Remembering my days as a 'Mod'

Lambretta Li 150 motor scooter, c1963, with a red and white livery steel body, which also features Union flag and classic mod target symbols. The seat is covered with an artificial leopard print fur cover. The scooter has extra outrider wing mirrors attached to the front and a Union flag is mounted on the aerial at the rear of the scooter.
Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove

My favourite pinball machine

Every time I pass The Cottage I think of all my old friends from my ‘Mod’ days. Most people seem to remember the juke box, but my favourite machine had a pinball in it, and I would spend many hours playing for those highly desirable replays. Upstairs was like a social club where we would sit in our Parkas and plan our entertainment, which party to gatecrash, which town would benefit from a mass scooter visit at the weekend, stuff like that. When the food and sugar from the bowl in the middle of the table ran out after flicking it at each other, it was time to leave for another coffee bar.

Showing off round the bends

Usually we went to Tiffany’s; the journey gave a great opportunity to show off, rounding the bends through Kemp Town and scraping the exhaust pipe on the road in a shower of sparks. Beer and pubs were for old men, but in any case with petrol at 4/6d a gallon and spotlights to buy for your scooter, mine had about 40 on it, you could not afford it.

A memorable accident

Our Lambrettas and Vespas, would be lined up outside The Cottage, and one evening I’d just parked, when a taxi pulled out from Middle Street into Duke Street. Suddenly  a Jeep ran into the side of the taxi. The open top Jeep sailed through the air in front of my face, complete with its four occupants, in a sort of slow motion tumbling effect, and landed upside down on the road in front of me. Surprisingly they all crawled out from underneath unhurt. The taxi was pushed sideways and hit the row of scooters and crushed Tony Marlow’s into the wall of the pub.

Remembering old friends

I ran into the Cottage, gagging to tell everyone the news and it evacuated the place. I don’t know why we couldn’t stop laughing at Tony’s broken machine, maybe it was because it was now half its original length. Regards to the names I remember:- Mike Small, Alan Clayton, Joe McGrath, “Dozy” Dave Mitchell, “Pontious”(never knew his name), Alan Miles, Tony Rhodes, Tony Marlow, Pete Johnson, Larry Poulton and Rod and all the girls who were the main focus of our lives.

Comments about this page

  • Names from the past. Always wondering where they are, nice to know they are alive and remembering those wonderful times of youthfulness. I can vouch for everything Richard remembers about the Cottage, adding that we all watched the 1966 World Cup in the attic. Times passes but we are all young again when we remember the Brighton of our youth.

    By Mike Small (13/12/2012)
  • I like this page. I was a Mod and Hippie who came from Brighton; I was always in The Cottage and the King and Queen pub. The Cottage was run by Ian Mussio, if I can remember. Great place, great times. What about The Zodiac coffee bar at the bottom of St James’s Street, then?

    By Roger G Brown (21/09/2013)
  • Hi Mike Small. My brother Tony is well and has just got himself another scooter (still in the blood).

    By Clifford Marlow (24/05/2014)
  • I used to go to The Cottage in the early 60’s on my Lambretta with my pal Adrian Tincknell who was a mechanic at Blabers Scooter Centre at the bottom of Dyke Rd just before the Clock Tower and the Arcade. Adrian was ‘the business’ as he had a ‘powerful’ Lambretta TV 200. I went out with his sister Anona for a while. She lived with her sister Angela and parents in Carden Ave Patcham. Her Dad was a copper which was a bit tricky for Adrian and me as we used to go a bit wild on our scooters………

    By Neville Bolding (14/01/2018)
  • Is this the Cottage at the top of Middle Street set back in a small Twitten, if so in the early 70s me and my surfer mates would go there for a cup of tea. It was the first place where I had seen drugs going around, kind of a trendy bohemian atmosphere, can’t remember how it fell out of fashion, maybe it got raided! The Mod era was just before my time, although being born in ’56 I do remember it well with great affection. In fact as soon as I was 16 I bought a Lambretta identical to the one in the picture, wish I still had it!  I was really a ‘Rocker ‘ at heart as I now own a 1600cc Harley with 18 inch apes, soon gonna get a Vespa to putt around on, so the Mod image remains!

    By Peter Paolella (17/01/2018)

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