I’m just about to come to the end of the above and I must say that Sandbook’s style of historical commentary is both illuminating and on occasions amusing.
I lived through the Sixties and to this day, always wondered what was so ‘Swinging’ about them.
Sandbook explains all, and confirms my own view that the only place in the UK that was ‘swinging’ was London. Everybody else just trudged through the new consumer Universe as best they could, a bit of the Beatles here, a rolled up gym-slip and new washing machine there, oh and the odd student slogan saying ‘Don’t just stand there – wank!’ If you can make any sense out of that, because I sure as hell can’t!
Sandbrook also reminds us, in no uncertain terms, of the politically incorrect militancy that had ensnared the literary intelligentsia of the time.
He alludes to some correspondence written by Philip Larkin to his pal Kingsley Amis in 1969 and I quote, ‘Fuck the lot of them, I say, the decimal-loving, nigger-loving, army-cutting, abortion-promoting, murderer-pardoning, daylight-hating ponces, to hell with them……….!’
And then to his elderly mother in 1970, ‘England is going down generally. It was shown recently that one child in eight born now is of immigrant parents. Cheerful outlook, isn’t it? Another fifty years and it’ll be like living in bloody India – tigers prowling about, elephants too, shouldn’t wonder.’
When I read the above, I cannot help but conclude that we have indeed come a long way since the late sixties. We are more tolerant in so many ways, even kinder perhaps,certainly more understanding. I also believe that in spite of all our troubles and strife, you’re still a lucky bugger if you’re born in Gt Britain – no matter whether you’re black, brown, white or just plain in between!
PS I’m not so sure about locking someone up for throwing insults around though. A step too far? If not, then I surmise that both Amis and Larkin would probably be having a little holiday on the Queen were they to try writing the same things now. Privately or not.