Die Hard Mod – Charlie McQuaker

This showed up in the “People who bought this also bought …” list on Amazon for one of my stories, and I got attracted to its skanky-looking retro-style cover, otherwise I never would’ve noticed it.

I never cared much for mods myself, not that I actually knew any of them. We had a feud with the local mods once, I can’t remember what it was about now. Probably something trivial, or maybe even just picking up subliminal messages from the latest Exploited single. Anyway, we all traipsed down to this café on the edge of town where all the mods hung out, Speedy-Bar or something like that, chanting Fuck a Mod Today or whatever it’s called. When we got there, there were just two young mod birds sat there drinking cups of tea, I think everyone else must’ve fucked off to some scooter wank-fest or something. So when we all piled in it was a bit of an anti-climax really. The mod birds seemed okay though when we got chatting to them, and one of my mates ended up going out with one of them for a few weeks, which pissed off the mods no end.

But I digress. Back to the book.

It’s set in present day rather than the 60s or late 70s like you’d expect from mod fiction. It opens with a bit of random violence when a gangster and his skinhead sidekick burst into the mod’s flat and smash up his stuff. It later turns out they’ve also smashed up his scooter and killed his best friend. Thinking he might be next, he does a runner to Brighton on the train, retracing the steps of his hero, the bloke from the film Quadrophenia.

There’s actually a bit of a Quadrophenia theme running through this, as he visits a lot of the locations used in the film. He even gets a quick shag in the same back alley as Jimmy from the film, with an ex-girlfriend of his who snubs him for the local Sting/Ace Face character (who is a money-grabbing property developer rather than a bellboy). There’s also a mods and rockers reunion when he arrives in Brighton, though being fucking ancient 60s relics by now they just stand around admiring each others’ bikes and scooters. There’s an old woman who lives on my road who was a mod in the 60s, she likes my Triumph 900, so maybe that’s not as far fetched as it sounds.

Other than Quadrophenia, all the other mod references went way over my head, but it’s a good, solid read. He doesn’t seem to have written anything else yet, which is a shame. If he had I would’ve picked it up on the strength of this one.



About Marcus Blakeston

Ex-shouting poet, ex-fanzine writer, ex-angry young man (now growing old disgracefully). Living in sunny Yorkshire with his wife, children and motorcycle, Marcus still has a healthy distrust of all forms of authority.
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