Young Birds Fly

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Being a malignant and begrudging sort of fellow I tend not to do requests. This entry is the exception however. The ultra-obscure American indie film ‘Young Birds Fly’ about the stateside Mod scene (I didn’t know there was one) was brought to my attention by Old Rope, who has not seen it, but longs to do so violently and disturbingly. As a sort of cinematic methadone to keep him ticking over until he can see the real thing, I have employed all of my powers of misrepresentation and hogwash to conceive of what the film might be like and how I would go about reviewing it. If, alternatively, you would like to get some reliable and accurate information about ‘Young Birds Fly’, then follow this link where thou wilt.

They never stood a chance. It is as if the Nazis or the Russians had won the war and America were now a communist-fascist colony. But much much worse and much much more serious. The others are everywhere now. Tearing up the highways on their odious choppers, their dandruffed mutton chops flapping triumphantly in the breeze. Yes, America was ever thus, the preserve of that most infamous and insectoid of sub-cultural types: the Rocker. Meanwhile, the American Mod has been a stranger in his own land: his dapper aesthetic misunderstood; his Vespa scooter derided for its unobtrusive, wasp-like hum; his beat and northern-soul LPs banished from the record-shop floor. He betakes himself to the east coast and strains his small, chic eyeballs across the Atlantic to his spiritual home: Brighton, England. Then he weeps, but does so carefully, so that he does not damage his elegant lapels with hot drops of briny, ocular discharge.

The hero of this unknown, self-financed film (the studios are in the pay of the rocker scum, see) is a noble Modette named Jimmy, who spends her days squatting and frumping under a willow tree, dreaming of the Mod revolution to come. When that day arrives she will lead the vanguard on her lime-green Lambretta, wielding a modrod and trepanning any Hell’s Angel, Teddy Boy or Metallica fan who stands in her way. Then, when the ugly Rocker scourge has been vanquished, she will celebrate in the ancient, sacred Mod fashion: by doing a funny little dance with her knees and wrists to such timeless classics as: ‘Can’t get your love out of my lovin’ mind’ by The Bow-Ties, ‘Your lovin’ mind is in my love’ by The Soul-Crabs and ‘Mind out love you’re standing on my love again’ by The Whiskers. Eventually, when her knees and wrists start to flag, she will pop a few restorative amphetamines and the party will start all over again. But then, cruelly, Jimmy is awoken from her reverie and wrenched back into reality, where the tyrannical Rocker still reigneth yet. So she squats. And frumps. And dreams…

Special praise should go to the director’s dad, Big Mike, who plays the sybaritic King of the Rockers as I imagine Inspector Gadget might play Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet: fidgety, feline and prop-heavy. Such is his faculty for imbuing inanimate objects with expressive force, that he can make a brylcreemed comb prance and sing with joy (metaphorically speaking of course). Big Mike is one to watch over the next few years.

Check out this film today. Buy a scooter. Be vigilant.

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5 Responses to “Young Birds Fly”

  1. Joe Says:

    Mods are shit. Scooters are ace though, and inspired a little poem from me (it’s called ‘My Little Scooter’):

    I love my little scooter,
    It’s more fun than an Amstrad computer,
    And faster than a pea,
    Fired from a pea-shooter.

    By an elephant with the flu.

    It’s the vehicle of choice for occasional looters,
    Even though the Sinclair C5 is cuter,
    But in my dreams I ride a hoverboard,
    And travel Back to the Future.

    Two.

  2. johnlebaptiste Says:

    Hey, thanks for that inspired bit of verse Joe. They could be the lyrics to the theme tune of a scooter-based tv show, ideally with a science fiction twist.

  3. oldrope Says:

    That show already exists, it’s called Cash In The Attic. Stop stealing ideas.

    • johnlebaptiste Says:

      That’s not a show, that’s a curious payment arrangement you have with your clients. I grant you someone might have been there with a camcorder, but I most certainly have never seen it listed in the Radio Times.

  4. Joe Says:

    Although it was inspired by your review of Quadrophenia 2: Mods on Patrol, my poem is actually the basis of a musical version of The Naked Chef, about the culinary life of fat-tongued mockney olive oil guzzler Jamie Holiver.

    It opens with a sad little Jamie (aged 10) centre stage, a single spotlight illuminating his puffy, freckled face and ginger curls. He looks down at the jam sandwich his mum made for his tea and sings something sad and aspirational.

    There’s a brilliant ensemble piece, featuring Hugh Ponce-Sconsingtonsworth wrestling a pig while Gordon Ramsden swears at posh people, all the while Jamie, in his wellies, juggles organic rhubarb while being pushed about in a wheelbarrow by Ainsley Harriott.

    The musical is called Pukka! and I’m just writing the title track. Can’t think of anything that rhymes with ‘pukka’ though.

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