BOWLING alleys across the country used to be ransacked for their bowling shoes by fans of the Jam trying to replicate their heroes.

It was revealed during a conversation between Mayor of Brighton Alan Robins and Paul Weller's sister. 

He was chatting to Nicky Weller, who started The Jam fan club, before the Modfather's long-awaited show at The Brighton Centre in Kings Road on Saturday.

The gig marked almost 40 years since The Jam disbanded as a band, with their last ever show also being at The Brighton Centre on December 11, 1982.

More than 5,000 fans showed up at the venue including Alan, who grew up loving the band during the late 1970s.

He shared memories of “people walking out” with the bowling shoes on at the old King Alfred bowling alley in Kingsway, Hove.

The Argus: Mayor of Brighton Alan Robins and Nicky Weller reminiscingMayor of Brighton Alan Robins and Nicky Weller reminiscing

The shoes were made popular by The Jam bandmates during the mod-era.

When Going Underground hit number one in 1980, guitarist Bruce Foxton could be seen wearing a pair of “Jam stage shoes”.

Alan Robins said: “I remember those bowling shoes, along the road is the King Alfred leisure centre.

"Downstairs in the King Alfred was a bowling alley, you took your shoes off and they gave you a pair of bowling shoes. People would walk out with them!

“I think they emptied the King Alfred in about a week.”

The Argus: Paul Weller on Saturday night at The Brighton Centre. Picture by Dammo PhotographyPaul Weller on Saturday night at The Brighton Centre. Picture by Dammo Photography

Nicky added: “It was terrible, it happened everywhere around the country apparently! People would leave their grotty old shoes and take the bowling shoes instead.

“They would turn up with them at the next Jam gig. That used to happen a lot, people nicking the bowling shoes."

Paul played a 30-song set in front of an adoring crowd at the venue after the release for his new album An Orchestrated Songbook, which was his first release for his new label Polydor.

The Argus: It was a sell-out crowd at The Brighton Centre on Saturday. Picture by Dammo PhotographyIt was a sell-out crowd at The Brighton Centre on Saturday. Picture by Dammo Photography

The former Jam frontman thanked the crowd for “holding on to their tickets and waiting” after delays to some of his live shows due to the Covid pandemic.

Nicky is collating memorabilia ahead of a large exhibition at The Level in Union Road, Brighton.

The exhibition will run from July 30 to August 29 this summer and is called This is The Modern World. It takes its name from The Jam’s second studio album released in 1977.

Fans of The Jam are being encouraged to send in their memorabilia for the exhibition, which will be packed full of unseen material from The Jam’s six years as a band before passing into the era of The Style Council, which Paul set up with Mick Talbot.

Nicky Weller is launching a call out for fan material to be including in This Is The Modern World - The Ultimate Exhibition Of Memorabilia Of The Jam And The Style Council. July 30 to August 30 2022, Valley Gardens, St Peter’s Place Brighton BN2 9QB.

For more information, visit the exhibition website.