AN AIRPORT worker's first-hand account of Hounslow's thriving Mod scene during the Swinging Sixties is proving a big hit.
Don Hughes' book, Friday On My Mind, recounts his teenage years spent whizzing across west London on his beloved Vespa scooter with fellow Mods.
The 60-year-old grandfather-oftwo, who works in freight at Heathrow's Cargo Horseshoe, recalls the highs and lows of life in the gang, which was immortalised in the hit film Quadrophenia.
In its heyday, Hounslow had a buzzing music scene, with bands like The Birds, featuring Rolling Stone-to-be Ronnie Wood, and later Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and Cream all playing there.
Don was a regular at the Attic Club (later the Ricky Tick), opposite Hounslow bus garage and above what is now a Nando's restaurant, where he saw some of the biggest names in pop.
Don used to be a keen plane-spotter and drifted into the Mod scene through friends he met around the perimeter fence, and their shared passion for music.
"Hounslow was the focus of the Mod scene in west London. Richmond really embraced the Beatnik movement, which I also liked, but being working class I didn't really fit in with the art school crowd over there," he said.
"Being a Mod was mostly about girls, fun and a hedonistic lifestyle, and I got swept along on the wave of all that as a 15-year-old."
The day Don met Marvin Gaye and his bumping into Steve Marriott and the Small Faces at the bowling alley are among the book's highlights, along with a couple of vivid accounts of Mods and Rockers clashes.
But although Don did occasionally come face-to-face with the Mods' most famous rivals, the Rockers, it was local gangs the Slips and Scabs he spent most of his time trying to avoid.
In one chapter, he recalls how a Scab pulled a six-inch flick knife on him and said 'tell your friends what you saw - tell 'em the Scabs rule here'.
He also remembers how a friend was messing around with a shotgun in his bedroom when he accidentally pulled the trigger, blowing a hole in the bed.
Yet Don still recalls the period fondly and claims the true spirit of the scene has been lost among the legend that has built up around it.
"The myth was that Mods were creatures of the night who co-existed with the rent boys round Wardour Street, Soho. That did go on but the huge local scene's been airbrushed out of existence," he said.
Don's account has earned rave reviews since its release about a month ago, with website Modculture.com describing it as 'a truly fantastic addition to any discerning Mod's bookcase'.
Don was born at West Middlesex Hospital and lived in Church Street, Isleworth, as a youngster, before moving to a prefab in Springwell Road, Heston, and later Gainsborough Gardens, in Isleworth. He went to the old Spring Grove Road Central School, in Thornbury Road, Isleworth.
He now lives in Stanwell and still has two scooters.
Friday on My Mind is published by Armadillo and retails at £17.99. To order a copy, email Don at firstname.lastname@example.org.