Chivalry Not Chavalry

Don't know how many mods are reading this, right, but I think a few. Can I ask you, do you find the word 'chav' offensive? And, also, do mods think of themselves as 'chavs'- no? You know I don't necessarily think of it as a term of abuse as such. But, I think about some of the mod guys we get here in Brum, and they are real working class guys, I have no problem with this and I really am not a snob. In fact we went to a mod do a while back at the Baggot Arms, and when I went in I thought '*******hell I'd better hide my flowery shirt, with this lot! They were all, strict Fred Perry urban guys with mostly skinhead (actually bald) haircuts, but you know as the evening went on and the drinks kicked in and the soul sounds took over, I started dancing with everyone else and it was great, there was no trouble. There is one bloke who always looks real dandy, wears a pair of white 501s, a white jumper and a tootal scarf, with great shoes and always looks 'the business'. But I suppose this is what being a mod is- it partly means paying attention to personal dress codes, in a certain way. And, perhaps putting up with (or not as the case may be) a certain amount of hassle, bearing in mind the environment most mods have come from.

What this is leading up to is, this. A couple of days back, I hadn't been too well, then my mum who is old got food poisoning, it was a worrying time. She pulled through that and I thought, I'll get out for a walk. As I was leaving a shop, I got a load of verbal, from these lads. No provocation, these kids with baseball caps and dodgy cheap sports wear. I got 'faggot' and all this. Its a bit depressing really. I wasn't hurt by this, but at my age now, it is almost interesting to get exactly the same kind of shit I got at school. I was no saint myself. But, as an adult now, it makes me ponder my place in this city. Nothing has really changes as I have got older, if I am still getting 'the heat' off a load of yobbos. And what is more, I still have to find a way of escaping, since after all these years I still live here. I can't yet afford to do otherwise.

But back to escaping. When I was a little kid, I had a life changing experience. I saw Marc Bolan on Top Of The Pops, singing Telegram Sam. It had been made pretty clear to me by the age of 7 that I was an outsider, not wanted, not liked, and actually I was thoroughly detested, apparently because I was 'posh'- one sin which it seems is unforgivable. Then there was the other thing they thought I was. PS the thing was, my father was an ex military man, who came from a fairly middle class background. So I suppose some of it rubbed off on me. But, when I was getting the heat for being 'posh', my father was working on teachers wages, which were a pittance in those days, and my mum was a housewife so I grew up in a poor household. Whereas all the kids at school who took it out of me for being posh were all watching their colour televisions etc while we had no carpets, no fridge, no telephone and actually no hot water most of the time so f*** the lot of them and I mean that.


And so the bullying escalated, and became worse and worse. I got ill, pulled half my hair out, developed obsessive compulsive disorder and the rest is history. But, there was one lifeline which has stayed with me- an escape- into a world I wanted to live in, and still do. MUSIC! Yeah and clothes. Fantastic bloody clothes. I was saying to my manager David, when I am dressed how I want to dress, and on stage fronting a band, I am in a different stratosphere from the chav lads. And thank bloody God for that. What really amazes me is that I am still having to escape. The one time I did have a go back at a bunch of yobs, but it seemed too dangerous to do so the other day. I think mods are above that kind of behaviour, I think they are distancing themselves from that kind of level, and actually mods/60s people have something to fill their livers which keeps them out of trouble.

The mod/60s underground is always there, I think it could become a lot bigger and wont fade, because its roots are in something which will continue to fascinate.

I'm recording Sitting In An English Cafe this week, one of my main tunes. Will be a very acoustic affair, with 12 string acoustic parts, tremolo Vox guitar, 60s organ and tambourine. Should be a fab blast.

Also will be recording some of my main older tunes soon, like Silver Blue Bullet, Torn Between 2 Hearts (one of John Leckie's favourites of mine) from a while back.

An advertising campaign for England's Dreaming Spires begins next month- in Shindig magazine and elsewhere. Although the album was technically released last year, we are really only now beginning to promote it, although the Mark Lamarr session was a major early bit of promo.

Next weekend looking forward to seeing the Pretty Things performing SF Sorrow down at Le Beat Bespoke, we're going down for the 3 days, come and say hi if you recognise me in my black corduroy cap. Its no wonder I get the comments I know.

Take Care
Mark- Village Green Machine



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