As punk spluttered to a standstill in the late 70s – except for some sod awful bands that tried to keep the flame alight – a whole load of youth cults bubbled to the surface. One of them was a revival of the 60s mod sound and look. Around Carnaby Street, you could once more bump into chaps who looked like they’d just been auditioning to be in The Who circa 1966.
The Jam were at the forefront but they were always much, much more than simply a mod revival combo. The Purple Hearts, The Lambrettas and Secret Affair formed the core of this movement and scored some chart hits. But it was an 18 month to two year wave that came and went – though the same could be said of the other youth cults of the time.
The classified ads section of the music papers were full of mod gear you could buy. Here’s a shopping list from 1980 with prices of mod gear on sale at a shop in the Midlands.
Union Jack Fabric Belt – £1.75
The Who belt buckles – £2.90
Target Straight Ties – £2.90
Badges were 40p each or 5 for £1.75 with Lambrettas, Merton Parkas, Specials, Selecter, etc.
It’s a funny old thing – but looking back over my copies of the NME, Sounds, Smash Hits, Melody Maker, etc, etc….up pops Toyah. All the bleedin’ time. As late as April 1983, No 1 magazine is telling us that Toyah has released ONLY two singles that year – The Vow and Rebel Run and ONLY one album – Love is the Law. Can’t say I remember a single note from these songs or that august album.
In 1983, she also acted for six months in a “wrestling play” called Trafford Tanzi – and, her people pointed out, she acted in it for every night for six months unlike that Debbie Harry who only lasted two weeks in the US version. Hmmm….I’m with Debbie Harry. Maybe she just had better things to do.
Toyah, for her part, was her usual bubbly self: “1983 was a very good year for me, a very busy year, with Tanzi and everything. I found it enjoyable but not my best year to date – I’m hoping 1984 will be.”
She then went on to say that it was very good that Maggie Thatcher had got re-elected (not very punk of her) and it was going to take time for her policies to work. However, Toyah didn’t think Thatcher would win the next election. Wrong on both counts then.
Toyah then announced that she’d been having a go at bodypopping (don’t visualise if you’ve just eaten). But unfortunately “my physique’s a bit wrong”. Surely not.