, like so many of his friends and contemporaries, move on to pastures new?
Although aimed at those readers who were Mods themselves or those with a fascination or an interest in the 1960's generally, this book will I'm sure be appreciated by a much wider audience. A marvelous combination of biography, rite of passage, social history, popular music and fashion this book has it all.
Don Hughes genial conversational writing style brings the 60's to life with a candour, humour and pathos that is rivaled only in works of fiction. However there is no sugar coated nostalgia here, this book is not a comfortable, cosy fireside read but a genuine evocation of the times. It's real!!!