SUIT YOURSELF INTERVIEWS

AWOL's ADRIAN HAWKINS

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It's November 2019 and as we head towards what is undoubtedly going to be another cold winter, the memories of Mod weekenders fade with the autumn sunshine, scooters go under wraps and only the hardy are left standing to see us through the winter months. Club nights pop up and smart suits and cool clothing becomes the order of the day whilst we dance with the devil on many a club floor in an attempt to melt the heart of Jack Frost. Across this fair land of ours our scene becomes more local with promoters opting for single night promotions. Some people choose to stay close to home rather than trust the British weather with it's promise of unleashing another 'Beast from the East' upon us once again. Brrrr we can feel it already...

However - There is a shining beacon of light that stands true for the weekender faithful this cold time of year and there are those who choose not to let the Beast get the better of them and throw caution to the wind in the search of that last weekender buzz that runs true in all Modernists veins. Whilst the autumn gives way to winter that shining beacon comes in the form of Adrian Hawkins' AWOL Mod weekender in Leeds. This now sold out event consistently captures the warm hearts of the coolest people. It's not just about the fantastic venue, the amazing music or the dedication of the AWOL followers, it's also about the drive of the promoter, his determination to make sure everyone has a great time and his impeccable attention to detail in his own events which makes this particular weekender one of the hottest in the modernist calendar and a great way to finish the weekend season.

We caught up with Adrian for an exclusive interview, in it he talks about his love of the scene, the people within it, his early influences and the history and what it's like to run the mighty AWOL events......

 

Hi Ade, an you tell us a bit about yourself, Where you are from, how long have you been part of the mod scene, how you became part of it and who were your early influences.

A bit about me… I think my answers might get a little jumbled; a bit like my taste and history I guess? Born in the early sixties to parents who’d be considered quite old by today’s standards; a stylish dad who loved Jazz, and an effervescent mom who loved Soul, Motown and contemporary bands of the day.

 

I saw (well heard actually, as I was still in the womb) Status Quo when they were painting Matchstick Men and Chuck Berry; apparently I really moved-around to Chuck, so the dye was cast early-on.

 

Dad had a great TV175 and a stash of original M&S paisley shirts, some great beige cord desert boots and a lovely pink cord Levis jacket… all of which, except (to my annoyance) the TV, came to me as a fledgling Modernist when I reached the age of 14; the 175… he bloody swapped it for a leather jacket before I got my provisional!

 

Anyhoo; raised on good music and exposed to great clothes, my world erupted in ’77 when I spun, what to me, was and still is THE most influential LP of all time – ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’. I distinctly remember the first time I played it… I wanted to pull my eyes out, smash my parent’s living room to pieces and never sleep; it just completely and literally ‘rocked’ my world.

 

Then, I saw it… the sprayed logo, the broken tiles and three of the sharpest guys I’d ever seen, especially the taller guitarist with fabulous hair. They looked similar to some of the bands my mom was into, with their suits, shirts and ties. The love affair began.

‘In The City’ ignited me even more than ‘Bollocks’ and I grabbed anything and everything The Jam put-out. I got the hair, the clothes and with my ‘Townsend-like’ conk and bone structure, didn’t pass too shoddily for a ‘Weller wannabe’… and let’s face it lads, who didn’t want to be Paul for a day?

 

Then it arrived at my local ABC cinema in Walsall and I watched it every night of its week’s run… ‘Quadrophenia’! Another world-axis-turning event for me. I remember it like it was 40 seconds ago, never mind 40 years; running down Park Street in my Jam stage Badger shoes (I had EVERY colour) and roundel - emblazoned parker…. exulting that now shameful cry, fist in the air. It galvanized everything and gave me the thing that ALL teenagers desire… a ‘direction’ (reaction, creation)!

 

Sometimes, being a ’50 something’ does have its advantages;  saw The Jam about 6 or 7 times, and also became a massive fan of any band who were ‘Jam-like’, including The Chords and Purple Hearts. But, I didn’t team-up with many other Modly types. My ‘Modern World’ consisted of me and my two best muckers, Mark and Stitchy, who swanned-around Pelsall and stank, ensconced in our own Mod universe, better known as my bedroom, listening to ‘All Mod Cons’ until it had no more grooves and going to gigs.

 

Maybe it’s because I’m roughly 5 years older than my peers; maybe it’s because I was insular and shy as a teenager (yes, honestly). But, I didn’t do The Outrigger, I didn’t hang 

about with Walsall’s top Mods and I soldiered-on ‘Tin-like’ in a gang of three, through the Revival and beyond.

 

1984… another vinyl event changes my mind and changes my style – ‘One Eyed Jacks’ and Spear Of Destiny happens. Blond ‘flat-top’ and German PT vest with eagle emblem take over (apologies to those of a weaker disposition) and yes “Mathew, tonight I’m going to be a Psychobilly’. For me the mid ‘80’s are spent ‘wrecking’ down stairs in Zig-Zags and hob-knobbing with regulars in The Rum Runner in Brum.

 

Thank you Eddie Piller and Giles Peterson… thank you Acid Jazz! I’m saved and re-born with my Modly intentions restored. Jumping-ahead to the question about ‘old school’ DJs; flag-up Eddie for me.

 

Was Acid Jazz truly the last ‘real’ Mod movement (contentious I know)? I think maybe it was you know. It certainly put a stop to me acting like a right berk, got me dressing well and digging-out my old records again. ‘Duffer of St George’ is the order of my day and I fall in love with Corduroy and Mother Earth.

 

The rise of electronic dance crap sees me hibernate again until Weller finds his Mojo once more and releases the first solo LP. Here we go again… the infatuation kicks-in and I see him on every tour and at as many venues as I can. My Mod journey continues, albeit as before; a lone figure going to loads of gigs, but operating outside of any peer group.

 

So let’s bring this tale up-to-speed. I move to Leeds; I find out about something called ‘Getting’ To The Point’ and I go. I start to use that interweb thing and get my arse in gear. Hang-on, there’s a very healthy scene here, thanks to people some very switched-on and hard working Stylists. I meet people… great people who have an incredible influence on me.

 

I throw every minute, every Shilling at it and I devote myself to attending every darn event I can find. I’m bouncing between Edinburgh and Brighton, Scarborough and Margate.

The New Untouchables’ 50th Anniversary of Mod weekend opens up more doors. I meet people who have become more than friends, more than family; they are the bedrock of my Mod world. Through that, I become a regular at what later becomes my ‘local’ event, the incredible ‘Out Of Time’ (of which I have only ever missed two events – it’s THAT good). The scene has its own quality filter, so there’s a great number of outstanding events out there and I’m pretty much ‘seen’ at most of them now; supporting quality events wherever and whenever I can.

 

Can you tell us if you have a favourite period within the mod scene?

Favourite period of Mod…. Well as I’ve eluded to, maybe the rise of Acid Jazz; it certainly ‘re-booted’ my Modliness and was a fantastic time for me with lots of great times at lots and lots of gigs.

 

Although, I must say that right here, right now is definitely my favourite time and why wouldn’t it be. I’ve finally found the people I’ve been searching for since that 14 year old me 

started this journey; there are more opportunities to immerse myself into the scene and I just about have the means to attend and bloody enjoy as many events as I can, in this and other countries.

 

I’ve been lucky enough to DJ with the likes of Steve Cradock at a Weller after-gig party and have DJ’d in Italy too. AWOL’s next Weekender is a complete sell-out, so what’s not to love about life and Mod in 2019? If only I was 14 again and had more hair!

 

Do you have any favourite haunts and old haunts that are no longer open?

Favourite haunts? Credibility, honesty and decorum matter in this scene…. They matter greatly and it can be so easy for some fair Droogs, under self-inflicted peer pressure, to re-write their own history; that’s not gonna’ happen here troops, I respect myself and the stalwarts of the scene who were ‘out there’, visibly doing it whilst I was bedroom bound at 14 years of age and older, to bullshit my way through this question.

 

So, no haunts of old ‘cause I simply wasn’t out there attending them. Of recent years (well, within the last 10), for me, a stand-out venue was the Lemon Tree nightclub in Scarborough, where Rob Bailey hosted the New Untouchables’ weekender in 2014. That WAS a weekend to remember for all of the right reasons; great fun and a top location. So yes, the Lemon Tree, Scarborough, definitely.

 

Do you have any favourite old school bands and DJ’s and favourite new ones?

Old school bands or DJ’s…. ooh, yes – happy and distinct memories of almost subliminal influences happily spring to mind. Showing my age, but here we go. My cousin Andrew, lived in Walsall, directly opposite Neil Rushton – who meteorically became the renowned Northern journalist, DJ, record dealer, record label entrepreneur, event promoter, author (and more).

 

Andrew (now sadly departed, bless his Soul) and Neil were 10 years older than me, but Neil’s influence and nous rubbed-off on my cousin… then rubbed-off on me., as did all of Andrew’s hand-me-downs, when I was tall enough to inherit his wine and gold Tonic (didn’t everyone have that one?) and other Modly cast-offs.

 

So, I guess if I have to pick out an early, life-affirming DJ, it would have to be Neil Rushton and the gloriously long, hot summers (no pun intended, so put your punting poles down) of the early seventies and beyond, when I spent every school holiday with my cousin and his very ‘switched-on’ DJ neighbour, absorbing new sounds, styles and directions.

 

Jump forward a few years and I find myself (at the age of 18) in the same art school year and class as Goldie (or simply Clifford as he was then)… yes, the Drum and Bass god; the same art school from which ‘the Boy’ they call George, leaves us and his ‘close friend’ and flat mate, Martin Degville, who’s shop Degville's Dispensary I frequented, to go-on to the success that (at the time) seems a galaxy away from me and the (then) impoverished Goldie.

To be fair to good ‘old Cliff’, his artwork even then, was astounding and his less than glamorous start to life in children’s homes around Wolverhampton, didn’t hold him back. He was a troubled, scruffy and disruptive influence in class, so… another strange part of my formative years…. Goldie, who’d have thought it?

 

Bands… I’m a product of the ’79 Revival and I think I’ve covered-off my early influences.

 

New stuff; that’s the great thing about this evolving scene – always something new to discover. Speaking of which, my latest ‘groove’ is from a Mod-Psych French combo called L’Epee who’ve released an astonishingly hypnotic 12” called ‘Dreams’; check it out kids, but don’t look at them… you’ll wince!

 

Nick Waterhouse is just jaw-droppingly fab isn’t he? Looks great, plays great; you could just stick his last two LPs on at a venue as a DJ and bugger-off for some tea and leave the crowd to it!

 

What sort of music do you like to dance to?

What do I like to ‘cut a rug’ to? I’m told that I’m a ‘quick’ dancer (well according to Jane McGinty, and if she says yer quick, then yer quick). So I do like ‘up-tempo’ stuff; something with a BPM akin to ‘I’ll Be Gone’ by Freddie Scott will do it.

 

I’m a ‘Jazzy-Jeff’ so do enjoy some ‘syncopation’ (more like constipation) to the likes of Eddie Harris and Les Mcann. ‘Compared to What’ and ‘Listen Here’ are sublime, as is Gentleman June Gardners’ ‘Its Gonna Rain’ – although, I still think Sonny and Cher’s original (yes, the rarely played B side to ‘I’ve Got You Babe’) is a masterpiece, with the ‘call and repeat’ vocals and funky bass line.

Etta James’ ‘Mellow Fellow’ has got to be my all-time floor-filler and I’m sure as hell going to kick-off November’s AWOL with that belter!

 

Scooters, we all love them. Can you tell us if you own one now, or have owned one in the past, what’s your favourite type and do you like any other form of classic transport.

Well I nearly inherited my old man’s TV 175, but that wasn’t meant to be. I got ‘Lottie’, my 1965 LI 125 imported from Italy about 10 years ago, when marriage number two was going South and I knew that I’d have plenty of time and some spare divorce cash pinging around to invest in a ‘post marriage’ project.

 

She was a labour of love and a father and son project. I’d moved back with my parents and dad was fit and capable enough to help me restore her from the seized, rusted barn find that she was, to the lovely lady she is now.

 

I’ve also got dear old ‘Blue’, my neglected Vespa Douglas 150 Sport. She still has the original exhaust she came out of the factory with in 1972; rusty, dented but a joy to behold. And she runs after a tickle and half a kick, unlike the Lammie.

 

I’d like a Series 2 as I think they just look more shapely than Lotties slim lines (sorry Lottie – I still love ya though).

Other forms of transport? A Steve McQueen Metisse Desert Racer please; no shadow of a doubt. A Triumph twin throbbing between my legs and the thought of McQueen wazzing one around LA…. Oo’er Mrs, I say!

 

Chuck-in a VW Karmann Ghia and my garage would be nicely stocked with the things that make me go ‘uhhhhmm’, or is it ‘vrooom’?

 

Clothes, Tell us about your style, do you have favourite periods in the mod era that you follow and any favourite labels. Where do you buy your clothes?

Style…. The crux of the matter; what a scary question Cris! I know I’m not your archetypal Modernist and certainly not a ‘textbook Mod’. Currently, like a few in the scene, I’m very Ivy League (or should it be IV League). So it’s Bass Weejuns, Oxford shirts and Ascot ties, blazer and trousers, not suits at the moment. Penny Loafers teamed with a ‘letterman’ sweater and sand Chinos when I’m ‘at ease’. I like a good raincoat and have a lovely mustard Hammond & Co number that I’m lovin’ at the mo.

 

The onset of the dreaded Male Pattern Baldness (arrrgh) means that a ‘college cut’ is the order of the day; which pleases my wife no-end after a period of having the stereotypical ‘Lego’ cut; yes Claire… I now see the error of my ways! In hindsight, it does look much, much better.

 

Labels; well I have to make-do on a frugal budget, so it’s i-Taylor for made-to-measure shirts. I cannot recommend ‘my tailor’ (I love saying that) in Morley, a guy called Steve at The Vaults, enough. He really knows his cuts and styles; he created a bespoke two-piece for me with all the refinements at a very reasonable price and it always gets complimented.

 

Typically Art Gallery and Madcap for casual, everyday stuff, other than that, the High Street can throw-up the odd piece of acceptable garb, that with a button added here, and a sleeve shortened there, can in a dim light, look pretty darn good. My current gem is a TK of the Max find; a Ralph Lauren Polo Patch-Pocket jacket, that didn’t need touching. The collar detail is nice and it’s ‘de-constructed’ with no lining, for a great Ivy look.

 

But, there are so many iconic looking guys out there, who just blow me away and get it soooo right that it makes my eyes hurt. I bow-down to their sartorial elegance and marvel and their ability to making what is very difficult, look so easy.

 

Can you tell us a couple of funny personal stories connected to the scene, or an experience that was out of this world?

Other than the shots of me nearly naked in the sea this year in Lowestoft, after Dreamsville; well, let’s see. Oh, yeh… here’s a cracker; my legendary ‘near brush with greatness’ – the missed Weller opportunity. I’ve always been a talented artist, which hopefully shines-through in the AWOL marketing and graphics. Anyway, my teenage infatuation with his Wellerness, led me to set to work on a pencil portrait of ‘the master’. Said portrait was completed and at the time, I had fortuitously become ‘pen friends’ (will all youngsters see me after class and I’ll explain what that is) and ‘phone friends’ (isn’t phone sex exciting) with a good friend of Nicky Weller, (no  names I’m afraid; the innocent must be protected LOL) who was helping Paul’s mom with the fledgling fan club.

 

Portrait was sent-off and given to Paul, who absolutely loved it. In brief, I was honestly - no seriously, asked to go down to Woking, hang-out with him and the band, who were doing a pre-tour warm-up gig… and put all those teenage boasts of ‘sexual prowess’ over the telephone, into action!

 

The outcome…. In truth, I’d love to say that I went as planned… ladies and gents, this dumb pilgrim ‘bottled-it’. I bailed-out; made some excuse about having to go on holiday with my parents. The phone calls stopped, the lead in my pencil dried-up and the letters, well they never arrived. True story that.

 

I went to the ‘About The Young Idea’ exhibition in London, praying, hoping that my masterpiece would be on show; maybe with a photo of a young Weller holding it to his bosom… nope, sadly wasn’t there; ‘Yesterday is dead… but not my memories’!

 

And so to my appearance on German TV. Anyone who went to Rob Bailey’s Margate NUTS Weekender a few years ago, may have seen me having an impromptu wedding ceremony on the Piazza on the sea front; without any permission from anyone, including the local council.

It was a truly ‘organic’ affair with our friends helping to hastily erect two white gazebos, throw up 80 chairs and roll-out a red carpet, just in time for the scooter rideout to arrive to herald our wedding. The whole thing was filmed by a German TV crew, oddly for their version of the BBC programme ‘Coast’. Our wedding, the rideout and mine and Claire’s interview (dubbed in German) all had a prime TV slot… how wonderful and bizzare.

 

What are your favourite current club nights/ events/ weekenders?

Favourite current club nights. As I’ve said already, I do try and attend pretty-much everything I can and the quality is so high now, you are spoiled for choice.

My hometown gig is ‘Out of Time’ in Wolverhampton which I must say, has set the benchmark so high, it really has.

 

I’m lucky to have made some very good friends who manage and promote their own, magnificent events; they’ve encouraged and supported me, so I like to reciprocate.

 

Mike Warburton’s ‘MG Blues’ is just lovely; intimate, warm and inviting – I feel very cared for there. Mark Taylor’s ‘Upset The Town’ provides the best in purist sounds and the venue’s gorgeous. Andy Hill’s ‘Chills and Fever’ has a big quality stamp too. ‘Get Smarter’ is well worth a trip up ‘tut North; it has the same lovely vibe as ‘MG Blues’ which is no bad thing. I attended my first ‘Wang Dang Doodle’ recently and enjoyed my early evening DJ slot immensely; if it’s Stoke me duck, thee knows there’s plenty of fun to be had.

 

Annual events; I had the very, very best of times at this year’s Dreamsville and could devote all of this article to it for lots of reasons… just magical in every way. That sea’s bloody cold though! Margate will always hold a very special place in my heart; great location, lots of 

dear friends and of course, I was married there. Brighton; again, this year’s was the most enjoyable time I’ve had there. The ride out to Beachy Head and ‘kitchen party’ at our student digs were ‘death bed’ memory makers; great times with great friends!

 

You have the massive Leeds Mod weekender coming up and you promote the highly successful AWOL events, can you tell us about AWOL and the forthcoming sold out weekender.

AWOL, my dear AWOL. We’re into year 4 now and as you say, this November’s Weekender is absolutely sold-out, which is just awesome.

 

The demise of Neil Lee’s ‘Getting’ To The Point’, sadly saw a bit of a Modernist vacuum in Leeds, which was a shame as it really was great. I would never have contemplated trying to start anything in Yorkshire before any established nights vacated, and when ‘getting’ To The Point’ ended, I pondered what to do.

 

The idea of AWOL germinated and, as things in my world always do, started with some graphics I put together. I’d originally picked AWOL as a club name (A Way Of Life) as it just seemed to seamlessly fit into a number of straplines which I visualised in ads for the event, stuff like “I’m going AWOL, are you”… “I’ve been AWOL in Leeds”… the permutations are endless.

 

I’d originally touted the idea to the amazing gentleman I affectionately call my ‘Mod Prince’, Callum Sammon, but for reasons that are more my fault, it just didn’t happen. Luckily, Callum and his better half, Jodie Richardson, are regular DJs so it’s not all bad.

 

An old friend and musical mine of information called Dave Crawford took-up the reigns and hunted-out our first venue, The Adelphi which had a nice upstairs venue with a cool neon sign that greeted you as you came up the brass stairs. So ‘Upstairs At The Adelphi’ was born.

 

Our very first night was on the 27th of January if my memory serves me well, and was a sell-out. Unfortunately, their PA was shocking to say the least. That and their less than sympathetic stance on music volume and closing times meant that we parted company.

 

Our next few nights took place in The Hi-Fi Club in the heart of Leeds. The Hi-Fi is held in high esteem with Yorkshire Soulies and is a fabulous, basement club. Incredible PA, atmospheric, moody and very cool. Again, the management’s policies didn’t align with our needs, with an 11:00pm start time and 4:00am finish; not ideal when the combined ages of your clientele runs into the hundreds – we’re not getting any younger!

 

So, we adjourn, we re-group and Lee Miller hosts his fabulous Boom Boom weekender in Leeds at The Parkside Tavern which offers everything you need from a venue and then some. Lee has been a stalwart of AWOL from the very early days, offering his DJing services and advice on music and much more. When he upped-sticks and moved down to Stoke, he very kindly offered me The Parkside Tavern and I jumped at the chance. And here we are; AWOL mark three. Plus Leeds is one very cool location and a fabulous city to spend a weekend; it’s got to be cool, Mark Benjamin Linnett lives there!

Our forthcoming Weekender is set to be a smash. The venue times are perfect – 7:30pm until 2:00am, both nights. We’ve got a jam-packed DJ line-up featuring Sean Chapman, Lee Miller and Mike Warburton. Our supporting cast includes Rob Powner, Neil Youdale, Robert Coulman and some wonderful ‘young blood’ in the delectable form of rising stars Liam Fearnley, Jodie Richardson and Callum Sammon.

 

Saturday afternoon has some quality retro stall holders including True Grit Vintage and Cahill Clothiers, plus loads more. We’ve got an ‘open-decks’ slot too.

 

We always meet for a de-brief and wind-down on the Sunday afternoon in town, sipping coffee, nibbling cake and generally reminiscing on the previous shenanigans. Plenty of fun times with great people me thinks; I really can’t wait. Oh, and I’ve blown a load of cash on a new sound system with fook-off Active speakers and industry standard, direct-drive tables, so hopefully, the original vinyl will sound sweet-as!

 

In brief and in summary; I care very greatly about AWOL and put many, many, many hours into getting it to look, feel, taste, sound and smell just right. I’ve taken a ‘holistic’ approach to it; everything has to say ‘quality’ and maybe even more importantly, ‘integrity’. The wristbands, the letters that accompany the tickets; the marketing and graphics – I’m always refining and always pushing the brand forward stylistically. Coming from a marketing background, I know only too well, the merit in establishing a brand that people believe in… and that’s what I want AWOL to stand for… peoples brand of choice!

 

What are your plans for future events?

Well, let’s see how November pans-out. I’d love AWOL to continue and I think two or three per year, maybe one weekender and two solo nights, is about right. I don’t want to tempt fate, so a short reply to that question at the moment. Customer demand will drive it, and rightly so.

 

You, yourself have been known to spin a tune or two, do you have a specific musical style when DJing?

My DJing exploits are in their infancy; there’s a lot of ‘big boys and girls’ who’ve been spinning for longer than I ever will; they deserve every one of their slots and the plaudits they get – rightly so.

 

I do have rather an eclectic taste. That said however, I think people genuinely like the broad spectrum of music they hear at AWOL and the comments have been positive. I’ve always referred to AWOL as a ‘Consortium of Cool’, with me being the conduit or ‘conductor’ rather than the star. So to talking about me DJing is both alien to, and not aligned to what I want from AWOL.

 

I do like to bang some ‘left-field’ bits in, which is a dangerous and risky tactic. For example, I would absolutely love to sneak ‘My Girl The Month Of May’ by The Alan Bown into my sets; that jangling, lazy guitar intro and soaring vocals, it’s just ‘off the scale’. Another current love is 11 minutes… yes 11, of Blues joy – John Lee Hooker and Canned Heat with ‘Boogie Chillin No 2’. That tell-tale Canned Heat Harmonica doin’ its thang and the build-up of energy, it’s electric! Rest assured, it won’t be rinsed for the full duration though.

 

What advise would you give an aspiring promoter?

What advice would I give an aspiring promoter? That makes me sound like I know what I’m doing Cris, which makes me a little queasy.

 

The scene is its own barometer on quality and it will determine the success and longevity of club nights, so breaking-in is always a tough call. So, whatever you’re going to do, you’d better give it a lot of love, care and attention, with no half measures.

 

And, fer gawd’s sake… consult the Mod event calendar. There’s nothing more annoying than clashing and double-booking, especially with established venues that are in your proximity – an absolute no-no. It comes across as rude at best, and arrogant at worst!

 

And lastly, what are your thoughts on today's scene?

We’ve made it… the last question! My thoughts on the scene today? The best quote on this thing called ‘Mod’ I have ever, ever read, is from Robert Elms’ book ‘The Way We Wore’ … the memoir you would expect of someone for whom the dream was to always be a "tasty geezer".

 

In it, he refers to Mod as ‘cruel and vicious’ and yes, at times I’ve unfortunately known it to be just that, with in-fighting and back-biting. It is, by its very nature, about being ‘better’ and ‘one-upmanship’. There’s a pressure on club nights and individuals, which leads to a ‘tribal’ mentality at times, which is a shame.

 

However, there’s a lot of love on the scene… and genuine affection. I’ve had some of the best times of my life, thanks to ‘Mod’. I’ve made some wonderful, wonderful friends who I know will see me through the rest of my days.

 

This year’s Brighton, despite the ‘sooth-sayers’ damning it with fears of having more plastic than a beach in Bali, was a joy and an all-too-short time spent in the company of beautiful people. Dreamsville too, just wonderful and happy-happy.

 

Things are thriving, with loads of fantastic venues and nights, all to a high standard. The older crowd’s kids have fled the nest and finished Uni, so there’s disposable income a plenty which is great for the economy and longevity of the scene (well until we can’t dance anymore). And, there’s a blossoming younger crowd who are getting it ‘so right’ with regards to attitude, look and participation.

 

I hark back to my dream for AWOL and the ‘Consortium Of Cool’. That’s my vision, that’s my aim… we all live under the same Sun; we’ve all got similar pressures, worries and stresses – let’s stay united, let’s support each other and pull, not push ‘Mod’ into 2020 together. The years ending with some very sad news, with us losing some dearly loved Stylists. On the whole, I’ve encountered (mostly) nothing but love, support and kindness… come-on people, build on that and keep it going. I’m sure you’ll be interviewing one of the ‘young guns’ in years to come and they’ll be telling you how healthy their scene is. Sermon over. Thanks Cris, it’s been a blast!

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EST 2016