The Jam ‘About The Young Idea’ Exhibition Review

I recently visited a fantastic exhibition ‘About The Young Idea‘ showcasing the journey and success of Punk Rock/Mod band The Jam. It’s located within the beautiful Cunard Building in Liverpool. The popularity of the exhibition has seen it extended until the 6th October 2016. Just typing the words The Jam fills me with happiness and transports me back to my youth, so before I start daydreaming I’ll tell you more.

The Jam and me


I fell head over heels in love with The Jam as a teenager in the late 1970’s. I know! I’m sort of giving my age away, but I don’t care, it means I’ve had years of listening to their brilliant music which is as relevant and popular as ever and would not be out of place in the music scene today. They famously disbanded in 1982 at the height of their fame to the shock and utter dismay of their millions of fans. Yes, tears were shed, not as in sobbing (no hysterics, a la Take That!) just quietly in the company of my fellow Mod friends.

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A sad day for The Jam fans

So…you can imagine my excitement when I heard about this exhibition coming to Liverpool following a successful run at Somerset House in London.

Visiting the exhibition in London wasn’t an option due to life’s commitments, so I was wondering if I’d run out of time to go along, then I had an idea! We were due to go on holiday flying in and out of Manchester Airport in September so on our return we could head straight from the airport to Liverpool. Now, on landing at Manchester Airport any ideas I’d had about visiting the exhibition followed by al fresco food and drinks at the Albert Dock (not to mention an overnight stay) were dashed by…yes you’ve guessed it, the good old British weather. How silly of me to think such indulgences I’d just enjoyed abroad would be a reality in the UK. Never one’s to let rotten weather spoil any fun, Ron and I headed to Liverpool.

The Jam – About The Young Idea Exhibition

The exhibition was taking place in the beautiful Cunard Building, one of three Iconic buildings sited at Pier Head on the river Mersey and collectively known as the Three Graces. The others being the famous Liver Building and Port of Liverpool Building.

 

I was so full of anticipation and excitement and the exhibition didn’t disappoint. On entering the building, I was met with ‘In The City’ by The Jam filling the air. There was a real buzz about the place even before we paid our entrance fee (£9.50 weekends/£5.00 weekdays) and headed ‘Down In The Tube Station…’. Yes, the entrance is a genius tube station tunnel! leading into the exhibition.

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Fan’s will recognise  the figure of John Weller and the words he bellowed at the start of every The Jam concert

The exhibition, named after a lyric from single In The City, has been curated by Nicky Weller (Paul’s sister), Russell Reader and Ben Davis who have unearthed unseen content and exhibits from the bands extensive archives. A fantastic new interactive element has been added to the show , thought to be a world first,  where a new free app allows you to engage with the exhibits by scanning V Codes. You can also download five of your favourite exhibits to enjoy at your leisure. Details are provided when you purchase tickets. Here are just a few of the fantastic items on show.

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Concert footage is screened over a stage complete with original kit

 

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Just hangin’ with the band!

I love the fashion associated with the Mod era and The Jam. It still forms the basis of my style today. Obviously not on this occasion! I would rather have been wearing my ‘coughs’ ahem!…35 year old concert T Shirt instead of a pink top with a frilly heart! (well I do like to fly in comfort you know!)

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I’m just glad it still fits!

Now that’s what I call style! There was a fantastic selection of clothing on display including items worn by the band members. The scooters, which had been kindly loaned to the exhibition by their owners, were works of art.

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img_8561I still dream of owning a Lambretta or Vespa and Ron and I keep meaning to take lessons. Oh, if only we had the continental weather to go with them.

As we strolled around I was impressed by the variety of items on display. There were lots of interesting elements and I couldn’t resist posing with a giant  centerpiece of the album All Mod Cons. I loved checking out the  personal items belonging to the band members which included photographs spanning the years. There were room sets and much more so you really got a sense of the bands journey to stardom.

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I wonder how many of these badges I have
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A selection of the bands guitars including Paul Wellers ‘Whaam’ Rickenbacker 330

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The score to this classic anthem and something to aspire to with my guitar lessons!
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Personal items including cartoon type sketches of ‘Paul The Mod’ by Paul Weller
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Hey! I used to have this poster (and many more) in my bedroom

The huge wall art depicting the NME reader choices of 1982 showed the popularity of the band at this time with the band, band members, singles etc. topping the majority of the categories including Best Group. Paul Weller was even voted Most Wonderful Human Being, such was their influence (Margaret Thatcher was Creep of the Year!).

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The Jam were the voice of a generation, with their lyrics echoing everyday realities as well as a desire for change. They were loved by their legions of fans and I genuinely feel that The Jam loved them back. As a fan you really felt as though you were a part of some exclusive club, just a club with millions of members. The was great camaraderie among fans too due to their shared love of the band and all they stood for.

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To be honest I could have spent a lot longer admiring the shear number of exhibits but I’m the fan not Ron so it wouldn’t have been fair, also he had the 2 1/2 hour drive back home!

I’ve just shown you a snap shot, there’s so much more I could’ve shown you but I don’t want to spoil it for those who’ve not yet visited. The exhibition was everything I hoped for and more. It reinforced my love of this iconic band and their music and reminded me just how big a part they had played in my young adult life (They even got a mention during my brothers speech at my wedding!). It also reinforced my love of Mod Culture as some people, me included, slip away from that once adult life and responsibility comes along. So I’m off to hunt down a boating blazer and a lovely new parka!

Have you visited this exhibition or have plans to go? I’d love to hear about it.

Thanks for reading and bye for now, June x

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