Ending up as a kid in Margate, and later Ramsgate was an accident of fate for me.
The new oil rich middle-class Iranians of the time that included my family had started this new craze of sending their kids abroad to study. No one questioned the wisdom of sending a 13 year old, with loads of cash thousands of miles away! Still I’m glad they did because I am as proud as my British acquired culture as my Iranian side. Iranian kids in Margate were into disco, they had fun with the local girls but did not come out of their cultural bubble and many stayed as well-off foreign tourists until things changed and their money ran out. I was a bit different, for one thing after a year in Margate I went to a boarding school in Ramsgate. It was the last years of the battle between between Mods and Rockers which took place in that area every summer. Anyway I used to go to Cinema on weekends and along films like Monty Python’s Holy Grail, there were one or two films that influenced me. One was Tommy which I saw in 1978, and the other was Quadrophenia in 1979. By that time being depressed in a strange school I sympathised with Jimmy the main character who led a double life of working in a post room during the week and a mod during the weekend. Besides like him I wanted a girlfriend that looked like Leslie Ash. Flash forward a decade, I was a University student working in a summer job near Edgware Road, and one day during a lunch time I went for a walk, and behold who was sitting outside on the corner of the road just outside the Rank recording studio in a vest and drinking a can of Tenants special brew? It was Paul Weller, I looked and hesitated should I go and get an autograph, didn’t have a bloody pen and paper, so gave a glance of recognition and moved on, leaving him in peace. Move forward in time to the previous weekend, I was in Cambridge going off to get petrol for the lawn mower and I bump into a group of mods in their middle age with their teenage kids going off to a mod gathering. I couldn’t resist a chat and I thought it was pretty cool that they kept their enthusiasm alive. Then going off to the Cambridge market I bumped into another group of them. Its funny I grew up with these things but if I talk to fellow Brits they take one look at my middle eastern face and I come across as foreign as a Japanese tourist in a Los Vegas Elvis convention!