• Irish Jack has often been credited with being one of the original members, if not the original member, of the mod scene in 1960s London. He knew the Who’s Pete Townshend from that scene, and Townshend has often said that Jack was the basis or part of the basis for Jimmy, the character Townshend created for the band’s 1973 concept album Quadrophenia, brought to life by actor Phil Daniels in the 1979 film of the same name. Irish Jack recently answered some questions for us via e-mail.

     

    What is your take on Jimmy, the main character in Quadrophenia? How much of you do you think there is in him?

    My take on Jimmy is that, yes, I am part of the Jimmy character. I helped [coproducer] Bill Curbishley cast Phil Daniels in the part. We watched him in a thirty-minute treatment by writer Barry Keeffe called “Hangin’ Around,” and I saw him as this loquacious, speed-freak, skinny kid who talked too much and wasn’t very good at listening. Director Franc Roddam and I spent a lot of time talking about Jimmy, and Roddam created similarities between us that to this day still make me smile to myself. I was a post boy at the London Electricity Board in ’64, tramping around the seven floors filling and emptying in and out trays, and Jimmy did exactly the same job at the advertising agency. Also, the fact that Daniels resembled me was a great help. When I showed my son the place in the Criterion DVD booklet where my story “History” begins, he looked at the facing shot of Daniels walking up from the sea and asked: “Dad, is that you? He looks like you.”

    Jimmy was a wimp. Useless in a fight. Didn’t have much direction. Hugely the author of the loss of his girlfriend, Steph. Even out on the rock doing his best to commit suicide, he didn’t have the courage. When I was a mod, I got into a silly fight one time and it scared the shit out of me. That was the day I learned I couldn’t fight . . . I had dance steps Pete Townshend copied at the Goldhawk Club and reenacted a couple of nights later at the Marquee, and I had a kind of Irish lyrical eloquence—but I couldn’t fight. That’s who Jimmy really was. He wasn’t the champion of the world. He was an underdog beset by devils inside him. Lacking in confidence. My own devils were indeed quad-fold: My height—small. My girl’s name—Jackie. My Irish accent nobody could understand. My terrible hair back then—too curly and uncool. In fact, the only time I felt completely safe was talking to Pete Townshend, or trying to sound Oxford like [the Who’s] manager, Kit Lambert. Mod saved my life; there’s no doubt about that. But I was scared of who I was.

    Growing up in Shepherd’s Bush in the early ’60s with the Who and, in particular, Pete was a revelation for me. I think he regarded me as this lyrical character whom he identified with and studied, and I unwittingly became a kind of catalyst for some of his writing. Hence his going on public record in interviews telling people that Quadrophenia is based on Irish Jack. Is it? What’s interesting is how he keeps the thing alive by sometimes varying my role: making it, say, a composite; another time I’m part of a small mod set who sat in his dressing room; and then sometimes I’m the inspiration. It’s a recipe for frustration, but his variations on me are healthy and they change from interview to interview. I remember Townshend saying in a tour program: “I have always felt a part of, and written for, a group. Not just a rock group but also a social group; a bunch of people from a small neighborhood in a big city. I am always trying to tell their continuing stories.” And that says it all for me. Townshend was an ace face. Nobody else could’ve written Quadrophenia. He was a mod and he lived it.

    What is a mod, and what is a rocker?

    Rockers were around long before mods. The archetypal rocker wore jeans and a zipped leather jacket and rode around on a motorcycle. Think Marlon Brando’s classic The Wild Ones. Harley-Davidsons, Nortons, and Triumphs. Rockers were very good at fixing their bikes and have a much longer cultural history, in that they evolved from that typical Marlon Brando smoldering look into an Edwardian style of dress that took off in England. And this is where it all gets pretty English: the style—crepe-soled shoes, skintight pants, draped jackets—took its name from King Edward, hence “Edwardian,” which in time morphed into “teddy boy.” Teddy boys were primarily English rockers, many of whom didn’t ride around on motorcycles.

    A mod was essentially a young boy or girl from the age of seventeen up who dressed in neat-cut French/Italian clothes, and this fashion was at its peak, particularly in London, from 1963 to ’65. Mods wore handmade Italian cycling shoes and Sta-Prest jeans, usually in high-toned colors like pink, orange, and red. They wore Fred Perry sweaters with a special insignia to denote the fact that the garment was authentically expensive and not a cheap reproduction. They wore full-length coats made of suede and leather—buttoned. The great sin for a mod was to wear leather zipped. Sacrilege! They also wore blue nylon plastic macs to the knee with belts knotted, like an Italian film director, never belted through the clasp. Uncool! That would be more sacrilege. They wore French-cropped hair as well as a full head of hair with a parting in the middle. The only acceptable mode of transport for a mod was a Vespa GS or a Lambretta Li 150 scooter. The most beautiful sound in the world is not the words “You’re fired!” It’s the two-stroke piston pop of a scooter. Pop, pop, pop. The fairing on the scooter was held to be sexy, curvy, delicate like Brigitte Bardot. La dolce vita. Ooh-la-la. Rockers referred to our tiny two-stroke scooters as “hair dryers.”

    Was it all about fashion and music, or were there deeper differences between mods and rockers? Class differences?

    There were no class differences whatever. Most rockers were working-class, as were mods. It wasn’t so much about fashion as a dress code. A style of dress. An attitude to that style of dress. Rockers were regarded as being greasy and not having too much knowledge about music, though obviously there were exceptions. But on the whole, mods were more clued in about what they were listening and dancing to. The rockers’ music was mainly Bill Haley, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, and Jerry Lee Lewis—yet there were some mods who knew more about these particular rockish guys than rockers did. I remember going to see Gene Vincent and another time Jerry Lee Lewis in 1963, and they both wiped me out. I never saw energy like that before. Being a mod, my music tended to be Dave Brubeck, the Ronettes, Muddy Waters, the Small Faces, and the Who. I remember I’d listen to anything as long as it had a beefed-up Hammond B3 organ. Booker T. & The M.G’s . . . you’d kill for one of their albums.

    Quadrophenia zeroes in on the beach fight at Brighton. Was the violence ongoing, though? And, to your mind, what were the mods and the rockers fighting about?

    This is one of the great myths about the trouble between the mods and rockers. People have this kind of skewed idea that if you were a mod, your mortal enemy was a rocker, and vice versa. Nothing could be further from the truth. And I know, because I was there. I lived it. People might be amazed to discover that, where I lived, in Shepherd’s Bush, there were a lot of rockers, many of whom were very interested in dating my cousin Janice, and many of them were friends of mine. Some of them I knew from the Goldhawk Social Club in Shepherd’s Bush, which was then and later acknowledged as being the spiritual home base for the Who and West London mods. The Who had a residency there in 1964, at the height of mod, and the place used to be jammed every Friday and Saturday night with mods—and maybe twenty or thirty rockers, and there was never any trouble. A typical incident I used to experience went something like this: I’d be dressed up to the nines in my mod clothes, and there’d be a group of rockers sitting on a wall as I passed by. I’d get this kind of verbal slating, nothing obscene, just a few comments as to the origins of my gender. Mods dressed effeminately. Clean-cut. Stylish and smug.

    Do you still consider yourself a mod?

    Yes, of course, very much so. I’ll die a mod. Don’t forget the word mod is an abbreviation of the word modernist. And that’s who we were. We were modernists. There is no beginning or end with any subculture. Every style or fashion is an evolvement from its predecessor. Mod fashion started with the rocker/teddy boy Italian box jacket. A reliable account says that the sons of Jewish tailors, primarily in the East End of London and talented like their fathers with a pair of scissors, redesigned the box jacket and added other accoutrements, like bell-bottomed herringbone trousers and bouffant hair. These guys listened to the modern jazz of artists like the Dave Brubeck Quartet, John Coltrane, and Miles Davis. They told people they were “modernists” because they listened to modern jazz. Then, as this wave of style found its way across London, someone came up with the name tag “mod.” Brubeck’s “Take Five” is actually the core achievement of the mod sound.

    Everybody who’s seen the film and watched the scooter go over the cliff wants to know what happened to Jimmy. Is he still around?

    That’s easy. He goes to live in Ireland, becomes a bus conductor and then a postman. And having made a career out of Quadrophenia, he retires to do interviews.

27 comments

  • By dougal-who-@hotmail.co.uk
    August 30, 2012
    09:33 AM

    Jack Well done DEAR BOY! and very well put i have to say. Have you bought the re issue of Full Moon the book? Out now ! Faber Finds (amazon) Audio talkingmusic.com
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  • By Carrie Pratt
    August 30, 2012
    01:40 PM

    Excellent interview Irish Jack! Always nice to read details like this about one of my favorite cultural periods in history, especially from someone who was in the center of it and lived the lifestyle to the fullest. You need to put a book out some day Jack!
    Reply
  • By Trevor Denton
    August 30, 2012
    02:01 PM

    Think you hit the nail on the head my Irish friend,as you know i do not class myself as a mod Jack!, but have a lot of mod friends ,yourself included!, it was always bikes for me, but the music was always the Who, with a tat bent towards them Rolling Stone fellas . But young Roger and Pete seemed to talk to me, you know what i mean Jack!, they still do come to that, our lives are not that different, yes the lads have all the trappings that their music has brought them, but they are still us and we are them, i must go now young Sir ,but our paths will cross again my friend , that you can be sure of, kind regards your Harley buddie ,Trev.
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  • By paul johnson (AKA mickey French.)
    August 31, 2012
    06:58 AM

    Got to say, you even look like what Jimmy would look like now..lol. i have been a mod for over 35 years, and still it never ceases to thrill, and excite me, im forever finding new things that progress my mod suss. I like your comment on the Dave Brubeck track, been a fave of mine since childhood (believe it or not) and a track that always conjures up a foggy black and white London in the mid 60's, with cool, sussed and immaculate modernists living on the pulse of the city while all else sleeps around them...going about the daily grind while these young hip kids, those in the know, are living it, right under there noses..and have been for more than 50 years now. Think maybe a book would be in order from you sir, and long over due i might add. god bless you and keep on keeping on.
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  • By irish j.
    August 31, 2012
    03:44 PM

    Thanks Dougal for your kind comment regarding my Q&A. I will most certainly have to check out your Full Moon and attendant audio attachment. I don't think there is any one else who could have written Full Moon as you yourself was there for every pulse of Keith's veins, every heartbeat, every trauma - big or small, exaggerrated or downplayed. Fired from your job at least three times a month - but still there at the end of the day to mop up and dutifully massage the Moon ego. I salute you Dougal and thank you for the times you were kind to me when I supped ale with Keith.
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    • By Josh Crumpler
      February 28, 2014
      07:31 AM

      Hello there Irish Jack. Very interesting read! Would love to hear more. Basically I'm a Graphic Design student currently in my final year. Been an aspiring Mod since the age of 14. Im here because i'm studying Mod culture for my Final Major Project, where I will be designing a book and a digital output on the subject and was hoping to get an interview with you to include? It can just be a short written interview nothing too time consuming. I know it's been a few years since you wrote this but if you see this message by any chance it will be much appreciated to get a reply as I can't find any other way to contact you! Many thanks, Josh Crumpler email: crumpler12@hotmail.co.uk
  • By irish j.
    August 31, 2012
    04:04 PM

    Thanks for your comment Carrie. You might notice that in Disc Two of the dvd there is a young Mod giving an interview in the Goldhawk Club to Alain De Seduoy director of the French documentary 'Seize Million De Jeunes' in glorious black & white. The young Mod is my friend Martin Gaish who you will recall features largely in my web site story 'Do The Mime'. What's interesting is that I was also supposed to do a similar interview after Who-manager Kit Lambert approached myself and Martin. I was all ready to sit in the hot seat but after a debate between the ever enterprising Lambert in his rich Oxford tones and the French accented De Seduoy the camera crew were instructed to move down on to the dance floor. I had been really looking forward to doing the interview and had made several mental notes in my head. I couldn't believe Kit Lambert's last-minute change of mind and when I challenged him on it he took me aside and told me that I was actually too articulate and would over-explain about being a Mod...and that he wanted someone like Martin because he would give short sort of don't-care-about-being-a-Mod answers. I was livid. And there I am later in the footage acting out a very un-Mod-like piece of sheer exhibitionism on the shoulders of one of my friends. It looks like I'm high as a kite after an intake of several drynamil. I'm definitely speeding to the band playing a rousing version of Bo Diddley's 'Who Do You Love'. How strange that Criterion decided to use De Seduoy's brilliant documentary...and what other band would have an Oxford-educated co-manager (mustn't forget Chris Stamp !) speaking French fluently for the cameras. 'Ah yes, sometimes they were the only band that ever mattered !!
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  • By irish j.
    August 31, 2012
    04:22 PM

    TREVOR, my Harley friend. Yes, you're right. If memory serves me right, when I told some of my Mod friends that I had travelled all the way down to the Cellar club in Kingston-upon-Thames and stood ten feet in a packed little stuffy room of no more than three hundred people...yes, TEN FEET from Jerry Lee Lewis backed by the Nashville Teens ; they couldn't believe me. Some of them looked at me like I was some kind of traitor. I remember being very confused by their reaction because to me this guy on stage had energy, raw energy like I'd never seen before. I could literally smell his sweat coming from his body. After the show, I don't think he played for more than 40-minutes, after the show such was the loner I was at the time that I invited myself into the cupboard of a dressing-room he was using. He had Screaming Lord Sutch in there with him (the first guy I had ever seen at the Goldhawk !) and having secured Jerry Lee's autograph AND inviting myself into a chair I had not been invited to sit on Jerry Lee looked at me with a kind of faint smile and just let me sit there listening to that dream-like Lousiana drawl of his as he and Dave Sutch talked about the music industry. All I knew and felt was that I was sitting in the presence of a god and yet he was as mortal as you and me. I remember falling in love with that lank of hair of his that fell down the side of his face and which nowadays would be accepted as a kind of cool student haircut. He didn't look very Mod I have to say and I doubt very much that he had a Vespa Gran Sport or a Lambretta LI..but he looked amazing.
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    • By trevor denton
      September 02, 2012
      05:43 AM

      Very interesting young sir, 10 feet from Jerry Lee, it is not often i say this but WOW, must be like spending the day and night in the company of Roger and Pete /John-Keith, what a gift from heaven, my mind is now raceing back to the 60s Jack!,and a certain 21 year old who was killed when a Ford Consul crashed in Wiltshire U.K. Mr Eddie Cochran, who also like Pete captured teenage frustration, I can picture Roger singing Eddies, Summertime Blues now in my head, and lets not also forget the local policeman a Mr Harman who taught himself to play guitar on Eddies impounded guitar ,and who we now know as Dave Dee!, i think the great Gene Vincent survived the crash , but there for the grace of God go I Jack, Like yourself i knew i was in the present of greatness when a certain Mr Daltrey used to frequent are local watering hole in the early 70s, muddy wellies /flat cap and sometimes smelling of cow s--t, but when he spoke you listened, these people have an certain presence around them , was Roger a mod? Rocker?, to me Jack , Roger was just one of us , or if you like, One of the Boys, excuse the pun!! , and to me , he will always be just one of the Boys, but like yourself meeting Jerry i knew under that flat cap and long curly hair was a Rock n Roll genius, oh , and a nice bloke to boot!!!
  • By irish jack
    August 31, 2012
    05:01 PM

    Mr. Paul Johnson....Also Known As...Mickey Finn ? Mickey French. Congratulations on being a Mod 35 years. That's a long road of dedication. Yes, you're right about Brubeck. Every time, no matter where I am...Paris, New York, Shepherd's Bush, Richmond or under the stairs looking for the Hoover...if I hear Take Five on the radio which admittedly you don't a lot these days..I am back in Raymondo's coffee bar in Soho with Brubeck on the juke box and I'm with a beautiful Mod girl and we're trying to make two cappuccinos last the length of four. She's telling me about her new job in one of the best shoe shops in the West End and I'm trying to get a word in and ask do they do men's loafers, size seven....and does she think she could manage to smuggle them out in her handbag. No safety tags back then in the good old days...
    Reply
  • By Wolfy.
    September 02, 2012
    02:49 PM

    Jack you ol' spunker ! 2 koOl 4 sKool babY ! !
    Reply
  • By irish jack
    September 04, 2012
    12:40 PM

    Thanks Wolfy, Doing this Q&A for the Criterion Collection people has been an absolute pleasure. They make efficiency sound like appropriate table manners at Rawlinson' End. As you can see I got some great comments in reaction. I hope you enjoyed the Blu-Ray production. It was nice to be asked to (re) write my piece HISTORY about the nine unsold copies of 'I'm The Face' for the booklet.
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  • By Thomas Anderson
    September 10, 2012
    08:08 PM

    The Who's music, Mod sensibility, London 60's youth culture, The bands, soul and r'nb, the clubs, the 45's, Rave and Fabulous magazines, The Small Faces,the clothes! I am 60 this year and it still lives in my heart! I may not be from Shepherd's Bush( although my old Dad was a Londoner) the mod scene and the music touched teenagers beyond even in Canada. The sixties to me is not about Woodstock and the American experience but of London and blokes like you Jack and the bloody WHO!,a movement that affected us here in the colonies at the time( we dreamed of being like you and wished we were there).London was the centre of the universe and the mods and The Who's music was everything to me and still is.All the best to you jack ( i met Pete a couple of times as a Who fan in the seventies as well as Bob Pridden , John Entwhistle, and Mooney and talked about how much i loved Quadrophenia, but so did a lot of fans i guess!).
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    • By irish jack
      September 19, 2012
      08:47 PM

      Thanks for your great comment Thomas. The list of parts of the culture of Mod that you put at the start of your message just about covered the whole epoch of Mod. The strange thing about what we refer to as "the Sixties" (and I often refer to this in interviews) is that compared to the blandness of the 70s/80s; the Sixties appear to have been almost two decades wrapped in one. I have an incurable abhorrance for two maxims one in particular to do with the Sixties and that is when somebody glibly comments.."If you remember the Sixties - you weren't there !" And that is so much rubbish. Despite my intake of French Blues and Drynamil and later on acid and LSD, I seem to remember every passing moment of the Sixties with a certain joy in my heart. The other cock-eyed maxim which I hold a certain abhorrance to is..."He doesn't suffer fools gladly..." Well, as far as the stupid mentality of that particular smug saying goes, I have been quite a fool a lot of times and thank God people (like Townshend for instance) suffered my foolishness gladly because they loved me as a person as did others. And I too, I am proud to say, have suffered fools gladly myself, because they have been good friends of mine who now and then do stupid things. Apologies for all that. Where-was-I ? Oh, yes, please don't worry about not coming from Shepherd's Bush..although I know your would've smiled at my parocialism when I say that it is of course the 'centre of the universe'. You're right when you say though that London was the centre of the universe at some stage during the Sixties. These days when people ask me about the Sixties I have to ask them exactly what period of the Sixties they are talking about...like say, for instance, the very beginning with Yuri Gagarin, 1962 the Cuban missiles crisis. 1963 Dallas and the JFK assassination/the Moors murders/Great Train Robbery, 1965 Who/Stones etc, 1966 England winning the World Cup, 1967 Monterey, Vietnamese escalation, 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King, 1969 Woodstock, the Charles Manson murders....obviously many of these events that in some ways epitomised society in the Sixties gave cause for celebration...but..it's only when you read through all the crazy stuff that went on that you begin to realise just how long a decade it really was in comparison to others. Very many thanks again for your kind post..I'd like to know what part of London you dad came from?
  • By Yumi
    September 12, 2012
    08:19 AM

    So nice to read a new intervew of you about mods and Quadrophenia, my favourite The Who album. Thank you for sharing your memories and details of the culture at that time, Jack. I've shared the link of this article with my mods friends in Japan, who have been influenced a lot by The Who, Jimmy and YOU! I hope I'll keep myself as a mods (modernist) like you forever! Yumi x
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    • By irish jack
      September 27, 2012
      09:08 PM

      A Mod forever, Yumi ! A state of mind forever ! Thank you for your kind thoughts on this Q&A of mine. I was very honoured indeed to be interviewed at length by you and Isao Inubushi for the famous Japanese music magazine Record Collectors. It was such a thrill for me as a person from the west to be able to show my family the very many pages and photos that you featured on me last November. It was also a huge honour for me to show my wife and family her name and the names of my children in printed Japanese calligraphy. That we should be so far apart on different sides of the world yet fused as one by a common link called Music and a life-style called Mod. Like in my post to Sheva Golkow our different cultures and the milage between us has been brought together as one by 12 inches of black vinyl of a record called Quadrophenia. Released in October 1973 yet still as alive and valid today as the first day the record was pressed. Thank you for sharing this link with your Mod friends in Japan Yumi, that means a lot to me. I'm thrilled to know that I have had some influence over Mods in Japan.
  • By S. Galvin
    September 17, 2012
    11:50 AM

    Great interview with the legend that is Irish Jack. It's interesting to hear that the mods v rockers story is exaggerated. I guess it's a case that it's more interesting to print the myth than the truth. Jack, why do you think that the media has blown this myth out of proportion? Is Quadrophenia partly to blame in generating this myth?
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    • By irish jack
      September 20, 2012
      07:52 PM

      Hi Shane, yes I think you're right about it being more interesting to print the myth than sometimes the accurate but nevertheless fairly dull truth. Quadrophenia, as in its film presentation, plays a large part in the blame for generating such a myth. The sad truth is that director Franc Roddam had a brief to perform and unfortunately the limited window of reel time he was allowed it was impossible for him to convey much of the 'nuts and bolts' of what the Mod ethic was all about. He was right to film the brilliant public bath scene when Jimmy and Kevin are singing "opposing" (mod v. rocker) songs from the charts and later when they meet in the pie & mash shop and Jimmy discovers that his old school friend is a rocker with a motorbike. He was also right to film the scene in Shepherd's Bush Market when Jimmy's mod friends do Kevin over simply for being a rocker...it would be nonsense to pretend that such a scene never happened as I'm sure that it did in many places. But unfortunately because the particular scene hit such a nerve with second generation mods who watched the film when it was released in 1979, these people left the cinema in London, Hull, Burnley and indeed Glenda Loch under the mistaken impression that that's what Mod was all about....fighting and beating up rockers. It's too easy to place the blame on Roddam who, I think, did a superb job. To articulate my point a little further, in his brilliant MODS book the writer and observer Richard Barnes tells of a tabloid headline in the wake of the Brighton riot in May 1964...'Scooter Boy Was Drunk On Illegal Tablets' - you just couldn't make that one up, as they say. Well, obviously some idiotic sub-editor did. So that's what we had to deal with and is it any wonder that there is so much half-truth and bullshit about the era.
  • By sheva
    September 19, 2012
    10:17 AM

    Hello Jack, and my deepest apologies for not checking in sooner! Having read many of your thoughts before I want to thank you for sharing these particular comments with us; you've perfectly captured the moment. Funny how Pete's story regarding you and Quad keeps changing but then again he is a mercurial fellow and in the end the specifics don't matter - there is some Jack in Jimmy and will always be. Mod may have indeed saved your life but you also lent that life to it and that contribution lives on. I'll be thinking of you when I see Pete, Rog and company in a couple of months and picturing you, eternally cool, on your bike. Thank you again my friend!
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  • By irish jack
    September 19, 2012
    08:55 PM

    Message for Thomas Anderson. CORRECTION. My apologies. In part of my message to you I should have said.. "..obviously many of these events that in some ways epitomised society in the Sixties did not give us cause for celebration...." Sorry about that.
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  • By irish jack
    September 20, 2012
    08:20 PM

    Sheva, Thank you so much for your more than kind comments. Having read what you have had to say about the mercurial Mr. Townshend and then reading a contribution from a girl Mod in Japan called Yumi, I am reminded of an event which occurred some years ago. The telling of it couples both your's and Yumi's comments.. Some years ago I had a good friend who went to work in a software company in Osaka. He returned to Cork for a fortnight's holiday and we met up for a drink. He told me that his work in Osaka had been so satisfactory to his bosses that they rewarded him for his efforts by sending him on an expenses paid trip to Tokyo. The Japanese people are the most wonderfully courteous, conscientious and hard working cultures, the west could learn a lot from such people. My friend told me that when he arrived in Tokyo he walked around looking at the many different sights. He spotted a large group of young Tokyo mods on scooters and decided to approach them. He does not exactly speak conversational Japanese but in broken English enquired if they knew of "Irish Jack". One of them said, "No, no Jack here. No Jack." Assuming they were under the impression that he was looking for someone called Jack he tried to explain that he was asking them if they had ever heard of "Irish Jack-Quadrophenia". As soon as the word "Quadrophenia" was mentioned one of the young mods shouted excitedly..."Quadrophenia....Yes, yes, Irish Jack....he mod king. Mod king !" It turned out that one of these little mods had a picture of me on his bedroom wall. After my friend told me the story I went home that night not elated but kinda sad. Sad because I knew I would never meet that young Tokyo mod, sad because I would never feel his breath on my face. Sad because it only makes half sense. I related the story to my wife that night and she was looking at me. She was looking at a man in his sixties, a mailman, a man of no great wealth but for some crazy mixed-up reason is adorned on a bedroom wall in a house many thousand of miles away and many cultures away from my own. Yet Quadrophenia has succeeeded in eliminating that gap down to 12-inches of a double vinyl album. It's an account that will remain with me for a long time.
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  • By Mike Moynihan
    September 26, 2012
    10:18 AM

    It was a cloudy day in the winter of 79'. Me driving my decked out 67' Vespa Sprint with a fishtail parka trailing to the ground. It was Cork Ireland and I met "Irish Jack for the first time. I lived "Jimmy's life" a thousand times a day, in my head. I even managed to do some of the things he did in reality. Like many of the youth of that time I could relate to the problems Jimmy had. Strange thing was, it had happened sixteen years earlier. Yes the world had changed but the youth still grappled with the same insecurities as before. Mod for me was a way out. A licence to do what I wanted when I wanted. I really could "do anything, talk anyhow, go anywhere, live anyhow". You believed in me Jack and you taught me a lot about how to live life to the full. Of that I am eternally grateful. You even helped me realize my dream of meeting the who and hanging out with them for a few days. Twice! I have taken those pearls of wisdom you knowingly or unknowingly gave me and used them right up to this day. Take a bow mate and enjoy your fame. YOU DESERVE IT. Are licking aside, as it is a Q/A. I would like to read your views on why you think the mod revival took off in such a big way and why especially in Ireland? As it seems mods didn't exist in Ireland in the sixties. Mick de Mod, Japan.
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  • By irish jack
    October 03, 2012
    08:40 PM

    Thanks very much for your comment Mike. I'll get to your question later. As I recall I think a fairly reliable account is of being in the old Malt Shovel bar on South Main Street listening to a Madness tape. I looked along the counter and saw this guy with short cropped hair wearing a Mod parka with The Chords on the back. That was you. You had two other Mods with you who I later learned were Niall Keane and Martin Goggin. I think I introduced myself and I remember receiving incredulous looks when I talked about my connection with Quadrophenia and Pete Townshend. Not long after that you and Niall and Martin came invited to my house in Knocknaheeny where I showed you my memoribilia. My wife was amused at the sight of a fantastic looking scooter parked outside my house. I too got quite a thrill at the sight of it cos you had parked it practically up against our front door our drive-way was so short. Upstairs I opened up most of my memoribilia and my heart pumped with excitement that anyone could be interested in my past. In time along the way you accommpanied me on two Who tours where you got to play Roger Daltrey at snooker and posed for photos with Drew Aherne and Barry O'Connell with Townshend, I understand the photos have appeared on Facebook. Why do I think the Mod revival took off in such a big way and why especially in Ireland? Two reasons; I presume you are referring to the second generation of Mods. I think the reason for that is because the clothing industry was ready for a second wave of fashion after the Skinhead culture slowed down. By 1978, at least, Mod was beginning to appear on the streets of Britain as a direct evolvement and off-shoot of Skin. Many Skins had already dressed very Mod except for the appearance of the Doctor Marten boots which did not have the delicacy of Mod. Gradually the Mod appearance began to take over from the Skin look and this was no doubt helped along first by the appearance of people like the Purple Hearts and Paul Weller. It was all truly entrenched in '79 by the arrival of the Quadrophenia film. By the 70s and 80s consumer trade between Britain and Ireland was very much an open channel along with tv and magazines and newspapers. It was easy to see what was happening in London, Manchester and Glasgow and influences were only a push-button or a magazine away. Contrast all this to the 60s when for many people in Ireland it was nigh impossible to buy fashion clothing to match that of our British counterparts. Back then, London seemed much further away. I remember coming home to Cork for a holiday every year in the 60s and realised that people were staring at my Mod attire and I wondered did they think I was effeminate?
    Reply
  • By John Harding
    January 09, 2013
    11:28 AM

    Wat a load of crap . Irish jack a mod . No way . All they did was hang round the who's manager .
    Reply
  • By Tony Hanlon
    June 11, 2013
    12:35 PM

    Hi Jack , fantastic account of your times in London at the height of the Mod era. I remember meeting you on Tramore Promenade in 1984 as young Mod down from Dublin on my wine Vespa 100. That was a fantastic Weekend ! all you could see on the promanade walkway were scooters decked out in lights & mirrors for miles.I remember you telling us young Mods about the Goldhawk and hanging out with The Who and been a original 60s Mod! blew us away you u were selling your mag Who are You? which I subcribed to mad thing is I am still a Mod at 48 ! Those pics of Tramore Bank Holiday Weekends are all over Facebook etc.Up to them the mod clobber was mainly cheap looking stuff from the second wave 1979 revival but I them got into looking for original 60s clothes especially suits. Got some made , picked up a couple. We were then known as 60s Mods instead of 79 heads . We preferered Soul & R & B than the 79 bands .Got then into collecting original vinyl and I am still djaying at mod & soul events. The scene in Ireland is better now than it was in the 1980s with more younger people getting into it.
    Reply

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