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Modernist


My dad being all Mod with his bandmates. He's wearing the navy Harrington, tartan pants and Chelsea boots.

My dad being all Mod with his bandmates. He's wearing the navy Harrington, tartan pants and Chelsea boots.

For some strange reason I have always felt an affinity for British music and its subcultures. I've never been big into Mexican music or folklore. Don't get me wrong I love Mexican culture and its cuisine but I've just never listened to mariachi music or been interested in being macho ranchero (aka cowboy). I remember growing up to my father's record collection. I thought it was so neat and unique the way The Stones, The Beatles, The Who and The Kinks dressed and sounded. My dad would tell me stories about how when The Beatles played no one in the audience had any idea what they sounded like cause the yelling of the fans was deafening. Or how Pete Townsend and Keith Moon started destroying their guitar and drum sets respectively, at the end of a show. I loved the combination of this badass behaviour while looking so dapper in the process.

My dad was born in 1947, so was a teen when the Mod scene was peaking in the UK. Needless to say the rebel in him made him attracted to the music coming from England and inspired him to form a band with some of his friends when he was in his late teens. My father and the rest of his bandmates came from impoverished backgrounds, so it was their shear talent that made them gain popularity in the Mexican music scene.

The bassist of the band was also a carpenter and had some knowledge of electronics so he actually constructed a fake Hofner bass that resembled Paul McCartney's cause they couldn't afford the fancy instruments that other up and coming bands had. They had to rent amplifiers or borrow them from other bands when they had bigger gigs. They started touring around Mexico and did some recordings. The day they had their debut on national TV is the day that my dad decided he didn't want to pursue the music career any further cause he thought he could make much better money having a regular job so he could afford to marry and support my mother. Since my mother didn't come from a family with as many financial limitations as my father, he felt that he had to better himself and continuing with the band would've been a huge gamble since he could've made it big or waste his youth and never reach stardom. My father's Mod period is perfectly described by The Who's publicist Peter Meaden when he said that being Mod is "clean living under difficult circumstances." When my father was in the band he didn't smoke or drink and compared to the original UK Mods, he never tried the infamous amphetamines. He'd save a lot of his money to dress well. There were nights when he'd be heading home after a show and he'd be called derogatory names because the way he dressed was completely different than the men who lived in his working class neighbourhood. I can almost imagine him walking back home wearing tight pants, paisley shirt, chelsea boots and fancy haircut and all these ignorant tough guys yelling homophobic slurs at him.

It's interesting the way life works out because even if the band was an unfulfilled project of my father, it profoundly influenced my appreciation and affinity for the British musical invasion. I continued listening to the same music that my dad instilled on me and later discovered The Smiths, The Cure, New Order, Depeche Mode and other 80's bands. I didn't fit with my peers cause I was listening to music that was 10 years old and mopped around in my room listening to The Smiths. With the explosion of the Britpop scene and the Mod influenced revival, it became easier to not just have access to a lot more music but also a lot of more British inspired fashion.

Being a Mod nowadays is more of an aspirational idea. I think real Mods are those who were actually able to experience and be submersed in the authentic Mod scene of London in the 60's. I consider myself and those like me to be Mod connoisseurs or Neo-Mods.

I am always on the look for new things like bands, fashion brands, artists, technology and ideas in general that have a modern yet classic outlook. Just like the original Mods were influenced by Italian fashion & scooters, American jazz and rhythm & blues, Ivy League fashion and French cinema, I'm open to discovery the next modern thing to become part of the scene, without being a temporary fad.

I have a strong appreciation for all the modernist things that life and culture has to offer for music, fashion, arts, technology and many ideas in general. I'd love to hear what sort of modernist things you're into. Please feel free to contact me with your recommendations.

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