Tag Archives: the jam

fifty skinheads appeared from nowhere, many of them wearing Chelsea and Rangers football scarves and covered in Loyalist and swastika tattoos. These psychos were obviously baying for blood – Mod blood, to be exact.

In the early 80s about thirty of us travelled from Belfast to Liverpool by boat. Then we caught the train down to London and headed straight for Carnaby Street. It felt like a religious pilgrimage and I was hypnotised by the sheer joy of just being there and drinking in the Mod culture it had given birth to.

Me in my mod days

But my excitement was to be short- lived. As we walked around the legendary area and drank in the super- cool atmosphere, suddenly we heard a massive roar and what sounded like a football stampede, then three terrified young Mods ran past us as if the devil was on their tails.

Belfast Mods 1985

I feature in the documentary , see if you can spot me ?

               Time stood still as we waited to see what had scared them and made them take such desperate flight. Then, from a side street, about fifty skinheads appeared from nowhere, many of them wearing Chelsea and Rangers football scarves and covered in Loyalist and swastika tattoos. These psychos were obviously baying for blood – Mod blood, to be exact.

               The moment they spotted us they stopped dead and some even grinned at the Mod bounty fate had delivered them. We were in some deep shit and I searched my mind frantically for a way out.

               There was only a few of us together at this stage and my heart leaped into my throat as I anticipated the beating I was about to receive. But if nothing else, I was used to brutal violence and two things came to my mind at once.

               The first was that I’d experienced many gang battles between Mods and skinheads in the backstreets of the Shankill and Ballysillan, and survived largely intact. But here we were vastly outnumbered, on foreign soil (so to speak), and these guys wanted to rip us apart, limb by limb, while savouring every moment of our agony and humiliation . 

               I glanced over at the leaders in the front row as they hurled insults and threats. My heart sunk when I noticed some of them had already pulled out weapons, including blades, and were preparing to attack us. This was our last chance. My survival instinct kicked in . I took a deep breath and played my hand.

               ‘Stay back,’ I said, as calmly as I could to the boys behind me. I was aware that some of our lot were Catholics and, if anything, were probably in far more danger than I was. I stepped forward and, looking for their ‘top boy’, I suggested they all slow down and tell me what the problem was.

The Difference Between Nazi’s and Skinheads | Needles And Pins

               You could have heard a pin drop as the fella in question looked me up and down as though I’d just insulted his mother. I could tell he was moments away from lunging at me and all hell kicking off.

               Then I heard a familiar accent calling out from the skinhead crowd.

               ‘Are youse from Belfast?’ said the voice.

               There was what seemed like a lifetime’s pause before I answered.

               ‘Feckin right,’ I said, ‘from the glorious Shankill Road!’

               Now I was praying I’d made a good call.

               ‘That right?’ he replied. ‘So who d’you know?’

               I wheeled off a few names of skinheads and assorted bad boys I knew and had grown up with on the Shankill and Glencairn and this satisfied them. We were safe, for now at least. It turned out the guy who spoke, Biff, had grown up in Glencairn, now lived and worked in London and was involved with other Loyalists living in the capital. His crew were a nasty bunch and I pitied those who had the misfortune to come across them, especially if you weren’t a WASP. If they had known some of the Mods present were Catholics, nothing would have stopped them kicking the shit out of me and the others and I silently thanked the gods for delivering us from evil.

               My second thought was about the Rangers scarves and the Loyalist/English Pride-style tattoos a good number of them were sporting. An idea started to take shape in my terrified brain. Rangers was the team of choice for much of the Protestant population of Northern Ireland and, along with Chelsea and Linfield, were inextricably woven into the core of our Loyalist culture. I hoped these baying skinheads, or some of them at least, would hold the same pride and love for Queen and country as me and I thought this might just save us.

Me on the cover of a Mod book ©Jay McFall

               With the situation defused, I told the others to look around a bit and I’d catch up with them later. I didn’t want the skins chatting with them, finding out some of them were Catholic and undoing all my capital work. They insisted I joined them for a pint or two in the Shakespeare’s Head pub nearby and it must have looked a bit weird: a sixties style Mod, wearing eye liner and a Beatles suit, drinking and laughing with a gang of psycho Nazi skinheads.

SkinheadS & Reggae

               But I had spent my life growing up among Loyalist killers and paramilitaries and nothing really fazed me anymore. I didn’t particularly like Biff and his crew but chatting with him over a few pints I realised there was much more to him than the stereotypical skinhead. His English girlfriend had just given birth to their first child and he was ‘trying to get on the straight and narrow’, – whatever that meant.

               After a few hours of drinking and snorting speed with Biff and the others I left them in the pub and return to the sanity of my Mod mates. I was to come across Biff and his crew later that weekend, when they and dozens of other skinheads and punks ambushed and attacked Mods coming into or out of the all- dayer in the Ilford Palais. Luckily, I was safely inside, stoned out of my mind and living the Mod dream and I didn’t concern myself with the antics of those fools, though I did have a chat with Biff while grabbing some fresh air and a fag outside.

               Safely back in Belfast, we started to plan other trips abroad, specifically to ‘The South’. Enemy territory.

You have been reading extracts from my number one best selling book A Belfast Child.

To order a personally signed copy click the link below

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The Story of Skinhead with Don Letts (BBC Documentary)


All Mod Cons 1978 – The Jam

History and Background

All Mod Cons is the third studio album by the British band The Jam, released in 1978 by Polydor Records. The title, a British idiom one might find in housing advertisements, is short for “all modern conveniences” and is a pun on the band’s association with the mod revival. The album reached No. 6 in the UK Albums Chart.

The album was reissued in the US in 1979, with the song “The Butterfly Collector” replacing “Billy Hunt”.

The making of all mod cons ★ The Jam


Following the release of their second album, This Is the Modern World, the Jam undertook a 1978 tour of the US supporting American rock band Blue Öyster Cult. The Jam were not well received on the tour and This Is the Modern World failed to reach the Billboard 200 chart.

Under pressure from their record company, Polydor, to deliver a hit record, songwriter Paul Weller was suffering from writer’s block when the band returned to the UK. Weller admitted to a lack of interest during the writing/recording process, and had to completely re-record a new set of songs for the album after producer Chris Parry rejected the first batch as being sub-standard. All Mod Cons was more commercially successful than This Is the Modern World.

British Invasion pop influences run through the album, most obviously in the cover of The Kinks‘ “David Watts“. The single “Down in the Tube Station at Midnight“, which Weller had originally discarded because he was unhappy with the song’s arrangement,  was rescued from the studio bin by producer Vic Coppersmith and became one of the band’s most successful chart hits up to that point, peaking at number 15 on the UK Singles Chart.

Down In The Tubestation At Midnight

The song is a first-person narrative of a young man who walks into a tube station on the way home to his wife, and is beaten by far right thugs. The lyrics of the song “To Be Someone (Didn’t We Have a Nice Time)” criticised fickle people who attach themselves to people who enjoy success and leave them once that is over.

To Be Someone (Didn’t We Have A Nice Time)

Class issues were very important to me at that time …” said Weller.

Woking has a bit of a stockbroker belt on its outskirts. So I had those images – people catching the train to Waterloo to go to the city. ‘Mr Clean’ was my view of that.”

All Mod Cons was reissued on CD in 2006, featuring a second disc of b-sides, outtakes and unreleased demos and a DVD containing a 40-minute documentary directed by Don Letts.


Charles Shaar Murray

In his review for NMECharles Shaar Murray said that the album was:

“not only several light years ahead of anything they’ve done before but also the album that’s going to catapult the Jam right into the front rank of international rock and roll; one of the handful of truly essential rock albums of the last few years.”

Dave Schulps of Trouser Press stated that:

All Mod Cons firmly establishes Paul Weller (and the Jam) as a major talent (and band) for the ’80s.”

NME ranked All Mod Cons as the second best album of 1978 in its end of year review.[20]

In 2000, Q magazine placed All Mod Cons at number 50 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. The album is also listed as one of the 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

In 2013, NME ranked it at number 219 in its list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Track listing

All songs written by Paul Weller except as noted

The Jam – All Mod Cons (Full Album) 1978

Side one

  1. “All Mod Cons” – 1:20
  2. “To Be Someone (Didn’t We Have a Nice Time)” – 2:32
  3. “Mr. Clean”* – 3:29
  4. David Watts” (Ray Davies) – 2:56
  5. “English Rose”** – 2:51
  6. “In the Crowd” – 5:40

Side two

  1. “Billy Hunt” – 3:01 (UK and 1st US pressings)/”The Butterfly Collector” – 3:11 (US reissues)
  2. “It’s Too Bad” – 2:39
  3. “Fly” – 3:22
  4. “The Place I Love” – 2:54
  5. “‘A’ Bomb in Wardour Street” – 2:37
  6. Down in the Tube Station at Midnight” – 4:43

**Neither the title nor lyrics of “English Rose” were printed on the original vinyl release of All Mod Cons due to Weller’s feeling that the song’s lyrics didn’t mean much without the music behind them.

2006 CD reissue bonus tracks

The UK version of the album was re-released on 5 June 2006 with a disc of bonus tracks, all of which were previously available with the exception of the demo versions of “Mr. Clean” and “Fly”.

  1. “News of the World” (single)
  2. “Aunties and Uncles” (Impulsive Youths) (b-side)
  3. “Innocent Man” (b-side)
  4. “Down in the Tube Station at Midnight” (single version)
  5. “So Sad About Us” (b-side)
  6. “The Night” (b-side)
  7. “So Sad About Us” (demo)
  8. “Worlds Apart” (demo)
  9. “It’s Too Bad” (demo)
  10. “To Be Someone” (demo)
  11. “David Watts” (demo)
  12. “Billy Hunt” (alternate version)
  13. “Mr Clean” (demo)
  14. “Fly” (demo)


The Jam

Paul Weller – guitar, piano, harmonica, vocals

Bruce Foxton – bass, vocals

Rick Buckler – drums, percussion


Chris Parry – associate producer

Gregg Jackman, Roger Bechirian, Vic Coppersmith-Heaven – soundboard engineer

Peter Schierwade, Phil Thornalley – assistant engineer

Bill Smith, The Jam – design

Peter “Kodick” Gravelle – photography

See: The Jam wikipedia

That’s Entertainment -The Jam : Iconic Songs & the story behind them

The Jam That’s Entertainment

January 1981

The Jam : Iconic Songs & the story behind them

That’s Entertainment” is a 1980 song by British punkmod revivalist group the Jam from their fifth album, Sound Affects.

Although never released as a domestic single in the UK during the band’s lifetime, “That’s Entertainment” nonetheless charted as an import single (backed by a live version of “Down in the Tube Station at Midnight“), peaking at No. 21. It was given its first full UK release in 1983 and peaked at No. 60. A second reissue in 1991 also made the top 50.

The song remains one of the two all-time biggest selling import singles in the UK, alongside the Jam’s “Just Who Is the 5 O’Clock Hero?“, which hit the charts at No. 8 as an import in 1982.

“That’s Entertainment” has been listed by BBC Radio 2 as the 43rd best song ever released by any artist.

The Jam – That’s Entertainment (Official Video)

Song profile

“That’s Entertainment” is the group’s lone entry, at No.306, on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list released in 2004. It consistently makes similar British lists of all-time great songs, such as BBC Radio 2‘s “Sold on Song” 2004 Top 100, at No.43.

The song uses an almost entirely acoustic arrangement with only very light percussion. Like much of Sound Affects, the song has strong undercurrents of pop-psychedelia. The only electric guitar part in the song is played backwards over one of the verses, a hallmark of psychedelia.

The minimalist, slice-of-life lyrics list various conditions of British working-class life. The first verse:

A police car and a screaming siren
Pneumatic drill and ripped-up concrete
A baby wailing, stray dog howling
The screech of brakes and lamp light blinking

culminating in the laconic and ironic refrain of “That’s entertainment, That’s entertainment”

“I was in London by the time I wrote ‘That’s Entertainment’,” said Weller, “writing it was easy in a sense because all those images were at hand, around me.”

In an interview with Absolute Radio he said:

“I wrote it in 10 mins flat, whilst under the influence, I’d had a few but some songs just write themselves. It was easy to write, I drew on everything around me.


“That’s Entertainment”

A police car and a screaming siren
Pneumatic drill and ripped-up concrete
A baby wailing, a stray dog howling
The screech of brakes and lamplight blinking

That’s entertainment
That’s entertainment

A smash of glass and the rumble of boots
An electric train and a ripped-up phone booth
Paint-splattered walls and the cry of a tomcat
Lights going out and a kick in the balls

I say that’s entertainment
That’s entertainment
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la, ah

Days of speed and slow-time Mondays
Pissing down with rain on a boring Wednesday
Watching the news and not eating your tea
A freezing cold flat with damp on the walls

I say that’s entertainment
That’s entertainment
La la la la la
La la la la la

Waking up at 6 A.M. on a cool warm morning
Opening the windows and breathing in petrol
An amateur band rehearsing in a nearby yard
Watching the telly and thinking ’bout your holidays

That’s entertainment
That’s entertainment
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la

Waking up from bad dreams and smoking cigarettes
Cuddling a warm girl and smelling stale perfume
A hot summer’s day and sticky black tarmac
Feeding ducks in the park and wishing you were far away

That’s entertainment
That’s entertainment

Two lovers kissing masks a scream of midnight
Two lovers missing the tranquility of solitude
Getting a cab and traveling on buses
Reading the graffiti about slashed-seat affairs

I say that’s entertainment
That’s entertainment
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la, ah
La la la la la, ah

See: Thats Entertainment chords

Morrissey – That’s Entertainment ( rare version, The Jam cover)

Main Source: Wikipedia , That’s Entertainment

See below for some stories during my crazy mod days ,

I write about these in my book

See: Mod Days & Getting Stoned with Paul Weller

noddy funeral

See: The Loyalist Mod: Death of a fellow Mod & A catholic friend! Noddy Clarke R.I.P

My book is published on the 8th September , see pinned tweet for more details

See: below for other Iconic songs and the story behind them .

Going Underground – The Jam: Iconic Songs & the story behind them

Going Underground – The Jam

The Jam

Going Underground

March 1980

Going Underground – The Jam: Iconic Songs & the story behind them

Going Underground” is the first British #1 chart single by The Jam, released in March 1980. It went straight in at #1 in the UK Singles Chart, spending three weeks at the top.

It was the first of three instant chart-toppers for the group

Going Underground

Song profile

“Going Underground” was not released on any of the band’s six studio albums, although it has appeared on many compilations and re-releases since then. The song was released as a double A-side with “Dreams of Children”, which originally had been intended to be the sole A-side; following a mix-up at the pressing plant, the single became a double A-side, and DJs tended to choose the more melodic “Going Underground” to play on the radio.

The song was ranked at #2 among the “Tracks of the Year” for 1980 by NME. In March 2005, Q magazine placed “Going Underground” at #73 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks, and in October 2006, placed it at #98 in its list of the 100 Greatest Songs Ever.

Jam Facts:

The band released 18 consecutive Top 40 singles in the United Kingdom, from their debut in 1977 to their break-up in December 1982, including four number one hits

“Going Underground”
Single by The Jam
A-side“Dreams of Children”
Released14 March 1980
Format7″ vinyl
RecordedDecember 1979
GenreNew wavemod revivalpower pophard rock[1]
Songwriter(s)Paul Weller
Producer(s)Vic Coppersmith-Heaven
The Jam singles chronology
The Eton Rifles
(1979)”Going Underground” / “Dreams of Children”

My Thoughts ?

me with hat.PNG
Me in my Mod days

Being an old Mod and a Jam super-fan this was one of the first Jam records I bought and from the first moment I heard it I loved it and became obsessed with the Jam and this set me on the road to becoming a Mod and the best years of my teenage/young adult life in Belfast, what I can remember anyways. The Jam became the sound track to my crazy teenage odyssey and I came to love everything about them and the Mod way of life and even to this day I still love all the Jams stuff and listen to it whenever the feelings take me , which is a few times a week at least.

My fav Jam album ?

Its a hard one but its between Setting Sons & Sound Affects , although I love In the City and This is a Modern World also . Grrrr…. Its like trying to choose which of your kids or pets you love best , an impossible task and Im the same with Jam albums I feel i’d be betraying those I left out. Going Underground is a personal fav of mine for the path it set me on but I have to say Thick as Thieves and That’s Entertainment are two of my fav Jam tunes off all time.

See: Getting Stoned with Paul Well

See: The Loyalist Mod – Death of a fella Mod and a catholic friend

See: Steve Marriott Jan 1947 – April 1991 All or Nothing


“Going Underground”

Some people might say my life is in a rut
But I’m quite happy with what I’ve got
People might say that I should strive for more
But I’m so happy I can’t see the point

Something’s happening here today
A show of strength with your boy’s brigade
And I’m so happy and you’re so kind
You want more money – of course I don’t mind
To buy nuclear textbooks for atomic crimes
And the public gets what the public wants

But I want nothing this society’s got
I’m going underground (going underground)
Well, let the brass bands play and feet start to pound
Going underground (going underground)
Well, let the boys all sing and let the boys all shout for tomorrow

Some people might get some pleasure out of hate
Me, I’ve enough already on my plate
People might need some tension to relax
Me, I’m too busy dodging between the flak

What you see is what you get
You’ve made your bed, you’d better lie in it
You choose your leaders and place your trust
As their lies wash you down and their promises rust
You’ll see kidney machines replaced by rockets and guns
And the public wants what the public gets

But I don’t get what this society wants
I’m going underground (going underground)
Well, let the brass bands play and feet start to pound
Going underground (going underground)
So let the boys all sing and let the boys all shout for tomorrow

La la la la…

We talk and we talk until my head explodes
I turn on the news and my body froze
These braying sheep on my TV screen
Make this boy shout, make this boy scream!

Going underground, I’m going underground!

La la la la…

These braying sheep on my TV screen
Make this boy shout, make this boy scream!

I’m going underground (going underground)
Well, let the brass bands play and feet start to pound
Going underground (going underground)
Well, let the boys all sing and let the boys all shout,
Going underground (going underground)
Well, let the brass bands play and feet go pow, pow, pow
Going underground (going underground)
So let the boys all sing and let the boys all shout for tomorrow

Covers and parodies

Ade Edmondson‘s folk punk band The Bad Shepherds covered it in 2013.

The Bad Shepherds Going Underground

Welsh alternative metal band Lostprophets covered the song in 2007 as a B-side to their single 4:AM Forever.

The comedy band Amateur Transplants released a two-minute parody titled “London Underground” in 2005 in the light of the December strike. It became a popular download in the United Kingdom.

Jam Facts:

Jam biographer Sean Egan said of the Jam that they “took social protest and cultural authenticity to the top of the charts.

Amatuer Transplants London Underground

The song was covered by Buffalo Tom for the 1999 Jam tribute album Fire and Skill: The Songs of the Jam. This version also was released as part of a double A-side single with Liam Gallagher‘s and Steve Cradock‘s version of “Carnation” and reached #6 in the UK singles chart.[6]

Manfred Mann’s Earth Band covered the song on their 1986 album “Criminal Tango“.

Daryl Denham released a version of the song titled “Go England” in 2002 after Weller gave permission for it to be adapted as a football song.

Jam Facts:

Paul Weller on becoming a Mod

“I saw that through becoming a Mod it would give me a base and an angle to write from, and this we eventually did. We went out and bought suits and started playing MotownStax and Atlantic covers. I bought a Rickenbacker guitar, a Lambretta GP 150 and tried to style my hair like Steve Marriott‘s circa ’66.

Dreams of Children

“Going Underground” was coupled with “Dreams of Children” as a double A-side. It opens and is intermittently accentuated with a backmasked sample of the band’s 1979 song “Thick as Thieves“. In the US the backwards intro was edited out making the single 10 seconds shorter than the UK Version. This US edit is available on the best-of compilation Snap!.

The Jam released two other double A-side singles: “David Watts“/”‘A’ Bomb in Wardour Street” and “Town Called Malice“/”Precious“.

Jam Facts:

On 29 April 1977, Polydor released the Jam’s debut single, “In the City“, which charted in the Top 40 in the UK.

See: here for more information on the Jam

Thick As Thieves

See: Golden Brown – The Stranglers

See: below for other Iconic songs and the story behind them .

See: below for other Iconic songs and the story behind them .

The Loyalist Mod: Death of a fellow Mod & A catholic friend! Noddy Clarke R.I.P

The Loyalist Mod

Death of a fellow Mod & a catholic friend!

Noddy Clarke R.I.P

noddy funeral

Newspapers Reports of the crash

By the mid 80s I was completely emerged in the Mod culture and I started slowly to migrate away from the loyalist run discos and clubs of my childhood and teens years. As I grew older and more confident ( wiser) I started to explore further afield and go to clubs and gigs in and around Belfast city centre and for the first time  in my life I was meeting and mixing with Catholics on a social level and I gradually came to realize they weren’t that different from me after all.

I”m the one with shades on

My evolving Mod identity was opening up a whole new world to me and I grabbed it by both hands and jumped on for the ride of my life.

As a young, self confident adult my Mod days were the best years of my life and if I had to live my life again I wouldn’t change a thing from that time. Well, maybe one or two things regarding beautiful women I was too stoned or to blind to see what they were offering me.

The Norns love to toy with destinies of mortal men.


Me when I thought I was immortal & would never grow old

Prior to this my only interaction with my catholic counterparts was our nightly riots with the catholic kids from Ardoyne  & the Springfield Road and like  those around me I hated them all with a passion. I was living in the epicenter  of loyalist Northern Ireland and  I had been brought up to hate and mistrust Catholics from an early age. Like my peers around me I blamed them for the war that was ripping Northern Ireland apart and I could never forgive them for their treacherous support of IRA terrorists and other republican groups

My childish subconscious mind seemed to filter out the worst horrors the loyalist paramilitaries were visiting on the catholic population, but when a republican terrorist was killed I celebrated and praised those responsible.  We were fanatical in our hatred of the IRA and all things republican and the call for a united Ireland drove us buck mad with rage.

I was living in the Loyalist goldfish bowl and my horizons were dominated by the so called Peace Wall.

Welcome to my world.

My loyalist identity and culture was hardwired into my DNA and at first I struggled with the conflict of mixing with catholic Mods/folk from the other side, whom  I had always considered my enemies.

But my priorities were also evolving and my lifelong prejudices against all catholic’s was fading away .  I embraced the Belfast Mod movement with passion and enthusiasm and became a well known Face among the Mods and Mod clubs of Belfast and beyond.


I’m the one wearing shades

Up until this stage in my life  I had been blanketed within the Loyalist culture and felt safe in the knowledge that the tight knit community I belonged too , was a part of , would work as one to protect me  and other children and shield us from the worst evils of mankind.

Which was kinda hard considering I was living in one of the most violent, deadly places on planet earth at the time?

Image result for loyalist paramilitary

The paramilitaries ruled our daily lives and this was all perfectly normal for us.  From an early age I was subconsciously aware that I lived in a messed up land and many of my family, friends and neighbours were involved with one of the various loyalist paramilitary or community groups.

I grew up with people who would become loyalist killers, others were killed by republicans and the never ending feuds between loyalist paramilitaries added to the ever growing butcher’s bill. Some also killed themselves to escape the madness going on around us and many ended up serving life sentences for terrorist activities.

Every death was someone’s personal tragedy and at times the slaughter seemed never ending.

I remember as a child attending family/local  funerals and when I  looked around  I was surrounded by loyalist legends and Godfathers  , paramilitaries leaders  and killers .Then I got really angry and annoyed because the police had loads of spotters out , recording the funeral and taking pictures of all those present and generally disrespecting us as we buried our dead. When someone died in our world the whole community suffered as one and our ties were much stronger for our shared suffering at the hands of republican terrorists.

But I loved this messed up land and as a proud wee prod I hated the IRA and all they stood for.  In my childish loyalist mind I looked up to the loyalist warlords and those that served them. After all they were taking the war to the IRA and fighting for God and Ulster and our continued freedom, weren’t they?

That made me feel safer, somehow. Twisted or what?

At times it felt like the loyalist people were under siege and I remember as a child during the strikes of the 70’s I was terrified as I stood at the top of Glencairn , looking out over  all of Belfast and watching thick black smoke  belch into the air  and the  whole sky seemed to be on fire. Loyalist paranoia was so acute at times that we were actually anticipating civil war to break out at any moment and I wondered  and worried if I and those I loved would survive the battles to come.

I was also a committed Christian for most of my childhood and teens and a pacifist by heart and I never felt comfortable with the never ending murder of innocent people, regardless of political or religious background.  In fact I hated it and I couldn’t understand why God in all his wisdom would let such things happen and the first cracks began to  appeared in my Christian faith. Living in loyalist Belfast my God was of course a loyalist God and my people were fighting the wicked IRA and despised the antichrist in Rome, Pope John Paul II ,  the head of the hated Catholic Church.

Image result for pope john paul ii death


But I digress; I’m suppose  to be telling the story of Noddy Clarke.


My old scrapbook from  my Mod days.

I’d met Noddy and his girlfriend Maria in the Mod clubs and pubs of Belfast, mostly the Delta & Abercone and I quickly became friends with them and enjoyed having a chat & chill with them when our paths crossed. Noddy (Gerard Clarke) was a beautiful, gentle wise soul and he was one of those rare people who seemed to have time for everyone and seemed genuinely interested in what you had to say.  He was a top bloke and I had a lot of time for him and Maria. Maria was also a beautiful person and friendly to all.

The fact that they were catholic never entered my mind and this was testament to how far I had moved on from the entrenched prejudices of my childhood.  Although I no longer hated catholic’s my hatred of the IRA and republican terrorists never waned and still beats in my heart today. I can’t forget or forgive the past, but I want peace in Northern Ireland and if that means dancing with the devil, so be it.

The Belfast Mod scene was at its height at the time and as I moved in the same circles of the Faces and wannabies I got drunk (and high) on the joy of it all. I was young, seemingly acceptable to the female species   and my life was one long never ending party and I Really never wanted it to end.

me with hat.PNG

Me during my Mod days

There were always some big events happening in the Mod calendar and I travelled all over Northern Ireland and London with a group of about thirty hardcore Mods, attending all dayers and concerts. Noddy & Maria were often at these events and our love of the Mod culture transcended hundreds of year’s sectarian conflict and suspicion and give me a hint of a better future.

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Mods in Carnaby Street

Once a group of about thirty of us travelled to London for a Mod all dayer  , taking place in the  Ilford Palais. The concert wasn’t until the Sunday and as it was only Friday we decided to visit the most iconic Mod address in the World, Carnaby Street. As a Mod  it felt like the  pilgrimage to Mecca muslims make and for  me walking on the hollowed paved  streets of Carnaby Street It felt almost like a holy experience  and I was hypnotised by sheer joy of just being there and drinking in the  Mod culture it had given birth too.

But my joy was to be short lived.

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I’ve  absolutely no idea who he is , but he fits into the story nicely.

As we walked the legendary streets and drank in the super cool atmosphere  i was mesmerized and entranced by the beauty of it all and then  suddenly we heard a massive roar and what sounded like a football stampede and then three terrified young Mods ran past us as if the devil was on their tails.

Time stood still as we waited to see what had scared them so much and made them take such desperate flight.

Then from a side road about fifty phycho looking skinheads appeared from nowhere, many of them wearing Chelsea and Rangers football scarf’s, covered in loyalist and swastika tattoos and they were obviously baying for blood, Mod blood to be exact.

The moment they spotted us they stopped dead and some even grinned at the Mod bounty fate had delivered them.  We were in some deep shit and I searched my mind frantically for a way out.

There was only a few of us  together at this stage and my heart leaped into my throat as I anticipated the beating  I was about to receive. But growing up in the badlands of loyalist West Belfast  I was use to brutal violence and  then two things  came to my mind at once.

Firstly I was use to gang battles between Mods and Skinheads and had fought in many in the backstreets of The Shankill & Ballysillian/Silverstream (a story for another day) and survived largely intact. But here we were vastly outnumbered, on foreign soil  so to speak and these guys wanted to rip us apart, limb by limb and savour every moment of our agony and shame.  Then I considered the Rangers scarfs and an idea started to take shape in my terrified brain.

Rangers was the team of choice for much of the protestant population of Northern Ireland and along with Chelsea and Linfield they were inextricably woven into the core of our loyalist culture. I hoped these baying skinheads or some of them at least would hold the same pride and love for Queen and country as me and I thought this might just save us.

I glanced over at the leaders in the front row and as they hurled insults and threats my heart sunk when I saw some of them had pulled out weapons and knifes and were preparing to attach  us  and I braced myself ready for a battle we could never win.

My survival instinct kicked in and once again my destiny was  in the hands of the gods , gods I no longer trusted. I took a deep breath and played my hand.

“Stay back “

I told the others beside and behind me, aware that some of them were catholic’s and possibly in more danger  than me, if that was at all possible in my current situation. I stepped forward and looking for the top boy I calmingly suggested they all slow down and tell me what the problem was?

You could have heard a pin drop as he looked me up and down as though I’d just insulted his life scarred mother and I could tell he were moments away from lunging at me and all hell kicking off.

Then I heard a familiar accent calling out from the skinhead crowd and hope returned.

“Are youse from Belfast? ”

And everyone paused to hear my reaction.

“Feckin right I said, from the glorious Shankill Road! “

Hoping and praying I’d made the right call.

“Really,  he asks, who do you know? “

I wheeled off a few names of Skinheads and badboys I knew and had grown up with on the Shankill and Glencairn and this satisfied them and we were safe for now at least. It turned out the guy “Biff” had grown up in Glencairn and now lived and worked in London and was involved with other loyalists living in the capital. They were a right nasty crew and I pity anyone who had the misfortune to come across them, especially if you weren’t a WASP .  Also if they had known some of the Mod present were catholic’s, nothing would have stopped them kicking the shit outta of me and the others and I silently thanked the gods for delivering us from evil.

With the situation defused I told the others to look around a bit and I’d catch up with them later . I didn’t want these badboys chatting with them and finding out some of them were catholic and undoing all my capital work. Biff insisted I joined him and a few others from home for a pint or two in the Shakespeare’s pub and it must have looked a bit weird a 60’s dressed Mod, wearing eye liner and a Beatles suite drinking and laughing with a load of phyco, Nazi skinheads.

But I had spent my life growing up among loyalist killers and paramilitaries and nothing really phased me anymore.  I didn’t particularly like Biff and his crew, but chatting with him over a few pints I realized there was much more to him than the stereotypical skinhead. His English girlfriend had just given birth to their first child and he was “trying to get on the straight and narrow “ whatever that meant!

After a few hours of drinking and snorting speed with Biff and the others I left them in the pub and return to the sanity of my Mod mates

I was to come across Biff and his crew later that weekend, when they and dozens of other Skin heads/Punks ambushed and attacked Mods coming into/out of the all dayer in the Ilford Palais. Luckily I was safely inside , stoned out of my mind and living the Mod dream and I didn’t concern myself with the  antics of those fools , although I did have a chat with Biff whilst grabbing some fresh air and a fag outside.

In one of those cruel twists of fate many years later I was to meet Biff  again, but this time he was down on his luck and tragically living rough under a shop front in Tottenham Court Road, London.   I was working in the city at the time and suited and booted I stopped to give a homeless guy a fag before realising it was Biff. He was in a right mess and obviously on hard drugs and my heart broke for him as I tried to remind him of our previous encounters and he looked at me with in utter confusion on his face. Maybe it was my suite and the passage of years that had confused him or the drugs had addled his mind but I left him with a heavy heart that day.

Thereafter whenever I was in central London I always looked out for him and did on a few occasions find him and shared a fag or two with him. And slip him a few quid.  When I moved jobs out to Kingston I lost contact with him and never saw him again, but I often think of him and hope he found his feet again and somehow turned his life around. How fickle fate can be.

Back in Belfast and the 80’s and my Mod odyssey continued and I was involved with all aspects of the Mod movement and all the joys that brought with it. I’d come into some money on my eighteenth birthday and was now the proud owner of a Vespa and took part in scooter runs all over Belfast and Northern Ireland.

I was gradually getting heavily into the 60’s Mod scene and my dress reflected this as I emulated the dress codes of The Small Faces and other Mod bands of that era. I was also doing a lot of drugs at the time and had many mind blowing experiences on a variety of drugs and to be honest sometimes I’m surprised I survived this period of my life. Drugs were an escape from the madness of life in war torn Belfast and I was going through the whole Psychedelic phase of my Mod life and was living the dream, so to speak.

See: Getting stoned with Paul Weller.

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Me on front of Mod Book

Around Oct 86 a group of about fifty Belfast Mods  , including myself , Noddy and Maria signed up for a Mod all dayer in Dublin’s CIA hall .As the day approached we were all anticipating a great day out and couldn’t wait to meet and mix with the Dublin Mods who had organised the event. We had clubbed together for an Ulster Bus to take us to the event, drop of and pick us up when it was over. Being nice kind  people we had a whip round for the bus driver and collected enough for him to have some  lunch , but sadly he would spent it on booze and was half tore by the time we returned, but we didn’t know of this until afterwards.

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The all dayer was a great success and I remember vividly chatted to Noddy and Maria by the huge staircase in the lobby. Little did I know in a few hours times Noddy would be dead and Maria seriously ill in hospital, fighting for her life.

When the event was over we all made our way to the bus pick up point and began the long , slow , boring journey home. It was a miserable dark , cold night and rain pelted down the windows of the bus as we left Dublin and headed for the motorway and back to sunny Belfast. After a while we’d all settled down and I remember chatting to those around me, including Noddy and Maria about the day gone and upcoming events we were looking forward to in the near future.   As we came into Drogheda  I noticed the rain was  bucketing it down and visibility was very poor and  somewhere in the back of my mind a little voice whispered the bus was going too fast and the driver was  driving a bit  erratically and it started to worry and concern me.

A girl called me up to the middle of the bus and I went and sat in the seat behind her, by the window and chilled with her for a while. I’d had a few drinks and some pills and I was half way between sleep and a drug infused haze when suddenly I became aware that the bus was out of control and to my horror I watched out the window as it  drifted  in and out of lanes , narrowly missing fast moving traffic coming from both ways  , before  skidding to the  right and  crashing with a huge bang  into the side of a bridge or brick wall, that brought it to  a violent , shuddering stop.

I was thrown forward and banged my head on the seat in front of me and was almost knocked out by the force of it. . Time stood still as I waited for the pain to kick In and in the background I could hear the sound of breaking glass , car horns and alarms going off  , cars skidding and crashing and as the lights blinked out  screaming filled the air all around me and  for a moment I thought I must be dreaming , on a bad trip or having a messed up  nightmare.

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But this was no nightmare and the horror had just begun.

As I recovered from the stunned shock of what had just happened my eyes drifted around the bus and all I could see was bodies, blood, broken glass and wreckage strewn all over the place. It looked as though a bomb had gone off and many of those inside were injured and I could see and smell destruction all around me. I glanced to the back of the bus and to my utter disbelief the whole back section of the bus had been ripped off and the seats which Noddy , Maria and others had sat on had completely disappeared . Looking out of the gaping hole my heart almost stopped as I saw bodies and debris littering the road and I could clearly see Noddy  and  laying lifeless on the rain soaked road , illuminated by vehicles caught up in the accident and others who had stopped to help and or gawk in amazement at what they were witnessing .

As my traumatised mind tried to process all this I picked myself of the floor and checking for injuries   I  was relieved to see I was mostly in one piece , although my head was bleeding and I think I may have been slipping  into shock.  Looking around my eyes could hard believe what my pounding brain was telling me and as I turned and looked out the window to my  left , I froze in terror as I watched in slow motion as a car lost control , crossed lanes and crash violently at speed into the bus right below where I was sitting. I’d automatically braced myself for the impact and my whole body rocked as the shockwaves of the crash reverberated through the bus and my aching body.

From this point on everything becomes hazy , as if I was watching events happen to someone else and I felt  oddly detached from my own body and mind. I should have been panicking and fighting to get off the bus and the danger below me , the car could have blown up or engulfed me in fire at any moment.   But I just sat there for what seemed like ages and although I could see everything around me and hear ambulances/fire brigades approaching, I seemed frozen to the spot and  just couldn’t move. I was in deep shock.

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Eventually someone guided me of the bus and I walked as if in a trance to where Noddy lay on the damp wet ground, lifeless and standing in the pouring rain I looked down on him and bowing my head I said a silent prayer for Noddy, Maria and the other injured and I cursed a God who would let such a thing happen.  I’d almost given up on a God who seemed to ignore the suffering of mortal men.

After a while ambulance crews came to check on me and the other walking wounded and patched us up were necessary. Eventually we were lead to a hotel or conference room, I can’t remember which and given hot drinks and interviewed by the Gardia . I honestly can’t remember anything about what happened next. I don’t know if we stayed in the hotel over night or how we got back to Belfast , but next thing i know I’m laying on the sofa at home and being fused about by my sisters and other family members. The Ulster News had carried the story about the crash and fatalities/injured and in those days there were no mobile phones and my family had spent hours not knowing if I was alive or dead. I should have called them from the hotel the night before but I was away with the fairies and it had not even entered my battered brain to call and let them know I was alive and well.

The Belfast and Northern Ireland Mod community was reeling from the accident and the death of one of their own and many gathered outside the City Hall in sombre groups, chatting and remembering Noddy and those injured in the crash. Maria was still in hospital fighting for her life and many others were scarred emotionally and physically and would never fully recover from the trauma of what they had gone through.

I was still numb to it all and hibernating at home and licking my wounds and I couldn’t face a world that seemed so unfair. In fact I refused point blank to talk about the accident and months later when many of those involved in the crash began the process of suing Ulster Bus and claiming compensation I wanted nothing to do with it and probably missed the opportunity for substantial payout.

I  was probably suffering from PTSD , but being Belfast i just got on with life and the wounds festered for years to come.

noddy funeral

Eventually the day arrived for Noddy’s funeral and Mods travelled from all over Northern Ireland and Dublin to attend his send off.  Dozens of loyalist Mods including me travelled into the heartland of republican Belfast, The Falls road on our scooters and we formed an honour guard as we buried one of our own. I recall standing outside Noddy’s house and being in nationalist Belfast I felt vulnerable and nervous as I clocked those around me whom seem to stare right through us, trying to discern if we were catholic or protestant.

But today was not about religion and as I paid my respect to Noddy’s friends and family I felt nothing but love and gratitude from them and I came away wondering why we couldn’t always live in peace and harmony and move on from centuries of the suspicion and mistrust that ruled and ruined our daily lives.

I often think of Noddy and wonder what he would be doing now if he was still alive and feel sadness at the grief the Gods put us mortal men through. .

R.I.P Friend.

Whilst living and socialising within the Mod subculture of Belfast /Northern Ireland, I was taught a valuable life lesson , for the first time in my life a person’s religion background had become completely irrelevant to me and I felt kinda liberated by it all . I foolishly wished the rest of Northern Ireland felt the same love and freedom as me, but I’ve always been a dreamer and some dreams take longer than others.

Back then I had many close catholic friends among the Belfast Mod scene and I dated a few catholic girls, who at face value seemed to be no different than the protestant girls I had dated thus far.

Hmmm, they lied to me again! But they are stories for another day.

Being a proud product of protestant Belfast and growing up in the hallowed streets of the loyalist Mecca , The glorious Shankill Road and Glencairn , I have always been prejudged and pigeon holed by people who don’t know me or understand my culture .  I have worked all over London and throughout the UK and you would be amazed at the assumptions people make when I first meet them.

Once I got chatting to a Muslim guy I worked with  ( and I’m going back about 25 years)   and  after telling me how much he admired the IRA and the republican movement ‘s “ freedom fighters”  he  then asked me if, by any chance  I was a member of the IRA?

Hmmm….. that was one work relationship than ended immediately I can tell you.

Another time I was in a bar in the West End and went to order a drink at the bar. I noticed an older  guy sat on a stool and it was obvious he only had one leg. When he heard my Belfast accent he turned and growled at me

“ is that a Belfast accent I hear? ”

“Yes “  says I as I absently order drinks.

He looks me right in the eye and say “ My other leg’s in Belfast”


Anyways turns out he was in the Army and was blown up by  a SF/IRA bomb back in the day. Once I told him where I was from, I was a bit surprised when he grabs me , told me he loved the loyalist people of N.I  and almost hugged  me to death . He insisted I sit down with him and have a few beers, which I was more than happy to do. I’ll always make time for army veterans, especially those who served in Northern Ireland. He was happy for some company and to share a few stories from the “bad old days” and the encounter soothed my soul.

Back in Belfast and in the 90’s some of my loyalist friends had been arrested and charged with multiple terrorist related offences , including murder. The news shocked and saddened me, more so because some of them had been Mods and shared my love of the Mod culture  and music and mixed happily with catholic’s we met along the way. Although I had absolutely nothing to do with this , I was living in London at the time , many of the Belfast’s catholic  Mods started to give me a wide berth and  when I was home and went out clubbing I could sense their nervousness around me and I couldn’t really blame them , but it made me sad none the less.


Me and David Holmes

I was guilty via association and that is a curse and legacy that has followed me through my entire life and I know I will probably never shake off. Just because I’m proud of my loyalist culture and traditions it doesn’t mean I’m a hater or bigot or would wish harm on anyone.  It simply means I am happy with the status quo and wish to maintain and celebrate the union with the rest of the UK.  That shouldn’t make people prejudge me, but it does and the piss’s me right off. Many peace loving loyalist/protestants will understand where I’m coming from, especially those living abroad.

We didn’t start the “war” and the world has largely ignored the suffering and tribulations of the loyalist people because they are blinded by the actions of few .And yet SF/IRA seem to be have been forgiven all and lauded by many. The mind boggles.

Follow me on Twitter : @bfchild66

Go on Surprise me

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Thanks for taking the time to read extracts from my Autobiography Belfast Child, which I hope to get published one day soon.

Its a work in progress , so be gentle on me!

See: Steve Marriott Jan 1947 – April 1991 All or Nothing

See: Getting stoned with Paul Weller.

See: Home page for more chapters of my amazing life story




a person who remains loyal to the established ruler or government, especially in the face of a revolt.

“Tory loyalists”

a supporter of union between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

noun: Loyalist; plural noun: Loyalists

a colonist of the American revolutionary period who supported the British cause.

noun: Loyalist


Listening to Classic FM & working on my Book

Listening to Classic FM & working on my Book

(Which I need to get moving on)

classical fm

I know music is very subjective but I personally love Classical Music and often have it on in the background when I’m working on something that requires my total concentration.

This is not a normal or easy state of mind for me and to be frank it sometimes takes me a while to get into the flow – as I love to procrastinate. But Classical Music seems to have a magical switch that when turned on focus’s  my mind completely.

For a little while at least………..

Me when I was young & cool. And yes I am the one with shades on!!

I have a very diverse taste in ,music and can listen to almost anything , apart from heavy metal ( sorry guys)  and as a teenage Mod I worshiped the Mod bands of the 60’s & The Jam provided the  soundtrack to my teenage odyssey , which  was full of angst and exploration of the body and the mind. The drugs give me glimpses of a fleeting utopia and the music fed my soul.



For all the effects music is thought to have on the brainclassical music seems to fall in a gray area. … The results showed listening to classical music enhanced activity of genes involved in dopamine secretion (the feel good hormone), and “transport synaptic function, learning and memory.”


The Jam – Thick as Thieves :

One of my favorite tunes of all time. The  words speak to my soul.


I’m the one in the shades in case you wondering

See:  Mod days & getting stoned with Paul Weller

Classic FM. radio

Mod days & getting stoned with Paul Weller ?

Mod days , Magic Mushrooms and other drugs

Me and my BFF Jay McFall


Small Faces – Tin Soldier


Extracts from Belfast Child

MY Autobiography


As a teenager growing up in Glencairn, a bleak loyalist council estate in West Belfast  ( I loved it as a child ) there was little to do apart from joy riding, rioting and fighting with the gangs from the top and bottom of the estate.

Sure –  I was surrounded by vast open spaces and miles of forest and glens , but I was a teenager and I needed excitement.

I couldn’t drive , was bored of rioting and so like many of my peers I turned to drugs to escape the madness around me and block out the car crash that was my tragic young life.

I was 14 years old and my dad had died when I was nine , after a long brutal struggle with cancer and I was missing him terribly.  I didn’t know if my mum was alive or dead and all around me was death and destruction as Belfast tore itself apart and the paramilitaries waged a brutal sectarian war and the slaughter of the innocent at times  seemed endless.

And I really fancied Gina Nixon and  wanted to kiss her on the lips, but she didn’t even know I existed.

It’s hardly surprising that I wanted to escape reality and so l lost myself in drugs and through a hazy fuelled utopia I was able to suspend reality for brief moments of escape and boy did I need them.


My first drug was glue – Time Bond to be exact, although I could settle for Evo Stick or if I was really desperate Bridge Port, which was a horrible , thick black solution that was used to fix punctures on bikes –

although I can’t comment on how effective it was at mending tyres as I never used it for this purpose.

The first time I sniffed glue I remembering I was standing against the wall of an allay way and as the fumes entered my body I felt them gentle circulate throughout my entire being and as I slowly slid down the wall I was filled with the most beautiful feeling of being detached from my surrounding and floating in a Never Never land of soothing lights and utter peace of mind.

I was hooked.

Being a teenager who may or may not be an orphan (I still didn’t know if my mum was alive or dead) I was faced with the very real problem of needing more glue and not having the money to pay for it. So I did exactly what all my peers would do in the same situation and I begged, borrowed and stole.


The Jam – That’s Entertainment


I didn’t concern myself with the wrongs and right of it , I just needed to get my hands on more glue and visit my Never Never land again and again and again and..

When I say beg, borrowed or steal what I really mean is that I would beg most of the time , borrow some of the time (when I could get away with it ) and stand watch outside Woolies whilst the rest of the gang went shop lifting and I acted as look-out!

Despite the environment I lived in and the abuse a fickle fate had thrown at me, deep down I still wanted to believe in Baby Jesus and hadn’t Rev. Lewis told me on countless occasions that God saw everything and would one day judge me.

So I tried to be a good boy and obey the commandments – but this wasn’t always easy when you were surrounded by sectarian slaughter, thieves  and psychopathic killers in the making.

And that was all perfectly normal to me as a child.

Once I was stood outside a shop in Belfast City Centre, I was lost in a drug induced fog as I waited for the others to return from shoplifting. It was close to Christmas and the town was full of shoppers and day trippers. Suddenly a guy taps the door of the shop with his toe and I could see that he’s weighed down with a tower of Quality Street tins. Feeling the Xmas spirit I opened and held the door for him and I was just a little surprised to note that once out of the shop, he kicked the door closed and started legging it down the street, dropping tins of Quality Street as he went.

Strange thinks I and then all hell broke out.

The Indian guy who owned the shop and his twelve sons (well two, but seemed like more ) came charging out of the door and before I knew what is happening they piled on top of me and I was pinned to the ground until the cops arrived.

It took all my powers of persuasion and a kind old lady who had witness the event to clear my name and eventually I was free to go and I caught up with the rest of the gang, whom had witness the whole thing , but because they were weighed down with their shoplifting haul had wisely kept their distance.

Another time when I was stood outside a local builder’s yard waiting for someone, I was delighted and beside myself with joy as I watched box after box of Time Bond glue being unloaded from a delivery truck and stacked against the yard wall.

I sent for the rest of the gang and when darkness fell I supervised as my cousin Pickle, scaled the wall and began throwing over boxes of glue. We brought it all up to a Davey Johnston’s (a friend) house and he promised to look after it and only take a few tins for himself and his mates. I didn’t really care at that stage as I was off my head on glue and went off to my favourite spot in the local park and laying down on a bed of grass I watched for hours as the stars drifting endlessly across the heavens on their timeless dance through the universe.

A few days later, out of glue I sat off to Davy’s house to pick a few tins and I was surprised to see a long line of teenagers queuing outside his front door. When I finally made it to the front of the queue I could see Davy’s Ma, Big Barbara hanging out the window with a fag dangling from her mouth, a glue bag under her arm and enquiring of me

“How many tins of glue did I wish to purchase, love ? ”

Well you could have knocked me down with a feather and I demanded to see Davy right away. Turns out that Barbara had been hitting the glue herself and she’d enjoyed the experience so much she wanted to share the joy with the local population – at the right price off course.

I hid my disgust as I realised that half the stash had been sold or sniffed by Barbara, who was now singing and dancing in the street in her knickers and making rude suggestions to all and sundry.

Grabbing an armful of glue tins I headed off to the forest and the night sky and for a few hours lost myself in the mysteries of the universe and time and space.

Smoking Weed with Paul Weller


The Jam – When You’re Young


As I grew older and wiser (I know ) I gravitated towards more ahem.. Socially accepted drugs like weed, pills and acid and I must confess I had some very strange experiences on the way.

I remember once when I was visiting a friend and we were just chillin out with Paul Weller ( his dog) and his sister , Mad Maggie , who worked as a cleaner in the local butchers shop came home with a bag full of off-cuts the butcher had gifted her.

Looking in the bag I was disgusted to see that it was mostly pig’s trotters (some of them still had hair on them) and the smell was so bad I almost threw up. Mad Maggie was rushing out on a date and putting the trotters on the stove to boil she ordered us to keep an eye on them and turn them off when they were cooked.

We sagely nodded our understanding and proceeded to get stoned as Paul Weller watched us from the floor with a look of utter disgust on his face.

After smoking’s countless joints we both got the mad munchies and as the shops were now closed we started hunting for food throughout the kitchen and were desperately disappointed to see that there was nothing in the fridge apart from a block of butter, half bottle of sour milk and a ball of cheese that had a fuzzy , luminous green cloak covering it.

Suddenly we both remember the pig’s trotters and after a momentary pause we grab them off the stove, drained them and proceeded to eat the lot, hair, toe nails and whatever other parts of a pig’s trotter that dwelled in the bottom of the pot.

Despite his unsociable behaviour we slung Paul Weller a few scraps and he rudely snatched them off us and giving us a contemptuous look he ran into the kitchen as if we were going to take them back of him and proceeded to hid them behind the bin.

But we were way to smart for that dog and when he settled down for a nap we tip toed past him and stole the trotters back and eat the lot


The Jam “Down In The Tube Station”


After our feast we both fell into a slumber and I drifted off into a satisfying snooze and the world was all good. Next thing I can feel something wet, hot and sticky sliding up and down my face and opening one eye I came face to face with Paul Weller and he was shamelessly licking the juices of the pigs trotter off my face.

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Shooing him out of the way I made my way to the kitchen and rinsed his slobber of my face and put the kettle on. Just then Mad Maggie comes down the stairs with her fella in tow and they are both laughing their heads off.

“What’s so fecking funny “ , I enquired

“You’re looking Ruff, so you are” says Mad Maggie’s fella

“Did you enjoy the dogs dinner, did you? “

Laughs Mad Maggie in my face and I remembered the pigs trotter and almost throw up all over them.

Apparently the trotters had been laying about the butchers for the past two – three weeks and were far beyond what was considered fit for human consumption and we had eaten the lot of them. Grabbing my coat I left in a hurry and as I past Paul Weller in the hall I swear I heard him snigger!

Feckin dog.

Mod revival

I’m the one with the shades on


The Who – I Can’t Explain


The mod revival was a music genre and subculture that started in England in 1978 and later spread to other countries (to a lesser degree). The mod revival’s mainstream popularity was relatively short, although its influence has lasted for decades. The mod revival post-dated a Teddy Boy revival, and mod revivalists sometimes clashed with Teddy Boy revivalists, skinhead revivalists, casuals, punks and rival gang members.


The Jam – Thick as Thieves


The late 1970s mod revival was led by the band The Jam, who had adopted a stark mod look and mixed the energy of punk with the sound of 1960s mod bands. The mod revival was a conscious effort to harken back to an earlier generation in terms of style. In the early 1980s in the UK, a mod revival scene influenced by the original 1960s mod subculture developed.

A dedicated follower of fashion


Small Faces – Itchycoo Park



Around the early 1980s when I was 15/16 I started taking a more serious interest in my street cred and for the first time ever I started getting into music in a big way and this opened up a whole new world for me.

Up until that point I’d enjoyed some of the pop and disco tunes which dominated the late 70’s early 80s charts and if push came to shove I could sing along to all the songs in “Grease “if the feeling took.

Which I’m not ashamed to admit it sometimes did.

But then I discovered a band that seemed to speak to me personally and the lead singer seemed to understand the angst and pitfalls of my teenage odyssey and hence Paul Weller and The Jam became my teenage obsession.


The Jam – Going Underground


The Jam were starting to get noticed around this time and in my book were  the coolest band in the world and Paul Weller’s lyrics spoke to my soul like no one before or since . I couldn’t get enough of The Jam and came to love timeless classic like Down in the Tube Station at Midnight , That’s Entertainment, Thick as Thieves and the tune that was their first number one hit “ Going Underground” released in March 1980 and going straight to the top of the charts.

I began to embraced the whole Mod scene and became a dedicated follower of fashion and a connoisseur of the Mod movement from the 60s to the “Modern World “of the early 1980s were I now dwelt.

Me in the Middle, My Brother David on the right and my BFF Gary on the left


The High Numbers – Zoot Suit


At first I followed the style of the modern Mods and dressed to impress I started hanging about the Ballysillian area of Belfast and was quickly accepted by all the Mods from Silver Stream and surrounding areas. Being Loyalist West Belfast many of these guys and their families were involved with the various loyalist paramilitaries groups and after the Friday night disco in the community centre we would often be approached and asked if we wanted to join the UDA and fight for our country.

I had no interest in fighting for my country at this stage in my life and was only interested in getting high and listening to Mod music and building up my ever growing record collection.

Also around this time I noticed that I had started getting interest from the female species and I was pleased to discover that they seemed to find me acceptable and without bragging I never had any problem finding female company when the mood took me. But once again my music and drugs came first and although I had many opportunities to “get off” with the various girls that hang about with us, I showed little interest and preferred the company of my mates and getting wasted.


It was around this time that I took my first acid trip and I had the most bizarre, scary, mind bending trip of my life. The acid in question was a particularly potent strain and I think my first mistake was taking three in one go.

There was a gang of us in the park and it was a dark, cold winter’s night and snow was falling all around and for a while I sat on the freezing ground and watched silently as the snowflakes drifted lazily from the sky and landed softly on the ground beneath me. Gradually the snow began to change colour and I watched fascinated as the flakes began to take on all the colours of the rainbow and red, blue, orange etc snowflakes engulfed me and explosions of colour, like tiny bombs were spontaneously appearing and disappearing before my eyes.

Well this started freaking me out and I asked my mates if they could also see what I was seeing and they all looked at me as if I was crazy and told me to “Enjoy the trip” .

Little did I know that this was only the beginning and I would be locked in a psychedelic world of wonder for the next ten hours.

As the night wore on and the acid took hold of me I began to get paranoid and was seeing things that couldn’t possibly be real, The moon had now turned into a giant purple and blue ball of fire and was playing pinball with a million different coloured stars and I watched in amazement as the stars bounced off each other and flew across the universe, to suddenly reappear right in front of my nose.

I was no longer enjoying this trip and in an effort to come down I decided to jog round the park and see if that brought me back to reality. As I jogged through the snow and slid all over the place I gradually started to feel more in control and coming to a shed at the back of some shops I sat down to catch my breath and then it happened.

Suddenly I heard the theme tune of Dr. Who and it seemed to fill every part of my being and soul and right in front of me I watched gob smacked as the Tardis materialised from thin air and the blue doors swung opened invitingly. Reality had been suspended and looking around I could see that there was no one or nothing in the universe but me and the Tardis and taking a few steps forward I entered and the door slammed closed behind me.

I stepped up to the console and fiddling with the time rotor I spun the dials and suddenly the engine started to rev up and the Tardis started to vibrate violently and the display started to spin backwards through the years , 1960 ,1920, 1901, 1876 , 1848 and stopped on 1841.

The Tardis had come to a stop and I nervously pushed the door open and stepped outside – straight into a scene from Victorian England. I was in a busy London street, the sun was shining and people dressed in Victorian clothes were going about their daily business. There were horses and carts everywhere and the smell was appalling and I stood in wonder and took in the scenes before.

The acid I had taken was not for the faint hearted and although my eyes and ears were telling me I was in Victorian England , somewhere at the back of my acid confused consciousness I knew I couldn’t really have travelled back through time – could I ?

Then I panicked – How the hell was I going to get back to Ballysillian and the 1980s.

I kid you not, in my altered state I really did believed that I had travelled back through time and I was now stuck in Victorian England. I didn’t consider the sheer ridiculousness of the situation I found myself in , my only concern was getting back to the future and I started to freak out and run up and down the streets , dodging horses I begged people to help me , but they didn’t seem to know I was there and this just freak me out more.

Eventually I came across the Tardis again and this time it opened from the top and I hurriedly climbed in and closed the door above me and peace descended as I closed my eyes and tried to block out the nightmare I found myself in.

I must have fallen asleep and was awoken suddenly as the Tardis started to vibrate again and opening my eyes I braced myself for another journey through time and space.

This acid was a bitch and I was cursing myself for taking so much.

Suddenly the top door of the Tardis open and light flooded in and to my amazement a man was staring down at me and the look on his face said it all. I was also relieved to see that he was dressed in clothes that were definitely 1980s and not 1880s. I clambered out and taking in the scene I realized that my Tardis had been an industrial wheelie bin and the guy had come to drop off some rubbish. I had spent the night covered in shit and waste and smelt like a bad weekend.

The guy who had released me looked as though he had seen a ghost and thanking him I made off down the hill and home for a long soothing bath and a good long talk with myself about the dangers of acid!

We are the Mods


When I wasn’t trying to kill myself with drugs or getting lost in a parallel universe I took being a Mod very seriously and fully embraced the sub cultural that was sweeping the UK and the streets of Belfast. At this stage I didn’t really know or mix with any Catholics, as simple I never had the opportunity to meet them as Catholics would never venture into the badlands of Loyalist West Belfast .


Belfast  Mods documentary

I’m the guy with the hat at 2.08


But as time moved on and I got more and more into the Mod scene my world was ever expanding and I started going to Mod clubs in Belfast City Centre and further afield and mixing with Mods from all walks of life , regardless off religious or politically backgrounds.

Me and David Homes ( Homer)
Me on front of Belfast Mods Book

Before long I was a well known face in the Belfast Mod scene and was on the rocky road to more hell raising adventures and lost weekends and if you want to know about these come back soon and I will take you by the hand and lead you into a world of unimagable stupidity – My World. ( Secret Affairs )

Steve Marriott feature image

See Steve Marriott – his life story & rare pictures

noddy funeral

See : The Loyalist Mod: Death of a fellow Mod & A catholic friend! Noddy Clarke R.I.P

Please see home page or follow this link to read of my autobiography




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Now I have two kids and I would be horrified if they got up to half the things I did back in me youth and I would be really disappointed to learn they were using drugs.. I know – hypocrite and all that , but back in the ghettos of loyalist West Belfast in the early 80s life was hard and very  different and I was living the rock and roll lifestyle.

More Mods stories :

See: below for other Iconic songs and the story behind them .