Saturday, 26 October 2013


Some of us came to Mod via the spirit of Punk Rock, way before Quadraphenia. Through this association with Punk and New Wave came the realisation that we could form bands and one of the earliest incarnations of this influence along side Anglea Rippons Bum and SLS (Street Level Stylists) and the Reggae Band 'Living Legend' was 'Take Oath'.

The two images here circa 1981 were as far as I recall the earliest version of Take Oath with Gary Dartnell 'Gadger' on drums, Nicky Bytheway on guitar, me on Bass and Bill Mayell who at this point hadn't picked up the guitar and was in the band as the singer and Melodica player.
 This is a later version 1982. At this point bill had met 'Elvis Saitch' a 'Long Haired' and he'd influenced him massively and Bill had started to play proper chords, but was quickly moving away from the punk influences and play crap like The Police and Dire Straits! This version of the band circa 1982 was UXB which included Twinkle using a Premier Drun set that I'd financed that was bought from Honky Tonk Music in Hadleigh? The shot here was taken in one of the rooms at the back of the youthie that led into the Garage.
 This is an earlier Take Oath shot circa 1981 in Jamies room the same session with SLS. Me at the Mic.
Gougey the manager of Take Oath at the Youth Club circa 1981.

Dan bailey was talking about this a couple of days ago and I found this amongst a load of pic's I shot using an Olympus XA. Wide angle compact camera, no zoom on HP5+ rated 400 iso and dev'd in D76 normally. Which means we were right down the front. I do seem to recall there was virtually no-one there though.

Skateboarding Mods and all that

The second generation Mods coincided with the rise of Skateboarding and I'd got into skateboarding in 76/77 and then later surfing, so my Mod life inter-mingled with both of these other aspects of my life and there's a few images you'll see here from those times including some from South Ockendon skatepark that was situated in an area now called Ashton Close just near the railway foot bridge

The two shots here were taken in 1985 when I was 25 at the Ockendon Skatepark where Broxbourne drive meets Afton Drive. I know I went there again in 1987 and skated there, but it was built on not long after that as far as I know. You can see in the bottom image the bridge entrance just to the left at the edge of the image.
Jamie and I and sometimes Xan, Rabbit (Paul Walker) and Tim Gray would skate from Tilbury to Grays. We'd meet up with Ashwell and then skate and walk to South Ockendon. We'd skate there for an hour or two and then skateboard to 'The Rom' skatepark via Upminster, Hornchurch and Roneo corner. I think most days when we did this we'd then get the 370 bus back to Tilbury, but I'm pretty sure on one or two occasions we skated both ways, there and back which is mental!

Scooter Rallies & similar

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Random Images - Mods and all that

 Dunbar Scooter Rally 1984 July. 633 SS member Jamie Thompson (My Brother) on his Vespa PX 125 taking off on a ramp for some fun. The mental thing is, this is the same vehicle he was going to have to ride back to Tilbury on the next day - 400 + miles.
 Tilbury Mods - Lee Sheldrick circa 1982 - drunk I reckon and possibly at Rhonda Barnes's house?
"Mutant" Paul Crickmar and Tucker "David Meurs" on route to Dunbar somewhere on the A1 1984.
This is an obscure one. Mark Cluer on Camber Sands beach after a beach party there. There is a big extract in the diary about this event. Might follow if requested.
 The caption on the back of this reads 'Clappa the black Pig' the cafĂ© in Tilbury near Sydney Rd circa 1984.
 SLS (Street Level Stylists) and Take Oath practice at Wellington Rd. Boffa left (SLS) and Gary Dartnell with drum sticks. Circa 1981/82?
 This is from around 1985 and was shot down near the bridge along St Andrews Rd adjacent to where the Railway cottages used to be and Tilbury hospital. This is at the north end of the bridge with an arrow showing the way to Tilbury Gardens which was a small estate of very nice and large private houses to the west of the Riverside railway terminal, between there and the dock basin when it was still there. Looking at Google maps and researching this recently for my diary I saw that this area is now a big lorry park and the basin has been totally filled in.
"Heckle" AKA Lee Dockrill at the Riverside Youth Club circa 1984?
Aug 1984 L-R Danny Peach crashed out. Loolie on the pull with Karen Ansill? Sean McFairclough and Paul Weller, no sorry... Boffa. This party was for Danny, but was at someone else's house? It's also the party where someone walked through a plate glass window that shattered with razor sharp glass and no-one got cut?

 Billy Guitar Mayell with Boffa Take Oath & SLS join forces and jam at 94 Wellington Rd, circa 81/82.
 Billy Guitar Mayell & Lisa Williams circa 1983 when they were contemplating forming a band with the dubious name of 'Lovejuice'.
Jamies yellow TV 175? circa 1982, don't know what happened to it. Boffa would probably know, I seem to remember they bought from an old bloke in Danielle Harvey's road?

Mods and all that intro

I don't know how this will pan out or whether I'll maintain it, but for the short term I'll give it a go and see what occurs.

The subject of 'Mods' with regards to the phenomenon that emerged in the late 1970's is a very emotive and subjective issue. Born out of several different sub-cultures and emerging in different parts of the country influenced by different cultural and socio economic factors. In our own town it could be argued that there were two distinct if not more sub-divisions of a similar beast.

At the time between 1978 and 1987 I kept a diary and took thousands of images of my mates and what we did and what we got up to. At the start of the millennium I returned to the diaries and started to digitize them by writing them up and embellishing them with more details through research. The diary is on-going with more than 750,000 words (1800 pages) + long. With the advent of self publishing it now seems the right time to do something with these images and this blog is the vehicle to see if there is any interest in such a vernacular take on the subject.

One of the things I'd like to explore here is the question what is a Mod? There was an interesting article in the NME in 1979 that gets mentioned in this article here, where Pete Meaden talks about what it is to be a Mod and who the Mods were and might be in the 1970's. In the 1979 article Pete Meaden states who the Mods are in 1979 and it didn't fit in with my notion at all. But retrospectively (and to some extent at the time I did see his point) I'm in total agreement with his analysis and my take on who the Mods are now might surprise some people other than Simon Grainge who I've had this conversation with many times. (Simon is a lecturer in Media and Films studies and delivers lectures on sub-culture). Dependent on how this comes together I may state my own case as to what it is to be a Mod and what makes you a Mod (I told you this was going to be subjective).

Diary extract from this day 17th January 1987....The rest of the day it snowed on and off, in the evening we went down to Tilbury landing stage with Eve and went on board the big Russian liner that was there and talked to the Russians – Chris, Bendy and me. We had a good talk with them and it was interesting, they loved us. That night I stayed over at Chris’s house as it was warm. We sat up talking about wanting to get out of Tilbury and the trip to the Canaries.

Tonight the temp dropped further still -11 to -14 degrees with the snow averaging one or two foot everywhere, it’s the deepest snow I’ve ever seen! It was so deep I had to do something other than be pissed off by it, so I thought – well you only get snow like this once in your lifetime, so why not have a laugh in it? So we did, we went up Broome Hill me, Tomo, Chris and when we got there we found a big old sledge, so we had a bit of a laugh going down the steep side which faces Tilbury, then we jelled. Later that night we went round to Boffa’s and got him and Xan, then Yindy and Bill and we all jelled up there by foot and had a right laugh. With Chris breaking all the distance records and going right down the bottom and through a ditch into a barbed wire fence and tree trunks – we pissed ourselves laughing!

I stayed over at Rachel’s again Saturday night because of the weather, but managed to get home okay the next morning despite the snow. After our late night sledging excursions the plan was to go out and buy some real sledges and have a mass sledging that afternoon. I rang Rachel and asked if she wanted to come along and she said she’d be down about 17.00. So we all jelled off in the motors via Deneholes garage where we bought some sledges.

When we got there we were well mob handed – Me, Jamie, Bill, Rabbit, Adrian, Boffa, Xan, Oink, Sean McFairclough, Loolie, PJ, Chris and a couple of others. Again we had a right laugh and this time some B&W photo’s went down, including a couple of good group photo’s featuring everybody. Rabbit also video’d a lot of it.