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Mods & Rockers Festival: Mocking The Rockers

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Rolling Stones manager/producer Andew Loog Oldham appears in the 1967 Swingin' London documentary
Tonite Let's All Make Love In London screening at the Mods & Rockers Festival on Sunday July 15. He was on the Board Of Directors for the 1967 Monterey Festival - being celebrated at the festival on Thursday July 19. He has written this special blog reflecting on the origins of the term "Mods & Rockers" that inspired the festival title - and on the turmoil of the 1960s.

Sting looked magnificent on his scooter, blond and cropped like a 60s tribute to Marlon Brando's Lt. Diestl in The Young Lions. He wore the most scrumptious irongray leather trenchcoat, large enough to cloak most of Velvet Revolver. It was Sting's first solo outing, as 'Ace Face', in Franc Roddam's 1979 film Quadrophenia adapted from the Who's classic 1973 album. Ace Face works as a bellboy in the Brighton beachfront hotel that was later blown up by the IRA in a forlorn effort to cut short Margaret Thatcher's reign; Ace Face transforms himself into mod deluxe faster than Clark Kent in a telephone booth. It was the time of Superboy, Superman, Supermod... when the life, the music, the togs and the attitude set us free. And thanks to the Birth Pill we could dip our nibs without fear of breeding. If only the woes of the world could be settled over a grand "barney" on the Brighton beachfront as they were on the August Bank Holiday of '64.

The Mods & Rockers were a long time ago; followed closely by Love & Peace which is what invaded the top of the pop music heap when sex, drugs and money had ceased to work. The end of the 60s saw too many flowered, silked, brocaded and babooned pop stars giving the peace sign with the missus in front of their rock 'n' roll manors before retreating indoors and screaming "Where's my f------ breakfast?!" It would take a lot more than hits and having your rights absconded to give decorum, manners and calm to a bunch of war babies whose elders had suffered on our behalf - and who never tired of reminding us about it.

The success of the 60s was the music, but it must be remembered that the music would have never found its place had we not had the time and the disposable income with which to enjoy it. And that was because of the pill ... the Birth Control Pill. The pill gave us the opportunity Late Britain was not about to give us. Prime Minister Harold Macmillan told us we had "never had it so good." This was true pre-meritocracy ... You'd "never had it so good" -- providing you'd been born into it. Our nation had a no-future designed for us that rock 'n' roll music came along and hijacked into hope and a future -- thanks to the Beatles and the pill. Getting laid suddenly did not mean settling down for a life of wife and strife (unless you wanted to of course).

After the Beatles, came the Rolling Stones, whom I was privileged -- as were they -- to manage and produce from 1963 to 1967. We were the bad boys, but that phenomenon was as old as Alan Ladd versus Jack Palance -- and older. For Elvis or James Dean there was always an opposite -- Pat Boone or Anthony Perkins...

Your choice in music or celluloid idols always told your parents, your peers and the love of your life -- who you were. Your choice defined you. I spent a good month in 1958 in school with my hair dyed blond with a German accent. I had just seen Marlon Brando in The Young Lions and I wanted to be Lt. Christian Diestl. This did not go down too well at the school I attended; a British 'public school' (i.e. a very exclusive private school) full of about 400 farmers, a few Jews, "King Sid" (the future King of Singapore) and me. In my final report at Wellingborough School it was written that "he may do well, but not here." They were right. After a brief career gofer-ing and window-dressing for designer Mary Quant, I became an independent publicist -- modeling myself after another idol of mine, Sydney Falco, as portrayed by Tony Curtis in Sweet Smell of Success. Between 1962 and 1963, I repped the Beatles, Little Richard, Sam Cooke and Bob Dylan. Then came the Stones...

The Beatles' manager Brian Epstein deserves posthumous appreciation because it was he who persevered against all odds to secure his "lads" a recording contract. That is the moment in our pop history that opened the door. The Beatles opened the rest. Until they took America some of us had been lucky enough to find ourselves in jobs without regular hours or too much responsibility. America brought responsibilities, hard work, joy, disappointment and tiredness.

The Beatles threw in the road towel and retreated into studios and secluded homes. The Rolling Stones retreated, rested and returned to the road in triumph in 1969 ... and show no sign of leaving it. The responsibility of the road and of song is daunting and often avoided. It is the word-play of the great Graham Greene that gave us "edutainment" -- that is how the master referred to certain of his works. It is a duty we still have. A duty that we deserted in the 60s at a pivotal time as we kind of grew up, the money and the drugs stopped working and we flashed those vacuous peace signs outside our rock 'n' roll mansions. We retreated to the picket-fenced delirium of domesticity and let Joni Mitchell, James Taylor -- and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Anybody sing our woes.

Oh, some had good intentions, but by the end of the 60s we were tired and apart from John & Yoko and Paul McCartney asking for Ireland to be given back to the Irish -- our day was done. The Vietnam War reached its sad and costly end with no help from us.

Today the U.S. faces a very important election. Music does not have a place, but you do. Music has been removed from anything that could possibly unite us by the likes of American Idol, hip-hop and the hordes of Mariah Careys. Bon Jovi are this year's "The Lettermen" and while Bruce Springsteen is magnetic in a stadium - stumping for John Kerry he's Fester in "Gunsmoke".

The next election will decide America's place in the world for more than the next eight years. It will decide for you whether it's worth having children. The next election will decide whether you are still in the race, and I use that word with intention. Because you are involved in more than a religious, financial war, you are involved in a race war, manned by religion, bulleted by the ridiculousness of belief.

You've got some choosing to do, but if you must - Hilary Clinton is "The Manchurian Candidate" - so that takes care of that...

Look, you live in a world where there will never be another Beatles. If you examine just that fact -- remember to examine and pursue your vote and those you vote into what remains of power. Look back on the failure of Peace and Love in the 60s and remember that it would be better to have Peace and Shove ... It's time to be both Mod AND Rocker. If not - start learning to whistle "Colonel Bogey" ...

As I write this, Muslim doctors have been busy trying to blow up various parts of Glasgow Airport and London's West End. Time to break out those ankle bracelets again ... I mean, if Scotland Yard know who some 2000 odd fanatics are -- then round 'em up and get them into electronic jewelery. And let's remove Enid Blyton and D.H. Lawrence from the required reading list and replace them with Christopher Hitchins' God Is Not Great. Even if you do not agree with Hitchins, you'll get a damned fair history lesson.

It worked for the Mods & Rockers ... it worked for Boadicea ... Come on, one more try! Everybody to the beach for one last fight! To be filmed by Ridley Scott of course ....

THE "MODS & ROCKERS FESTIVAL" BLOGS

• GREGORY WEINKAUF - Picking Up Every Stitch...
• D.A. PENNEBAKER - Inside Pennebaker's Soul
• STEVE HOCHMAN -
Memo To Al Gore

• BRAD SCHREIBER - Monterey Pop Goes Pow!
• MICHELLE PHILLIPS - California Dreaming Becoming a Reality • JERRY MILLER - Grapeful for Monterey
• HARVEY KUBERNIK - UP In Monterey...
• GREGORY WEINKAUF - Skidoo Does Hollywood...
• STANLEY DORFMAN - Zeppelin Takes Flight
• BRAD SCHREIBER - Tripping Back to 1960s London...
• D.A. PENNEBAKER - Pennebaker on "Pop"
• MARTIN LEWIS - ROCK Like An Egyptian!
• DAVID HABER - Really With The Beatles
• PAUL WILLIAMS - Nilsson Is My Cup Of Tea
• BRAD SCHREIBER - Festival Opens & Explains "What's Happening!"
• PAUL KRASSNER - Skidoo
• MARTIN LEWIS - First Night Report!
STEPHEN BISHOP - The Beatles Were My True Parents
ANDREW LOOG OLDHAM - Mocking The Rockers
BRUCE SPIZER -The Beatles Were Coming!
MARTIN LEWIS - Movies For Nothing And Kicks For Free..

MORE "MODS & ROCKERS FESTIVAL" BLOGS COMING SOON FROM

• ERIC BURDON