SUIT YOURSELF INTERVIEWS MIKE JONES.
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Periodically we will be talking to owners of beautiful scooters and their life in the scene, we talk with Mike Jones, owner of not one, but two beautiful Lambrettas.......
Hi Mike can you tell us about yourself, how long have you been a mod? When did you get into the scene? what or who first influenced you?
"Following in my brothers footsteps I joined the Shrewsbury scooter scene in 1974 by purchasing my first Lambretta - an SX150. The scooter style of the time was crash bars, racks, mirrors, tall flyscreen’s, backrests and headrests, a style that is now commonly known now as ‘modding it up’. This was the norm for all of the Scooters of this era as can be seen in the many photographs of this time on the internet".
- Here is a link to video footage of the Shrewsbury Scene and pictures from Mike's early years.
"The Shrewsbury scooter scene in those days was pretty active with quite a few forming a Shrewsbury Scooter Group with an adopted name of MMM – ‘Maggots Mad Mob’. Scooters weren’t just a status symbol, they were every day all weather rides; used for work, socials at the pub and rides to the coast or wherever. The fashion (in the north) in the early to mid 70’s was not as you see with the ‘Mods’ of today. Jeans such as Levi’s or skinners, baggy trouser, Brutus shirts, Levi or Wrangler Jackets with Crombie Coats and long hair were the norm".
Can you tell us about your first experiences as part of the mod scene and give an example of how it changed your life.
"This period in my life has had a great impact on me and has shaped my taste and passion for music (would say fashion but …) and scooters. The friendships made then are still in existence today as are the values we held and the knowledge and mechanical skills we learnt".
And your love of scooters, what was the first rally you attended, with who and how it made you feel?
"Ever since I had my first Lambretta I have always felt that they have a style that draws attention like no other two wheeled machine. The distinctive sound and the smell of 2 stroke will always turn heads. Sometimes you can sense the scooter envy of the people who come to chat and admire the scoots.
The first Rally that I can recall was to Rhyl – all arrangements were made and the journey there was uneventful. However, our group must have been the first to arrive and we rode straight into a herd of bikers (greasers as they were known then) on the sea front. As you can imagine mayhem ensured but all of us got away with some crazy riding dodging pedestrians, punches and kicks".
Following a regroup a decision was made to leave Rhyl and continue on to Borth by Aberystwyth. This journey proved far from uneventful with the group splitting and having to camp somewhere in Snowdonia. I was with 3 others and we all piled into a 2 man tent. Shoes left outside! What a mistake that was. We woke up to snow and freezing conditions on the side of a mountain. Thankfully the scooters started and we were on our way catching up with the others in Borth to find one of them had set fire to his tent to keep warm. The planned trip to Rhyl ended up with a 150 miles marathon with no major breakdowns through rain sleet and snow to the windy coastal town of Borth!!"
"Since my time back in the scooter fold I have ridden to many Rally’s and Local(ish) Scooter Club Fun Days. Some of the Nationals attended have been Rhyl, Tenby, Llandudno, Llangollen and the Brighton MOD weekend (2012 & 2016). In 2015 a group of us also took our scooters to France and Belgium for a WW1 Battlefield tour. Other rally’s etc are on the bucket list for this year".
Tell us about your favourite part of the mod scene, scooters, fashion, music, the social scene etc
"To me all these things are inexplicitly linked. Without one or the other you wouldn’t have the scene. Each has its place".
Can you tell us about the scooters you have owned and your current ride of choice. also if you belong to a scooter/mod club.
"My first scooter was a 1967 SX150. Never forget the registration - NUX 92G. Bought from a guy in Oswestry for £50 My brother had to ride it home - 20 miles in a blizzard . Had to pay my parents back £1 a week from my £9.77 apprentice wages! Unfortunately I had to sell this scooter to fund the purchase of a car which I needed for work. The scooter was bought by a guy from Newport Shropshire and after posting a video on you tube I was informed its demise – engine salvaged, frame scrapped".
"Following a considerable time away from the scooter scene because of work, family etc I finally came back to the fold and purchased my second scooter – a 1964 LI150 Special. In line with my previous experience this became my link to the past and it was dressed 70’s style and won several awards at local scooter Rally’s/Fun Days. Because of the chrome, mirrors etc the scooter was not a practical everyday ride as I spent more time cleaning it than riding it.
Other scooters I purchased over the last few years are; a 1961 LI150 Series 2, a 1959 LI 125 Series 1, a Vespa 100 Small Frame and most recently a 1964 Eibar LI150 Winter Model. The LI Special and Vespa Small Frame have since been sold.
The Series 2 I have had for 4 years now and is my current ride of choice. I have replaced the original engine for a GP200 and it has (dare I say it) rarely let me down".
The Series 1 is my back up scooter and the Eibar is work in progress".
"The local club (Severnside Lions) of which I am not a member have been around since the 1980’s although part of the name (Severnside) spurns from the mid 1970’s MMM group as it was seen on several of the scooter flyscreen’s or Side Panels. I believe that the name was resurrected in the 1980’s when the Club was formed. The Lions have been an active club, running events and raising thousands of pounds for various Local and National Charities".
"Whilst I am not a member of what you would call an established Scooter Club I am part of a small local group of likeminded friends with scooters who socialise, help each other and ride together. We have been called several names locally but now go by the name of ‘Dirty Dastards’. This name has arisen from Dick Dastardly and Wacky Races!!
Trips we are currently organising include Normandy for a battlefield tour, Llandudno, CarFest , Shipton etc as well as local Fun Day rides and rides to the coast in the summer".
Tell us about your favourite nightclub venue, style of music, band and rally destination and why they have become your favourites.
"I have quite an eclectic music collection but my passion is Northern Soul. In the 70’s Shropshire had a thriving music scene with clubs in the major towns such as the Music Hall in Shrewsbury and the Civic in Whitchurch and nights organised by the Inter City Soul Show.
Over the past few years there has a revival with various establishments promoting Northern Soul afternoons and nights. Locally there is Ashleys Bar which runs a monthly Sunday afternoon/evening, The Church with DJ Russ Reeves also once a month and Mike Page formerly of the Waterfront opening a new venue in the town. Each of these are equally as good as each other and are great venues for socialising, music and dance".
How do you think the scene has changed over the years? and what are your views on today’s scene?
"The scene is much more active and global today than it ever has been, probably best evidenced by the continued influence of the film Quadrophenia , the Brighton MOD Weekender and other National and International events. Brighton 2016 saw some MODs from Turin, Italy visiting for the first time and being dazzled by the scooters and atmosphere.
It’s good to see the younger generation coming into the scene and enjoying the music, fashion and scooters. Unfortunately though they are being priced out of the vintage scooter market so are turning to the modern 4 stroke scoots such as Vespa and Scamardi.
The Scene can’t stand still it has to change with the times. These changes have been and will be driven from within by those people with a passion for all things MOD".
Can you tell us, if you can what attracts you to do what you do and be part of today’s mod culture.
"The thing that brought me back into the scene was my love of scooters and music. Both go hand in hand but can be different if you were around in the 60’s, 70’s or 80’s. As a 1970’2 Shrewsbury Scooterist I have Lambretta’s and my music of choice is Northern Soul"
Thank you Mike for sharing your beautiful machines and history with us.
If you own a stunning scooter and would like to share some of your experiences in the scene, please drop us a line.