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Check out all of the posts in the category ‘Interviews’ below. If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, try searching by using the box on the right hand side of this page.

Interview with “Quadrophenia: A Way Of Life” author Simon Wells

Q1

We speak to British cult film writer Simon Wells (pictured left) about his new book “Quadrophenia: A Way of Life (Inside the Making of Britain’s Greatest Youth Film)”

What impact did it make on you the first time that you saw Quadrophenia? 

I was mesmerised, confused, enchanted, bewitched. Like many who saw it first time around – overall, it was the energy that totally captivated me. But beyond that, there was a raft of elements that were going on that made it fascinating. In a sense, Quadrophenia is a classic “Boy meets girl loses girl” type of film – a bit like West Side Story meets Saturday Night Fever – but the great thing was it was OUR story – a believable British film – one of very few.

Why do you think it has earned such a special place in the hearts of so many people over the last 35 years?

It’s the template for a generation; a blueprint for living. It’s a fierce reflection of youth – and that’s at the core of its appeal for me. That time period of 16-19 has a golden glow around it for many – and that is a time many of us reference as the most exciting period of our life. I haven’t heard anyone say, “I remember how great it was to be 27 or 35” No – it’s that time as teenagers that many of us remember as a slightly whacky period, and Quadrophenia is all about that.

Jimmy’s choice of Fred Perry Shirt and parka made it very easy for the kids on the street to emulate the leading character’s style. Do you think that helped people feel connected with the film? 

Fred Perry like Quadrophenia never goes out of style – it was a wise choice of apparel – and ensures that the film will look eternally cool. I am not surprised Fred Perry formed a large part of Jimmy’s uniform during the film.

Quadrophenia has almost become the definitive historical document of Mod culture in Britain. Do you think of Quadrophenia as a second hand account of 1960s British youth subculture, or more as a first hand artefact of the 78-81 Mod revival? 

It’s a good question and the answer is that it is actually a bit of both. If it was a straight reflection of 1960s life – it would fail – as it carries much of the fury of the late 70s Punk attitude. So welded together it is a very powerful, believable document.

What was the most surprising fact you un-earthed whilst researching the book?

In my researches I came across the story of a young Mod who actually fell to his death over a Brighton cliff in 1964 following the riots. It fascinated me, and I was intrigued to whether it inspired the album. Pete Townshend relayed to me that it did not, and he was surprised that it had happened - but then I found out that the boy’s brother went onto work for The Who and was a close friend of Townshend. So, it’s incredible – and if people are interested, the whole story is on a blog here. http://quadropheniaslostmod.blogspot.co.uk/

You’ve written extensively about cult British cinema, including other iconic films such as ‘Get Carter’, and ‘A Clockwork Orange’. Do you think there have been any true Brit cult classics since Quadrophenia?

Very few to be honest – I would say Meantime (also starring Phil Daniels) is a bona fide British cult film, but few have seen it and it hasn’t got the romance of Quadrophenia. I wince when I hear films that are made in the style of a “cult” film because it doesn’t really happen that way – and with the internet, will probably never happen again in the future. Trainspotting and Withnail & I for me are probably the most famous cult films since Quadrophenia. While Trainspotting borrows heavily from Quadrophenia in terms of gang mentality and energy, Withnail and I is a bona fide cult object – the fanaticism to the film is very similar to those who follow Quadrophenia, and has endured generation after generation.

There’s been a lot of speculation in the last 35 years about the ending of Quadrophenia. Where do you think Jimmy Cooper is today?

Ha ha! What a great question. I think Jimmy is probably in a council flat – probably somewhere on the south coast - in his late sixties. He probably fathered a few kids in his time – not least the one with Steph! I sort of imagine life has been hard for him, and that he was unemployed a lot. In his quieter, reflective moments – he probably looks back on his time on the Mod trail – with great fondness – as we all do!

 Q2

You can order Simon Wells' "Quadrophenia: A Way of Life" from Countdown Books, along with their other excellent titles dealing with British Subcultures of the Twentieth Century.

 


60 seconds with Bradley Wiggins

 

Aw1

National hero and British sporting legend, Sir Bradley Wiggins has now collaborated for 6 seasons with Fred Perry - creating together a stylish collection that heavily references Bradley's cycling heritage. 

The Autumn/Winter 2014 collection - now in-stores - features both new and reworked favourites offered in vintage inspired patterns and colours. Hints to his love of 60s style can be found in slim-cut turtle neck knits and retro sports track jackets. 

Bradley was involved in every step of the design process, with inspiration taken from classic cycling jerseys, and pieces found in the Fred Perry archives.  

Currently undertaking an intense training schedule, we met up with Bradley for a catch-up, and to hear his thoughts on his collection, music and of course, cycling...

Aw5

When we first met in 2012 you mentioned you were nervous about whether people would take to the collaboration or not, the collection has since gone from strength to strength. What are you most excited about seeing in your next collection?

 For the next collection, I am most excited to see the kids range

 

We’ve just produced the first Bradley Wiggins Kids shirts together, you said you bought your first Fred Perry back in 1989 when it was a slightly left-field choice, are either of your children into the Laurel Wreath yet?

 …which brings me onto the answer to the next question. My son Ben is very into the Laurel Wreath already. My little girl pinched his parka so I'm guessing she's next

Bkids

Pictured above, the Bradley Kids Shirt from our current collection


 Is there anyone in particular whose style inspires you at the moment or who you’d really like to see wearing a Bradley Wiggins Shirt?

  I'm always looking a at loads of different style icons if you like from many different eras. There's not really anybody in particular that I style myself on, I take many differ elements and do my own take. I would've loved to have seen Steve Marriott in one of my shirts. 

Aw2

We really enjoyed your BBC 6 Music special with Paul Weller, could we see a future disc-jockey in you much further down the line?

Really enjoyed the Radio 6 thing too, it's something I'd love to be able to do in future. 

 

You’ve said previously that the Northern music scene has stayed much more underground than the South’s, are there any bands or musicians that you’re listening to at the moment that we should know about?

Not really. I'm listening to the Stone Roses again just now. I've been enjoying a reggae cd a Jamaican athelete gave to me at the Commonwealth Games. 

 

This year saw the 20th anniversary of Blur’s Parklife and the beginning of what was to become Britpop. What was your favourite nineties album and do you have any fond Britpop memories?

 Definitely Maybe. That album, the video of "Live Forever" on MTV. Some powerful imagery and the sense that music/culture could change things.

Aw4

Having just won your fourth Silver medal at the Commonwealth Games and having claimed victory at the Tour of California earlier this year, are there any plans for a holiday before the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro or are you straight back into training?

Yes I'm looking forward to a short trip to NYC in November for my wedding anniversary. After that the family will combine training and holidays, there won't be any time! we often go to Majorca because the roads and terrain are fantastic for cycling whilst the kids can enjoy the beach. It's the best of both worlds. 

 

A few years on from the Wiggo Effect and the London Olympics, the Tour de France can be seen departing from England, do you see the resurgence of cycling particularly in London being a lasting one?

Yes absolutely 100%. Cycling is a real viable, sustainable, green, transport alternative. By using cycling as a tool to get about it becomes a simple way of fitting exercise into your daily life without thinking about it, that fits around work and life. Aside from all that it's damned enjoyable and I love it. 

 

Bradley, good luck and thank you for your time!

Aw3

The Bradley Wiggins collection is available in Fred Perrry stores and online now. 

View the collection online HERE

See the Bradley Wiggins Kids Shirt HERE

Find your nearest Fred Perry store HERE

Mods - The New Religion by Paul 'Smiler' Anderson

Mods Jacket 

Published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the famous ‘Mods Vs Rockers’ riots of 1964; Mods: The New Religion is everything you need to know about the real Mod scene. We chatted to the book's creator, Paul 'Smiler' Anderson, about music, style and what's up next.

When did you begin working on The New Religion? What inspired you to create the book?

I first thought about writing a book back in 2002. I did some research on bands local to me in Reading like The Moquettes and did newspaper appeals for Mods. I then decided to write a book on 60s original Mods and started that back in 2005. But ideas, changes and photos were still coming in right up until the end of December 2013, just before it had to be sent to be printed. The book now though is exactly as I imagined it...twelve years ago! The inspiration to me was the fact that the only book really dedicated to 60s Mods was written in 1979 by Richard Barnes with the help of Johnny Moke (original Mod) and nothing had really been released since. In 1964 there had been a book called 'Generation X' written by Charles Hamblett and Jane Deverson that was a cross the board social study of opinions and quotes from young teenagers talking about their views on Marriage, sex, religion, politics, class etc. It included some great quotes from Mods of the period. Another book that was influential was from 1984 called 'Days In The Life' which was a collection of interviews conducted by Jonathan Green with various people from subcultures of the 60s including Mods, Hippies etc. I just thought all I want is a book that just chats to Mods including the ones who were there at the very start in the late 1950s.

How many of your own personal experiences play into the book?

Seeing as I wasn't born until 1965 it was impossible for any of my own personal experiences to be included in the book. However the fact that I have spent over 30 years reading and talking about the original 60s period does reflect in the book I think. I have nothing but admiration for the originators of the culture and I hope that passion shows through.

In your opinion, which three tracks define the Mod era:

That is a tough call! But I think I would choose:

'Ain't Love Good, Ain't Love Proud' - Tony Clarke

'Madness' - Prince Buster

'I'll Keep Holding On' - The Marvelettes

But then I could easily have put in a blues record like 'My Babe' by Little Walter or 'I'm The Face' by the High Numbers as it was the first record to be actually written and aimed at the Mod audience.

What part did the Fred Perry Shirt play in the history of Mod?

Fred Perry was really some of the first 'leisure wear' that teenagers embraced as a fashion. In a world that is now full of tacky tracksuits and sportswear is a common sight it seems hard to believe that Mods were the first to embrace the Fred Perry Shirt to be worn casually, although they could also be worn under jackets also. Mods were the first to wear training shoes, cycling shoes, bowling shoes and cycle shirts as a form of fashion statement but the Fred Perry shirt worn at the start of the 60s was seen as ground breaking.

Who would you describe as today’s Mod heroes? Are there any new faces you think are important?

The whole idea of heroes to Mods is a kind of alien concept as many would not want to be seen to acknowledge any individual publicly.  That said, many Mods do hold people in high esteem. Steve Marriott of The Small Faces is often cited as an inspiration to many whilst since the revival Paul Weller has often been held in high esteem and in more recent years people such as Miles Kane and Bradley Wiggins have become high profile Mods. It is such a personal view though and very hard to get any one person as an overall Mod hero.

Finally, what’s next for you? Are you working on any future projects?

Life is harder now I have my little boy and also holding down a full time job so my time for writing has definitely got shorter. Mod is my most passionate subject so I always feel that would come into anything I write. I am also fascinated by the subject of the 1984 miner's strike so may use that as a basis for a fictional piece. I'd also love to write for music based magazines such as Mojo but find many of these type of affairs hard to gain a foothold in. Whatever happens I think I will always be inspired to write.

'Mods - The New Religion' is published by Omnibus Press. Available now.

About the author:

PAUL ‘SMILER’ ANDERSON has been in love with the Mod way of life since 1979. He has been involved in organising numerous events since the Eighties, as well as publishing fanzines and running club nights. As a major record collector, Paul has been a  DJ at Mod events both in the UK and Europe for over 25 years. With co-author Damian Jones, Paul has also written Circles: The Strange Story of The Fleur De Lys and compiled Acid Jazz’s Rare Mod compilation albums and EPs. In 2011, Paul and Damian presented the biggest-ever exhibition devoted to Sixties Mod,  entitled Reading Steady Go! Other than his family and friends, Paul lists his greatest loves as clothes, records, scooters and West Ham United Football Club.