The biggest ever collection of The Jam memorabilia – About The Young Idea, launches in its spiritual home of Brighton this August. Situated on the iconic beach location made famous by the 1979 cult film 'Quadrophenia' and as featured on the cover artwork of seminal Jam album 'Setting Sons'.
The huge collection of rare, mainly unseen material and fan memorabilia, will be accompanied by acoustic performances, film screenings and guided talks. In a pop-up location on Brighton beach with a modernist bar and a selection of street and locally sourced food to create a month-long place of homage for The Jam fans and lovers of UK culture alike.
About The Young Idea has been curated by Nicky Weller, Paul Weller's sister and former head of The Jam’s fan club. We had a quick chat with her about the exhibition, what you can expect to see and how The Jam have impacted British culture.
What do you think it is about The Jam that still resonates with people of all ages and backgrounds, even after almost 40 years?
It’s amazing how long ‘Jam’ fans have been around… they are very loyal, and I think they feel like it was a giant family in the early days - quite a family affair. The songs have definitely stood the test of time!
Do you have a favourite part of the upcoming exhibition?
I love all of it, but I am biased. I can’t wait to have the tube-station that we had built for the Liverpool exhibition re-installed and the additional Style Council room (the contents of which have never been exhibited before!). If you only went to the London show, then you are in for a treat in Brighton!
The impact of The Jam – on music and British culture – is enormous. In the early days of running the fan club, did you ever imagine that The Jam would become as popular as they were, and still are today?
No, as a teenager following The Jam, or Paul and Steve in those days was exciting. My dad managed the group and arranged gigs wherever he could. My mum and I were the ready-made audience, getting people up to dance.
Once they got on the London circuit things definitely changed and that’s when we knew it was going somewhere else!
Will there be things to see for people who are fans of not only The Jam, but also The Style Council, Paul Weller as solo artist and mod culture as a whole?
Absolutely, for this exhibition we want to bring an element of the Style Council into it. There will also be a special exhibition area following Paul's career. A much bigger display of scooters will be on show too – we will be offering free scooter parking for Mods visiting Brighton so the scooter display will be amazing. If you never liked The Jam or TSC you will still love this exhibition with its social history. It’s noisy and fun.
What is your favourite song or album from across Paul’s entire body of work?
That’s impossible to answer - there has been so many. I loved ‘Down in the Tube Station’, most of the Style Council songs… and Paul's last LP ‘True Meanings’ was one of my favourites! I’ve heard some of the new album too which sounds amazing.
How has The Jam affected your life? And around what time did you start to see the impacts of this in your life?
I don’t think it has affected my life as such - I was still at secondary school when The Jam got signed. It was fun going to Top The Pops, and shows in London, The Marquee, 100 Club and The Roxy.
When the group got popular and the Fan Club happened, I guess it forged my life. I was 21 before I went to work at Solid Bond Studios. I started as the receptionist and worked my way up to Office Manager and then went on tour, I loved it.
What are the real stand-out items that you hope will excite fans of the band at the exhibition?
I think the enormity of the exhibition and its iconic new location is the most impressive. Somerset House was amazing but very small, Liverpool was on a different scale and Brighton will be even bigger and more in-depth than before.
I would love a big element of the Fans stories to be a big part of this exhibition, we will have Q and A’s which are always popular, and of course, my curators Guided tours!
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