Get us in your inbox

Search
The Jam
© Martyn Goddard

‘The Jam: About the Young Idea’ at Somerset House

Time Out takes an exclusive first look at the new exhibition devoted to The Jam

Written by
Andy Thomas
Advertising

A new exhibition in London offers a unique and personal insight into one of Britain’s most-loved bands: The Jam. We sent writer and lifelong Jam fan Andy Thomas for a poke around ‘About the Young Idea’ at Somerset House. Here are his highlights of the exhibition.

‘The Jam: About the Young Idea’ exhibition highlights

Mod clothing galore
© Rob Greig

Mod clothing galore

Until the end of August, fans of The Jam will be able to bathe in paraphernalia thanks to Somerset House’s unprecedented access to the band’s archive. The Jam’s mod stylings always set them apart from the punk pack.

Mod clothing galore
© Rob Greig

Mod clothing galore

By the band’s third LP, ‘All Mod Cons’, they had lost most of their punk edge and were leaning towards ’60s soul and R&B. They wore clothes to match and these boating blazers became like the Holy Grail for kids in the provinces.

Advertising
Weller’s trusted Rickenbacker
© Rob Greig

Weller’s trusted Rickenbacker

Every bit as iconic as Paul Weller’s boating blazer, Lonsdale T-shirt, and bowling shoes was his collection of Rickenbacker guitars. Picking up the instrument in part as a tribute to one of his heroes Pete Townsend, Weller used many different models through The Jam’s career. Elsewhere in the exhibition is his famous customised WHAAM! Rickenbacker 330, but here is the same model on which Weller has scratched the line ‘I AM NOBODY’.

The live room
© Rob Greig

The live room

In this room you are met with the all-consuming barrage of The Jam live at Birmingham Bingley Hall in 1982. Not an iPhone camera in sight, of course; instead a crowd of very young and passionate kids, schooled on their older brothers’ Clash albums and Tamla Motown seven-inches, who had found a sound of their own. The footage is screened behind the band’s original drum kit used at their last ever gig at Brighton Conference Centre.

Advertising
Rick’s sticks
© Rob Greig

Rick’s sticks

This exhibition is the first time all three members of the group have opened up their archives to the public. This vitrine features some of drummer Rick Buckler’s personal items. Alongside his well-worn drumsticks are his iconic boxing boots that graced the cover of the ‘Snap!’ compilation.

Classic shots
© Ray Stevenson

Classic shots

The Jam’s first two LPs, ‘In the City’ and ‘This Is the Modern World’, captured the mix of disenchantment and rebellion as much as any of their punk contemporaries. Throughout the exhibition are reminders of the social and political environment those LPs were recorded in.

Pictured: The Jam shopping for records on Carnaby Street in 1977.

Advertising
Classic shots
© Jill Furmanovsky

Classic shots

In this powerful photograph from the legendary Marquee Club you can almost smell the sweat and feel the spittle.

Pictured: The Jam live at the Marquee Club, 1978.

Classic shots
© Martyn Goddard

Classic shots

Pictured: The Jam at Frank’s Café on Beak Street, 1978
Advertising
Classic shots
© Janet Macoska

Classic shots

Pictured: The Jam in Cleveland, Ohio in 1979
Classic shots
© Neal Preston/Corbis

Classic shots

Pictured: Rick Buckler, Paul Weller and Bruce Foxton – the three members of The Jam.
Advertising

Read more about The Jam

  • Things to do

Buster Mantis owner Gordon McGowan has spent the last 18 months telling people off for dancing. They told him off, too: ‘Why are you playing this music if we’re not supposed to dance?’ It was fair enough, shrugs the south Londoner, who moved here from Jamaica aged 13. After all, the playlist that accompanies its saltfish fritters, jerk jackfruit burgers and Lychee Mojitos encompasses R&B, hip hop, dancehall, grime, garage and ‘a bit of afro-house’. ‘We play anything that a Jamaican would like apart from Celine Dion,’ he says. ‘Jamaicans like Celine Dion but we’re not playing that.’ The bar, restaurant and impromptu dancehall has just revived its weekend DJ sessions with regular-turned-resident Gyps. Fletch and Pharaoh G. ‘People were timid, like little deer,’ says Gordon, who opened Buster Mantis in late 2015. ‘We just darkened the lights a bit more and within a half hour there was this collective relief. They just picked up where they left off.’ Buster Mantis became a key location for London’s resurgent jazz musicians, who fuse conservatoire-level skills with the energy and vibe of a garage rave. The venue hosted artist collective Steam Down’s  weekly sessions between 2017 and 2019. (It continues down the road at the Matchstick Piehouse and Buster Mantis plans to revive its own Champion Sounds jam soon.) The return of bopping, shuffling and 2-stepping at Buster Mantis  is a welcome reprise of the area’s long musical histories. ‘We didn’t have a DJ when we first started but

Paid content
Recommended
    You may also like
    You may also like
    Advertising

    The best things in life are free.

    Get our free newsletter – it’s great.

    Loading animation
    Déjà vu! We already have this email. Try another?

    🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!

    Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon!