Zoot suits

corn exchange

It was 1964.  I was 14.  I wasn’t going to the Corn Exchange regularly, but Sandra and I would walk past on a Saturday night and see which of the Chelmsford mods were there, standing on the steps.  We’d go into the Golden Fleece or the Lion and Lamb, and sometimes the groups would be there, having a drink.  We wouldn’t talk to them though, that wouldn’t be cool at all.

Meanwhile – in my diary I wrote down the songs I heard on Mike Raven’s show on Radio 390 or maybe even on Radio Luxemburg or Radio Caroline.  In small neat block capitals at the top of the page I would name the tracks I liked.  On 7 October 1964 I wrote ‘Mercy, Mercy’ Don     and the Time….  It was as much of the name as I could catch, as the reception on my little transistor swayed in and out.

On 1 October I noted Joe Hinton, singing ‘Funny.’

They never got into the top ten then or at all.  In those autumn weeks they couldn’t compete with Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison and I’m Crying by the Animals, both of which I liked.  But my Radio 390 choices were cooler, they were almost exclusive, they were mod.


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