Perth in the early 1980s had a vibrant scooter scene. Although nothing like overseas in terms of size, it was unmatched for tenacity. Try importing a fresco 15,000km, without internet, without a clue where to source and to be honest how to fit, but it happened out of a desire to be different. From youth then came trades, careers, mortgages, children and the scene moved on.
Six Perth 80s scooter boys got together one night in the summer of December 2004 for a few beers. End result was a few less brain cells and a commitment to form a new club. Somewhat amazingly the lager talk actually happened. Credit cards were dented, visa statements were hidden and what was old became new(ish). Runs were organised, a website created, the first In Crowd held and it grew from there. Old friends were reacquainted and many new ones created..
The name originated because none of the six could be arsed with coming up with one. Gareth suggested Paradise Lost as it was his old club in Wales. As this was the path of least resistance in terms of anyone having to think of an alternative, it was agreed.
What was it like to be a Mod in the early eighties in Perth West Australia? Well sit back and let me tell you my story. Perth in the eighties was ten years behind the rest of the world. But what Perth had was lots of migrants from UK, who brought with them the new trends and fashion from the home country. I left the UK in 1978 while the Punk scene was still happening but too young to get involved. I was mostly into disco and northern soul at the youth clubs. I’d never discovered mods until Quadrophenia was released on the big screen.
Before Quadrophenia, I associated myself with guys who liked footy, who also dressed the same. The standard was brogues or DM’s, Pegs or Bags trousers, polo shirts and levi jean jackets. Music wise we had to put up with Police and citizens youth clubs, which played mostly disco, but the occasional new wave hit.
Because we dressed different to the Aussie’s we came in for some abuse and fights. The local gang’s of bogans called us skinheads, we never thought our selves as skins, we had long smart hair cuts. Most of the guys I hung around were younger bothers of skinheads from the seventies. Most had moved on and married with kids. So there was always the legacy of tough skinheads in the area, and we often founds ourselves being hunted by the gang’s from outer suburbs looking for a rumble. Remember the seventies had only just finished, disco was still king, bell bottoms trousers were still around.
At the time we were just being typical of most lads in the UK, not really associated at any type of culture. On the TV, music was from count down on Sundays or sounds on Saturday. Occasionally you might get a new wave music clip, but what did it for me was Madness. I saw the video clip one step beyond, I loved it. I didn’t know what Ska was, but I was hooked. I went into Perth and into white rider records and brought “the best ska hits”. I also then discovered in the mall groups of Skins and Punks walking and posing. It was an eye opening; I never knew Perth had Punks.
You have to remember we didn’t have the internet, radio didn’t have any new music from UK, only the hits. The only way to find out about the knew trends was to watch the older lads who hung out around Alamba bars. Alamba bar was a skins pub, and here the fashion was boots, fred perry’s and crew cuts. I had the boots, Harrington and a Aussie penguin (fred perry fake) shirt. I was never quite in with this group of hard skins. I wasn’t fitting in with them; I just liked the fashion and music. I can’t pin point the time when I had finally discovered Mods and Quadrophenia but I jumped on the latest fad 100%.
Perth had a explosion of local bands and over seas visiting us. On the local scene we had the Punk Band Quick and the Dead. The Cure played at Blazes, and took on the local skins in between sets. Madness visited not once but twice. With a couple of schools mates also into being mods, we set about getting some wheels. Brought myself an LI150 from an old mod and northern soul Dj called Count Steph. The Lambretta had all the fruit, front and back crash bars (home made at Fremantle prison), I thought I was ace face. This time mods were popping up in the city, and finally we had a venue at the Charles hotel which had live bands and a local DJ who played our music. I think I was the first new generations of Mods in the 1980’s to have a scooter. I rolled into the carpark on the Lambretta at the Charles hotel and the whole place was full Mods without scooters. The deal was done, over the next couple of months everybody acquired a Vespa or Lambretta.