Moths and Rockers
Me and my sis were fightin like normal. Dad separated us and exasperatedly declared, “Ye’re as bad as the mods and rockers on Brighton Beach”.
I was young but I knew what rockers were. My Granny had one. Lots of old people did, which seemed odd ‘cos it was us kids who got most fun out of rocking-chairs. But it seemed unlikely, even to my young mind, that anyone would want to fight rocking-chairs on a beach.
I had never heard of ‘mods’, so I didn’t know that it was a word I didn’t know. I presumed the word was what it sounded like … ‘moths’. I knew what moths were alright. Every kid did. Moths were ugly stupid butterflies who ate clothes. They also had a habit of headbutting lightbulbs but, though that hinted at latent aggression, it didn’t explain why they’d be attacking grannies in rocking-chairs on beaches.
And how exactly would they go about it anyway? I envisaged a swarm of moths eating the clothes off of a granny while the granny knits furiously in order to create new clothes with which to cover herself faster than the moths can denude her. It was an odd image.
Even odder if, as it seemed, this was happening to multiple grannies all across a beach. So I asked my Dad, “Why are they fighting rocking chairs?”. My Dad and my sister both burst out laughing (my sister was two years older than me).
I flushed red with embarrassment and started to run out of the room. My father caught me and managed to stop laughing long enough to explain that these ‘rockers’ were the ones we had seen on ‘Top of the Pops’ playing loud music, with long hair and wearing denim.
I wanted to ask why they were fighting moths but my sister was still laughing mockingly at me and I didn’t want to look stupid again so I wriggled out of my Dad’s grip and ran off to my bedroom.
Besides, now that I realised my mistake about the ‘rockers’, I felt that the rest of it made sense. The rockers on telly wore denim clothes that were covered in patches. Some of my clothes had patches from where holes had torn in them while playing football or climbing over fences. Initially I had assumed that the rockers were just very rough and careless in the way they played, or maybe that they were poor so their clothes were very old. But now I realised that they were obviously being constantly attacked by moths who must favour the taste of denim above all other materials. The rockers had evidently done their best to make-do and carry on, just covering the holes with patches rather than switching to clothes of some less tasty material like cordrouy or polyester.
However, one day, while on holidays at this Brighton place (why else would you be at the seaside?), the rockers were horrified to discover that these annoying moths had followed them all the way from home and were now attacking them even there on the beach. (I did wonder whether the rockers would still be in their jackets and jeans or would have changed into denim swimming-togs and denim bikinis).
The rockers had had enough and quite understandably decided to fight back. And so came to pass the sight of hundreds of rockers in patch-covered denim standing their ground on the golden sands and throwing vicious punches at the swarms of moths that enveloped them.
The fighting was every bit as savage as it was surreal. Locals ran for cover and barricaded themselves in their houses. The next day, they discovered that the moths and the rockers were all gone, –
… but the beach was littered with tiny wings and little bits of nibbled denim.
Source images in montages: beach by jari, chair by jdurham, and moth by dancesincreek, all from morguefile.com . Woman from National Library of New Zealand via knitsfacto.blogspot.co.uk/ . Brighton Beach pic via http://www.orvs.co.uk