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Scooting through the Polar Vortex

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The Polar Vortex and continuing record low temperatures and snowfall have made this winter a big old loser as far as winter scooting in Detroit goes. Us in Michigan are all forced to sit inside, watching the Weather Channel for the day when it will get above freezing enough for the small thaw to start. So we wait. And wait. And, just when a semi dry line has formed enough to allow a scoot out of the subdivision, it snows again. While we’re busy not scooting, here are some scooting-themed things to stop (or slow) the onset of scooter-less cabin fever:

Get into the groove:
There is a wealth of scooter-related sounds at your fingertips, for free. Here are some cracking podcasts available for your mod-style listening:

Punks in Parkas: DJ Penny Lanes mix of scooter-style tunes. Mixes range from classic Mod hits to heavy Northern Soul to unexpected tunes that you might not think of first. She also splits some shows with guests and Warren Peace of the We are The Mods! podcast.

We Are The Mods!: DJ Warren Peace fills the hour with old-style and second-wave Mod hits, served alongside a heathy helping of sarcasm, bombastic wit and frequent exhortations to “get up and make your own style.”

Modcast with Eddie Pillar and Friends: This one is more of a talk show, often filled with a list of who’s who in the Mod community. They do take music breaks, but the real star of this show is the wit and musical tastes of hosts Eddie Pillar and Dean Rudland.

Mr. Suave’s Mod Mod World: Despite one of the most un-radio, podcast voices, Mister Suave is the master of the music from power pop to second generation Ska, 60’s kitsch and everything in between. Always entertaining.

If any of these are too mainstream for you (and if you speak French, or at like to listen to it), subscribe to Le Soul Club. They bring the latest of the Mod era to your ears, along with a healthy helping of Motown and Stax R&B classics. They also serve up some brand new artists - it’s where I discovered The Travellers - absolutely fantastic - “Don’t Look For Me”

All of the above are also available for free from the iTunes store.

Don’t forget Mixcloud, where DJs from around the world put up some smoking sets for your mid-winter blues. Two recent favorites featuring Detroit and/or Northern Soul are:

DJ Hairy Nilsson - Straight from the Play Box

Kieran Lockyear - Straight from the Play Box

If singles are more your speed, follow Facebook user The Mod Regeneration for classic floor-fillers from the Mod-era and beyond. Slap on those Bass Weejuns (you can't wear them outside now anyway) and cut a rug inside where it's warm.

Shop yer head off:
It’s possible to bring the entire world of shopping to a screen near you. Look for bargains on new and used -- the usual Ben Sherman and Fred Perry clothes and some vintage Penguin, Merc or Londsdale gear. Remember to buy for summer now, it’s just around the corner! Set up a search for your brands and sizes and drive your self crazy with the famous eBay!

For hand-made scooter stuff, check out etsy.com. Affordable, hand-made stuff including some tasty scooter prints. Here’s the link that I use.

In real, in-person life, I also hit the vintage clothing shops and let them know what I’m looking for, whether it be Bass Weejuns, Tootal scarves or any other Mod clobber. Royal Oak is home to the newly renovated Lost and Found Vintage and the treasure-trove of vintage shops in Ferndale include Mother Fletchers, Vogue Vintage, Regeneration, and of course the vendors in the fabulous Rust Belt Market. Get out there and get shopping!

Coming events: Despite all the winter weather, there is hope on the horizon - remember that the much heralded Autorama 2014 Detroit is only five weeks away. It’s always a good time.

What's next: Getting warm, finally.

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