Friday, 18 April 2008

Modernist wheels

When I was back in primary school, there were but two youth tribes: mods, and rockers. I am talking mid-1960s London. Mods rode Italian scooters, wore sharp suits and listened to soul. Rockers rode British motorbikes, wore leathers and listened to rock. Every Bank Holiday they'd all roar off down to the coast and have fights. More than forty years have passed, and yet the influence of these tribes lives on. Here in Warsaw, this week, I came across this immaculate Piaggio Vespa scooter, looking pretty much as a mod would have been proud of in 1965. Note the chrome, the lamps, the RAF roundel. (Could do with a few more mirrors, really). It's registered in Warsaw-Bemowo and boasts no fewer than 12 tail lights.

I see many young Poles in Warsaw today carrying on British youth tribe traditions; skinheads with their button-down Ben Sherman shirts, Levi trousers, Doc Marten boots; punks with their spikey hair, ripped attire with safety pins, metallurgists with metal studs, denim, long hair and leather jackets - I've even seen graffiti in Grabów (north of Jeziorki) relating to Teddy Boys. So British youth culture resonates across Europe and down the decades.

Quite why is an interesting point. I believe that unlike most of what defines us, our tastes and preferences come not from our genes, but from the spiritual side of our nature. It is entirely within my belief system to accept that the owner of the above scooter may have been a Mod in 1960s London in his past life.

This time last year:
Amazing photos of mammatus clouds over Jeziorki
Apple blossom time 2007
Maps of the area

No comments: