Tuesday 24 April 2018

How this icon of the sixties was an integral part of our leap into modern times

CAN a haircut change society? Can a skirt length? Or a pop group?

Or home design? Or actors with non-posh accents? Or Cockney photographers? Or television satirists? Or even prime ministers? Well, they can certainly show society has changed. The Vidal cut, the miniskirt, The Beatles, trattorias, Habitat, Michael Caine, David Bailey, That Was The Week That Was, Harold Wilson: in Britain it certainly felt like the beginning of modern times. The Profumo scandal had done for Harold Macmillan; Wilson did for Alec Douglas-Home. There would never be so many Etonians in the British cabinet again (until now).

"Sexual intercourse began in 1963," wrote Philip Larkin. That can hardly be the case. People just started to talk about it more. Vidal Sassoon's style wasn't your mother's, just as Carnaby Street clothes weren't like your father's, Robert Carrier's cooking wasn't like your grandma's and Len Deighton's Harry Palmer (in The Ipcress File, published 1962) wasn't like John Buchan.

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