The Influential Factor Reviewed (From ZANI’s archives)

Written by Matteo Sedazzari
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Trying to define a subculture in an entertaining and descriptive way without sounding like a professor of Sociology is a hard task.

An outsider may miss out or overlook the style and soul that drives the subculture, on the other hand, an overzealous subculture member might write about his or her movement with rose-tinted glasses, overlooking negatives aspects. Think of the man in the pub telling you tales of bravery, after the 2nd pint, the conversation becomes a bore, and you are looking for an excuse to leave.

So balance is required, and Graham Lentz achieves this, with his take on the history of Mod, from 1949 to 2002, The Influential Factor. He moves from being a Mod to an observer with great ease, and in turn produces an intelligent and articulate book on Mods, which is not dictatorial, opinionated nor naïve.

Starting with the recording Miles Davis' Birth Of The Cool in 1949 and ending with The Hideaway Club in Manchester in 2002, Graham Lentz takes the reader on a journey through fashion, music, attitude, and style across the globe. And tells us of how one generation of Mod ends, another generation of Mods begins, to quote The Bow Street Runners “To adopt, adapt and appreciate” For the record, The Bow Street Runners were a gang of Mods from London, in the eighties.

Graham Lentz also presents the economical and political background that helped to shape the style and attitude of each Mod generation. For instance, the origin of Italian scooters to the UK in the 50’s - Italy was in heavy debt after the 2nd World war and needed to manufacture and export a profitable but inexpensive product. In turn with the UK economic growth during the 50’s and ’60s, and the introduction of Hire Purchase, young adults were able to afford their own transport. Italian scooters fitted the bill perfectly - cheap to run, easy to drive, and above all else, highly stylish.

The Influential Factor weaves the narrative with transcripts from Lentz’s interviews, which gives the book a Mods in Their Own Words feel. Such as Flamingo Club (London) nightclub owner Jeffery Kruger, who beautifully tells of how a young skinny black guitarist comes to his club asking for his first break in the old smoke. In return, he will play there for nothing when he becomes a rock star. Impressed by his cheek, Kruger allows the kid to play, and of course, the youngster in question was Jimi Hendrix who honoured his debt, after he had played a packed out house at The Royal Albert Hall.

Clothes designer John Simons gives a great insight into the fashion scene of the ’60s, Anthony Meynell of Squire tells what it was like to be in a Mod revival band in the ’70s and ’80s, Dizzy Holmes speaks about the growth of the scooter club scene, and Eddie Pillar goes deep into the passion and politics of the movement. The Influential Factor is packed with more inspiring stories from not just the UK, but all over the world.

Read 5057 times Last modified on Saturday, 13 February 2021 14:34
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Matteo Sedazzari

Matteo Sedazzari

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ZANI was conceived in late 2008 and the fan base gradually grew by word of mouth. Key contributors came from those of the music, film and fashion industry and the voice of ZANI grew louder. So, when in 2013 investor, contributor and fan of ZANI Alan McGee* offered his support to help restyle and relaunch the site it was inevitable that traffic would increase dramatically and continues to grow. *Alan McGee co-founder of Creation Records and new label 359 Music..


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ZANI is an independent online magazine for readers interested in contemporary culture, covering Music, Film & TV, Sport, Art amongst other cultural topics. Relevant to modern times ZANI is a dynamic website and a flagship for creative movement and thinking wherever our readers live in the world.