A Clockwork Orange (Film)

A Clockwork Orange (Film) Mods and Rockers

Mods and Rockers were two factions of the youth subculture bubbling up in Great Britain in the 1960s, when Anthony Burgess was writing A Clockwork Orange. These two particular groups had some public conflicts in the early 1960s, leading the media to label them as "folk devils".

Mods often listened to American music like soul, ska, and R&B. They wore tailor-made suits and rode on scooters. They hung out in coffee shops until the wee hours of the morning, like the beatniks of the 1940s and 50s. They got their fashion inspiration from European style magazines and French and Italian films. Rockers, on the other hand, rode motorcycles and wore black leather jackets. They greased their hair in to stiff pompadours, like their 1950s rock idols (like Elvis Presley).

In 1964, two years after A Clockwork Orange was published, several mods and rockers were jailed after riots exploded between the two groups in several seaside towns in Southern England. One particularly rowdy conflict occurred in Clacton on Easter Weekend 1964 when the two groups were throwing beach furniture at each other. Another brawl occurred in Brighton a few weeks later, lasting several days. These public battles led to a complete media frenzy, with some editorials claiming that the clashes signaled the total disintegration of British society. The media attention stoked the rivalry further, as newspapers realized that stories of mod-rocker conflicts were more eye-catching for readers. Often, headlines would ascribe violence to mods and rockers when they had nothing to do with it.