Extract from interview with Mark Wilsmore, Managing Director, Ace Café. Interviewed by students from Haverstock School, Camden
Interviewer: What identifies you as a Rocker?
Rockers, I guess, are identified by the music (Rock ‘n’ Roll), motorbikes and black leather jackets. Those three things I discovered in my teens. I had seen them in my childhood. Motorbikes were around, and I had heard jukeboxes at fair grounds and amusement arcades. I loved Rock ‘n’ Roll and didn’t really know where to find it in the 70’s when I grew up, but I was determined to have a motorbike and a black leather jacket.
The youngsters of today, they have got huge challenges ahead of them, but nonetheless, their emotions are the same as emotions through time memorial. It’s just that they will have different technology to play with, and they will have different clothes to ‘play’ with. They will get music as you do today, and they’ll get music in a totally different way. Now you can download it, get it on your phone, all sorts of different ways, whereas in our time you could only get it on a record, vinyl. Now it’s with us everywhere. So I think it’s a big ask of us oldies of the youngsters.
They are going to have so much more technology available to them and so many more choices of fields of interest which, needless to say, most oldies like me are quite jealous of.
Interviewer: Do you agree with the way things are run today, including politics, social life and media?
The short answer to that is NO! But I am not really going to be able to influence much. It’s going to be your generation that brings about changes.
Society is going through upheavals at the moment and I suspect we will go through more upheavals in years to come as more and more of my age group reach their senior years and increasingly become an expense. A huge expense looking after us, but hey, that’s going to be a problem you guys have to sort out!
Interviewer: Tell us about rock musicians of the time
I have come to understand now how artists like Billy Fury, as an example- was hugely popular with girls. Good-looking lad, good voice, good moves on stage. He wasn’t necessarily that popular with guys who I would suggest to some extent would be jealous of this iconic figure that was so attractive to females. Jean Vincent of the other hand haunting voice, and the power behind his voice. He rode motorbikes; he got a bad leg as a consequence of motorbikes. He dressed the part wearing black leather of the stage. So he was really expressing or he was seen to express the desires and wishes of guys like me. So Jean Vincent every time.