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Scooter-Riding Mod

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The mods of Quadrophenia show off their wheels.

"Zoot suit, white jacket with side vents five inches long.
I'm out on the street again
And I'm leaping along.
I'm dressed right for a beach fight,
But I just can't explain
Why that uncertain feeling is still here in my brain"

A sort of precursor to the 2010s-era Hipster, only with far more amphetamines and street fights, the Mod subculture emerged in England in the early 1960snote . Characteristics included wearing tailor-made Italian suits and long British army jackets, sporting glasses with thick square frames, listening to "beat" music, soul, ska, and R&B as well as bands such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks and The Small Faces, riding Italian scooters customized with extra chrome mirrors, all-night dancing, and fighting with The Rival Rocker subculture, who preferred the leather-jacketed, motorcycle-riding "Greaser" look and listened to American rock and roll music like Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley. This rivalry came to a head at the Brighton Beach Riots of 1964, as shown in the film Quadrophenia. The mods and rockers fights led to a moral panic and columnists clutched their pearls in terror.

The mods were the teenaged sons and daughters of working-class class parents who didn't want to grow up to be like mum and dad, wearing grimy work clothes, working long hours at a dreary job, and then drinking at the local pub in their off-hours to numb their unhappiness. Young mods wanted to look stylish and smart and be connoisseurs of cool new music. They didn't want to stagger home drunkenly from the pub like dad did. Even though mods worked as cashiers or clerks by day, at night they dressed up and enjoyed going to late night coffee shops and dance clubs and riding their Lambretta and Vespa scooters. Morning shift at 7 am and you want to keep dancing? No problem, take a handful of amphetamine pills and dance all night.

The subculture died out in the late 1960s (although its more working-class and aggressive strand mutated into Skinheads while the more stylish and less agressive elements evolved into the counterculture), experienced a revival in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and subsequently influenced the Britpop explosion in the 1990s and the Indie Rock movement in the early-mid 2010s.

Has nothing to do with forum moderators or game modifications.


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    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Blue Monday, by the same writer as Scooter Girl, features some Mods.
  • DC had a 60s Elongated Man story in which Ralph and Sue were in London and ran afoul of two gangs — one Mods, the other Rockers — competing against each other to show off with feats like jumping across Tower Bridge while it was opening (with the occasional rumble thrown in for good measure). Ralph eventually captured both lots in his own unique way.
  • Long Hot Summer, by Eric Stephenson and artist Jamie McKelvie, follows a young mod in Southern California during the subculture's revival in the early 1980s.
  • Dave Gibbons' graphic novel The Originals is about futuristic hover-bike-riding mods in a dystopian society.
  • Although she's technically the goddess of Britpop, the Goddess Britannia in Phonogram sports a mod look. (She's also drawn by Jamie McKelvie.)
  • The 2003 Oni Press miniseries Scooter Girl. Both Ashton and Margaret are members of the Mod Revival subculture, as are most of their friends.
  • DC Comics 1960s teen humour title Swing With Scooter centred around a scooter riding Mod.
  • The Mad Mod was a Fad Super who fought the Teen Titans in the 60s, although he was focused more on the fashion side of the movement.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The titular hero of the Austin Powers movies sports what is basically a caricatured mod style.
  • Several characters in the 2010 film of Brighton Rock, which is set in 1964 and uses the Brighton Beach Riots as a backdrop.
  • Mick Jagger looks sharp even when playing a Gunslinger in Ned Kelly. At one point he wears a frilly shirt, pointy boots and velvet coat that could have come straight from Carnaby Street.
  • Most of the cast of Quadrophenia. The film, based on the album by The Who, follows Jimmy Cooper, a young mod, as he pops pills, rides his scooter, and stares aimlessly out at the ocean trying to find himself.
  • There is a gang of Mods in SLC Punk!. They are portrayed as the punks' rivals, excepting one who moves freely between social groups.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the third episode of The Book of Boba Fett, Boba recruits a gang of cyborgs who ride colorful hoverbikes with lots of rearview mirrors. One of them wears a gray Badass Longcoat and a shirt with a vertical stripe that looks like a tie, making him resemble Ace Face in Quadrophenia. They're even referred to as "The Mods" in-universe, which turns out to be a general term for cyborgs, from "modified". Unlike most of the rest of the gang who dress like '60s Mods, Drash ironically dresses like a Rocker, the enemies of the '60s Mods.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The First Doctor adventure "The War Machines" features a scene in a nightclub full of mods, although none of the major characters really adopt the style.
    • As an Agent Peacock, the Third Doctor's costume was inspired by the Swinging London look of the late 1960s.
    • The Twelfth Doctor's costume in his first season was supposed to evoke a "Mod Man in a Box", although it sometimes looks more like a toned-down smart skinhead style.
  • The rivalry between Mods and Rockers featured prominently in one episode of Inspector George Gently.
  • The younger people in Mad Men get into the style of this subculture during a few seasons of the show. Peggy even wears a mod-styled dress while riding a scooter and Sally Draper sports some go-go boots.
  • In an episode of The Mighty Boosh, our heroes are confronted by suit-clad Mod Wolves. Vince has declared himself King of the Mods, so the wolves are no threat.
  • In the Top Gear (UK) Vietnam Special, Jeremy Clarkson purchases a Vespa scooter for the challenge (riding from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi in eight days) and embraces the mod aesthetic thereafter; he attaches a bunch of mirrors to the scooter "Quadrophenia style". Later on, he acquires a very flashy tailored suit which he calls "full Phil Daniels", referencing the actor who played Jimmy Cooper, the mod in the aforementioned movie.

  • In The '70s, The Jam directed its style and output towards mod revivalists. Several other groups followed their example.
  • The Small Faces was a band that emerged from the mod subculture.
  • The Who's concept album Quadrophenia is a rock opera based on the lives of scooter-riding mods; the Who, in their beginnings in The '60s, were a band whose music and style were crafted to appeal to a mod fanbase.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • "Flash" Morgan Webster, from WWE's NXT UK brand, also known as "The Modfather", is a cruiserweight wrestling mod. His catchphrase is "In mod we trust!", and during his stance in the indies he was known to come to the ring at the sound of The Jam's "In The City".

    Video Games 
  • Grand Theft Auto Online allows the player to start a Motorcycle Club to run various illegal businesses. When customizing the MC clubhouse, the player can choose between a number of murals, two of which are depict mods and scooters, and when a player is an MC president, they can use the interaction menu to change members' clothing to various preset outfits, which includes a Mod outfit complete with the big green parka. The Faggio scooter can be modified with union jack and RAF roundel themes liveries, and fitted with the requisite rack of mirrors.

  • Bad Machinery: The 2014 chapter, "The Case Of The Modern Men", involves a resurgence of mod culture in the comic's setting of Tackleford, complete with scooters and conflict with local rockers. This being Bad Machinery — rather literally, as it turns out — one particular scooter turns out to be under an unexplained but lethal curse which has killed four previous kings of the local mods, and the story displays a very precise eye for sub-cultural detail.
    He's got a nice set of wheels though. And his own mod coterie ... two gimlet-eyed stunners ... and a lad picking his teeth clean with a stiletto knife.

    Western Animation