Monday, 18 July 2011

Reading Steady Go! An Exhibition of Mod Culture

Yesterday I went to an excellent exhibition, "Reading Steady Go" featuring original '60's Mod Culture in Reading and surrounding areas at the Reading Museum & Gallery.  
Here's my impressions and some pictures (before the guard told me to stop taking photos...)

As you enter there's a juke box in one corner playing some classic Mod and Soul tracks of the era. Dobie Gray's "The "In" Crowd" follows The Who's "Substitute" and then it's into "Sha La La La Lee" by the Small Faces and many more timeless songs.

The exhibition room is well laid out with lots of display cases stuffed full of pictures, clothes, record covers, style accessories and other bits of Modernist memorabilia. Some excellent gig posters adorn the walls along with photos of the locations and movers and shakers of the scene.
There are Sixties clothes and even mock-ups of a typical Mod teenager's bedroom and a barber shop - where the discerning young Mod would spend a lot of time ensuring his hair was styled in the the latest fashion. But the Exhibition's main centre-piece is a stand featuring beautiful Vespa and Lambretta scooters, you just want to hop on one when the guard is not looking and drive on down to Brighton Beach!
There are stands with eye-witness reports which set the scene and help the exhibition come to life as you are really drawn in to people's comments on what was happening at the time.
Reading was a major Mod location mainly due to it being the largest town in the area around which the famous Ricky-Tick Club revolved. The Ricky-Tick was resident in various venues including Reading, High Wycombe, Maidenhead and Guildford but became more established in Windsor and near-by riverside Clewer Manor.
Looking at the list of names who played there makes me wish I had been born about twenty years earlier as I might have seen The Yardbirds, The Who, Geno Washington and even Jimi Hendrix all a few miles from my house! In fact nearly all of the Sixties top acts would perform at The Ricky-Tick as they started off in the music business, Eric Clapton with John Mayall's band, Georgie Fame, Zoot Money,  The Animals amongst others. 
The Rolling Stones played many times at the various Ricky-Tick locations and in the exhibition you can see one of Brian Jones' guitars and jackets (pictured above right).

The Exhibition is free and runs until October 09th and as the Gallery is only five minutes from Reading rail station you could even pop in while you're waiting for your delayed train!


  1. Thanks for the comment! I really enjoyed The Strokes, PJ Harvey, Daniel Norgren and WhoMadeWho… And a lot of other bands of course. I actually know about Way Out West - I go there every year. It's such a cool festival, and they always manage to book so many great bands. Can't wait to see Okkervil River and Pulp this year!

  2. Sounds great - I hope you manage to get to see Nymphet Noodlers & Ian Person too while you are at W.O.W!