Saw­dust Cae­sars – Orig­i­nal Mod Voices Tony Beesley [Days Like Tomorrow Books]

ISBN: 978-0-9565727-4-5

Scootering - - Kickstart - Andy

With an abun­dance of books out there on the sub­ject of Mod, it’s nice to read one with a refreshing edge to it. Sub­ti­tled ‘Orig­i­nal Mod Voices’ this gives a clue as to what Beesley has pro­duced here, a book about the Mod scene from the 50s to the present, told by those who were (and some who still are) part of it. There’s no me­dia hype about beach bat­tles with Rock­ers (more of­ten scuf­fles with other Mods), no rose-tinted spec­ta­cles that all Mods rode Vespa GS scoot­ers or TV and SX200 Lam­bret­tas (in fact there’s a bril­liant photo of one Mau­rice Moore on board what looks like a Bri­tish DKR scooter), but the drugs, the clothes, and what it meant to be a Mod in all cor­ners of the coun­try, saving hard to earn for your clothes, mu­sic and more.

From the twisted Wheel in Manch­ester, Ham Yard in Lon­don and The Duke dis­coteque in Lin­coln, we learn what places – from small lo­cal venues to leg­endary clubs – kept young Mods en­ter­tained through the years. Aside from trips to the sea­side of course.

What I like about this book is not only that Beesley has spent a lot of time and ef­fort col­lect­ing the mem­o­ries of nu­mer­ous Mods and Modettes from over the years, but he’s edited it so it’s their in­ter­est­ing and var­ied sto­ries for you to read with lit­tle rep­e­ti­tion. So well in fact that at times you forget you’re read­ing a col­lec­tion of quotes and in­ter­views rather than a full on book, if you know what I mean.

It is also a book that can be put down and picked up again with­out los­ing the story, thanks to the in­di­vid­ual pieces, al­though some have to be read with an open mind (40,000 scooter miles in one year vis­it­ing sea­side re­sorts in the south east?). On the neg­a­tive side, some­times the nar­ra­tive does get con­fused with the in­ter­view, but you soon be­come ac­cus­tomed to the lay­out of the book.

All of th­ese sto­ries from the var­i­ous eras are ac­com­pa­nied by black and white pho­to­graphs sup­plied by the in­ter­vie­wees, a per­fect ac­com­pa­ni­ment in a pub­li­ca­tion that thanks to Beesley, is co-writ­ten by the peo­ple who were there. This is Mod seen first hand through their eyes. In fact even if you’re not a Mod your­self, I reckon this will ap­peal as an en­light­en­ing read about an im­por­tant part of Bri­tish youth cul­ture and one that – like it or not – has helped shape the scooter scene as it is to­day. www.tony­beesley­mod­world.co.uk

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