Mid 50s to Now. The 60s psychologically, had the same effect as moving from a dark room to one with garish lighting. There were crazy fads like burning bras, a totally fatuous symbol which lasted only a very short spell. The whole aspect of clothes, hair styles especially, coloured hair and the Mohican were rampant and in my view a lot of it in bad taste. The word kitsch was now common, and peoples’ attitudes to one another seemed no longer to be as considerate and mannerly as heretofore. Those short years were the turning point that has brought us to where we are today.
Money was becoming freer, but life was hardly lavish. We still had a toe in the restrictions of the 40’s, but by the 80s people were talking in millions as they are today in billions.
In the late 50s, vast swathes of cities were being demolished and lying dormant and the areas ravaged in the Blitz were still barren. Council and Spec building was invading green-field sites out of town, supermarkets were beginning to replace the corner and high street shops. Dual carriageways and motorways were creeping onto the landscape, and flying as a daily means of transport was now enjoyed by all. The Coronation introduced a lot of us to TV, but its real hold was yet to come. Mass production was affecting prices, especially cars, with the result there was a rising increase in traffic. It was in 1963 one of the most stupid acts of Parliament occurred when Beeching was allowed to decimate the rail miles of the UK rail network, and leave us with the transport problems we have today. It was also in the late 60s and 1970 that Rock festivals became popular.
Social and leisure changes, more than anything, have smudged the British class system, progressively since the 60’s The cult of the ‘Personality’, more than anything. There is still the Aristocracy. There is no longer a working class or middle class, there are just the very poor, the impecunious, the comfortably off, the wealthy and the filthy rich – take your pick! Some plumbers earn more than doctors; rock stars could buy a bank. Money is tending to be the yard stick of today, not moral values, social skills, or plain respect for one another, and this trend, especially among the disadvantaged and the young is growing at an alarming rate.
The mid 70s era was when Princess Diana came onto the scene, and the populace at large became aware for the first time of how voracious the paparazzi were. Prior to this it was the Continental Press that generated the scandals of royalty, and ‘names’, and blew sundry whistles. It was in this era we saw hordes of people with cameras scrambling for the same picture and making life miserable for these poor individuals. The news of today merely demonstrates that we never learn from the past. Having one’s photograph taken is one thing, but being almost trampled to death is unacceptable, and I’ve never understood why there has not been a law which reduces the number of people taking photographs to a sensible few. More to the point, the reward for the taking of photographs, or giving one’s view on a particular incident, should not be a six figure sum, which to some is too irresistible. It should be so little, that conscience rather than greed has at least a hope of being effective. Legislation to this effect is long overdue. The government seems to forget that the changes taken in the 60s included the upsurge of ‘greed at any price’.
Part 4 delineates possible lines of thought with respect to solutions