An Affectionate Record Of The Jam's Cultural Influence

A new exhibition is a cornucopia for fans of Paul Weller’s first band

Given the eclectic items on display, it makes sense that The Jam: About the Young Idea, a new exhibition of photographs and memorabilia that opens at London’s Somerset House this month, was partly curated by the former head of The Jam’s fan club, Nicky Weller.

But yes, the surname is a bit of a giveaway, as she’s also sister of the band’s main man, Paul, and it’s insiders like her – and the contents of their attics – who give this homage a distinctly personal feel.

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The Weller family’s vinyl collection, the trio’s original outfits, instruments and dusted-off archive photographs are among items that will be on display in the show, which is dedicating a room to each of the six albums The Jam recorded before Weller unexpectedly pulled the plug in 1982.

But time’s worked its healing wonders, and all three members of the band – and alumni of Sheerwater Secondary Modern in Woking – Weller, drummer Rick Buckler and bassist Bruce Foxton, have given the exhibition their blessing.

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It’s also an affectionate record of the band’s very London-centric sense of style, from Carnaby Street skinny suits and Union Jack blazers of the Sixties and Seventies, to Weller’s ever-changing roster of (depending on your mod affiliations) fantastic/ridiculous haircuts.

Still, their tailoring wasn’t the only reason The Jam became iconic, and a special CD containing previously unavailable recordings that is available with entry tickets should remind you of more than a couple of the others.

The Jam: About the Young Idea, 26 June to 31 August, Somerset House, London, somersethouse.org.uk

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