Living as a Mod in the 21st Century

Sunday, May 26, 2013

This city's got Soul! A Mod's weekend in Boston

Every time I'm asked to be part of the DJ line-up at the weekly Soulelujah night in Cambridge, Massachusetts just outside Boston, I feel honoured. A six hour drive is not enough to keep me away. Not only do I get to rub elbows with some of the best American DJs like Ty Jesso, Josh Styles and Sean Quinn but the crowd is like no other. 

How many world class cities can boast having its most popular club night being a 60s Soul night? After the recent tragic events the city has endured, I'm humbled to see how its residents have carried on and continued to support the restaurants and the nightlife. I love this city!

New York's DJ Josh Styles

I rarely get to DJ where there's a line-up to get in and a fully packed dance floor starting at 11 pm. I can safely say that it's one of the highlights of my DJ career. For a sample of my playlist, I invite you to have a listen at the latest Parka Avenue podcast on Mixcloud.

A Mod's way to show support for a city is pretty straight forward... You shop! I didn't spend a lot of time digging for vinyl because I spent all my record allowance on a single 45 that my mate Ty was ready to part with. Frankie Beverly and The Butlers - If That's What You Wanted had been at the top of my want list forever! If you don't already know this Northern Soul classic then it's about time you get acquainted with this brilliant dancer. To say that this one is rare is an understatement and to have it on the original 60s Greek label Top Tunes makes it even more special. Only a few copies are known to exist.

The rest of my travelling budget was spent in a few local shops that were recommended by my adopted Boston family. How great it is to have a few Mod friends that are willing to share with you some of their secret spots. Oops! I guess they're not a secret anymore. And to do it all on a Vespa, well, that's priceless!

A little rain won't stop us!
Just a block away from my mate's Eric's place in Allston is the Urban Renewals thrift shop. Just like any thrift store, it's always hit or miss but when you hit gold, the rewards are worth it. In this case, I picked up two, practically brand new, button down Brooks Brothers shirts for 9$. That's what I call a steal!

Next was Store 54 on Harvard Avenue. This place has it all. Local art, records, collectibles, a few antiques and some great pieces of vintage clothing. 

Once you have gotten over the initial shock of seeing an "art sculpture" made of 45s, you head downstairs in  Ali Baba's cavern.

I managed to find a couple of cheap 45s to give to friends, a 45 record box (can't have enough of those!) and some really nice vintage slim ties that were very reasonably priced. The best part of this shopping experience has to be the friendly owner. A real nice gent and a welcomed change from my last encounters I had with record shop owners.

Truly the friendliest place in town

Our next destination was this little vintage jewelry shop called Twentieth Century Limited. It's the type of place that only a local lad would know about. Even if I had a tire blowout in the pouring rain on the way there (thanks Eric for taking care of the flat tire!) it was worth seeking out.

Once you have passed the front door, go directly to the back where you'll find the cufflinks and tie bar counter. If you don't find what you're looking for there, then you might as well give up on your search for the perfect pair of vintage cufflinks. I have never seen a better organized place. They are all orderly stored in labelled trays, by colour, theme or type of material.

I have long been searching for a decent pair of wraparound cufflinks and their selection was impressive. The find of the day has to be these deadstock links that are made to transform your ordinary pair into some classy wraparounds. Ingenious! Not bad for 12$.

Our last stop was a place I had been before on my last visit. The Garment District should be visited on a regular basis. You never know what you'll end up leaving with. 

A shame these weren't in my size
This time I put my hands on a handful of brand new 60s ties (still had the cardboard inside) and a dress for the lovely wife back at home. The best part about this place is that your girlfriend will think that you spent a fortune on her when in fact you'll probably receive some change on a 20$ bill. But don't worry, the secret is safe with me!

I don't how when I'll be back in Boston but I'm already looking forward to visiting again really soon. 


  1. If you've actually heard that buffoon styles dj, you should realize he's terrible. Or maybe he magically manifests taste and skill outside of NYC?

    1. I can't speak for his NYC gigs but I have to say to he played some killer Soul and RnB. He is quite the character though.