Squire go Nationwide! - The latest Newsletter

Hi and welcome to the latest newsletter where we travel back in time to September 1979 and watch a clip Squire live on stage at The Bridge House, home of the Mods Mayday album!

A few days ago BBC Archives added to their YouTube channel, a documentary sequence focused on the emerging 1979 mod scene in the UK. Entitled The Mod Revival - Retro Fashion, the ten minute clip was first shown on Thursday 13th September 1979, on the prime time news programme Nationwide, and never shown again - until now. 

What’s remarkable for Squire fans is that the first minute is of Squire playing ‘Walking Down The Kings Road’ live on stage! This segment was actually filmed on the ‘Mods Monday’ gig at the Bridge House on 10th September 1979, only four days before then broadcast.

Not only is it the first film footage of Squire to be found from that era, its probably the only footage from that era that exists! You can see a copy of the entire segment on the link below, or on the BBC archive site. 

The clip starts with fans mingling outside the Bridge House venue, and the film crew then head inside to capture Squire play 'Walking Down The Kings Road! The first camera was set up in from of Enzo, looking across the stage, The second camera was positioned behind Anthony looking out to the audience. You get a great glimpse of the striped jackets and the back of the Rickenbacker 325, and Kevin on drums!

The documentary then interviews scooterists from Yorkshire who confirm their involvement in the Quadrophenia film, and discuss how the culture of scooter clubs had prevailed in Yorkshire.

Then Ian Page from Secret Affair looking like he's walking in time to 'Walking Down The Kings Road!” - but along Westbourne Grove, London, is interviewed.

This is followed by a visit to The Lyceum Ballroom in London for the Quadrophenia Fashion show. Here you see both John Entwistle and Kenny Jones from The Who (Roger Daltrey was also in attendance but not Pete Townshend). Also in shot are various 1960s icons such as Justin De Villenueve (Twiggy’s 60s manager).

You can also see members of Back To Zero, alongside Ian Page (the bands were playing together on the national March Of The Mods tour at the time). So the event mixes the producers of Quadrophenia alongside the Neo-mod cohort, and you can appreciate how the wide commercial umbrella of Quadrophenia co-opted the growing mod scene and the savvy fashion industry into a snowball of interconnected interests.

Ian Page is later interviewed in what appears to be the recording studio in Westbourne Grove, during their LP recording sessions. There is a final wrap with the scooterists.

Four months earlier, in May 1979, The London Weekend Programme with Janet Street Porter, had presented an expose on the rising Mod scene which aired at lunchtime on Sunday 20th May on UK Channel 4. Though the lunchtime slot was not seen by many, incredibly, Squire were performing alongside The Purple Hearts, Back To Zero and The Crooks at an all day festival in Bishop Stortford on the same day, and we all stopped sound checking to watch the programme live on TV! 

While the presenters in both documentaries, Nationwide’s James Hogg, as well as London Weekend’s Janet Street Porter, approach the subject with the usual disdain reserved for media programmes on youth culture, following certain conventions built in to the way pop and fashion used to be presented, what is interesting is not only to be able to now compare the two snapshots of the mod revival as presented, but appreciate how interest had grown from art magazine program to prime time TV.

So while the May documentary presented a grass roots underground scene, the September programme reported on a scene about to break into the mainstream. 

Until then, interest in the burgeoning ‘mod revival’ was limited to music magazines or specialist programmes, but here it was, albeit presented in a light hearted way, on prime time telly!

For Squire, and the mod scene in general, September was the month everything went from grass roots commotion to overground phenomenon.

A couple of weeks earlier, on 12 August, we had recorded 'Walking Down The Kings Road b/w It’s A Mod Mod World, with The Face Of Youth Today also recorded during the same session (and held over as the second A side). A few days later on August 15th, label mates Secret Affair released their debut single ‘Time For Action’. The national UK March of The Mods Tour with Secret Affair, Back To Zero and Purple Hearts was in progress, and we joined them on the Bank Holiday Monday 27th August show at Canvey Island. Secret Affair appeared for the first time later that week on Top Of The Pops on 30th August.

So the stage was set for a Squire and mod high profile September! 

On 1st September a Squire full page interview appeared in Sounds music paper, and the following week Sounds published a multi page account of the Canvey Island festival, which included images of mods on the nearby beach, and the text played on parallels to the 60s silhouette of mods and rockers and bank holiday skirmishes.

While Squire had been performing regularly, the Mods Monday concert on 10th September was key since it was filmed for prime time TV. The show was aired on 13th September, the same day Secret Affair appeared for the second time on Top Of The Pops, with the single eventually peaking at No 13.

Squire’s own single ‘Walking Down The Kings Road’ was released on 21st September and on the same day, the BBC Radio One Round Table singles review show declared it ‘Record Of The Week! We heard thew show live while on our way to play at the White Lion pub in Putney!

Finally a Squire interview was featured in the following weeks edition of NME music magazine on 29th September!

So it was the month Squire finally caught the attention of the national media and went nationwide!

Indeed, it was the month the entire mod scene captured the attention of a nationwide audience. The Jam, not mentioned in the Nationwide TV clip, had never got a single higher than No. 15, but their next single ‘The Eton Rifles’, which premiered on 15th September BBC2 programme Something Else, made it to No 3 on 18th November, by which time, Squire was on the national ‘Dancing In The Streets’ tour with Secret Affair, and Quadrophenia was being shown in the cinemas across the country! 

Finally Squire have some exciting news! Next week on 30th October we are playing alongside From The Jam at Scarborough Spa in Yorkshire! The gig, originally postponed from this time last year is a last minute surprise for Squire fans from Yorkshire!


All the best from Squire.


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