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Brighton exhibition on The Jam and The Style Council provided plenty of insight

The recent exhibition 'This Is The Modern World' that took place from the end of July to the end of August at Brighton, England’s Valley Gardens spotlighted Paul Weller’s former bands.

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By John Curley

On my recent trip to England, I had the good fortune to attend the This Is The Modern World exhibition in Brighton several times during its last few days. 

The promo poster for the exhibition.

The promo poster for the exhibition.

The exhibition, which ran from July 30th to August 29th, honored Paul Weller’s former bands, The Jam and The Style Council. The exhibition was produced by the UK concert-promotion firm AGMP and was curated by Nicky Weller, who is Paul Weller’s sister.

Nicky Weller leads the guided tour on Saturday morning, August 27th. (Photo by John Curley)

Nicky Weller leads the guided tour on Saturday morning, August 27th. (Photo by John Curley)

HERE.On the evening of Friday, August 26th, I attended the concert by the British soul band Stone Foundation that, in conjunction with the exhibition, took place at Brighton’s St. Peter’s Church, which is adjacent to the Valley Gardens exhibition site. My review of that concert can be read HERE.

The wall of Jam and Style Council badges near the entrance to the exhibition. (Photo by John Curley)

The wall of Jam and Style Council badges near the entrance to the exhibition. (Photo by John Curley)

The following morning, Saturday, August 27th, I took the guided tour of the exhibition that was led by Nicky Weller. It was a very interesting tour, particularly since she has insights and knowledge of the early days of The Jam that nobody else does. Weller led the tour at one point into the area dedicated to her father John Weller, who was the manager of The Jam, The Style Council and Paul Weller’s solo career for years, and spoke fondly of the role that her father played in the success of The Jam.

Paul Weller’s pop-art WHAAM! Rickenbacker guitar. (Photo by John Curley)

Paul Weller’s pop-art WHAAM! Rickenbacker guitar. (Photo by John Curley)

When Weller led the tour into the area of the exhibition that was dedicated to The Style Council, she discussed how much she loved those times and all of the fun that those involved with the band had at the time.

The spray-painted Jam wall patterned after the one used on the cover of The Jam’s 1977 debut album In The City. Many fans at the exhibition posed for photos by the wall. (Photo by John Curley)

The spray-painted Jam wall patterned after the one used on the cover of The Jam’s 1977 debut album In The City. Many fans at the exhibition posed for photos by the wall. (Photo by John Curley)

The exhibition had a video screening area that showed a compilation of clips, including The Style Council’s infamous JerUSAlem film in its full length.

The cycling jersey worn by Mick Talbot in The Style Council’s video for “My Ever Changing Moods.” (Photo by John Curley)

The cycling jersey worn by Mick Talbot in The Style Council’s video for “My Ever Changing Moods.” (Photo by John Curley)

The music of The Jam and The Style Council played on a loop in the respective areas of the exhibition dedicated to each band, which served to enhance the overall experience.

John Weller’s famous introduction that brought The Jam onto the concert stage. (Photo by John Curley)

John Weller’s famous introduction that brought The Jam onto the concert stage. (Photo by John Curley)

On Monday, August 29th, I returned to Valley Gardens for a second look at the exhibition, outdoor sets by the teenage London-based band The Molotovs (my review of which is forthcoming) and a screening of the 1979 film Quadrophenia at St. Peter’s Church that was followed by a conversation and Q&A with cast members Phil Daniels, Leslie Ash, Trevor Laird and Mark Wingett. The conversation and Q&A were moderated by the broadcaster and journalist Eddie Piller. The Quadrophenia screening and cast Q&A was the closing event of the exhibition and, not surprisingly, was very well attended as Brighton’s annual Bank Holiday Mod Weekender was also ending that night. Mods from all over the U.K., many on their decked-out scooters, had converged on Brighton that weekend for the event.

The teenage London-based band The Molotovs performed two outdoor sets on the closing day of the exhibition, Monday, August 29th. (Photo by John Curley)

The teenage London-based band The Molotovs performed two outdoor sets on the closing day of the exhibition, Monday, August 29th. (Photo by John Curley)

Everyone involved with the exhibition did a great job, making it a must see for fans of The Jam and The Style Council. Social-media posts by fans that had attended the exhibition were filled with rave reviews.

The exhibition came to a close on the evening of Monday, August 29th with the screening of the 1979 film Quadrophenia at Brighton’s St. Peter’s Church that was followed by a conversation and Q&A with four key cast members of the film. (Photo by John Curley)

The exhibition came to a close on the evening of Monday, August 29th with the screening of the 1979 film Quadrophenia at Brighton’s St. Peter’s Church that was followed by a conversation and Q&A with four key cast members of the film. (Photo by John Curley)

A video that runs 34 minutes and was shot on the final day of the exhibition on Monday, August 29th, can be seen below: