The Wiggins Factor puts Mod culture back on the map

Kettering Massive:  Kettering: Scooter Collective l-r Rhona Kenyon, Marco Martinelli, Darren Moore, Phil York with their scooters  'Wednesday 8th August 2012
Kettering Massive: Kettering: Scooter Collective l-r Rhona Kenyon, Marco Martinelli, Darren Moore, Phil York with their scooters 'Wednesday 8th August 2012
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Mod culture is back in the spotlight thanks to the exploits of Olympic gold medallist and Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins.

Marco Martinelli, of Kettering, who promotes Mod and Northern Soul events at various venues including Wicksteed Park, said: “Bradley Wiggins’ success in winning an Olympic gold and the Tour de France has been great for the Mod world, and they’re playing up to it. He’s become an ambassador for Mods, like The Modfather, Paul Weller.

“Youngsters think he’s a great guy so they think being a Mod can’t be bad and are trying to find out more about it, they like the very stylish, clean-cut look. There are more venues hosting Mod nights now.”

The term was originally used in the 1950s to describe people who preferred modernist to traditional jazz. By the 1960s the term was used to describe fans of groups such as The Who, Small Faces and The Jam. They wore tailored suits, parkas, and Fred Perry polo shirts, and travelled by scooter. Wiggins has been quoted as saying he grew his sideburns in honour of John Entwistle, of The Who, and has a collection of scooters.

It seems that people are not growing Wiggins-esque sideburns in the cyclist’s honour. Yasmin Liddiard-Hinson, a stylist at The Groom Room in Wellingborough, said: “We haven’t had anyone come in and ask for the Bradley Wiggins look, but it does take time to grow sideburns like his.

“People do copy famous people’s hair styles, Ashley Cole’s Mohican is very popular at the moment.”

Wiggins’ success on the bike doesn’t appear to be inspiring people to take up cycling just yet, either. John Male, who works at AJ Cycles in Higham Ferrers, said they hadn’t noticed an increase in the number of people coming in to buy bikes since his historic victories. John said: “It has picked up over the last couple of years with the success of the cyclists in Beijing and Mark Cavendish in the Tour, but the bad weather this year isn’t helping. We’re hoping Wiggins’ wins will help but nothing has trickled down yet.”

Mods, though, are delighted that one of Britain’s most famous sports stars is a Mod. Darren Moore, of Kettering, said: “I became a Mod in about 1979 when I was just getting to the age to be interested in fashion and music, and I’ve stuck with it ever since.

“A lot of teenagers nowadays have the Mod look, wearing Fred Perry and having short hair, without calling themselves Mods, but I think it’s good that Bradley Wiggins is one. It’s still popular, I DJ at the Casino Royale event at the Royal in Kettering every month and we play 60’s, rhythm and blues and ska music, and all sorts of people come along and enjoy it.”