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The Mods and Rockers

Rockers at Their Hangout

"Rockers at Their Hangout"

Part 3: Rockers and Rivalry

~ Introduction To The Rockers ~

As previously mentioned, The Mods were not the only gang that inhabited Liverpool in the mid-sixties. In contrast to much of the Mod’s styles and beliefs were The Rockers.

The Rockers enjoyed Rock and Roll, and their style consisted of jeans, boots and leather jackets. The Rockers were a British version of the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang. They wore black leather and studs, had anti-authority beliefs, and projected an easy rider nomadic romanticism. The Rockers lived for the present, with a scruffy, masculine, ‘bad boy’ image.

The Rockers were essentially from the working class and despised any fashion. They each had the same hairstyle, shaggy with a bit of slick to it. The Ace Café was the hangout of the Rockers for the greasy foods and jukeboxes. Riding motorcycles was of the upmost importance, so they kept away from drugs and alcohol. The motorcycles were also modified or "souped up" in order to be in top racing form. Every Rocker had a ‘Triumph’ or a ‘Norton’, a brand of motorcycle.

Rocker with Sidecar

"Rocker with a Sidecar"

~ Mods and Rockers Rivalry ~

In researching, one underlying issue has always been the conflict between the Mods and Rockers of Liverpool. The question is: was there really any serious conflict between the two gangs? Or was it, perhaps, a few media stories that bent the truth and were taken too far? The more research done the more it can be seen that boredom and the media was what eventually created confrontation between the Mods and the Rockers throughout the 1960's.

     As the Mods and Rockers grew in numbers and popularity, the media began publicizing their activities. The gangs developed a bad reputation through the media, who exaggerated many of their deviant acts. The community began treating Mods and Rockers like serious criminals for small acts of deviance such as sleeping on the beach and speeding on their scooters and motorcycles. Café owners and bartenders began to refuse them service because of the reputation they received from the media. Their newly acquired bad reputations only added to the anger and contempt the Mods and Rockers held toward mainstream society.

     The persistent media reporting created a sharp division between the Mods and Rockers. On Easter weekend in 1964, the rivalry created by the media between the Mods and Rockers finally boiled over in the town of Clacton. The fight between the two gangs resulted in several broken windows and the destruction of some beach huts. However, the media reported the altercation in national newspapers, suggesting there had been large scale riots and wholesale breakdown of public order. In actual fact, the incidents were not serious and gained little attention in the local press. It seems that in the absence of other newsworthy material, the national press, including the "New York Times" and "New York Herald Tribune", focused upon these rather harmless events. Headlines such as "they are hell-bent for destruction" were created as well as feature articles which suggested that the Mods and Rockers had intentionally set out to cause serious trouble. Prior to the reporting, there was no major rivalry or hatred between the Mods and Rockers. Through the media's distortion and manipulation of the event, the rivalry between the Mods and Rockers was amplified and a moral panic was created amongst the public. That is, as a result of the exaggerated media reports, the general public imagined the Mods and Rockers to be deviants, and became outraged at their behavior.

Part 4: Conclusion

The Mods and Rockers - Part 2: The ModsThe Mods and Rockers - Part 4: Conclusion

Submitted on April 11, 2002
© 2002 The Scotland Road Group. All rights reserved.

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