In the late 70’s a mod revival in the UK was underway. The Prime influences at the time were The Jam (1977), the release of the film Quadrophenia (1979) and of Richard Barnes’ book Mods! (1979). The Jam revived it, Quadrophenia recreated it across the big screen, firing the imagination and Barnes’s book acted as a handbook, a guide to how to look and live the Mod style. An April issue of the NME also played its part with a slew of pages highlighting a revival scene along with a more info on the original mid 60’s scene itself (the cover featured a scooter riding Mod).
In some small way the recent punk explosion also played its part. Punk raged briefly but the fall out from its return to the idea of youth and style lasted much, much longer. Rallying against a fashion and music scene that was staggering, bloated and tired on its former excesses, punk fired the imagination of hundreds of bored teenagers, preaching self -expression and a do-it-yourself attitude. Many were jolted into action by the initial burst of punks energy but were not necessarily feeling the rigid, narrow range of musical influence or the idea of a specific punk uniform the media was now creating/advertising.
Socket were a punk band formed in 1977 by a bunch of schoolmates form Romford. The following year they split up but soon reappeared as The Purple Hearts, with a new mod-influenced look and sound. “We just wanted to do something other than punk. We didn’t quite fit into the punk thing and got disillusioned with it pretty quickly.”
Punks idea of do-it-yourself also ressurected fanzines. Cheap, vibrant, photocopied communiques that were vital in spreading the new story, away from the mainstream media. Once again encouraging participation and communication. The new Mod scene seized upon this re-evaluated means of communication. Maybe it was because the scene itself sensed it was unlikely to garner much support from the mainstream, maybe these people had seen the punk movement worked over by the media and diluted, whatever Modzines began to spring up in staggering numbers all across the country.
Hand drawn covers, pop art inspired titles, retrospective features on the original looks and sounds of the 60‘s and news on all dayers and new bands from the current scene. These zines linked small groups of 60’s obsessives from across the UK (and very quickly the world, especially in the US) establishing a genuine, network of communication away from the mainstream.
Here’s a bunch of covers of zines (culled from the internet) from ‘79 through to the mid 80’s. If anyone has any scans of complete zines, we’d love to see them/post them…get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org).