Sunday 10 March 2013

Quadrophenia – Great Retro Brit Flick

Quadrophenia – Great Retro Brit Flick

I can remember the first time I saw the advert at the Bank Underground station in 1979. I worked at the Royal Mail – King Edward Building and I was eighteen years old – very impressionable and everything retro British from the sixties appealed to me. There was Sting from the band: The Police and Toyah Willcox who were all rock stars of that time. I saw a line of Mods with Sting and Toyah plus a various group of young up and coming actors. Quadrophenia: A way of life.

I went to the cinema with my friends to see the movie and loved it with all the Who music. There was a resurrection of mod type bands too in the late seventies – most notable, probably; The Jam. Everything in Britain from the late seventies and into the eighties seemed like a dream world for me at eighteen. Of course, I was wishing I had been eighteen in the Retro British sixties at the time. Instead I was an infant watching Doctor Who and Batman. I can remember the music but was too unappreciative of it because I was a kid.

As I got older and watched Quadrophenia again – set in 1964; I enjoyed it for the deeper reason of the story line. As an eighteen year old, I was too busy fantasying about being a mod in the sixties and the real aspect of the rude coming of age story, concerning anti-hero Jimmy, was lost to me. Now this part of the story is so much more clear and enjoyable. When I first saw the film and Jimmy is walking away from the cliffs of Beachy Head with the sun setting; it was lost to me that the beginning was the end. The Ace’s wonderful scooter is at the bottom smashed upon the rocks.

Jimmy (Phil Daniels)
The story of our narrow sighted hero Jimmy starts off with him being a happy Mod in 1964. The world is his oyster and he is a Mod with hundreds of other young Mods because they want to be different – ha ha ha. Its brilliant and our character Jimmy (Played by Phil Daniels) is a rudely sketched lad as he goes on his little growing up journey. He climbs to the top of his futile and unworthy little ambitious pinnacle and falls to see his feeble little world in tatters. He loses the plot and steals the Ace’s scooter because he makes the shocking discovery that things are not quite the way he thought against the background of a ‘Who’ track with lyrics saying the same sort of thing. He rides this stolen scooter along the cliffs of Beachy Head, aimlessly drifting closer to the edge as he comes to terms that he has to grow up and face the big world. This part is portrayed through vision and song with the cliffs being the edge in real life terms and Jimmy’s own versatile mental stability. Will he? Won’t he? – Well the beginning is the end as we see him walking away from the cliffs towards the camera. “Can you see the real me – Can you? Can you?”  “Bell Boy, Bell Boy.”


All these different songs are wrapped in the “Love – rain on me” by The Who.  This Brit flick is great and grows on me with age. 

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