Posts Tagged ‘mods’

music

Menswear’s Nuisance album finally goes platinum – so here’s why you should give it another listen

By Stefano on November 22nd, 2012

They were written off as the Boyzone of Britpop – a band whose image and not music gave them a spot on Top Of The Pops even before their debut single had troubled the charts.

However there was always more to Menswear than their angular cheekbones and fancy threads. And I am not the only person who thinks so. For seventeen long years after its 1995 release the band’s debut album Nuisance has finally gone platinum. This of course begs the question who has actually been buying it in recent years. People with taste that’s who for Nuisance is actually a cracking good listen. I guess that a lot of kids have bought the album unaware of the band’s awkward history and they are hearing not just echoes of hype, but some rather good tunes. Here Sean Hannam explains why you should give Nuisance another listen.

They were indie’s ultimate pin-ups – NME darlings who wrote great pop-punk songs, enjoyed the druggy delights of London nightlife, shagged groupies senseless and then imploded in dramatic style. No, not The Libertines, you fools, Menswear. And they really couldn’t have picked a more appropriate name for their debut album than Nuisance.

Yep, back in the mid ’90s, when Pete Doherty was still a record company marketing man’s (crack)pipe dream, these youthful Britpop socialites had it all – good looks, massive hype and, unlike The Libertines, fantastic tunes. Menswear appeared on Top of The Pops performing I’ll Manage Somehow before they had even released a single and signed a record contract after only five gigs.

Their debut album, 1995′s Nuisance serves as a great reminder of the heady days when freaky Japanese girls would visit Camden pub The Good Mixer in the hope of getting a glimpse of floppy-haired Menswear frontman Johnny Dean and his razor-sharp cheekbones. From the guitar and Hammond mod stomp of 125 West Third Street to the pounding piano and blaring horns of Stardust – rumoured to be a dig at Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie (“He’s a superficial fucker,”) – Nuisance is a fantastically cocky Britpop classic that has more hooks than a second hand clothes stall on Camden market.

Check out The One. If Pete Doherty didn’t nick that sound and that tune for a track or two on the first Libertines album, then my name is not Carl Barat.

Daydreamer, the first song the band ever wrote, is awesome – a menacing, robotic New Wave stutter that sounds more like Wire than Elastica ever did. PopJunkie’s favourite however is the lovely summery ballad Being Brave, which ushers in warm evenings with its sweeping strings and epic, sing-a-long chorus. We’re also partial to the groovy Monkees sound-a-like Sleeping In, which is basically Last Train To Clarksville diverted via the Northern Line, and the Blur-like Little Miss Pinpoint Eyes – a cautionary tale of a posh bird from Hampstead who ends up strung-out on heroin and disco tunes. It really deserves to sell for more than the pitiful £2 or so you can get it for now.

After Nuisance, Menswear returned with a new single, the Beach Boys influenced We Love You, but nobody seemed to care – all except those freaky Japanese girls, that is. The band’s second album, the Japanese-only release, Hey Tiempo, was a massive success in the Far East. Shortly afterwards, the group disbanded. But they left them this to remember them by. So put your prejudices aside for 40 minutes and give it a spin. Who knows you might fall in love with it.

Annoyingly Nuisance isn’t on Spotify, but the single Being Brave is along with some cracking covers versions – The Zombies and Public Image. Enjoy.



Accessories

The Parka revival – and why I won’t be buying one

By Stefano on October 17th, 2012

I was never really a proper mod, but have worn mod gear for most of my life. Even more so as I have got older. Maybe the assertion that mod clobber is something that is perfect for the elder gentlemen has a grain of truth in it.

Personally I have never really got on with so called ‘mod parkas.’ Actually let’s call them ‘classic parkas’ to differentiate them from the man-made fur trimmed zip up variety so beloved of 70s school kids and birdwatchers. While most mod gear from button down shirts to three button jackets seem to perfectly encapsulate the mod creed of ‘clean living in difficult circumstances’ and look sharp, parkas seemed to be a bit of an anachronism for me. What is the point in investing in that perfect mohair suit if you are going to stick a large shapeless and rather scruffy looking coat over the top? Also the original fishtail parkas back in the 50s came from Army Surplus stores and were often the worse for wear.

Fishtail parkas remind me of the part time mods from the 80s who couldn’t be bothered with the trappings but just flung on parkas adorned with Who badges to keep in with their tribe. A few weeks later they morphed into casuals. In fact you could argue that their popularity largely stemmed from the association with Quadrophenia. Maybe Phil Daniels is the only person who ever looked cool in one.

Sure if you are scooting round town on your Vespa parkas make more sense, but for me parkas especially of the classic fishtail variety are a bit of a retro revival too far. Surely the ultimate mod coat is a very smart three/four button crombie style in mohair.

It is interesting though that the classic parka seems to be making a real comeback this year. Part of this is being fueled by stirrings of a mini mod revival – you really ought to see this - but I guess the re-emergence of the parka is largely due to the fact that prominent retro brands from Ben Sherman through to Merc and Pretty Green, are all exercising a very serious pull over style conscious 30 and 40 something blokes. And they all have parkas in their range.

What is also interesting are the various ways in which the parka is being reinvented. The North Face, and other decidedly non-mod leisure brands have their own take on the parka. Then there is this bizarre coat from Ben Sherman which adds leather (!?) trimmings. Very odd.

Anyhow, if you do fancy a parka here are few to look at.

Pretty Green Parka £330

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Picture 4 of 4

Nice twist on the 60sm original. Comes with fur lined collar, drawstring hood and waist and a pair of detachable Pretty Green badges. Pretty Green




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