I realized when it was too cold to posture otherwise any longer. A burning sensation in my throat, dry mouth, as if the years of self-delusion were a thirst gone unfulfilled, a laughable memory, all that time scruffy, unkempt, no diagonal lines. I was thirsty, and so I filled a jar with water. Caterpillar, I wanted to refer to myself as Caterpillar and so I wondered about what this mod-me would like, what books he would misquote and how drunkenly; what colour the Vespa, and how many unfinished splatter paintings. I considered the practical matters, that it will be getting even colder. I murmured to myself: what does a mod do in the cold? The record player is on, The Small Faces, the side-B waiting to touch needle, beckoning to the tribe of mods international, the global mods, the East London of everywhere. I was no longer rocker, at last, this Feeling:
A mod me, of course, would have to undergo some serious and potentially invasive procedures. One does not overnight become a mod, rather one is always mod, carries mod eggs, an essential mod-ness. Or it should take only 15 minutes. I knew all this, but found myself doubtful, concerned overmuch. “Fifteen Mods Trampled in Berlin Night Club.” I had read that the other day, and there was a knife in the room. A dangerous kind of slinging of sub-culture, this practitioner mod who still smokes cigarettes, flask tucked into purse, the boots of the Hip Dead Goddess. A mod me would know better how to snap, would know who’s house, who to be humble in front of, and for whom to show-off. I thought of Oscar Wilde, of course, who said, “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.”
Some days I would grow hungry but refuse to eat in a casual manner. A mod-me starving us, slouching in the living room.
It was then that I could become militant in my identification. The mod-me had become teen-aged, as it were and so I learned how to sneer, didn’t trust authority, tried to get arrested. This was very troubling, some sneaky cognitive dissonance at work, and I was surrounded by grainy footage. I thought of Berlin, again, I looked at pictures, I took notes. There in front of us, and at last- the sharp teeth of the comb, scraping the scalp of the commons. Or a promise of that nature, a grand mod promise, for even in mod there is something aspirational at work, the never ending path towards quintessential mod. Mod is a time, a time signature, I would remind myself.
As the sun rose on East London, on Brighton, on all or none of us, I was alone and awake, a shard on the broken window of last night and all that. It was then that the mod-me finally coughed, collected his little jacket, tightened the shoe-laces on his pointy Italian shoes which is to say that I realized the promise of mod, the mod ideal, is itself, a kind of performance. A mod drag at work. A mod me, chewing bubble gum, round sun-glasses, heading out the door. But of course, it was very very cold, when at last, I saw her.