430: Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die


The early 70s in England weren’t as culturally bereft as pundits would have it, particularly if you were lucky enough to live in London.

The evening news magazine TV show Nationwide (BBC1) and Thames TV’s local programme Today could always be relied upon to report from the far side (usually accidentally in their search for quirky stories).

Historically overshadowed as the siting of “the Bill Grundy incident“, Today featured many such off-beat items, usually sourced by hip researchers/occasional presenters Janet Street-Porter and  Lyndall Hobbs.

Part of the Australian invasion of London during that period along with such other King’s Road habitues as Richard O’Brien and Nell Campbell, Hobbs was particularly spot-on.

With Grundy and Eammon Andrews rotating nightly as studio anchormen, Today’s regular roving reporter was Monty Modlyn, a self-styled schlemeil prone to shouting Tubby Isaac‘s cry from his popular  jellied eel stall in Islington: “All the jell’!”

Guess you had to be there.

And so to this clip dug from the British Pathe archive.


The 25-second reel is likely to stem from 1972, when Malcolm McLaren created the new incarnation for 430 King’s Road in reaction to the sartorial and social conservatism of Let It Rock‘s neo-Edwardian customers.

Along with the new Ton Up lines of leather jeans and rocker tees, TFTL continued to stock creepers and take orders for drapes, hence the two Ernies lurking outside. Behind them, the shop’s previous name is visible studded into the back of a motorcycle jacket (and  the new gear continued to be stitched with Let It Rock labels, like this shirt bought in 1973).


Right at the end of the clip, Monty Modlyn enters the scene to interview the Teds. Pathe says this footage was not broadcast. I don’t recall it. By the look of the end-frames there was hair in the gate or somesuch so it was likely to have been deemed unusable.

In the context of 430 King’s Road Modlyn’s name cropped up a couple of years later – on the “wrong” side of the You’re Gonna Wake Up And Know What Side Of The Bed You’ve Been Lying On! tee, between right-wing journalist Peregrine Worsthorne (the second person to say “fuck” on British TV before the Pistols Steve Jones became the third in 1976) and Angry Young Man John Braine.

You can see the Pathe clip here

On Youtube it has been stuck non-chronogically at the end of film of DAs being sculpted at British barbers in the 50s:

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=SRkGgHMMpp8">http://youtube.com/watch?v=SRkGgHMMpp8</a>

johnny deluxe said,

August 21, 2010 @ 3:45 pm

brilliant as always paul…..

rockpopfashion said,

August 21, 2010 @ 3:55 pm

Thanks Johnny – do you remember Monty M? Judged from this point it’s incredible he ever made it onto TV…

Tim B. said,

August 21, 2010 @ 4:18 pm

Wonderful Paul. I knew you’d be able to put some context on this. I hope my email played a small part in pushing you to post this.


johnny deluxe said,

August 21, 2010 @ 4:18 pm

yes i do remember him….thames and lwt,were full of quirky people and items in those days….didn’tseem like it at the time…..butlooking back….we were quite blessed with eccentrics in all forms…both goodd and bad…see you soon i hope…

rockpopfashion said,

August 21, 2010 @ 7:23 pm

Sure did Tim. Thanks for hipping me to it and apologies for not crediting you as such.

Mondo said,

August 22, 2010 @ 11:44 am

Brilliant – what a find!

rockpopfashion said,

August 22, 2010 @ 7:15 pm

All props to Tim B who sent it to me a couple of weeks back….

limbsandthings1 said,

August 25, 2010 @ 2:20 am

Re: Malcolm McLaren ‘Too Fast To Live, Too Young To Die’ Haircut http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRkGgHMMpp8 thanks for the brilliant piece with follow up to what I discovered entirely by accident way past when i usually click off videos. i’m only just now catching up with some of the links to the video through a glance at my YouTube insights. I found yours first.

All of these “discoveries” appear on my channel – http://www.youtube.com/user/limbsandthings1 – and should you be interested in reading some other good posts on Malc (there’s got to be a hundred), including one of the funeral cortege, just do a general search for his name under either or both: http://whatgetsmehot.posterous.com/ AND http://whatgetsmehot.blogspot.com/ .

And, oh, by the way: I don’t know if you’ve seen it on my channel, but I also discovered a very rarely seen ‘SEX’ Boutique BBC skit which features Viv and the Boys. I’ll try and get back here and send you THAT link.

Thanks again,

rockpopfashion said,

August 25, 2010 @ 5:12 am

Sorry there wasn’t room to include all your comment/links but we get the idea.
Where is the Teddy Boy haircut footage from?
If you are referring to the Derek Nimmo visit to Seditionaries we covered it in Feb 2008: http://rockpopfashion.com/blog/?p=54

Ed Butler said,

November 28, 2010 @ 11:27 pm

Isn’t Tubby Isaac’s stall in Whitechapel?

rockpopfashion said,

November 29, 2010 @ 8:46 am

You’re correct but the one I was referring to was in Chapel Street market, Islington (near where I worked in the 70s so the one I was familiar with). Apparently they also have one in Walthamstow these days as well and in the past have had stalls in Ilford, etc.

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