Trying to look cool?
The photograph here, circa 1966, appeared on an invitation to a birthday celebration my wife and I received. I was drawn to iconic look and assumed it was a professional photo copied from a magazine or book. “Oh no, my wife said, that’s Isabella who I work with, third from the left, it’s her birthday”. The photo captures the look of that time and could easily have come from a Quadrophenia promotional advertisement. I thought the girl second from the left had ‘attitude’; on closer examination I came to the conclusion they are all trying to look so cool.
‘Whatcha Gonna Do About It’
At the celebration some weeks later I discovered more about the photograph. The girls had all just left school and were aged about fifteen to sixteen years old. One of their favourite haunts was The Barn in West Street, which hosted live music. Of the many bands they saw at The Barn was the newly formed influential London mod group The Small Faces. One of their hits was ‘Whatcha Gonna Do About It’ which would seem to illustrate the girls attitude.
The Barn in West Street
The Barn was near the bottom of West Street, on the left going down. Access was via a narrow alley way and steep staircase, which then opened out onto a big venue. On the right of the photograph, the B of the word Barn can be seen, and on the left there is advertising for one of Brighton’s early take-a-ways.
Do you remember?
Were you a Mod? Did you ever go to The Barn in West Street? If you can share your memories with us, please leave a comment below.