Elizabeth Woodcraft’s new book The Saturday Girls is a passionate evocation of the heady days of the Sixties when to be cool you had to be a mod or a rocker. Elizabeth was a mod. Here she provides some tips on exactly how to be a mod girl.
1. You have to love ironing. The hallmark of being a mod is freshly pressed clothes.
2. You must own a suede or leather coat. The coat can be as short as a jacket or down to your ankles but it must be in mod colours. These are navy blue, maroon or bottle green. The coat can also be black – if it’s a full-length leather; or tan if it’s suede. Suedette will be noticed, remarked upon and possibly cause you to be shunned.
3. You have to be prepared to learn new dance steps at least once a week.
4. For this you need to have videos of Ready Steady Go! the 60s mods’ programme on repeat.
5. You should have a best friend with whom you share your deepest secrets, your fears, your romances, your life.
6. You need a town centre around which you and your best friend can stroll on a Saturday afternoon.
7. There should be certain shops whose window displays you will gaze in and savour and learn from. This should always happen through the prism of fashion seen on Ready Steady Go!
8. There must always be a coffee bar in your life. Here you will order milk, coffee or Coke and lemon. In winter, sometimes, hot blackcurrant (this is never called Ribena).
9. You have to understand the terms record, 45, LP and most importantly A side, and B side. This is because when singles came out, unless the record was by a great soul artist, it wasn’t cool to like the A side.
10. Ideally your town should have a Corn Exchange where all the new, exciting groups should come and play, and your parents should be appalled.
11. If you’re still at school you have to have a Saturday job – preferably in a coffee bar or a boutique. This should however stop at lunch time or mid-afternoon in order to allow you time to do 6 and 7, and possibly 8 above.
12. You may know and indeed fancy people who don’t go to your coffee bar, and who possibly frequent cafés where it is common to order a cup of tea. You can still go out with these people. However, it is always important to bear in mind that this is not the mod way.
13. Scooters – probably you will not own a scooter yourself, unless you are really wild, but you will of course know people who do. You must pray that these people have passed their driving test, otherwise it is illegal for them to give you a lift home on the back. Alternatively, they should have a friend who is prepared to allow them the illegal use of their name should you happen to be stopped by the police on your way to the estate (probably council, maybe landed gentry). See 14 below.
14. Know the address of your local magistrates’ court, not for yourself, obviously, but so that you can go and support your friends, possibly arrested for carrying a passenger on a scooter with a full driving licence, or riding three on a bicycle.
Elizabeth Woodcraft's new novel The Saturday Girls is available on paperback and as an eBook now.
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