I am a chid of the 60s. Well, to be more accurate, I was born in the 1960s. In fact, I was born in 1960, which was probably before the ‘Sixties’ had properly been invented.
You know, as poet Philip Larkin had it, all that about sex beginning in 1963 , “Between the end of the Chatterley ban, And the Beatles’ first LP”.
Decades don’t really segment themselves off into neat cut-offs. They bleed into each other.
I was rather too young to have noticed of course, but I suspect the rather dour 1950s continued for mostpeople well into the mid-1960s.
But that was still only 15 years after a world war. The older ones, those who could remember bombs raining on their heads and the threat of Nazi invasion, were probably very happy, thank-you-very-much, with a bit of safe and sound dullness.
It was the younger ones, the post-war generation, the baby boomers, who were itching to take advantage of more affluent times and push the envelope of creativity and society’s mores.
Hence the Beatles, I suppose (all born around the end of the war in 1945) and perhaps popular culture’s defining moment, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
I was too young to have taken in that moment of global togetherness, 50 years’ ago last week, Although The Beatles do provide my earliest memory.
Sometime, I guess, around August 1963, when the song was released and I had just turned three, I can remember twisting to She Loves You (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah) on the radio in the kitchen of our council flat in north London. Quite a cool first memory, I think.
(About the only other memory of that flat which I left when I was four , also involves pop music; this time listening to the Dave Clark Five’s Bits and Pieces.)
I think people knew at the time that The Beatles were not just another band. But the creativity captured in that burst after rock and roll exploded on to the scene – and was to last pretty much undimmed all the way through to the end of the 1970s – continues to impress.
They say if you can remember the 60s then you weren’t really there. Well, I did live through it but frankly remember it less well than many who have come after me and have claimed it as their own.
This sort of cultural appropriation is a little annoying, but as everything is now replayed on an internet loop I suppose inevitable – although I was a little confused the other day when boxer Nichola Adams appeared on a programme about Muhammad Ali and declared that she wanted to go into the fight game having watched Ali win the famous Rumble in the Jungle bout with George Foreman. Seeing as that was 1974 and she wasn’t born until 1982 that was some serious time travel.