For us young kids, the time before the 60’s was a slow elongated, nightmare. We wore our Father’s hand-me-downs, were still on some war rations and listened to George Formby and Vera Lynn. There was a feeling that something was coming but no-one had any idea what. There was a tickling of a new idea slow dripping from the States but we weren’t sure what it was. Music? Fashion? Attitude? For us in the UK, the late arrival of the new was a mist. Something in the air. Not tangible. No solid form.
When the 60’s finally arrived with all its brashness and noise, it was like waking from a bad dream. The late arrival of the new was a sudden awakening from a coma. A dream, a nightmare that was so bad, it was in Black and White, with a badly recorded soundtrack.
I recognise that so much good and amazing stuff has been written about the 60’s that there are times when it becomes hard to believe that it actually happened. It did. And honestly, it was as fantastic as they/I say. Magical. It was as though the planets had aligned and allowed a new dimension in. For the first time ever, youth, us, was suddenly celebrated. We were being noticed.
But let’s be honest…
What really happened here, was a sudden realisation on the part of those in ‘power’ that there was money to be made. That the youth actually might actually have something to offer in terms of business. This was not a bad thing. The late arrival of the new meant a sudden realisation that came not a day too late. A sudden healthy awakening upon a land (the UK) that was still struggling with war wounds. A land that was decaying and desperately in need of a kick up the arse/ass.
The 60’s were a life-safer for all concerned…
…a rescue that came about just in time to stop us drowning in boredom.
(To be fair; We mustn’t forget that the seeds were actually sown in the 1950’s with the advent of rock’n’roll and the glimmerings of a youth culture. The plant actually bloomed in the 60’s).
Although I guess some might say that the Youth had become ‘prey’ for those out to make a quick buck, I would have to disagree. For all concerned it was worth it. There were positives. Positives that to my mind outweighed the negatives.
The late arrival of the new meant that gone was the assumption that parents and older folk knew best about how their offspring should live their lives. Our Mothers and Fathers, through no fault of their own, had lost their chance for a better world (WWII) and needed time to recover (which I believe they never did). Thankfully, tired and exhausted as they were, they took their eye off the ball and without realising it, let us off the leash and set us free.
The late arrival of the new.
For the first time ever, the Youth, began to explore. With money, without permission and unhindered by the internal and mental damage caused by war they/we discovered pastures anew. We knew what we wanted and nothing would hold us back from letting everyone know. We began to be ‘noticed’. The more enlightened, (and I don’t mean this negatively), saw us as an opportunity, a ‘a market’ even, that should be listened too. A market with spending power that could and should be taken ‘advantage of’. But, perhaps more interestingly, and I’m not sure it was fully appreciated at the time, a market that wasn’t there just to be totally manipulated. A market with a voice that should be heeded, listened to. We had the power.
The businessman/woman of the older generation were to soon find out that this new customer would set the agenda and not the other way round.
We began to be catered for, our way. In terms of fashion (clothes and music) we began to get our own way. We had, at last, ‘a say’.
Not only that, the Youth took their rightful places as the new entrepreneurs, the pace setters, the designers, the thinkers. The old order (who had the money), if they wanted to survive, had to listen and listen good, or they were toast.
BUT. Of course, it wasn’t to last.
It was good while it lasted. However, the Youth grow old and are eventually replaced. New ideas become old ideas and part of the norm. We get too comfortable and exploration ceases. The decay sets in. The circle repeats. Around and around. And slowly, very slowly everything begins to fade to grey.
So, here we are again.
Waiting…waiting…for the late arrival of the new…
Any day now…I can feel it in my bones…
READ ABOUT THE 60’S HERE…