This is a journey I have never undertaken, although I did once travel from Chelmsford to Birmingham on a scooter. It was a cream and green Lambretta. I was on the back and got rather badly sunburned, but that’s another story.
Now there are feverish preparations for the London Launch of A Sense of Occasion. Bill from St Louis has sent a wondrous collection of 60s singles for the juke box – from the Four Tops, through the Crystals, the Supremes, Tommy Tucker, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, to Howlin’ Wolf and Elmore James.
The directions on how to reach the venue in Lincoln’s Inn Fields have been circulated. The cumfy chairs have been organised. The wine has been ordered. The big question of the day really boils down to one thing – ‘Will there be enough Twiglets?’
But, putting aside such grave concerns and to get in the mood, here is Martha Reeves, with the Vandellas, appearing on Ready Steady Go in 1965. The weekend really does start here.
The Saracen’s Head will be humming – just as it did when mods dropped in, lurching from the Lion and Lamb, via the Golden Fleece and the White Hart, parking their scooters outside, slipping out of their parkas.
The play list for the launch has been one of the most important features. As regular visitors to this website will know, the stories in A Sense of Occasion trace the lives of four mod girls in the 60s – love loss laughter and scooters. So the music has got to catch the essence. The Four Tops, Spencer Davis, Green Onions, a smattering of the Beatles, James Brown, Donnie Elbert and more. Just listening to the tracks now is like being at the Corn Exchange on a Saturday night. Everyone smelling their best – Old Spice or Avon’s Wishing. Everyone looking their best in their suede coats and their Hush Puppies.
Books will be on sale, books will be signed. There will be a prize for the best mod outfit. There will be lights, there will be music. Can’t wait!