This Is The Modern World, the biggest-ever exhibition of Paul Weller memorabilia spanning two decades of his career, will take place in Brighton, on England‘s south coast, in summer 2022.
The collection will be on show in a pop-up location in Valley Gardens, St Peter’s Place, from July 29 to September 2. The event is produced by AGMP and sponsored by Visit Brighton. The city has close ties with Weller’s past, not least as it was featured on the cover of The Jam’s Setting Sons album, and hosted the final gig by the band at the Brighton Centre, in December 1982.
This Is The Modern World is curated by Weller’s sister Nicky, who formerly ran The Jam’s fan club. The vast collection will feature rare material, most of it previously unseen, and fan memorabilia. The exhibition will be complemented by performances from bands from the mod revival era, film screenings, Q&As and guided tours. The location will feature a modernist bar and street and locally-sourced food.
Material for the event has been shared from the personal archives of Weller, his family and fans worldwide, former Jam bandmates Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler, and the Weller family, as well as Mick Talbot and Steve White from the band formed by the frontman after he ended The Jam, The Style Council.
Items on display, documenting an era of underground youth culture as it fed into the band’s vast mainstream success, will include handwritten lyrics, original stage outfits, personal photographs, rare footage, unreleased music videos, early scrapbooks, letters, postcards, posters, fanzines, and instruments from both The Jam and The Style Council.
‘We want the fans to be involved’
“We want the fans to be involved in this exhibition,” says Nicky Weller, “and to include their memories and special items from The Jam days and will be curating a new area of the exhibition to showcase these. Anyone interested, please do get in touch with pictures of what you would like to include in the exhibition – firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Fans will be able to wander through a replica of a London Underground tube station to see the band’s formative years in the Stanley Road Room, featuring Weller’s own school books and archive family photographs. Each room will display memorabilia from every year of the band’s career, including an exhaustive vinyl collection, Paul’s Whaaam! guitar, mod clothing and customised Jam scooters.
Design will be informed by artwork from the band’s albums and will feature original graphics from celebrated artist Anthony Burrill and exclusive images from the archive of photographer Martyn Goddard.
Elements of the exhibition were shown on a smaller scale at Somerset House in London in 2015 and the Cunard Building in Liverpool in 2016. The collection has expanded in the years since, thanks to generous contributions from fans and collectors worldwide.
“If you’re a Paul Weller fan there’s every single thing you can possibly imagine, if you’re not a fan it’s still interesting as far as social history goes,” says Nicky. “If you’re just a music fan it’s just a noisy fun exhibition.
“I’m so excited that we will be taking This Is The Modern World to Brighton [next] year with the biggest collection of Jam memorabilia on show, just a stone’s throw from the last ever live gig at the Brighton Centre, forty years ago in 1982.” Go to the Visit Brighton event page for more information.