A new exhibition documents the thriving youth sub-cultures in the south-east during the 1980s, writes Marjorie Brennan/Posted at;irishexaminer.com –
The 1980s is often portrayed as a grim decade in Ireland; the country was in the throes of recession, emigration soared and conflict raged in the North. But for many of those who came of age in the ‘80s, it was a vibrant and exciting time, culturally, musically — and sartorially, especially if you were a mod (or modette). Joe Evans was a teenager in Waterford in the early 80s, indulging his nascent interest in photography in the nearby seaside resort of Tramore during the summer. More importantly though, Evans was a mod and proud.
“I was only 16, 17, and the photography was more a hobby than anything. I worked in the chipper in Tramore, and on a lunch break I’d bring the camera down and take a few pictures,” he says.
That hobby became a full-time job and Evans is now a staff photographer with the Waterford News and Star. However, back then, he was interested in capturing a snapshot of his fellow mods who would congregate in Tramore during the summer. One of his pictures is a strikingly evocative portrait of a group of teenagers against the backdrop of a wall daubed withmod graffiti. A younger member of the cohort sits on the ground, underneath a badge-bedecked parka. Behind is a shop window featuring doughnuts on sale at 10p each.
“I love looking at those details in the background… at an old car, a shop window or the prices,” says Evans, who knew most of the people in the picture. “The guy with the blond hair and the leather jacket was Whacker Mulrooney, who died last year. He styled himself on Sting in Quadrophenia.”
Evan’s pictures feature in Against the Current, an exhibition chronicling Waterford’s Counter-Cultural Movements from 1979-1996. The project, organised by Keith Daniels and Anthony Barron, covers four phases of youth culture in the city: the biker scene; mod and ska; punk, new wave and new romantic; and dance.
Daniels, who was also a mod, points to the release of the iconic Quadrophenia in 1979 as a lightning rod for his interest in the movement.
“I was very young but that’s where I got the bug. Then The Jam exploded. In Waterford, you had the first wave of mods, they faded away as they got older, then the new batch came in, and the scooter boy thing exploded around 1985/86; the three-button suit and parka gave way to combats and Docs [Dr Marten boots].”
For Daniels, being a mod was a way to break away from the norm.
“We were part of the alternative scene, we didn’t want to go to Preachers [nightclub] dancing around handbags. We wanted to be different. It was your identity — you were saying ‘this is who I am, this is what I believe in’.”…
Continued via… Source: We are the mods: New exhibition shows Irish youth sub-cultures in 1980s